I have never been particularly big on the Academy Awards. However, by happy accident, my wife and I managed to catch Sean Penn's acceptance speech (having just finished watching Taking Chance, recorded Saturday night on our VTR). The London Telegraph provided one of the better accounts of this event:
Stars on their way to the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles had to pass a group of Christian demonstrators outside who protested against gay marriage and attacked the memory of the late Heath Ledger, a favourite target of militant anti-gay protesters since his role in Brokeback Mountain.
Penn won the best actor award for Milk, in which he played politician and gay rights activist Harvey Milk.
The actor opened his acceptance speech with the words: "You commie, homo-loving sons of guns," to laughter from the audience.
Referring to the protest, he said: "For those who saw the signs of hatred as our cars drove in tonight, I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren's eyes if they continue that way of support. We've got to have equal rights for everyone."
If the Academy's annual Awards ceremony seems to be calculated to be so banal as to avoid any hint of chutzpah, Sean Penn is the sort of guy who can be counted on to shake their tree. Given those protesters on the street, he definitely picked the right setting in which to do so. Given his reputation, I figured it would only be a matter of time before he received a Chutzpah of the Week award. I realize there is always a risk of granting this award so early in the week, but think how good it will look alongside his new Oscar!