i watched the oscars…big shock! and to some, it may be. but having lived in southern california and LA in particular for a few years, being surrounded by virtually everyone who is “in the industry,” i have become somewhat immersed in that culture. so, needless to say, the awards’ shows have frequented my tv screen lately.
this will not be a blog posting on the [new] hosts of the show…i have no words. more of a posting of what i learned from watching the oscars, this year in particular. it seems this posting was birthed sunday night as we fast-forwarded through many of the acceptance speeches, only to see the actual award winners…until tivo had caught up to real time and we no longer had the luxury to fast-forward. bummer. then on tuesday, the first email i read was my daily smartbrief on leadership, which first article was entitled “6 public-speaking lessons from the oscars.” done. this posting was only a matter of time. the article only seemed to validate the comments fk and i made to each other during the actual oscars…as well as brought to life some i had not even thought of.
let me preface this by saying the oscars are a big deal. no kidding.
of course all the awards shows in LA are, but the oscars take the cake by far. the sag awards, the golden globes, the emmys, the grammys…yeah, they are a big deal…but not quite this big.
and i know this because the oscar prep is in full swing nothing shy of a month before. the scaffolding goes up, hollywood blvd is blocked off, security forces are doubled–tripled, the entire block is secured, bomb sweeps are performed–not just of the kodak but all area businesses, the oscars statues go up, the red carpet gets rolled out–only plastic covering, the store fronts are removed from the area retailers, all stores are closed the day of. big deal.
it is a big deal. a big deal for regular people, a big deal for tourists, a big deal for the city of LA, a big deal for “the industry,” a big deal for the actors/actresses/
that being said, from having watched the oscars a few nights back, you might not think that the case.
let’s take melissa leo, for example.
already in the bag: sag and golden globe for best supporting actress.
she seemed somewhat clueless, out-of-it, speechless [save for the inappropriate f-bomb, which seemed all she could muster], or still acting. this is your big stage, the very moment you have been waiting for, leo, and this is all you’ve got. fail. it was a contrast to her acceptance speech with the first award win of the season. it seems you might have had a clue that you were possibly going to win–or even you were the definite win–here…it seems you might have prepared at least for the possibility. rather than admitting on the red carpet just hours before to entertainment weekly,
I did not write a speech. I hope I don’t regret that later on.
the rest of the posting, however, i would like to focus on the better speeches of the evening. the ones that seem prepared…even practiced. the ones who seemed dialed into the big deal of the oscars, the big deal nature to win one, and the probability of winning [given that these had won similar awards at ceremonies taken place already this year]. the ones who seemed to realize this was the big stage, the big role they have been waiting for…
colin firth. love him.
colin had us at the first…the little joke that began his speech about his career now peaking. the little joke that ran throughout his speech about him being unsure he could control the physical reaction to winning an oscar, regardless of the control he executed in speech. the class. the elegance. the confidence. the preparedness.
a man who seems, at present state, so un-hollywood, yet still so classic hollywood. now having to control his speech even more, it was evident how every word was so carefully thought out, planned, and executed. the way that he kept us on our toes with his continually interrupting himself to keep us engaged endeared us to him even more. brilliant. a man who knows his limitations, refuses to let them define him or keep him sitting at home, works hard to overcome them. a man who knows his audience, plays to his audience…having been here before.
sure, he’s had his moments…but sunday was one of his most shinning ones. the part of his speech where emotion almost took over, thanking his wife who he calls, “my mast through the storms of life” and his daughter who he claims “has taught me so much more than i will ever be able to teach her.” the part of his speech where he calls out dicky, the character he portrays in the movie, and gives a plug to his website [which subsequently crashed because of the high traffic following the awards]. surprisingly good speech, full of emotion, thankfulness, passion, appreciation…and love.
acceptance speeches are about giving credit where credit is due, although the right people are not always thanked, nor is the appropriate amount of credit always given. i appreciated hooper’s ending of his speech, saving the best and most well-deserved thanks for the end…
My mum was invited to a fringe theater play reading of an unproduced, unrehearsed play called The King’s Speech. She almost didn’t. But thank God she did, because she came home, rang me up and said, ‘Tom, I think I found your next film.’ Listen to your mum.
it seems that it was all about the speech this year…
how to have one,
how to let one’s voice speak through,
the process of the speech,
and what we can learn from said process.