Watch Laura Poitras accept an Oscar for Citizenfour

Liz Pelly

The Oscars are generally unimportant but Laura Poitras winning an Oscar is extremely important. Poitras won the award for Best Documentary on Sunday night for Citizenfour, her documentary on Edward Snowden. The doc chronicles a week spent in Hong Kong with Snowden and journalist Glenn Greenwald, as they discuss the thousands of classified NSA documents Snowden eventually leaked.

“When Laura Poitras asked me if she could film our encounters, I was extremely reluctant,” said Snowden in a statement to the ACLU yesterday. “I’m grateful that I allowed her to persuade me. The result is a brave and brilliant film that deserves the honor and recognition it has received. My hope is that this award will encourage more people to see the film and be inspired by its message that ordinary citizens, working together, can change the world.”

“I’d like to first thank the documentary community,”said Poitras in her acceptance speech. “It’s an incredible joy to work among people who support each other so deeply, risk so much, and do such incredible work.” She continued:

We don’t stand here alone. The work we do, and that needs to be seen by the public, is possible through the brave organizations that support us. We’d like to thank Radius, Participant, HBO, Britdoc, and the many many organizations who had our back making this film. The disclosures that Edward Snowden reveals don’t only expose a threat to our privacy but to our democracy itself. When the most important decisions being made affecting all of us are made in secret, we lose our ability to check the powers that control. Thank you to Edward Snowden for his courage and for the many other whistleblowers. And I share this with Glenn Greenwald and other journalists who are exposing truth.

Watch the entire speech below. Poitras, Greenwald, and Snowden were all part of a Reddit ‘Ask me Anything’ yesterday.

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