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To protest war, nominee won't attend Oscars

March 20, 2003|From Associated Press

HELSINKI, Finland — Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki, whose "The Man Without a Past" is up for an Academy Award for best foreign-language film, said he and his production company will skip Sunday's ceremony to protest plans for a U.S.-led war in Iraq.

"We are not living in the most glorious moments of the history of mankind," Kaurismaki wrote in a letter to Frank Pierson, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

"Therefore, I nor anybody else from Sputnik Ltd. can participate in the Oscar gala event at the same time the government of the United States is preparing a crime against humanity for the purpose of shameless economic interests."

"The Man Without a Past," which focuses on the homeless and others on the fringes of Finnish society, received the Grand Prix -- the second prize -- at last year's Cannes Film Festival. Kati Outinen, who portrays a Salvation Army worker who falls in love with an amnesia victim at the film's heart, won the best actress award in Cannes.

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