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Oscar Producer Calls Moore "Paranoid"

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Mar 31, 2003 | 7:43am EST

In his first print interview since Oscar night, filmmaker Michael Moore told the San Jose Mercury News that despite his controversial speech that elicited both cheers and jeers, he hasn't sensed any hostility from the Hollywood community.

"As uncomfortable as it might have been for some people to hear, I said things that needed to be said," the filmmaker told the paper.

Moore, whose documentary Bowling for Columbine won the best documentary award, added that the Oscar night boos came from Kodak Theater stagehands and were oddly "amplified."

"I heard someone yelling and someone shouting 'No! No!' as I started my speech," he said, adding that there is proof on tape. "Those boos were amplified through the house. And yet, as I looked out at the audience, no one was booing."

Moore also charged reactions shots were cut to make it seem the crowd was more anti-Moore than it actually was. "Martin Scorsese was going to applaud and they cut away from him. You could see the camera desperately trying to find people who were disagreeing with me and they couldn't."

But Gil Cates, producer of the Oscar telecast, strongly disagreed with Moore's comments.

"That's bull! He's totally incorrect," Cates said. "I take personal umbrage at his accusations that we manipulated the sound for political purposes. The sound in the audience was consistent for everybody's applause and boos, which seemed about equal to me.

"The man is paranoid," he continued. "It's a live event. We shot a lot of people responding to him. What you saw at home was absolutely representative of what took place in the theater." Cates added that he cued the music when Moore got to the "Shame on you, Mr. Bush" part of his speech because he felt it was enough.

But Moore feels his comments were neither ill timed nor unpatriotic. "I was being honored for a film that deals with the American culture of violence, both at home and abroad, and it felt like the perfect thing to say ... the appropriate thing to say."

Moore said he has not felt any hostility from the Hollywood community and is more in demand now than before, pointing to new production deals.

According to Variety, Moore's next project will be a documentary about the "the murky relationship" between former President George Bush and the family of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The pic, Fahrenheit 911, will suggest that the bin Laden family profited greatly from the association.

The filmmaker is also planning Sicko, a documentary about health maintenance organizations and the health care crisis. Both projects, according to the Mercury News, have been financed in Canada and Britain.

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