Michael Moore put it all out there for the world to see on Oscar night.

Moore, who received a standing ovation from the assembled celebrities, invited the other nominees for best documentary film to join him onstage in solidarity against the war against Iraq. He then slammed the Bush administration in the strongest condemnation of the war at the 75th Academy Awards show Mar. 23.

Speaking for all the documentarians surrounding him on stage, Moore told the crowd, “We like nonfiction and we live in fictitious times. We live in a time where we have fictitious election results that elect a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man who’s sending us to war for fictitious reasons, whether it’s the fiction of duct tape or the fiction of orange alerts.

“We are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush. Shame on you!”

Rob Owen, TV editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, said: “Love him or hate him, Moore woke up the crowd.”

Asked backstage why he made the remarks, Moore answered: “I’m an American.”

“Is that all?” a reporter asked.

“Oh, that’s a lot,” Moore responded.

Moore told reporters: “Don’t report that there was a split decision in the hall because five loud people booed.” He noted that, far from being appalled, many people in the audience stood up to applaud him.

The documentary maker won his first Oscar for Bowling for Columbine, an exploration of gun violence in America. The title refers to the fact that students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold went bowling before they opened fire at Columbine High School in Colorado, killing 12 students and a teacher before turning the guns on themselves.

Moore, who hails from Flint, Mich., also directed the 1989 documentary Roger & Me, in which he pursued former General Motors Corp. boss Roger Smith to confront him about the collapse of the auto industry in Flint.

He’s also the author of the best-selling book Stupid White Men … And Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation, which criticizes American politicians for favoring corporate wealth over public well-being.

“I say tonight I put America in a good light,” he told reporters. “I showed how vital it is to have free speech in our country and all Americans have the right to stand up for what they believe in.”

“We kill each other at an enormous rate, more so than virtually any other country on this planet,” Moore said backstage. “What was the lesson that we taught the children of Columbine this week? This was the lesson, that violence is an acceptable means to resolve a conflict.”

Despite efforts to stifle expression of peace sentiments, including the threat of a blacklist for artists who take an anti-war stance, much of Hollywood spoke out in various ways at the awards ceremony, against the Iraq war while supporting the troops.

Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, who won the best original screenplay award for Talk To Her, dedicated his Oscar to those “raising their voices in respect of peace, democracy and international legality – all of which are essential qualities to live.” Backstage, Almodovar declared, “We are against this war,” calling the Spanish government’s participation in Bush’s “coalition” “the most anti-democratic gesture I’ve ever seen.”

Best actor winner Adrien Brody, who won for his role as a Holocaust survivor in The Pianist, stirred the audience to a standing ovation when he said, “ My experiences of making this film made me very aware of the sadness and the dehumanization of people at times of war … Whatever you believe in, if it’s God or Allah, may he watch over you and let’s pray for a peaceful and swift resolution.” Brody added, “And I have a friend from Queens who’s a soldier in Kuwait right now, Tommy Zarobinski, and I hope you and your boys make it back real soon.”

After stating that songs are sung in praise and in “protest,” outspoken actress and singer Barbra Streisand, who presented the Oscar for best song, said, “I’m very proud to live in a country that gives its citizens, including artists, the right to say, and sing, what they think.”

Gael Garcia Bernal, the young Mexican actor from Y Tu Mama Tambien, who was one of the night’s presenters, joined the anti-war speeches by referring to Frida Kahlo, subject of the film Frida: “If she was alive, she would be on our side against the war.”

Chris Cooper, who received the supporting-actor prize for Adaptation, ended his speech with a soft-spoken reference to the war. “In light of all the troubles in the world, I wish us all peace.” Backstage, he told reporters, referring to some of the pro-war expressions, “As the war goes on, minds will be changed.”

Many celebrities, including Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, Daniel Day-Lewis, Brody and Cooper, wore peace pins. Susan Sarandon, who introduced the obituary segment of the show, flashed a peace V with her fingers while walking onstage.

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