I don’t always get to, but even though I’ve rarely seen all or even most of the movies mentioned, I really enjoy watching the Oscars when I get the chance. (And yay, Katherine Bigelow! I know it was mentioned that she was the first woman to ever win Best Director, but did you know that she was only the fourth woman ever to even be nominated for Best Director. Fourth!) I like the speeches. I mean, sure, sometimes it ends up being nothing more a long laundry list of everyone the winner’s ever met, but the emotion always seems so heartfelt, y’know? And I love the long shots, or the winners from movies that don’t have 10 nominations. I love it when people tell stories. I’ll admit it, when Sandra Bullock said “Those moms and parents never get thanked. I, in particular, failed to thank one. So, if I can take this moment to thank Helga…” I teared up a bit.
But really, the speeches I truly love are the ones like this one, by Michael Giacchino for Best Score for the movie Up.
“When I was nine I asked my dad, “Can I have your movie camera? That old, wind-up 8mm camera that was in your drawer?” And he goes, “Sure, take it.” And I took it and I started making movies with it and I started being as creative as I could, and never once in my life did my parents ever say, “What you’re doing is a waste of time.” Never. And I grew up, I had teachers, I had colleagues, I had people that I worked with all through my life who always told me what you’re doing is not a waste of time. So it was normal to me that it was OK to do that. But I know there are kids out there that don’t have that support system, so if you’re out there and you’re listening, listen to me: If you want to be creative, get out there and do it. It’s not a waste of time. Do it. OK?”
I know that the awards we’re most interested in are the big ones, the actors and actresses, the director, the best picture. But I love that the Academy Awards provide an opportunity to honor all these other people who do amazing creative work everyday, who we don’t see on a regular basis in every magazine, whose names we probably don’t recognize, but without whom, the entire experience wouldn’t be the same… And I love when they, in turn, use their opportunity, their rare and single moment onstage, to encourage others to go out and be creative themselves.
(P.S. I got the Michael Giacchino transcript from this great article, also about the power of speeches, and far more eloquent than my little tribute.)