Film director Roman Polanski's expertise led to the production of "The Pianist," which is nominated for an Academy Award. Recently, Polanski and his Holocaust drama received the British equivalent of Oscars as the best director and film of 2002.
But if Polanski comes to America in hopes of collecting a major award, he risks, deservedly, arrest and incarceration. There are those who doubt the Oscar voters will choose Polanski for honors because some will interpret that as acceptance of pedophilia. Others say voters may try to "make a point."
Twenty-six years ago, Polanski was convicted of drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl. His supporters say he fled the country only after finding that a judge intended to renege on a no-jail plea bargain and send him to prison. Apologists contend that judicial betrayal and Polanski's long period as a fugitive have allowed him to pay his dues. They call for amnesty so he can attend the Academy Awards ceremony and accept his statue or statues if he wins.
Recently, the rape victim, now 39, produced an article in The Los Angeles Times in effect calling for amnesty. Using her name and identity, she says she forgives Polanski and is upset by the judge and the media. She insists that Academy voters judge the movie and not the man.
How much did the film producers, Polanski and his coterie influence the woman to speak out at this particular time? Was she paid; what benefits might she accrue if Polanski should be freed from the standing order for arrest and confinement? Or is her plea genuine?
Whatever it is, it is not enough. If the Academy chooses to make a statement with its voting, about the film not the man, so be it. If "The Pianist" should win in either of the two categories, let Polanski send someone to pick up the Oscar and take it to him.
If he decides to show up in person, he should be arrested and put in jail to complete the deserved sentence for which he fled the country.