The Academy Awards are about winning, or so some say. They are about honoring those who have worked hard to get there. They are about celebrating movies. But more importantly, the Academy Awards are about celebrating and inspiring others.
In line with my reflection on last year’s awards, we shouldn’t let any upsets — whether popular snubs or personal disappointments — break us. Because those who lost certainly don’t, and those who won, whether I was rooting for them or not, made it worthy in their acceptance speeches.
Because Sam Rockwell said he has always been inspired by his fellow nominees and talked about his parents’ passed-down love for movies. And who could deny his wife’s pure elation for him?
Because Octavia Spencer didn’t stop smiling all night.
Because Allison Janney did it all by herself, but still made sure to mention that her fellow nominees “represent everything that is good and right and human about this profession.” Her speech may have been standard otherwise, but it was genuine.
Because while Jordan Peele wasn’t my first pick to win for the Best Original Screenplay category with some of my favorite films, he got the recognition deserved for his determined and creative mind. He reminded every aspiring writer that it takes a lot of drafts and thoughts of quitting, but your film can get made.
Because while Timothée Chalamet should have won (or Daniel Kaluuya, if he was your favorite), Gary Oldman touched us when he tearfully thanked his “99-year-young” mother, ending his speech with “put the kettle on — I’m bringing Oscar home.”
Because while our Entertainment editor will need a year to recover from Greta Gerwig and “Lady Bird’s” complete absence from the winner’s list, Gerwig was a champion — proudly smiling throughout the show, receiving a “congratulations” from co-presenter Laura Dern on stage, being the only name mentioned by Emma Stone for the Best Director nominees and leaping out of her seat when Guillermo del Toro won over her. Gerwig’s enthusiasm is the kind we should all be able to show for our peers’ success, even when it means losing what would have been a deserved and historic feat.
Because del Toro should be an inspiration to everyone — especially those in film, but not just them — for the passion he has for his work. Because he is truly grateful for the opportunities he’s had and his accomplishments. And because he urged young creatives to kick open the door of the film industry and come in.
Because, while I would have been happy with almost any of the nominated women winning, Frances McDormand proved her worth with her change in tone from slightly hysterical to deadpan serious in the first line of her Best Actress speech. Because she honored every female nominee in the theater that night by having them stand with her and reminded the world that they are a force to be financed (earning herself a place next to Viola Davis for best acceptance speeches).
Because the Academy Awards, especially this year, weren’t necessarily about the individual winners. They were about the impassioned support for women, for diversity, for the entire film industry.