'The Zone of Interest' exec producer questions Jonathan Glazer's Oscars speech

March 15, 2024
The controversy that erupted over 'The Zone of Interest' director Jonathan Glazer's Oscars acceptance speech snowballed

The controversy that erupted over ‘The Zone of Interest’ director Jonathan Glazer’s Oscars acceptance speech snowballed on Friday with the Holocaust film’s executive producer Danny Cohen becoming the first member of its production team saying, “I just fundamentally disagree with Jonathan”, reports ‘Variety’.

Accepting the Academy Award on Sunday evening for best international film, Glazer delivered a set of pre-written remarks in which he compared his film to the ongoing conflict in Gaza. He was accompanied on stage by producer James Wilson and executive producer Len Blavatnik.

“All our choices were made to reflect and confront us in the present, not to say look at what they did then, but rather look at what we do now,” Glazer said, according to the Academy’s official transcript of the speech as quoted by ‘Variety’.

“Our film shows where dehumanisation leads at its worst. It has shaped all of our past and present,” Glazer continued. “Right now, we stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation which has led to conflict for so many innocent people.”

He then asked a heartfelt question: “Whether the victims of October the 7th in Israel or of the ongoing attack on Gaza, all the victims of this dehumanisation, how do we resist?”

Based on Martin Amis’ eponymous novel, ‘The Zone of Interest’ follows the story of Rudolf Höss, the longest-serving commandant at Auschwitz, and his family as they happily led normal lives while Jews were being gassed to death next door at the concentration camp.

Speaking on the Unholy podcast, Cohen, president of Access Entertainment and former director of BBC television, said: “It is really important to recognise it has upset a lot of people; a lot of people feel upset and angry about it. And frankly, I understand that anger.”

Cohen, according to ‘Variety’, said he had been contacted by “a lot” of people in the Jewish community who thought the film was crucial to Holocaust education and were upset that it had been “mixed up with what’s going on now [in Gaza], whether that was Jonathan’s intention or not to do that.”

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