LOS ANGELES – Oscar-winner Woody Allen, famous for shunning the Academy Awards, appeared at Sunday's ceremony to urge Hollywood to support New York City by making movies there after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Referring to the "terrible events that have occurred in New York over the last year," Allen introduced a collection of clips, compiled by filmmaker Nora Ephron, of famous movies made in and about his hometown.
Behind him on the Kodak Theatre stage, a pictorial backdrop of the Manhattan skyline was missing the World Trade Center towers, which were destroyed in the attacks.
Backstage, Allen said he came to Los Angeles to support his favorite city.
"I'm not a big awards person," he said. "I don't feel comfortable with competition for films, books or any kind of artistic competition.
"When I had an opportunity to do this for the city, it was a different story. I didn't have to present anything. I didn't have to accept anything. I just had to talk about New York City."
Among the clips were snippets from Allen's own Manhattan, and Annie Hall. The collection also included scenes from The Godfather, On The Waterfront, Fame, The French Connection, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Tootsie and Saturday Night Fever.
Allen, who makes all his films in New York, urged filmmakers to continue working there.
"It's a great place to come and work and make your movies because it's still a thrilling and very, very exciting city," he said.
After surprising the audience with his appearance — and drawing a standing ovation — Allen got laughs by returning to his old self-effacing standup comedy persona. The 66-year-old said he was terrified when the Academy called him, thinking it wanted his Oscars back.
"I panicked because the pawn shop has been out of business for ages, and I have no way of retrieving anything," he quipped.
Allen has won three Oscars: best director and best original screenplay for 1977's Annie Hall, and best original screenplay for 1986's Hannah and Her Sisters.