Oscars 2015: 'CitizenFour' makers keep the focus on Edward Snowden

Oscars 2015: 'CitizenFour' makers keep the focus on Edward Snowden
Winners for documentary feature "CitizenFour": Mathilde Bonnefoy, from left, Laura Poitras and Dirk Wilutzky backstage at the 87th Academy Awards. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

"CitizenFour" producers Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky and director Laura Poitras called for only serious questions in the pressroom after winning the Oscar for documentary feature, refusing to answer a question about how they would celebrate the night.

But when asked about government surveillance and a joke that host Neil Patrick Harris made at the start of the show comparing the actions of Edward Snowden, the subject of their documentary, to treason, they lighted up.

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"One of the things we can do is focus on the person Snowden," Bonnefoy said, "to give him a real voice. His motives were pure, authentic. It took an extraordinary act of courage. Once you understand that, you understand [what he did is] really important."

Looking at history, Poitras said the country should be cautious.

"All we need to do is look at the civil rights movement," Poitras said, referencing the government spying on Martin Luther King Jr. and other activists. "We should be very concerned as a democracy."

Nonetheless, the trio is elated that their work is being recognized.

"I feel proud because what we have done is meaningful," Wilutzky said.

Twitter: @TrevellAnderson