Communist Manifesto quoted at the Oscars

Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar, winners of the documentary feature Oscar for “American Factory,” speak during the telecast of the 92nd Academy Awards on Sunday, February 9, 2020.
(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

“We believe things will get better when workers of the world unite,” declared documentary feature award co-winner Julia Reichert, finishing her remarks while accepting the statuette for the Obamas-backed “American Factory.” It was probably the first time the Communist Manifesto, the foundational Marxist text published by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1848, has been quoted at the Oscars.

The statement was in keeping with the themes of the film, which follows workers at a former GM factory now owned by a Chinese corporation that frowns on their efforts to unionize. “For the workers on the floor, it’s a different success than for the owner or the management,” Reichert told The Times last year.

Reichart’s use of the phrase was one of the most overtly political moments in a generally tame Oscars telecast so far.


Accepting his statuette for supporting actor, Brad Pitt joked that the 45 seconds he’d been given to speak was more than the Senate had given potential impeachment witness John Bolton.

Rapper Eminem — who performed his 2002 hit “Lose Yourself” from “8 Mile,” the film in which he starred — avoided making any off-script comments from the stage though he’s been known to sound off on political topics in previous big-time awards ceremonies.