Many of us watched the annual Academy Awards last Sunday night. The telecast started an hour and half before the actual ceremonies, as the various celebrities walk the “Red Carpet” to enter the auditorium. And that was followed by over three hours of music, film clips, speeches, and awards. For those involved in the ceremony, the night was just starting as the telecast ended. There was the Governor’s Ball followed by many parties. The major networks featured the awards in their Monday morning programs.
But my question to you is not about the red carpet, or fancy balls and parties. My question concerns the fact that almost every winner expresses appreciation to others for the fact that they are being honored. So who in your life would want to express your appreciation to for who you are and where you are in life? Often the family is mentioned. I think most of us appreciate what all our families have done for us. The question is, do we take the time with our spouses, our children, our parents, and our many other family members to tell them how we feel.
J.K. Simmons, the winner of the best supporting actor Oscar for his role in “Whiplash”, said “Call your Mom. Call your Dad, if you are lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet, call them. And tell them how much you love them. Don’t text or email. Call them.” He is promoting the idea not only to take the time to express our appreciation but to do it in a personal way. Technology at times can rob us of what the human voice can communicate.
I would think we would also express our appreciation to many others who have made each of us the person we have become. These might include our friends, our teachers, our co-workers and our mentors. If we are in a profession or business, would we not also include our clients or customers?
It is not always easy to express our deep felt appreciation. But what a gift we give to others when do express that love. Eddie Redmayne, this year’s winner for Best Actor, said, “I don’t think I’m fully capable of articulating how I feel right now,” and we stop to realize how blessed we are, we probably find our words inadequate as well. We could have to include those our community and nation that have invested so much in us. Redmayne went on to add, “I am a lucky, lucky man.” So it is with you and me, as we are blessed to be born when and where we were.
So if words fail us what do we do? I would say get involved in trying to help others. Be a part of their “support team” that empowers them to be all they were created to be. When you see something around you that someone needs to speak up about, be that person. One of the other “traditions” of Oscar night is some of the winners speaking out on a variety of issues
Patricia Arquette, the winner for best supporting actress in “Boyhood”, spoke out on the issue of wage equality for women in our nation. She said, “To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen in this nation: We have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time…” Dana Perry, the winner for the Best Documentary Short challenged us to speak about suicide. The writer of the winning best adapted screen play, Graham Moore, spoke from his heart saying, “And now I am standing, for that kid out there, who thinks he is weird.”
What are the issues or insights that you need to share with those around you? What cause do you need to give a voice to? What would strengthen our community if someone spoke up? You may not be on the public stage like Oscar night but you can speak where you are.
Julianne Moore, winner of best actress for her role in “Still Alice“ said “I read an article that said winning an Oscar could lead to living five years longer.” I am not sure at all if that is true, but I know if you will become a part of those seeking positive change in our world, you will add to the quality of life for many.
Many of the winners this year dealt with major issues. Issues we face such as ALS, Alzheimer’s, Depression, Racism, and Sexual Orientation. How the story was told will change how some see the issue. Laura Poitras, the winner of the Best Documentary Feature, said, “My hope is that this award will encourage more people to see the film and be inspired by its message that ordinary citizens, working together can change the world.”
I would give two words of caution to each of us. First, choose carefully what you read, watch, or listen to but they may frame the world you see. Secondly, when you speak out on an issue or get involved in working to solve an issue, make sure you fully understand what you are doling.
B. Wiley Stephens is a retired United Methodist Minister and author who now resides in Covington.