I know there are people in parts of the country that just don't care about the Oscars. I would not be one of them. In fact, I do not have a conscious recollection of a time in my life before I was cognizant of these golden statues.
Some little girls dream of being Miss America, of artfully tossing flaming batons and donning tiaras. I never did. I dreamed of winning Best Original Song in a Motion Picture. And I believe we can thank The Way We Were for planting that particular seed in my little musical mind circa 1973.
So I grew up mesmerized, enamored with the pretty girls playing dress up in borrowed baubles they would later have to return when the clock struck midnight... or the Vanity Fair party ended, whichever came last. And the men in tuxes -- sigh. Doesn't everyone look better dressed up?
Like a kid at Christmas, I eagerly count down the hours until the show begins, watching the red carpet promenade and assessing what I like and don't like, while contemplating what I myself will wear when my day finally arrives. A girl's got to be prepared for these things well in advance, ya know. (I've already decided I'm having Spanx sewn directly into my gown.)
This year's Oscars show was by far one of the more enjoyable ones that I can recall in recent years, largely because it was heavier on the musical numbers and lighter on the forced humor.
Kudos to the brilliant and immensely talented Seth MacFarlane for being a capable host, genuinely funny, and for exhibiting admirable vocal chops. I think all of his gifts were perfectly suited for this particular job and I hope he is asked to do it again.
Award shows always walk an interesting tightrope for me of trying to present celebrities as flawless creatures, when in fact, it is the most human of moments that stand out in our minds. So for me, aside from Jennifer Lawrence falling on her way up to claim her Oscar, some of the standout moments of tonight's awards included Daniel Day-Lewis' humorous and heartfelt speech regarding the many different men his wife has had to live with while he's made his movies, and Ben Affleck's acknowledgement of the opportunities given him since his first Oscar win by people who, at the time, had nothing to gain by helping him.
As for the vast array of musical offerings, blown away as I was by Jennifer Hudson's performance, and stirred as I always am by the music of Les Mis, I cannot lie to you. Barbra Streisand singing "The Way We Were" was my own personal full circle moment, a bittersweet visit to a time long ago when a little girl's dreams of writing songs were hatched and lifelong roads chosen were forever changed because of it.
I know most people think the Oscars hold no real constructive purpose, but I think that for every category of contribution to a project, there's a kid sitting at home dreaming big dreams because of it. And sure, it's a bumpy road for those who make it there and for those who don't, but the world is enriched by the dreamers, the creators, the manifestors of magic in any form. Storytellers not only reflect the human condition, but they are in the unique position of being able to elevate it, to allow us to contemplate the nobler qualities we are capable of and rise to them in our everyday lives.
So here's to an Oscars show well done... and to all dreams we dare to make come true.