What can I say? I love the Academy Awards! It’s my most fun day all year – no presents to buy and wrap, no cards to mail, no work at all…except to print my ballot as soon as the nominations are announced. And then the rush to see as many nominated movies as possible before the show. Or at least the movies with Best Actress and Actor nominations. As a child and young teenager, I rarely saw the movies that were showcased, but my fascination with the glamour and….mysteriousness of it all drew me in. They were all so larger than life – those movie people – and they always looked so happy. I loved them as much as the characters they played. Julie Andrews was every bit as lovable as Mary Poppins and then again as Maria, everyone’s favorite governess in The Sound of Music. Oh how I wished she loved me too. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen it.
The Oscars are a chance to play pretend at any age. All those people dressed up for a crazy big party and you can go too. No matter how exclusive it obviously is, anyone with a television (or, nowadays, a computer) can watch what happens in real time. Live TV at its best. Who knew there would be a streaker? Or a mixup with the ballot? Everyone in their fanciest – and often most outlandish – clothes and it’s okay. I can just relax on the couch dressed however I want; bowl of popcorn in my lap with clipboard, ballot and pen nearby.
Should the acting profession – represented at the Academy Awards – be more race and gender diverse? Inclusive? Well, of course. I am hopeful and confident they are heading in that direction. In the meantime I am going to enjoy playing pretend at their party in quiet gratitude — for all the hours I’ve spent mesmerized, entertained, comforted and often inspired by their work on the big screen.
My favorite Oscar memory? 1972: Isaac Hayes, dressed in chainmail sitting at the piano rising up from beneath the stage floor (as I remember it) to play the Theme from SHAFT. Amidst a cloud of smoke. Wow! And he won! Can you dig it?
So many movies. So many stories.