When Berkeley resident Charles Ferguson walked onto the stage last night to accept an Academy Award for his documentary Inside Job, he used the limelight to castigate those who fostered the 2008 economic collapse.
“Forgive me, I must start by pointing out that three years after our horrific financial crisis caused by massive fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail, and that’s wrong,” Ferguson told the millions of people tuned into the Oscars broadcast.
That kind of sharp criticism is a Ferguson hallmark and is one reason the still fairly-new filmmaker’s films have resonated so deeply. Ferguson, 55, a UC Berkeley graduate, made his fortune in the software business, selling one firm in 1996 to Microsoft for $133 million. After writing a number of books, Ferguson started a film company, Representational Pictures, based in New York. His first film, No End In Sight, about the Iraq War, was released in 2007. It was also nominated for an Academy Award. Inside Job was released in October 2010.
Oprah Winfrey handed the statuette to Ferguson and his producer Audrey Marrs. Ferguson put a bit of levity into his speech, too, when he said “Let the record show I am not wearing jeans.”
Ferguson splits his time between Berkeley and New York.
Inside Job is still showing at Shattuck Cinemas on Shattuck Avenue.