View Full Version : Question about this Errol Morris's Oscar Speech...

03-08-2004, 03:21 AM

I have been wanting to see this film for quite a while, but still have not gotten around to seeing it yet. I really like the other work of Morris that I have seen, and I have read many positive reviews and critiques (like the one in this forum) that only fuel my desire to run out and find a theatre that is screening it.

I do, however, want to bring up a point I found to be rather disturbing in his Oscar speech this year. What I am referring to that he thanked McNamara--but not for his participation in the film. If I remember correctly, he said something to the effect of "I'd like to thank Robert McNamara, because without his actions thirty years ago I never would have had a chance to make this film". Maybe I'm misinterpreting this, but I took that to mean "I'd like to thank Robert McNamara for his participation in furthering the Vietnam War, because without all the death and brutality he and his administration caused, I wouldn't have been able to win this Oscar!".

Granted, I realize that Errol Morris is a peaceful man, and he did make an anti-war statement immediately after his thanking of McNamara, but it still kind of stunned me nonetheless. If he would have thanked him for his participation in the documentary, or for his bravery for coming out and speaking about his mistakes, that would have been fine. But thanking him for his decisions regarding the Vietnam War??!? What was that about? I understand this was a great documentary, and I'm glad that it was made. But the whole point is that it shouldn't HAVE to have been made in the first place!

Comments anyone?

03-08-2004, 07:08 AM
Morris was probably just caught up in the moment at the Oscars, and perhaps a bit nervous. The documentary is actually very much a "fair and balanced" overview of McNamera and the history he was involved in. Morris doesn't set out to cast McNamera as the villain, he's just trying to get some answers. My preconception before seeing this film was that McNamera was the "mastermind" behind the Vietnam War; the interviews and the audio recordings seem to suggest that he was simply carrying out the orders of the President. There's a tape of his conversation with Kennedy in Oct. 1963 where they both agree the U.S. needed to soon find an exit strategy in Vietnam...

<or for his bravery for coming out and speaking about his mistakes,>

McNamera does admit that mistakes were made, but he never formally apologizes for anything. Not even for the firebombing of Japanese cities in WWII that killed over a million people.

03-10-2004, 03:24 AM
Originally posted by JustaFied
Morris was probably just caught up in the moment at the Oscars, and perhaps a bit nervous.

That's what I was thinking too. He did seem a bit overwhelmed. And given the attitude of the film, as you described it, it does seem very unlikely that he would intentionally say something like that. Thanks for your comment.

I just looked at the listings in my area, and it turns out I missed the Fog of War's theatrical run by more than two months (d'oh!). Does anybody happen to know the DVD/video release date?

05-18-2004, 10:20 AM
I have a question...

I still haven't seen "The Fog of War" yet, although it is now out on DVD. I was going to rent it, but I was curious about something. Does it mention "The Pentagon Papers" by Daniel Ellsberg? If you may or may not recall, Ellsberg was the one responsible for publishing the fact that the Viet-Nam war was started by the Johnson administration lying about being attacked by the North Vietnamese.

05-19-2004, 06:56 PM
Originally posted by cinemabon
Does it mention "The Pentagon Papers" by Daniel Ellsberg?

McNamera does talk about the incident you're referring to. Evidently a U.S. submarine's radar detected something that they thought was a missile fired by the North Vietnamese. This story was played up by the Johnson Administration and eventually was used to justify the escalation in the American offensive. In the documentary, McNamera points out that it was later determined (presumably in "The Pentagon Papers", though he doesn't say it by name) that it was very unlikely there was a missile or even a North Vietnamese ship in that area.