Standing beaming next to journalist Glenn Greenwald on the Oscar podium, in a stunning Nha Khanh dress, was a brave woman who looked a little familiar.
She is Lindsay Mills, the girlfriend of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who spends much of her time living with him in exile in Moscow, where he is avoiding charges of espionage for his revelations of mass spying by US and international intelligence agencies.
Joining Greenwald and documentary maker Laura Poitras, dancer and model Mills came on stage after the Oscar win of Snowden documentary Citizen Four.
Mills, who lived with Snowden in Hawaii up until the moment he fled to Hong Kong before revealing his cache of leaks to the Guardian, was praised for her defiance and bravery in attending the awards.
A brave & impressive woman RT @MMFlint: Edward Snowden's girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, stood on the Oscar stage— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 23, 2015
Edward Snowden's girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, stood on the Oscar stage next to Glenn Greenwald & Laura Poitras during acceptance speech.— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) February 23, 2015
And it even caught her dress designer by surprise:
Snowden, who Greenwald said was staying up late to watch the Oscars from Moscow, released a statement through the American Civil Liberties Union. “When Laura Poitras asked me if she could film our encounters, I was extremely reluctant," he said.
"I’m grateful that I allowed her to persuade me. The result is a brave and brilliant film that deserves the honor and recognition it has received. My hope is that this award will encourage more people to see the film and be inspired by its message that ordinary citizens, working together, can change the world.”
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Mills, the girlfriend Snowden was said to have "abandoned" in Hawaii, was revealed to have moved to Moscow to be with the whistleblower at the end of Poitras' film.
The two are seen cooking pasta together in Snowden's wood-paneled Moscow home, which the former analyst has decorated with pot plants.
Poitras' documentary 'Citizenfour' shows the moment he breaks the news to her on the phone, telling her he "may not be coming back".
"She has no idea what I'm doing," he is heard saying to the journalists in his hotel room in Hong Kong, adding that he had decided to leave while she was away on holiday in order to protect her from suspicion.
But the romance has rekindled. Shortly after the clip of them together was first revealed by Poitras in the documentary, the pair were photographed by state media agency RIA Novosti at the theatre in Moscow. It is believed they were at the famous Bolshoi, and Russia Today claim Snowden saw The Tsar's Bride in August this year but made no mention of Mills.
Speaking via video link at the New York Film Festival this weekend, Snowden smiled as the New Yorker's Jane Mayer asked if Mills was "mad" at him before they got back together in June this year.
“Yes, she was not entirely pleased," he said. "But at the same time it was an incredible reunion because she understood—and that meant a lot to me. She had a very, very challenging year... It was a meeting I'll never forget."