Tag Archives: Movie star

The Oscars – A Night Not to be Remembered

Maybe I just have been watching them for too many years? I’ve always considered Oscar night to be something special. Nice bottle of wine, delicious dinner, curl up on the couch and drool over the beautiful people, their attire, and all of the hoopla. Boy was I disappointed last night. The evening dragged and the stars didn’t shine. Could it have been the rain?

The people were beautiful, but except for a few exceptions they didn’t shimmer. No Angelina, no Brad, no Clooney, no Charlize, no Halle, it seemed like there was a boycott from a lot of the big names in the biz.

Neil Patrick Harris, who is usually wonderful, seemed not to be present His jokes were mostly flat, and he didn’t look particularly thrilled to be there. Of course, that was nothing compared to how unhappy Ben Affleck looked. He looked totally miserable. What gives? You deliver an award, walk back stage with the recipient, smile for a nanosecond, and then when the guy’s back is to you, you return to a perpetual frown.

As for the nominees for best song, the choices were good, even if there were no Henry Mancini’s among them, but where were the dancers and the big productions? Except for Glory, which was a beautifully produced number, the rest of the songs were just sung. I love Tim McGraw, but he never moved from his seat. What did you do to him, handcuff him?

Musically, Lady Gaga was the highlight of the entire evening. Her singing and the montage of numbers from the original Sound of Music was like a spoonful of sugar. She was spectacular! Broadway is in her future, or can be if she wants it. What a beautiful operatic voice she has, and when Julie Andrews hit the stage it almost made up for all of the non-excitement of the previous hour.

For me the biggest disappointment was the “In Memorium” which really is so important to the show. Most people have a personal memory link to films and the actors and actresses that populate them. It is very emotional and moving to watch film snippets of the career of a beloved actor, actress, director, producer, or cinematographer who has passed on. It stirs memories and evokes tears. Last night’s tribute was an embarrassment. In fact, it was less interesting than a commercial break. I suppose the drawings were very equalizing, but drawings, really? These luminaries worked in film, moving pictures, not pictures at an art gallery. It is unimaginable that Jennifer Hudson would sing a song supposedly in celebration of movie people’s lives and the camera would remain for the duration simply locked on her face. Whose tribute was this anyway? Where, pray tell, was a big screen with images from films that marked the careers of these beloved stars. Simply shocking! I couldn’t wait for it to end. Robin Williams, nothing but a footnote in the show. How tawdry and pathetic. All things and all careers are not equal!

Naturally, we couldn’t get through an Academy Award ceremony without somebody’s political messaging being front and center. Twisting the truth to fit one’s beliefs comes easily to those whose modus operandi is creating characters and worlds of their imagination. I wonder if everyone caught Sean Penn’s allusion that just because a film is big box office (American Sniper), hint, hint, hint, that doesn’t make it worthy of being considered art. As if Hollywood was in the business of art. Give me a break, it’s all about the money and the box office.

Of course we all knew that Birdman would win Best Picture, after all there is nothing that Hollywood likes more than immortalizing their own medium and portraying themselves as extraordinary artists. I loved Birdman, but it was a year of remarkable films.

After such a let down my inclination would be not to watch the Academy Awards next year, but I know that with time comes forgiveness, not to mention forgetfulness. I’m sure I’ll be front and center awaiting with baited breath next year’s show of shows.

PS Thank God that Downton Abbey came on right after the awards. At least I could go to bed happy and satisfied.

There Are Angels Among Us – A Tribute to Robin Williams

I never knew Robin Williams personally, however, from the first moment in 1978 when an adorable alien named Mork arrived in our family room from planet Ork, I fell in love. I was twenty-five years old (oh my, I’m dating myself) and “Na-Nu Na-Nu” was my go-to phrase when I was feeling happy and magnanimous. “Shazbot”, well, that worked when I wasn’t, but it was far better than any other profanity I might consider using.

Robin and I were contemporaries of the same generation. While I was still finding my place in life, he was the funniest man alive. No one could out-funny Robin Williams. For this he was blessed with an illustrious career and awarded countless accolades. Everyone loved him, it was impossible not to. His brilliant spontaneity and ability to ad-lib were just a small part of his immense talent. A chameleon that was capable of morphing into any role, whether it be comedic or dramatic, he produced a brilliant stream of unforgettable characters. Can you imagine anyone else playing Popeye or Patch Adams? How about Adrian Cronauer in Good Morning, Vietnam, for which he won a well deserved Academy Award, or Vladimir Ivanov in Moscow on the Hudson, a man determined to live his dream of freedom? Who else could have filled his shoes? The list goes on and on, it is a filmography that would be hard to replicate, perhaps impossible.

What is most telling is that he went on to capture the love and admiration of my children, the next generation. My kids were as crazy about this otherworldly being that refused to grow up as I was. All told, I must have watched Hook, Jumangi, and Mrs. Doubtfire a thousand times with my kids. You just knew when you watched Robin that you were witnessing authenticity. He was that caring, sensitive, endearing individual who gave more than he got. He existed, so anything was possible.

The loss of such a man is all the more heartbreaking because any of us would have done anything we could to have helped him. He had his demons, his depression, his own personal hell; for 63 years he fought them tooth-and-nail. It is heartbreaking to think that the drugs and the alcohol may have been the only way that Robin could live up to Robin. That they won in the end and stole his light from this world is an unbearable sadness for his family, friends, and his millions of fans the world over.

It occurred to me that angels walk among us, and that Robin Williams was one of them. Perhaps God gifted us Robin, for what ended up being far too short a time. We welcomed him into our hearts, and he touched our lives with magic. He was a panacea, a teaspoon of sugar that made the medicine go down. He made it easier to deal with a difficult, daunting world. The tragedies of life fill us with tears, but Robin gave us laughter, which there is never enough of.

Since the announcement of his passing I’ve had this unshakable image of Robin in heaven doing what he did best: the accents, the witticisms, the perfection of timing and delivery, the humor that never rested, the entertainer that never left the stage. I imagine God, clutching himself in side-splitting laughter, delighted to have the angel Robin returned to his place in heaven.

Go gently into the night Robin, may you find peace among the stars. Thank you for the cherished memories and the treasure trove of characters–the magic that was yours alone. Know that your brilliance will continue to bring us laughter, even if now it will be through a veil of tears. I will miss you “O Captain! My Captain!” “Na-Nu-Na-Nu!”