One of the craziest moments of last night’s Oscar ceremony was when Music By Prudence director Roger Ross Williams was cut off by producer Elinor Burkett in the middle of his emotional acceptance speech for Best Documentary Short—not that hardly anyone in the audience at home knew who these people were at the time of her “Kanye moment.” Burkett, a Salon contributor, gave her side of the story to the webmag:
What happened was the director and I had a bad difference over the direction of the film that resulted in a lawsuit that has settled amicably out of court. But there have been all these events around the Oscars, and I wasn’t invited to any of them. And he’s not speaking to me. So we weren’t even able to discuss ahead of the time who would be the one person allowed to speak if we won. And then, as I’m sure you saw, when we won, he raced up there to accept the award. And his mother took her cane and blocked me. So I couldn’t get up there very fast…I felt my role in this has been denigrated again and again, and it wasn’t going to happen this time.
According to Williams, Burkett’s determination to receive recognition is ironic, considering she removed herself from the project more than a year ago (Burkett felt the film should focus on an entire band of disabled Zimbabwean children, not just Prudence). “The academy is very clear that only one person can speak,” he told Salon. “I own the film. She has no claim whatsoever. She has nothing to do with the movie. She just ambushed me.” And as for his mom blocking Burkett with her cane, “My mother got up to hug me. And my mother is 87 years old. She was excited.” Congratulations, Elinor! You definitely got our attention—for better or worse.
[Photo: Getty Images]