Feb 23, 2015 · 1 minute

Citizenfour, Laura Poitras' film about Edward Snowden and the NSA surveillance documents he released, was named Best Documentary at last night's Academy Awards. It beat out worthy competitors like the great Netflix-produced war documentary Virunga (which I wrote a little about here) not to mention the transcendent Jodorowsky's Dune (which I wrote a lot about here) which wasn't even nominated.

The win also served as fodder for one of host Neil Patrick Harris' better jokes of the night, as he told the audience to mild laughter, "The subject of Citizenfour, Edward Snowden couldn't be here for some treason."

For shame! How dare Harris suggest that Snowden is a traitor when he's clearly a patriot because we live in a world of binaries where the man can only be one or the other!

Or at least that's the gist of the response from Glenn Greenwald, one of the journalists who assisted Poitras with the reporting of the Snowden documents for the Guardian and who now writes for The Intercept.

“I’m just gonna go ahead and treat it as a joke," Greenwald told Buzzfeed before immediately doing the opposite. "I thought it was pretty pitiful, given Hollywood’s fondness for congratulating itself for doing things like standing up for McCarthyism and blacklists. So to just casually spew that sort of accusation against someone who’s not even charged with it, let alone convicted of it, I think is, you know, stupid and irresponsible."

That's certainly strong words for an entertainer whose loyalties lie with making people laugh, not making legal judgments. Of course at least one figure at the center of the Snowden drama wasn't offended by the joke: Snowden himself.

"To be honest, I laughed at NPH," Snowden said today in a Reddit AMA. "I don't think it was meant as a political statement, but even if it was, that's not so bad. My perspective is if you're not willing to be called a few names to help out your country, you don't care enough."

There you have it -- the so-called "grandiose narcissist" Edward Snowden showing a measure of grace and humility in response to that most harmless genre of jokes, the pun.

Now go read Eileen Jones' Pando essay about why the film probably never deserved to be nominated in the first place.

[illustration by Brad Jonas]