Cove Wins an Oscar, Makes an Activist Statement, Gets Cut Off

cove movie screen image

Image via The Cove

Congrats to The Cove and the entire team who made this world-changing documentary. The movie exposes the dolphin slaughter happening in Japan by doing some Mission-Impossible-style footwork to film the annual killing at one of Japan's most notorious hunting grounds in Taiji, Japan. The film has made a huge splash worldwide, even in Japan, and has impacted the start date, and the quota of dolphins and whales killed during last year's September hunt. They progressed even further by winning the award for "Best Documentary Feature" at last night's Oscars ceremony, but not without some great activism, and unfortunately, a cut-off speech. What did the Academy expect? I mean really, it's an activist film, and it's Ric O'Barry...there's got to be some activism happening when they take the stage. Duh.

As director Louie Psihoyos, co-producer Fisher Stevens and The Cove star Richard O'Barry took the stage to accept the award and Stevens started his speech, O'Barry flashed a sign "text 44144 'dolphin'" - which is a way to receive updates on your cell phone about dolphins - but unfortunately, that led to the orchestra striking up the music to cut off an opportunity to let Psihoyos speak.

According to Japan Today, the win was not without a reaction from Japan:

Reacting to the Academy Award, fishermen in Taiji voiced anger, saying they were misleadingly described as ''Japanese mafia.'' A senior official of the local fisheries cooperative association rejected an interview, saying, ''Whatever we might say, it will just help advertise the movie.''

Taiji Mayor Kazutaka Sangen said, ''Dolphin hunting is not an illegal activity. It is necessary to respect each culture's diet, based on an understanding of regional traditions.''

Negotiations are under way with a distributor in Japan, although no release date has been set yet.

Here's a video of the acceptance speech during which Fisher Stevens was able to speak before O'Barry whipped out the sign. And here is a touching video of Psihoyos saying what he would have said...

While the Academy doesn't think that's too appropriate, it seems like a perfect example of an appropriate moment for an activist to get the word out. You have millions watching you...of course you're going to do all you can to spread the word.

More on The Cove
World-renowned Filmmaker Louie Psihoyos Fights Dolphin Slaughter in "The Cove"
Oceans 11 meets Flipper: Don't Miss "The Cove"
Chatting with Fisher Stevens, Producer of Film "The Cove"

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