Last night was a historical one for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Headed by Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the first African-American to hold the position, diversity was exemplary at the Oscars. Hosted by the Fabulous Ellen DeGeneres, the list of winners and nominees was multi-cultural as well as valid, in that they made poignant statements regarding sexual; age; gender; class; and racial discrimination. This was the best thing about the winners and nominees of this year’s ceremony.
The fact that so many issues that plague our society were transferred into the greatest means of communication within a social realm. Film is the ultimate form of depicting a righteous perspective that can unify the world, when properly executed. Having said that, I must say that without a doubt, the healing has begun. We’ve been having the conversation for some time now and I believe we’re ready to move forward. Sidney Poitier was there last night to do the presenting of the “Best Director” award with the Wonderful Angelina Jolie. Jolie and Poitier entered the stage to a standing ovation. The pair hugged before presenting the Oscar to Alfonso Cuaron for “Gravity.” It was the sixth nomination for the Mexican director, who was also nominated for two other awards last night. He also won for film editing, saying the lengthy making of the film was a transformative experience for those involved; for him, that meant the color of his hair. “I want to share this with all of the people who made this happen,” he said, “My amazing son and co-writer, Jonas Cuaron. Sandra Bullock. Sandy, you are ‘Gravity.’ You are the soul and heart of the film.”
Jolie won an honorary Oscar at the 5th Annual Governors Ball on November 16th last year. The actress was remembered for the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, which was presented to her at the 2013 Governors Awards. During the show, a clip of Jolie’s honorary Oscar humanitarian speech was shared with the audience. Poitier is the first black man to ever receive an Oscar for his role as “Homer Smith” in “Lilies of the Field.” The character of “Homer” was a traveling handy-Man, an entrepreneur that became the answer to the prayers of nuns that wanted to build a chapel in the middle of the desert. Not since that win, nor the win of Hattie McDaniels that preceded it, has there been recognition of a black actor or actress in a role of such profound dignity. http://museumofuncutfunk.com/2012/01/28/the-polotricks-of-black-film-and-the-bittersweet-coveted-oscars/ Sidney said to the masses of Hollywood, that they were doing a great job, after Jolie expressed her appreciation of standing next to Hollywood royalty. While I agree with Mr. Poitier and am grateful for how he has paved the way for so many, I believe it’s time for us, for Hollywood, to do an even better job of depicting the multi-cultural human experience.
Years ago I predicted Oscars for two of Hollywood’s most noted talents. As for the multitude, who really cares what I think? I don’t know — but after seeing Gwyneth Paltrow in “Sliding Doors” in 1998, I said “There’s an Oscar in that girl’s future.” The following year she won the honor for “Best Actress” for her performance in “Shakespeare in Love.” In the midst of that same conversation to my dearest friend at the time, I said the exact same thing about another.
I probably wouldn’t remember the conversation so well, had my friend agreed with me, but she didn’t. In fact she called me “crazy” or said, “you’re outta your mind” — or something to that affect. At that point he had only been in 15 films, today he’s credited with 51. Based on his performances in “Dazed and Confused” (that co-starred Oscar winner Ben Affleck); “A Time to Kill” (that co-starred Oscar winner Sandra Bullock); and “Contact” (that co-starred Oscar winner Jodie Foster), I expressed the same sentiment regarding Matthew McConaughey. Last night he walked away with the statue for “Best Actor” for his work in the “Dallas Buyers Club.” I had such a great laugh as I wondered if my friend even recalled the conversation. The victory of McConaughey was the coming to pass of an old debate for me – I love it. I even had the fortune of meeting and interviewing him after he wrapped his action flick “Reign of Fire.” So what does that mean? To the masses, my predictions don’t add up to a hill of beans. However to me, it confirms a knack for recognizing Oscar worthy talent. Being able to see whether or not one, or something, is on the verge of being the “next” thing – and/or even being able to see when victory is eminent.
I could go on, detailing the journey of each of those thespians, but their respective journeys are already documented. You can see their lists of films on imdb.com, as well as what they have coming up. Ironically last night, actresses Meryl Streep and Cate Blanchett, were nominated for Oscars again — these two women are two of the best ever. Cate scored her second win with the Academy having been recognized for her work in “The Aviator”prior, but it was her first for a leading role in “Blue Jasmine.” Blanchett and Streep were also nominated, the night Paltrow won her golden statue.
Hats off to all the winners at the awards last night. In particular, Brad Pitt, Steve McQueen, Lupita Nyong’o, and John Ridley. Liken to my foresight for two people that are now Oscar Award winning celebrities, I foresee the day of another win liken to that of Sidney Poitier. A win where one can be granted an honor based on the content of their character and not the color of their skin. Scheduled for release this spring is “Cesar Chavez,” a biography about the civil-rights activist and labor organizer. Starring Michael Pena, I’m expecting one of the best performances of his career. I’m looking forward to the WIN – WIN!!!
for the FUNKIN’ Love of Hollywood