Monday, March 8, 2010

“Hooray for Hollywood”
by John Alexander Madison
March 8, 2010

Throughout each and every year, with the encouraging elite media in tow, we are exposed to the Hollywood celebrity in-crowd which is prone to self-indulgent excesses and over exposure. It isn’t often, therefore, that I watch the annual Academy Awards extravaganza from Hollywood’s Kodak Theater, let alone enjoy it, but last night’s program was an exception.

What I found especially refreshing was that the awards for Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Director went to first time winners.

Best Actress in a Leading Role
winner Sandra Bullock, who portrayed the wife of an amazing Memphis, Tennessee family in the Oscar-nominated film “The Blind Side,” surely won as a tribute to that family and their story as well as for her acting abilities. The movie was an inspirational story of how Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy adopted impoverished Michael Oher into their home and how he went on to star in today’s National Football League. Bullock, a first-time nominee, dedicated her award to “the moms who take care of the babies and the children, no matter where they come from.” Cool.

Also cool was the nomination of another not to be forgotten and first-time nominee for Best Actress, Gabourey Sidibe, who herself has an inspirational story to tell. Other nominees were Carey Mulligan and veterans Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep.

Jeff Bridges, son of the late Lloyd and Dorothy Bridges, has been nominated numerous times for Best Actor in a Leading Role but has never won an Oscar. (Do you remember Lloyd Bridges’ television series “Sea Hunt”?) His award was as much for his performance as a drunken and over-the-hill country star on a comeback in “Crazy Heart” as it was for a lifetime of dedication to the acting profession. He was first nominated in 1971 for his performance in “The Last Picture Show” with Cybil Sheppard, and four times since. His serious competition included Morgan Freeman, Colin Firth and George Clooney, and Jeremy Renner. In addition, this Hollywood actor has been married to the same women, Susan, for 32 years. Way to go Jeff…on both counts!

Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Mo'Nique, in "Precious: Based on the novel 'Push' by Sapphire" was a winner for her movie performance and her kind remarks after accepting her award.

And kudos to Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Christopher Waltz, for his role in “Inglorious Basterds” and overcoming stiff competition from Matt Damon, Christopher Plummer, Woody Harrelson, and Stanley Tucci. He has ninety-four films to his credit.

Bullock, Bridges, Mo’Nique and Waltz were not only first-time winners but also consistently humble in their acceptance speeches. Not your usual Hollywood actors with an in your face agenda. Gracious in victory, how refreshing.

The Best Director category had more drama than was portrayed in the broadcast. For the first time in its eighty-two year history, the top prize went to Kathryn (I like the way she spells that) Bigelow, for her direction of the Best Picture of the Year “The Hurt Locker.” During her acceptance speech I expected a roof-raising applause from the audience when she graciously spoke about the sacrifices of our troops deployed in harm’s way. But instead, silence. It wasn’t until later when she was on stage for the Best Picture award and she recognized, yet again, our brave men and women in uniform did the applause (finally) follow. What a great lady. And in case you were not aware, her competition for Best Director included ex-husband James Cameron (“Avatar”). I thought that too was cool…the first women to win an Oscar for Best Director and look who she beat, superstar director Cameron. I really did not want “Avatar” to win best picture. I am certain James Cameron is content with the $400 gazillion he made from the movie. And, perhaps, he's happy for his ex-wife too.

Adding to the excitement of the red carpet celebrity entrances and the awards themselves was support from co-hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, who did an admirable job.

For the first time in years I wasn’t concerned if the 10 o’clock news would have to wait for the Academy Award ceremonies to end, even though they ran about 35 minutes past their scheduled time. Hooray for Hollywood!

And what would an article be without some local politics thrown in. I know I speak for most Coloradans when I send my very best wishes to Governor Bill Ritter as he recovers from his bicycle accident last week. I hope he has a full and speedy recovery as he looks forward to his retirement in 2011.

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