sealPurdue News

March 18, 2003

What will Oscar say about the war?

A Purdue University pop culture expert will tune into this year's Academy Awards not to hear who wins, but to hear what the stars have to say about war in Iraq.

"Hollywood loves to step up to the soapbox as they did during the Vietnam War," says Randy Roberts, history professor in the School of Liberal Arts and author of "John Wayne: American." "People listen to what the stars have to say. Celebrities may not always have something to say, but they say it with great conviction and can perform better than politicians."

Roberts says it will be interesting to hear what award winners and presenters will say if America is at war with Iraq when the 75th Academy Awards are presented Sunday (3/23).

"Will they unite the country during a war or do will they speak out against the ongoing war?" Roberts says.

Roberts also says with so many celebrities who will want to share their opinions, the award show can be expected to be longer than previous years.

"With Hollywood having such a dreary year because of the lack of quality movies it produced, we can expect the attention to be devoted to a more sanctimonious topic," says Roberts, who also has written books about the Vietnam War and American sports history.

CONTACT: Roberts, (765) 429-9870 or (765) 423-7711,