Idol Chatter

80th-oscar_idol.jpg Each year at the Oscars there are goof-ups and fashion slips, which make for lots of water cooler banter the next day. But for me, the most lasting moments are the most inspiring ones. This was certainly the “year of the montage,” but it’s the small moments that will live on from this year. Here are my ten most inspiring moments from the four hours of television that made up the 80th Oscars:
10. Jon Stewart’s opening monologue: It was funny, brief, positive, and relevant. He didn’t overreach, had some fun, but didn’t make it about himself. He set the stage for the shortest show in years.
9. The presentation of best documentary (short subject) made by Tom Hanks with help from U.S. troops live, via satellite, from Baghdad: A few troops saying their names and hometowns was a gentle and classy reminder to pray for all of the troops serving around the world, and a wonderful moment for each of them.

8. Marion Cotillard, for “La Vie en Rose,” a surprise winner as best actress who was truly surprised: After thanking her producer who “rocked my life,” she looked awkward, saying, “I’m speechless … thank you, life … thank you, love.” She was filled with love and life so much that when her brain went blank, all that could speak was her heart.
7. Kristin Chenoweth, of “West Wing,” acting, and Broadway fame, sang “That’s How You Know” from “Enchanted”: Usually Oscar numbers that feature tons of dancers and choreographed jumps, leaps, and synchronized stage moves are pretty corny. But her singing was spectacular even as she was sitting, standing, and jumping, and the dancers were sharp–representing the various ages and cultures in the city featured in the song. They actually seemed like they belonged there.
6. One of the Coen brothers (I think it was Ethan) who, after winning the screenplay award, was–are you kidding me–speechless: A professional wordsmith was without words at winning an Oscar. He didn’t fake it or fill in the blanks. He simply submitted and said “thank you” with a smile that almost said, “At this moment, I don’t need to perform for you.” That kind of authenticity is refreshing.
5. The annual tribute to those who passed, including: Roscoe Lee Brown, Barry Nelson, Jane Wyman, Jack Valenti, Bud Ekins, Dabbs Greer, Lois Maxwell, Johnny Grant, Suzanne Pleshette, Deborah Kerr, Ingmar Bergman, and Heath Ledger. It is always good to honor those whose contributions have been noteworthy and whose time is passed. It is also sobering for any spiritual person to ask: “Where are they now?”
4. Robert Boyle, the 98-year-old honorary Oscar recipient, for his several decades of art direction and production design: Millions of viewers, including me, have loved several beautiful films like “North by Northwest,” “The Birds,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Fitzwilly,” and “The Thomas Crown Affair,” but we probably didn’t know until now that he was largely responsible for their beauty. It’s touching when an old man needs to be helped to the podium but Hollywood’s best doesn’t seem to mind waiting.
3. Glen Hansard, who with Marketa Irglova, won best song for “Falling Slowly” from the indie film “Once”: Their simple and refreshing nature was obviously a fan favorite. “We shot this film on two handicams for 100 grand,” he said, “Now what are we doin’ here? This is mad! We never thought we’d come into a room like this and be in front of you people. Thanks for taking the film seriously.” And then the penultimate line: “Make art! Make art!” Hence an inspiration for everyone who believes Hollywood is an impossible world to penetrate.
2. Host Jon Stewart brought Marketa Irglova back out after the orchestra cut her off: “Hi everyone, I just wanna thank you so much. This is such a big deal not only for us but all other independent musicians and artists that spend most of their time struggling,” she said. “Just because we’re standing here tonight (proves) that … fair play to those who dare to dream … hope at the end of the day connects us all no matter how different we are.” And as the young rookie filmmaker walked off as the celebrity-filled audience gave her a rousing ovation!
1. Javier Bardem, upon winning for best supporting actor in “No Country for Old Men,” rushed quickly through his remarks: He left time to thank his mom in her language of espanol. As he spoke to her about his love for her, his brothers, the rest of the family, and their native land, it was obvious that he was proud to put eight billion viewers on hold just to speak to her, and that she was touched and blessed.

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