Oscar 1995: Show's Emotional Highlights

There are also surprising and touching moments that reflect a different kinds of politics. Two of those occurred in the 1996 show, when the winner of the Documentary Short Subject was One Survivor Remembers, by director Kary Antholis, who brought on stage the subject of his film, an old woman by the name of Gerda Weissmann Klein.

Ms. Klein didn't leave the podium after her director's Thank You speech, and she decided to ignore the not-too-subtle music. She then said in a determined voice: “I have been in a place for six incredible years where winning meant a crust of bread and to live another day. Since the day of my liberation, I have asked myself the question, Why am I here I am no better. I see those years, and those who never lived to see the magic of a boring night at home. On their behalf, I wish to thank you for honoring their memory. And you cannot do it any better way than when you go to your homes tonight, to realize that all of you who know the joys of freedom are winners.”

Louis Horvitz, the show's director couldn't anticipate such a moment, but he was ready with his cameras to bring Klein's touching face in a big close-up to millions of viewers all over the world.

The same year, the winner of the Best Documentary Feature Oscar was also about the Holocaust, John Blair's “Anne Frank Remembered.” After thanking Spielberg “without whose eleventh hour intervention, I would never have been able to make this film,” Blair introduced to the public the real hero of Anne Frank's tale, Miep Gies, the Dutch woman who found the diary in the Frank's apartment, which provided the basis of a book, play, and this movie, as well. That Anne Frank loved movies and intended to visit Hollywood one day made the moment all the more special.

If you would like to know more about this issue, please read my book, All bout Oscar: The History and Politics of the Academy Awards(NY: Continuum International, paperback 2003).