Monthly Archives: February 2011

Life and the Academy this year

I really love awards shows. In the past few weeks I’ve watched the Golden Globes, the SAGs, part of the Independent Spirit Awards, and last night the Oscars.

Last year I posted part of an acceptance speech that inspired me.  This year I  recorded the broadcast, but I couldn’t bring myself to fast forward through any of the speeches because I kept thinking of last year and how if I had fast forwarded through the Best Original Score category, I would have missed something pretty great. 

Pretty great this year was when David Seidler won for Best Original Screenplay for The King’s Speech.  He’s an older gentleman and when he got to the stage he had to ask Josh Brolin where the microphone was.  And one of the first things he said was, “My father always said to me I would be a late bloomer.  I believe I am the oldest person to win this particular award.  I hope that record is broken quickly and often.”

He went on to mention his own struggle with a stammer.  I think I loved his speech even more than Tom Hooper’s when he thanked his mom for making The King’s Speech happen.

After I finished watching I thought for a moment about why I love awards shows so much.  I find myself smiling through most of the 3+ hours.  If you haven’t placed monetary bets on the winners, most people agree that these shows of excess and ego are boring.  So why do they leave me feeling so…good?  I mean, I even love the In Memorium segment–honoring deceased people I usually have never heard of.

If I’m really honest with myself, the reason I love these Hollywood awards shows is because I think I’ll be there one day.  I don’t particularly have a plan on how that will happen.  And I won’t be bitter or resentful if it doesn’t happen.  I don’t want to live a life of excess or ego or celebrity, but I do want to live a creative life and a passionate life.  So, you know.  Why not.

Fun and games

“You killed me! That’s not fair! I was about to shoot you in the head.”

These words from my five year old cousin Ryan as we played a video game with the objective of repeatedly gunning each other’s avatars down in post-apocalyptic settings. He’d been playing the game alone in the basement for hours before coming upstairs looking for opponents. My father was his first choice, but he refused to get up from the recliner and the Fox News pundits, so I would have to do.

Ryan led me downstairs to the finished basement apartment he shares with my aunt. He rattled off what the square button, the triangle button, the circle, the R1 trigger, the R2 trigger, and both tiny joysticks do. It took me a moment to realize that his little boy voice was telling me information I’d need to know. Next it was on to selecting the optimal location for our looming bloodshed. “The abandoned amusement park is my favorite, but it’s locked.” He explained that he’d have to kill many before its fun and games would be available to him.

As we began the battle I realized I had made a mistake. I hate video games. I hate them because I’m bad at them. It’s one thing to be bad at Mario Brothers, with its flying squirrels and princesses trapped in castles. It’s quite another to be bad at a game with impressively realistic graphics and noises, down to the crisp sights and sounds of shells flying and blood splattering.

In addition to my cousin’s experience and my utter lack thereof, I also had the added challenge of my aunt excitedly showing me clothes and accessories she’d just unboxed from an eBay purchase. “Isn’t this handbag great?” “Do you think these flares fit?” On one side of me pink and silver saccharine things, on the other, war and guts and masculine gore. And there I was in the middle: “That’s so pretty! Wait, which gun should I use?”

After one round I accepted that I was less navigating the muddled waters than drowning in them and politely took my leave. My cousin was disappointed. “You’re not fair!” he whined before he turned back away to reload a solo game.