Elinor Burkett Responds to Oscar Night Criticism
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
In what proved to be the most viral moment of the Academy Awards, "Music By Prudence" producer Elinor Burkett stole the mic from the film's director, Roger Ross Williams, and proceeded to give her own (half-sensical) acceptance speech after winning the “Best Documentary Short” category.
Burkett strongly defended her actions saying that Williams' 87-year-old mother – who she described as “a very nice woman with a cane” - refused to let her by.
“If my kid asked me to block someone, I would probably do it,” Burkett said, in an interview with WNYC on Tuesday. “He had clearly decided he wasn’t going to let me speak.”
“Music By Prudence” was riddled with production problems before the movie’s win on Sunday. Burkett and Williams had disagreed on the vision for the film during the editing phase. A legal settlement allowed her to retain a producer credit, but she was forced to leave the project. According to Burkett, she was the one who first brought the project to Williams and even took out a home equity loan on her house to pay for the filming.
She said she would have been happy if they had tossed a coin to decide who would deliver the speech and worked together on what would be said. Burkett said she took the stage to give credit to Prudence Mahbena and the other subjects in the film.
“In the little bit he got to say before I interrupted him, he only talked about himself,” she said. “My ego is not the point; his ego is not the point. It was about eight fantastic people who were members of the band who were being left out.”