The Writers Guild Awards on Sunday night took a cue from the rest of awards season in being fairly Trump-heavy, including several shots at the commander-in-chief. But Oliver Stone, who was on hand at the WGAW ceremony to accept the Laurel Award, gave a more bipartisan critique of America in an impassioned message to young filmmakers.
After being introduced by James Wood, Stone told reminded filmmakers that “you can be critical of your government and your society.”
“You don’t have to fit in,” the Oscar-winner went on. “It’s fashionable now to take shots at Republicans and Trump and avoid the Obamas and Clintons. But remember this: In the 13 wars we’ve started over the last 30 years and the $14 trillion we’ve spent, and the hundreds of thousands of lives that have perished from this earth, remember that it wasn’t one leader, but a system, both Republican and Democrat. Call it what you will: the military industrial money media security complex. It’s a system that has been perpetuated under the guise that these are just wars justifiable in the name of our flag that flies so proudly.”
Stone continued that our “country has become more prosperous for many but in the name of that wealth we cannot justify our system as a center for the world’s values. But we continue to create such chaos and wars. No need to go through the victims, but we know we’ve intervened in more than 100 countries with invasion, regime change, economic chaos. Or hired war. It’s war of some kind. In the end, it’s become a system leading to the death of this planet and the extinction of us all.”
He concluded with advice based on his own experiences. “I’ve fought these people who practice war for most of my life. It’s a tiring game. And mostly you’ll get your a– kicked. With all the criticism and insults you’ll receive, and the flattery too, it’s important to remember, if you believe in what you’re saying and you can stay the course, you can make a difference,” he said.
“I urge you to find a way to remain alone with yourself, listen to your silences, not always in a writer’s room. Try to find not what the crowd wants so you can be successful, but try instead to find the true inner meaning of your life here on earth, and never give up on your heart in your struggle for peace, decency, and telling the truth.”
Stone has never been one to shy away from politics — to say the very least. During a speech at the Gotham Independent Film Awards in November, the “Snowden” director made a point to reference national security under a Trump administration. “The surveillance state, ‘1984,’ cyberwarfare, drone warfare is with us,” he said at the time. He’s been open about his political beliefs, and voted for Jill Stein in the 2016 presidential election.