I saw a post from The Write Practice about Oscar winners getting a minute or more to say pretty much whatever they want to a theater full of influential people, not to mention millions watching on TV. I watched part of the Oscars, but it’s so dang long. I liked a few of Neil Patrick Harris’ jokes, but a number of them fell flat, which is unusual because I think he’s hilarious.
Some of the speeches were inspiring. There was Graham Moore who won for screenplay adaptation talking about how he attempted suicide at 16 because he felt like an outsider who didn’t fit in, encouraging kids to “stay weird.” Julianne Moore talked about people with Alzheimer’s disease feeling invisible and how Still Alice will hopefully reduce that marginalization. In that same vein, Eddie Redmayn dedicated his award to people around the world fighting ALS. John Legend talked about race equality and how a disproportionate number of black men are incarcerated today. Patricia Arquette called for equal rights for women. All of these people used their platform to bring attention to important issues. I really liked Don Hall’s speech, when he talked about being a freckle-faced kid who dreamed big and had consistently supportive parents. His speech was articulate, concise, genuine, and not overly-filled with emotion. If I were in that position there is no way I’d be that collected.
So if I had a platform what would I say? Tough call. It somewhat depends on what I won for and what the movie was about. Pushing an agenda unrelated to the movie is probably a misuse of the opportunity to speak. The opportunity to bring a story to life via film is a privilege, regardless of whether its purpose is to educate or entertain. Even if it is just to entertain, we all occasionally need a healthy hour or two to escape, right?