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Wednesday, March 17, 1999 Published at 15:55 GMT


Kazan objectors urge Oscars protest

Marlon Brando and Elia Kazan discuss On the Waterfront

Oscar-goers are being urged to hold a sit-down protest when controversial director Elia Kazan receives his Lifetime Achievement Award on Sunday night.

Oscars '99
The 89-year-old, whose films include On The Waterfront and East of Eden, sparked fury in 1952 when he "outed" fellow directors and actors who had been members of the Communist party.

Kazan's refusal to apologise for that testimony or for the hardships it caused his friends has made him an outcast in many Hollywood circles.

Hollywood is already plastered with leaflets encouraging people to join a major demonstration on Oscar night.

The Committee Against Silence speak out

Screenwriter Bernard Gordon, who was blacklisted in the 1950s, said he wanted the audience to remain seated when Kazan receives his award and "sit on their hands".

Gordon and others from the industry have formed the Committee Against Silence to express their disapproval at the Academy decision to honour Kazan.

But a rival group in support of Kazan has asked for supporters to demonstrate outside of the awards ceremony to show their backing for the director and opposition to communism.

Support from Speilberg

According to reports, director Martin Scorsese and actor Robert de Niro will present the award to Kazan, who cast De Niro in his last film The Last Tycoon in 1976.

While many in Hollywood have refused to comment on the affair Steven Spielberg has spoken up for Kazan.

"You have to look at his body of work," he said.

"I may not agree with the decision Kazan made - what he did was wrong. But it didn't make his films wrong for me."

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