My second Oscar wish is for a good show. A good show that honors, not just those we believe were the “best” in any given category, but also signifies achievements that transcend a moment, a scene, a movie, a year in film, a body of work spanning decades. There’s no shame in making cinematic history. There is pride in paying respects to an enduring legacy in movies. Whether you are a man or a women, black or white, whether you make us laugh or cry – or both. The Oscars are more than politics, campaigning, and winners. When Barbara Streisand (an Oscar recipient for Song and Acting, but not for Directing or Producing) took to the stage I think we all knew that Kathryn Bigelow (2010) was about to become an addition to the record books. The Hurt Locker was likely to do well that year regardless, but it still took the movie industry and the Academy eighty years to award a woman in the Directing category. Had she lost to James Cameron for Avatar it would have been a very different moment in history. A laughable one.
There could well have been some positively influential voting the year the Academy chose to bestow an Honorary Oscar on Sidney Poitier (the first black Best Actor winner I might add). This was reflected in the awards given for Acting in Leading Roles, where Denzel Washington and Halle Berry (2002) both took the prizes. For a while it looked like Russell Crowe and Sissy Spack were heading for glory. Washington was considered overdue in this field, and Berry had just won the Screen Actors Guild award, but take nothing away from the winners, both were devastatingly great performances – and both were well deserved. You have to check out Denzel Washington’s speech too, but Halle Berry absolutely nails the unashamed joy of recognition.
Honestly, this one is going to hurt. I could shed tears now, in anticipation of the Academy paying tribute to those we had to say goodbye to in the last year, let alone accepting the loss itself. Looking back at Robin Williams (1998) being named Best Supporting Actor is extremely poignant now, but it sure was a popular win back then. Everyone loves this guy, Williams made us laugh in so many mediums (stage, TV, appearances, movies), but he also got justifiably high praise from his audiences, fans, and peers for his extraordinary dramatic turns. I look forward to applauding him once again, even in his absence. God bless you sir.