Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bollywood Stuns at the Oscars

There are award shows and then, the Academy Awards. I respect the Oscars not only for its class, but because it is such a beautiful award show, an ode to the movies it celebrates. From the glitz and the glamour of the red carpet, to the presentations and performances, the Academy Awards definitely is the mother of all Award shows. Despite a few changes to the show, it was still spectacular. How about leading man, Hugh Jackman? I hope he returns as a performer and next I would be pleased to have the lovely Ms. Tina Fey host the show. Tina is so composed but at the same time is a comedic train wreck, in a good sense.

Tonight, there weren't any major surprises in my opinion. I was certain "Slumdog Millionaire" would win in most of the categories and I didn't have to stretch my imagination. I am so thrilled and believe this is not only an accolade for the minds behind the movie but also an affirmation of the magic Bollywood has brought to the silver screen. As I child growing up in Nigeria, I remember sweeping through my chores on Saturday mornings to make it to the front of the television to watch a Bollywood flick. Those mornings saw my sisters and I huddled on the floor and the couch watching these mostly subtitled movies. Often times we never got through these pictures without crying, and doing so immensely.

Although I haven't seen a Bollywood flick in a long time, I am so amazed that Bollywood finally gets her day at the Oscars. For all the awards for the movie, I was most thrilled for the Best Director category. I would have jumped out of my bedroom window if Danny Boyle had not won the Award. I watched as Danny cried and laughed with others from the movie who won and it would have been ultimate treachery if he was snubbed.

Other winners tonight included Penelope Cruz for supporting actress, the late Mr. Heath Ledger winnning posthumously for Best Supporting Actor, Kate Winslet winning the award for Best Actress for her performance in "The Reader," proving that a Holocaust movie is a sure fire way to win an Oscar, as was echoed at the Golden Globe Award. And my all time favorite, Sean Penn taking home the ultimate award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Harvey Milk in the biopic "Milk."

As I watch the Oscars I am reminded of dreams. The Oscars certainly and the movies they honor teach us that anything is possible. With the current recession, one industry that hasn't suffered much is the movie industry. Movies are other worldly and have the power to take us to faraway lands. Movies help us dream and definitely broaden our scope. Movies also inspire hope and for a few seconds or if we wish to prolong the euphoria, can for a few years make such an impression that is transformative and inspiring.

I can still remember some scenes from some of my favorite movies...the little girl in the red coat from "Schindler's List," crossing the Alps in "The Sound of Music," Rosebud from "Citizen Kane," and of course Clark Gable walking into the fog as he utters those famous words in "Gone With the Wind." That's the beauty of motion pictures, bringing to life ideas that are awe inspiring and at the same time imaginative. Everyone is a winner tonight and I am so privileged to be able to participate in the show.

1 comment:

  1. I definitely agree with you that this was a great Oscars. I recall that in the past few years that it was a bore (minus the John Stewart comedic addition). Although with John Stewart, the rest of the show seemed to drag on. This year, the 3 hours were a breeze. I do have to to say that Hugh Jackman was very charismatic and entertaining. I think that the presentations were more succinct,and relevant. How about John Legend and Soweto and Jai Ho? I do have to disagree with you that Slumdog is just a bollywood movie. I can't say that I'm an avid bollywood watcher, but I think that the movie sets a different tone. I see the movie moves beyond typical romantic flair and fluff and tries (and succeeds) to portray humanity. For me, the child actors, more than the older actors, gave a very real depiction of modern day poverty, struggles. In this world, they have to be cunning, charmers, and survivors all in one. Maybe, just maybe, there is someone out there who sees the injustice and every now and then rewrites our "destiny".