The Academy Awards was first presented in 1929. It was first televised in 1953.. Wow- a lot has changed through 86 years of film making. Have the stories changed? As I looked through the list of "Best Picture" Academy award winners over the last twenty years, some I remember, some I don't and some I haven't seen. In many instances, the pictures that don't get nominated and don't hit the category of "social awareness" are the ones I remember. Oscar time for me, though, is a time equivalent to a "mini book club" where I like to appreciate the stories being told and the actors and film makers that cast their talents into the ring of nominations.
About ten years ago, I worked for an Emmy award winning composer. He had a studio in his home. The studio with cathedral ceilings and floor to ceiling windows was beautiful. In the middle of the room was a grand piano piled with sheet music. A trumpet player by profession, he had an array of instruments and computer and digital equipment. I was there as a book keeper; my job was to put some organization into a life of creative design. He surrounded himself with interesting people and brought back stories of musical achievement when he went to places such as Prague to compose works of art.
I think my few years working with him allowed me to encourage my own children in their creativity years later. Messy rooms and piles of inspiration gave way to imagination. It was here that I learned to appreciate the scores of a film. Of course, loving music I appreciated the soundtrack of a film but for the first time I was listening to entire film scores. I worked on the computer to the sounds of "Jaws" or found myself swept away in "Lord of the Rings". I began to see the "sweat and tears" of a musical journey that began with hours of practice as a young child to the victories and defeats along the way. Opportunities and redirections as doors opened and closed creating a musical journey of discovery.
Although specific soundtracks are fading from my memory, there are certain scores that enhance my memory of scenes that I will never forget. I remember certain things like the lighting and shadows in a film or the visual cues that keenly define a scene. I think that is why the American Academy Awards is so highly regarded around the world; an appreciation for what movies do for us. They move us to change. They move us to have compassion. They move us to stand up for injustice. They move us to love more deeply in our relationships.
A common theme throughout the truly great movies are ones where the antagonist tries to "enslave" the protagonist into their world order. They are ones that rob us of our freedoms. This year's nominations are no exception. Although I began with blindness, I am most carried away with ones that hold great weight by a look, a gesture or few words. There is one scene in this year's nominations, where the main character is going through a great trial, the surrounding bystanders act as if they don't see a thing. Only one person takes a risk. An offering of a cup of water.
Are you that one person?
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God, Matthew 5:8
A person who searches for depth and beauty in the simple things.