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‘Citizenfour,’ the Edward Snowden documentary, wins an Oscar
The law kept some of the movie’s stars out of the ceremony.
Citizenfour has been widely praised for both its film-making and journalism since it first hit theaters late last year, racking up 13 awards prior to its Oscar win. The movie took home Best Documentary at the Independent Spirit Awards earlier this week.
From the moment Snowden began to leak documents from the National Security Agency (NSA) that detailed its mass surveillance on Americans and people from around the world, Citizenfour director Laura Poitras masterfully captured a profoundly important historical moment to an extent never before accomplished in either a journalistic or film context.
The win wasn’t exactly a surprise: Odds-makers widely put Poitras’s masterpiece as a clear favorite heading into tonight.
While this Oscar win is a sign of mainstream adulation for the film, two of its biggest stars couldn’t make it to Los Angeles for the Oscars ceremony for fear of American authorities.
Edward Snowden, the movie’s protagonist and a now-ever-present figure in American politics, has been living in Russia for nearly two years on temporary asylum, wanted for two counts of espionage in the United States.
Jacob Appelbaum, a prolific activist and hacker, is another star of the film who will not come back to the United States. Appelbaum closely assisted Poitras throughout the film, and he is living in Germany due to his work with WikiLeaks and Snowden.
I hope someday I’ll be able to travel freely with Laura in the United States – as the Russians say: “Hope dies last, but it still dies.”
— Jacob Appelbaum (@ioerror) February 22, 2015
Hollywood can’t get enough of the Edward Snowden saga. Oliver Stone is currently directing a feature film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The dramatized movie, shooting now in Germany, is due out in Dec. 2015.
If you missed its stint in the theaters, fear not: Citizenfour will premiere on HBO on Monday night at 9 p.m.
Update 11:39pm ET, Feb. 22: Watch Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald accept the Best Documentary Oscar.
Screengrab via Citizenfour
Patrick Howell O'Neill is a notable cybersecurity reporter whose work has focused on the dark net, national security, and law enforcement. A former senior writer at the Daily Dot, O'Neill joined CyberScoop in October 2016. I am a cybersecurity journalist at CyberScoop. I cover the security industry, national security and law enforcement.