Edward Snowden congratulates Citizenfour director Laura Poitras

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      It was a bit surreal seeing journalist Glenn Greenwald on the Oscar stage tonight.

      The man who exposed the massive National Security Administration's surveillance program with the help of whistle blower Edward Snowden is not the type of guy who normally shows up at these kind of events. But Greenwald was up there with director Laura Poitras when she picked up her Oscar for best documentary for the film Citizenfour.

      It told the story of Snowden, with Greenwald also appearing in the film.

      Tonight, the American Civil Liberties Union released a statement from Snowden, who's living in exile in Russia to avoid being prosecuted in the United States.

      "When Laura Poitras asked me if she could film our encounters, I was extremely reluctant," Snowden said. "I'm grateful that I allowed her to persuade me. The result is a brave and brilliant film that deserves the honour and recogition 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."