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And The Oscar Goes To … !


All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts. – William Shakespeare

They rolled out the red carpet again today and the world waited by their television sets to watch the parade of glamour, style, dazzling beauties in their  exclusive haute couture gowns, dapper polished gentlemen and young shy debutantes out on their first foray into the glamourous world of Hollywood Royalty.

Oscars 2011Best ActorBest FilmBest ActressThe Black SwanThe Red CarpetAnne Hathaway

The seasoned pros were careful to show a neatly turned ankle, make un-classy comments about which fashion house had dressed them up for the occasion, and although happy to be nominated, took care not to appear too eager or bashful and tried hard to pretend that it would not matter if they did not win. That being nominated was enough. But is it?

The biggest contenders were surprisingly most at ease. It made me think a little. Why was this? Would it not seem like a catastrophic failure if they were upstaged by someone else at the defining moment of their movie careers? Or would they unfalteringly go on to turn in another bravura performance at their next role , not in pursuit of the ever elusive Oscar, but in commendable pursuit of excellence regardless of any public acclaim.

We could feel  the excitement build up as the Hosts or presenters announced all the nominees , always , unfailingly ending with the predictable utterance, “And the Oscar goes to……….!”  followed by a pregnant pause,  in which we all hold our breath, and nervous nominees try hard to control their heartbeat and expression to reveal nothing for a heartstopping few seconds.

I am convinced those few moments would be like the moment before dying – the world stops spinning, one’s entire lifetime flashes before one’s eyes, all the people we are grateful to that have brought us to this hushed moment of decision that will forever alter our futures!

It got me wondering what makes an actor get nominated for a role – is it truly their performance, or is it a well written role that tugs at our heartstrings and makes us relate to the character with a passion that makes it seem like one of our own.  Would that role still have been nominated if it had been played by a lesser actor or less perfectly played? Is it the role or the performance?

And the Oscar goes to …! – a profound silence, followed by the dramatic utterance of the winner’s name, a look of momentary disbelief on the winner’s face and then thunderous applause, tears , hugs , more palpitations and then the winner stumbles inelegantly down the aisle and is assisted up to the podium to deliver an emotional acceptance speech.

Sometimes this is poised, sometimes humorous , sometimes tearful, sometimes crazy- but almost always there is an outpouring of gratitude towards the team – towards family members, God and the team at work that made it possible for them to arrive at this climactic moment of their careers.

Who did they mention, who did they forget to mention, who deserved the mention – it all seems surreal, but every word uttered when the much coveted Oscar is handed over to the newest member of Oscar’s exclusive club, is sacred. It is quoted, re-quoted and made forever memorable by admiring people everywhere.

Natalie Portman , young, beautiful, talented, glowing in her maternity gown,  tremulously accepting the award  , insisting that the greater role of her life, that of a mother,  is still to come.

 The role she won the Oscar for is from ” The Black Swan” . It is that of a tortured ballerina caught in the twisted coils of competitive intrigue with a fellow performer . Not a role that most of us can relate to in the strictest sense, but we can relate to the very human feelings that were brilliantly portrayed by the young actor.

I accept this on behalf of all the stutterers in the world. We have a voice. We have been heard. – David Seidler -Writer of the King’s Speech and a former stutterer.

Colin Firth, that model of articulate eloquence and wit, won for his very believable performance in “The King’s Speech”.

Starting out as the vulnerable stuttering Prince Albert (or “Bertie”) who unsettles the listeners with his stumbling speech, and then building up to a passionate  grand finale of  oratorial excellence,  is a superbly sublime movie experience for us all. 

Of course in the movie, and in history, as in that defining Oscar moment there were others , notably Lionel Logue ( a subtle performance by Geoffrey Rush) , who nurtured and directed Prince Albert and the actor, in ways that eventually led to his shining moment of glory!

My father always said to me I would be a late bloomer. I believe I am the oldest person to win this award. -David Seidler, 73 .

So what about the rest of us , who are modestly starring in the production of our own lives? Is it too late for us?

Here are some questions to ask ourselves.

  • Are we starring in our lives, playing the lead role or are we shuffling along,  trying to inconspicuously hide behind other people?
  • Are we turning in our best performance?
  • Who is helping us improve our performance?
  • Is it Oscar worthy?
  • What would be your acceptance speech if you were similarly acclaimed for living your life to the best of your ability?
  • Who would you thank?

In the grand scheme of things , as Shakespeare said,  we play many parts.
And when the time comes and the famous words are uttered, … And the Oscar goes to ….. !
Will they call out your name?

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