As I have often shared during this year of blogging about first experiences, I am a huge fan of films. I’ve enjoyed watching movies all my life. And more than that, movies speak deeply to me. I don’t just watch a film. I take it in. I ponder it. I receive from it. I draw life lessons from the story being portrayed on the big screen. I also love film award shows. In my family, I am known for my devotion to the Oscars. On Academy Award night, they don’t call, text or visit. They all know it is my special night to watch my favorites win and also to get acquainted with movies I want to view after the awards are all given out.
My first tonight was to watch the Hollywood Film Awards (HFA) as they debuted on national television for their first time. I have heard of this award event, founded in 1997, which is known as the precursor for the Oscars. In fact, the HFA officially launches the award season. When I saw a preview for the 18th Annual Hollywood Film Awards recently, I was excited to be a part of their premiere this evening.
I enjoyed the show! I wondered how the format would differ from the Oscars or the Golden Globes. It was quite different. The winners were already determined and were present to receive their awards. While there was no guessing who was going to win, which is part of the fun with the other two film award shows, this type of format allowed for more focus on the winner in each category. I liked that the presenter of the award had a personal connection to the winner. The film clips not only showed portions of the movies, but behind the scenes interviews and comments. The show flowed well and had a much shorter running time than the traditional award shows with multiple nominees.
Queen Latifah hosted the first ever televised HFA and did a good job, interacting with the audience and introducing presenters. There were 18 categories awarded live tonight and another 8 that were awarded prior to the show. Some of the top awards went to Gone Girl (Film), Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game (Actor), Julianne Moore, Still Alice (Actress), How to Train Your Dragon 2 (Animation), Guardians of the Galaxy (Blockbuster) and Morten Tyldem, The Imitation Game (Director). Best song went to “What is Love?” from Rio 2.
I liked the addition of unique awards including Breakout Performance Awards for Shailene Woodley, The Fault in Your Stars, and Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything, and the Ensemble Award for the cast of Foxcatcher. Michael Keaton received the Career Achievement Award while an emotional Jack O’Connell, Unbroken, picked up the New Hollywood Award.
As in the other award ceremonies, acceptance speeches were held to a time limit, with music signaling that the winner should wrap up his or her words. Sometimes, a speech can make me squirm. For the most part, though, it is during these actors’ moments of speaking honestly from their hearts, with accompanying laughter or tears, that my heart is engaged. I don’t place actors on any kind of pedestal. I do recognize that these are talented people who are passionate about their craft and who love what they do. As they share, that love, that joy, shines through. Listening to them, I am inspired to seek that which brings me such joy.
Meryl Streep says, “Acting is not about being someone different. It’s finding the similarity in what’s apparently different , then finding myself in there.” As I watch these men and women transform into someone else, and find myself transported to other times, other places, the same becomes true for me. I find the apparent differences and the similarities in the characters I am watching. I find the challenges, the growth, the joy. And then, I find parts of myself in there.