Oscar speeches and spirituality? Confession is good for the soul. At the annual awards, five little words set my teeth on edge, "And I want to thank," followed by the long, obligatory list of industry insiders. Just once I'd love to see someone get real about gratitude.
The hallmark of the Academy Awards is genius imagination, and ironically, the most mediocre and boring award speeches ever made. I often marvel, "When you're given a script, you're transcendent. It's your big moment, what happened?"
The politics of appreciation supersede genuine gratitude. Agents, producers and directors lead the list, but rarely a word for a Higher Power. Also, the spouse is mentioned as a hasty afterthought, as in, "Oh, and I want to thank my wife (or husband who is often left nameless)." Typically this is yelled out over music cueing the speaker to exit stage left. Gee, I wonder why the divorce rate is so high when financial backers or butt doubles get higher billing than a life partner.
Awardees, on behalf of a global audience, please consider the following.
Millions of eyeballs and ears are trained on you. For heaven's sake, say something meaningful! Give us a peek into your childhood. Impress us with your wit. Share a belief or recall a past failure so we might better appreciate your glorious moment. We want to see you as a real person, so do what you do best. Act!
Your lack of preparation is oh-so-annoying. "I wasn't prepared for this!" Seriously, the playing field was whittled down to five candidates for weeks, and you didn't bother to jot something down just in case?
At a loss? Then shine a spotlight on a passion, a cause or a pet project. It's confounding that your chance before millions to make a difference or raise awareness is lost to the false befuddlement of "Oh, gee, I didn't expect to be up here!"
Acceptance speeches should not be a machine gun spray of name-dropping. Yet no one wants to offend anyone. This is how to express paycheck gratitude in a lasting way that omits no one.
Online, people! On official websites, on fan pages, Facebook, anywhere the legions visit to get your luscious, celebrity details. There in print, each colleague or friend can be accorded the full Monty of poetic gratitude. So instead of asking the stage escort, "Whom have I forgotten?" you could say, "And visit [my website] where I thank everyone who brought me to this moment."
Movie making inspires generations, and so does genuine gratitude, not a political thank you list. For most of us who have experienced blessings, good fortune, so-called lucky breaks and coincidences, those responsible would not be listed on a Who's Who in Hollywood. When given the spotlight, please elevate the art of appreciation.
This column first appeared in The Patriot Ledger, 2/15/2014
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