Jared Leto to play Ukraine; Oscar speech edited in Russian telecast

Jared Leto
Jared Leto accepts his supporting actor Oscar on Sunday night. His comments about the current unrest in Ukraine were edited out of a taped broadcast of the show shown in Russia.
(Kevin Winter / Getty Images)

“Dallas Buyers Club” star and newly crowned Academy Award winner Jared Leto was the only Hollywood figure to address the current political unrest in Ukraine during the award show Sunday, but his words of support for the former Soviet republic weren’t heard in Russia, where an edited, taped broadcast of the ceremony aired Monday.

With tensions escalating between the two nations, Leto said in his acceptance speech for supporting actor, “To all the dreamers out there around the world watching this tonight, in places like the Ukraine and Venezuela, I want to say we are here. And as you struggle to make your dreams happen, to live the impossible, we’re thinking of you tonight.”

The state-run Russian TV network Channel One denied censoring Leto’s remarks but conceded that they didn’t appear in the broadcast that aired there. A spokesperson for the network told the Hollywood Reporter, “The channel aired a 90-minute international version of the Oscar ceremony, which was not to be cut and was provided by the rights holder.”

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In the run-up to the Oscars, Channel One canceled its previously scheduled live broadcast of the ceremony, a decision it said was necessary to focus resources on the unfolding crisis in Ukraine.

Backstage at the Oscars, Leto told reporters that he would soon be traveling to Ukraine with his rock band, Thirty Seconds to Mars.

“We have a show in the Ukraine in a couple of weeks,” Leto said. “We have a show in Thailand in a few weeks. We had a show in Venezuela in the works. So these things, social unrest, social issues like this, affect us in a really immediate way. So I felt on behalf of the people that I interact with on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook, and my own interests being a person in a global band, it was important to address those things.”

Leto’s remarks came after three months of intense and sometimes deadly anti-government protests by Ukrainians calling for the removal of President Viktor Yanukovych, whom they regard as a pawn of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Yanukovych fled the country last month and reappeared in Russia.


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The U.S., meanwhile, has accused Russia of breaching international law by seizing control of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in wake of the coup.

Thus far, Leto is one of the few people in Hollywood to comment on the crisis in Ukraine. Further afield, Serbian director Emir Kusturica, a two-time Cannes Palm d’Or winner, voiced his support of the Russian government’s handling of the situation.

Kusturitsa, who is touring Russia with his own band, No Smoking Orchestra, was quoted by a Russian news organization as saying, “I believe Russia ought to protect ethnic Russians living in Ukraine and thereby save the country from a catastrophe.”


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