At 'Spirit Awards,' Star of ABC's 'Ugly Betty' Quips U.S. Won't Be 'Free' Until Bush Gone

A preview of the political commentary we can expect at Sunday night's Academy Awards? As a presenter at Saturday's “Film Independent's Spirit Awards” carried live at 2pm PST/5pm EST on the Independent Film Channel (IFC), actress America Ferrera (IMDb page), the title role star of ABC's Ugly Betty, interjected a bit of political commentary suggesting the U.S. will not be “the land of the free” again until President Bush leaves office. Taking the stage inside a tent on the Santa Monica beach, Ferrera was joined by actor Zach Braff, a star on NBC's Scrubs, to present the award for the “Best First Feature.” In the scripted exchange, Braff asked: “So do you think that you have any traits in common with the country that is your namesake?” Ferrera replied: “I guess I'm a free-spirited person and America's supposedly the 'land of the free,' right?” She then added, to loud applause from the left coast film industry audience: “Or at least we will be in 2008.”

Video clip (30 seconds): Real (900 KB) or Windows Media (1 MB), plus MP3 audio (175 KB)

Of course, Ferrera needs to study up on the U.S. political system. The new President will not take office until 2009.

The awards ceremony will re-air twice for two hours in “edited” form on AMC, presumably meaning with advertisements and sans the vulgarities, at 10pm EST Saturday night and 9am EST Sunday morning.

The exchange at the February 24 event:
Zach Braff: “You know America, here's a little interesting tidbit you probably don't know about me. My middle name is Israel. We're both named after countries. “

America Ferrera: “Wow, that is interesting.”

Braff: “So do you think that you have any traits in common with the country that is your namesake?”

Ferrera: “Well, you know, I mean I guess I'm a free-spirited person and America's supposedly the 'land of the free,' right?”

Braff: “Well, I guess.”

Ferrera: “Or at least we will be in 2008.” [loud applause] Well how about you, Zach, I mean do you have anything in common with Israel?”

Braff: “Let me see. Well, I'm predominantly Jewish, I'm very hot and all of my neighbors hate me. So yeah.” [audience laughter]
According to IMDb's bio of Braff, his actual middle name is Ivan.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center