Tonight is the 91st Academy Awards. My ballot is printed. Ready to be filled in.
Full disclosure: I love the Oscars. I write the date on my calendar as soon as it is announced. Back in the days of 3 networks, I was glued to the TV screen for the entire broadcast. I remember watching when “The Sound of Music” won; being also impressed I had managed to stay awake until 12:30 AM!
There may have been a few years I missed it, away at college with no television. Or later, ensconced in early parenthood fatigue and exhaustion. But not many.
My contribution to this week’s Song Lyric Sunday (prompt: Harmony/Melody/Music) honors the 1973 Academy Award winner for Best Song.
“The Way We Were” performed by Barbra Streisand – the ultimate professional of harmony, melody and music. It was the title song from the movie of the same name.
The Way We Were
Lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman
Music by Marvin Hamlisch
Memories light the corners of my mind
Misty water-colored memories of the way we were
Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another for the way we were
Can it be that it was all so simple then
Or has time rewritten every line
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me, would we?
Memories may be beautiful and yet
What’s too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget
So it’s the laughter we will remember
Whenever we remember
The way we were
The way we were
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.