This year, 2017, marks 20 years since I watched The Academy Awards for the first time and began to take the whole award season seriously. 20 years have gone by since Cuba Gooding Jr told Tom Cruise to “show me the money” and Gooding jumped up on the stage and accepted the Oscar for best supporting actor. I was hooked on the yearly ceremony and decided on that day that I WANTED ONE (Around the same time I started to keep my movie ticket stubs). The following year when Titanic was nominated 14 times (sharing the most nominated films honor with Ben-Hur and this year’s La La Land) I saw the film 3 times in theaters (and although movies are on digital and TV a couple of months after they hit theaters these days, I still like going to one) and enjoyed every minute of the 3 hour film. In the same year I watched the other 4 nominated films (As Good as it Gets, The Full Monty, Good Will Hunting and L.A. Confidential) before the telecast aired. Although I am not any closer to being nominated and winning today as I was back then I still want an Oscar and won’t be giving up on the dream anytime soon.
This year I have seen two of the nominated films La La Land starring the wonderful Ryan Gosling as Sebastian, a wannabe Jazz musician who falls for wannabe actress Mia played by the talented Emma Stone. A story about Hollywood itself (without the sex and violence). From the pastel colors of the sets and costumes to the light and shadows to the original music and the multiple dance numbers (large and small) La La Land is a beautifully made film. A standing ovation to Director and Writer Damien Chazelle, choreographer Mandy Moore, cinematographer Linus Sandgren and original songs by Justin Hurwitz. If you want to feel pure joy while watching a movie La La Land is the one for you.
On a more serious note (see what I did there) I also got to see Hidden Figures. A little known story of African-American women who helped get the USA into space. Fighting both sexism and racism three women working for NASA did their jobs and got their voices heard. The film stars the amazing Taraji P Henson as Kathrine Johnson, who at a young age had a love of knowledge with numbers and math that go way beyond my own and grows up to make sure the numbers are right in order to put a man in space. Janelle Monae plays Mary Jackson, who has a special ability for mechanics and wants to be a NASA engineer. Finally there is Dorothy Vaughan played by the awesome Octavia Spencer who shows NASA that black women should have the chance to rise through the ranks. All of these women must prove to themselves and their white male counterparts that they should all be equal because “here at NASA we all pee the same color”. Kevin Costner, Jim Parsons, (Nominee for Moonlight) Mahershala Ali, Kirsten Dunst, Aldis Hodge and Glen Powell also star. Hidden Figures is as wonderful as everyone says, I laughed at a few lines and cried a few times, I was mad at our country while being proud of some of its people.
If there is one thing these two films have in common is that they are strong proof as to why I love movies and why I still believe one day I will win an Oscar. I have said it before and I will say it again Hollywood and history are the two topics I know. I don’t like being around people and don’t talk much (I was voted quietest in my high school class) but then someone starts talking about a movie (or TV show) they’ve seen and I join the conversation. So when I see a film about two people trying to make their dreams come true, with the addition of song and dance, my heart is happy. When I watch a movie about a little known story out of America’s history I learn something new and that puts a smile on my face. The Academy Award celebration is my Christmas and Superbowl wrapped up in a beautiful and elaborate televised ceremony. A day when (as the say) Hollywood shines and the people who make the movies-from the loneliness PA, to the sound department, editor, screenwriter, music composer, the special effects department, cinematography, costume, hair and makeup departments, production designer, art design, to those who make documentaries and animated (short and feature length) film to the director, actors (Including supporting) and producers-it takes many people to create 2 hours of entertainment and well they may not make movies for the awards being nominated and winning is nice and the bragging rights are with you for the rest of your life.
Cheers to the nominees of the 89th annual Academy Awards. Thank you Hollywood and Thank you to the Academy. FADE TO BLACK