The Oscar Awards – it is the movie industry’s annual spectacle which drags on until past midnight, and for the attending artists and officials, with post-ceremony parties, into the wee hours of the morning.
It is impossible for me to give an objective account of the entire gala; I can only offer my impressions and observations of those moments that held special meaning for me. As of now, I have not even seen any of the movies nominated or honoured with an Oscar for the year 2014. I have not been to a movie theater since my wife’s death in 2013, but I will start to look for some of the nominated films.
Last night, I was deeply moved by the acceptance speech of the award winner for best supporting actress, Patricia Arquette, and her compassioned appeal for gender equality and equal pay for equal work in the motion picture industry, as well as in any labour and management jobs. For me, this was the most important message, for I have a calling to dedicate the rest of my life to work for the advancement of womanhood in all cultures that still treat women as second-class citizens. I fully reject a particular female journalist’s criticism of Patricia’s acceptance speech as nit-picking, except for her admission that “the gender wage gap certainly exists, with working women making, on average, 77 cents for every dollar a man makes”.
Did you notice the elegant display of classical ball-gowns worn by the women at this year’s awards ceremony? It is a significant change in attitude towards women, to be admired and honoured in contrast to the sexist display of revealing attires in previous Oscar shows. The most significant appearance in this regard was Lady Gaga’s, who delivered a delightful rendition of a song from The Sound of Music which, 50 years ago was a hit, sung by Julie Andrews portraying Maria von Trapp in the hills of Salzburg. This was another high point of last night’s telecast for me for Salzburg is where I grew up as a youngster, living in the same suburb at the von Trapp family, and later, after the war, when I moved to Canada and visited the Trapp family in Stowe, Vermont, Maria Augusta Baroness von Trapp agreed to be the godmother of my son Thomas, born in 1959.
One final event that impressed me was the acceptance speech of the director, Iñárritu. With a bunch of coworkers behind him, he rattled off the names of all the people he had to thank for their collaboration and participation, then suddenly, one man came from behind him and whispered into his ear. The man must have reminded Iñárritu of somebody he’d forgotten. “Oh, yeah!” The director then added how thankful he had to be for the essential support of his wife. Which he did with a truly loving smile.
In my mind, the 87th Academy Awards ceremony brought humanity a vital step forward towards the elevation of womanhood, subtly, hardly noticeably, but significantly!