In a decidedly ‘Kanye’ moment, Zimbabwe producer Elinor Burkett highjacked the microphone during Academy Award winning director Roger Ross Williams’ acceptance speech for “Music by Prudence”.
The film won Best Documentary-Short Subjects and tells the story of 21-year-old Zimbabwean singer-songwriter Prudence Mabhena, who was born severely disabled and has struggled to overcome poverty and discrimination. All seven members of Prudence’s band Liyana are also disabled.
It turns out that Williams and Burkett have been in and out of court for the past year to determine who has creative control over the project. An out of court settlement favoring Williams didn’t stop the obviously overzealous woman from making her own statement and in the process ruining the director’s moment in the limelight.
She was officially removed as a producer almost a year ago but still qualified as an official nominee under Academy rules. She said, “He’s not speaking to me so we weren’t even able to discuss ahead of time who would be the one person allowed to speak if we won. And then, as I’m sure you saw, when we won, he raced up there to accept the award. And his mother took her cane and blocked me. So I couldn’t get up there very fast.”
Williams said, “I was the director, and she was removed from the project. I own the film, she has no claim whatsoever. She has nothing to do with the movie. She just ambushed me. I was sort of in shock. It’s such a career achievement, to win an Academy Award. I’m so proud of the movie. She pulled a Kanye. And it’s a shame, because this is such a positive, happy film”
He’ll get another opportunity to deliver his acceptance speech tonight on CNN’s Larry King Live.
View the ‘Kanye’ takeover moment on video below – and see another odd video moment between the two backstage: