Tonight was Oscar night! It has been a long held tradition, in my life, to watch this annual event. Movies have played such a vital role in my life. So much more than a form of entertainment for me , I learn from watching films, often viewing a movie multiple times, receiving life lessons, wisdom, and inspiration from the stories as they unfold.
I know the Academy Awards Show is not everyone’s “thing”. That’s ok. It is MY thing. My family knows that and allows me the time and space to fully enjoy this special event. For me, it is an opportunity to watch gifted people celebrate each other and their passions, and be recognized for their gifts. Actors, actresses, writers, artists, musicians, directors….and so many other creative souls…join together to bring a story to life. I am encouraged to pursue and share my gifts, watching these people from around the world acknowledge and share theirs. It is a very powerful experience, hearing their stories, seeing their tears, knowing these men and women followed their hearts to get where they are, sometimes against great odds.
Neal Patrick Harris hosted the Oscars tonight, and did a fine job. He was neither over the top nor too restrained, and had an outstanding opening song routine. I had many favorite moments from this evening. One of my favorite nominated movies, The Grand Budapest Hotel, had a great showing, collecting 4 of the golden statues. Likewise, I was glad to see JK Simmons, a fine character actor, win best supporting actor for his role in Whiplash. The Glen Campbell song, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You”, performed soulfully by Tim McGraw, brought tears to my eyes and a reminder to all of the ravages of Alzheimer’s Disease.
The memorial segment is always poignant for me. Meryl Streep gave a moving speech before water color images of the departed appeared one by one on a large screen. She said, in part, “They filled our lives so much, the films they were in made us laugh, think and cry. Through their work they shared a piece of their soul.” And there were moments that made me laugh. John Travolta and Idina Menzel presenting together was hilarious because last year, Travolta badly mangled Idina’s name. She got to purposefully mess his name up tonight. They were good sports this evening about an incident that embarrassed them both last year.
Although some don’t enjoy the acceptance speeches that the winners give, it is during those 45 seconds that the heart of the person is revealed, often with great joy or happy tears. Gratitude is common, along with the recognition that the winner doesn’t receive the award through his or her efforts alone. Tonight I especially appreciated JK Simmons, who reminded anyone “lucky enough to have a parent or two alive” to call them. And Polish film maker Pawel Pawlikowski, who was delighted to be in the interesting position of creating a film, Ida, about the need for silence and solitude, and then found himself at the epicenter of noise and excitement. “Life,” he gushed, “is full of surprises.”
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who won best director for Birdman, shared about how ego loves competition. He went on to say, “but the paradox is that true art, and true individual expression, as all the work of these incredible film makers is, can’t be compared or labeled or defeated because they exist, and our work will only by judged by time.” I most enjoyed the acceptance speech of Eddie Redmayne, who won a best actor award for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Obviously shocked by his win, his genuine giddiness made me smile. He expressed gratitude to the Hawking family and promised to be the caretaker of his award, on behalf of Stephen, and all those suffering from ALS.
The top four big winners tonight were as follows:
Best Picture Birdman
Best Actress Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Best Actor Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Best Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Birdman
A full list of winners can be found at: Academy Awards 2015 Winners List
As I did last year, I intend to watch each of the best picture nominated movies in the upcoming weeks. I’ve only seen The Grand Budapest Hotel. I look forward to viewing each film, and several others that I made note of tonight. As someone said, at the beginning of the program tonight, and I regret I didn’t write down who it was, “Movies…they may not be real life, but they teach us about life.” They teach ME about life. They stir something deep within my soul, uplifting me, empowering me, teaching me about aspects of life I wouldn’t encounter any other way. I am open, and ready to receive.