First I Want to Thank the Academy

Yesterday I was in the vortex of the entertainment industry: Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Only three days away from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awards ceremony and the streets are clogged with catering trucks as party tents are being constructed in almost every available alley. The double decker tour buses were strained beyond capacity as visitors and probably a few long time residents take in the sights of Oscar week.

The entertainment industry and all that supports it are what work is for many in this Southern California region. And while the rest of the country is covered in ice and snow, on Sunday, a world-wide audience will tune in to the telecast and watch celebrities walk a red carpet in late February sunshine.

I’m not sure what percentage of aspiring actors will eventually carry a Screen Actors Guild card, but it’s probably a very small group that arrives at this pinnacle of their chosen career.

Judging from Oscar award acceptance speeches, it’s a rare achievement to be selected, in most cases after many years of hard work, failure and the support of teachers and family.

Last year, Lupita Nygong’o accepted her award for best supporting actress for her role in ’12 Years A Slave’.

“It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s.

When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child, that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.”

Spencer Kornhaber, writing in The Atlantic noted why this speech stood out from the others.

“Really look at that wording: It doesn’t escape her for one second that her current joy directly stems from someone else’s pain. She does make the standard industry thank-yous to cast, crew, and family members, but she chooses to preface all of that with a lengthy dedication to the person whose story she told on screen. Later in the speech, she said she could feel the presence of the dead. Lots of Oscar winners try to project humility, but usually that professed humility is in relation to others in the film industry—not in relation to all of American history.”

Sunday, when you are watching the ceremony, listen closely to the words of the winners. It may remind you that our dreams are valid. Our dreams are built on history of others. And we are at our best when we are humble in acknowledging our success.

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