Vanessa Redgrave at the 1978 Oscars
Vanessa Redgrave. Her bristling denunciation of Israel didn't disappoint anyone looking for the Oscars annual controversy.

April 4, 1978 – Middle East On The Ground – Middle East At The Oscars

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Vanessa Redgrave at the 1978 Oscars

Vanessa Redgrave. Her bristling denunciation of Israel didn’t disappoint anyone looking for the Oscars annual controversy.

April 4, 1978 – CBS World News Roundup – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

April 4, 1978 – A day where the situation in Lebanon and the Middle East took a minor backseat to the situation at the Academy Awards and the Oscars the night before.

Beginning with news of the verdict in the trial of two Palestinian gunmen who murdered a prominent Egyptian newspaper editor in Nicosia Cyprus were found guilty of pre-meditated murder and were sentenced to death by hanging. An appeal was pending and the execution had already been moved.

Elsewhere, things were quiet this day in Southern Lebanon ahead of a report that Israeli troops who moved into the area three weeks earlier, were preparing to move out. But word from Tel-aviv indicated the situation was not so. The source of the rumor was pinpointed to representatives at the United Nations, but the Israeli military pointed out the army was moving back some six miles, but not moving out of Lebanon altogether; that wouldn’t happen until the UN had placed all its peacekeepers in Lebanon, a process that wouldn’t be accomplished for several more weeks. At the moment, the UN presence was roughly half-strength.

President Carter returned home from his four-nation trip, enthusiastic and assured the “days of the ugly American were over”, according to one Carter aide. Calling it a “great trip” and “fantastic”, Carter was particularly successful on his trip through Africa where another aide said the U.S. achieved exactly what it wanted; Bi-lateral talks with the Nigerians, hopes for more direct talks between warring parties in Zimbabwe and generally a feeling from most officials that the U.S. was making very positive steps in its relations with Black Africa.

Meanwhile, in Hollywood – It was the annual Academy Awards ceremony the previous night. Annie Hall was the big winner with Woody Allen winning Best Director and Best Picture and Diane Keaton winning Best Actress Oscars, with Richard Dreyfus winning his Oscar for Best Actor for The Goodbye Girl. But the controversy, the moments which provided the fodder for discussion and headlines the next morning came by way of Vanessa Redgrave who took Best Supporting Actress for Julia. Redgrave, an outspoken critic of Israeli handling of the Palestine situation, and who also took part in a pro-PLO documentary, and was picketed outside the ceremony by the JDL, launched into a blistering attack on Israeli policy in the Middle East – and true to Oscar form, it caused a storm of controversy.

And that’s a small slice of what went on, this April 4, 1978 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.



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