"Homo-loving sons-of-guns."

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I love to watch The Oscars. Well, um, honestly I actually only love to watch about 1/3 of the show, but that third is amazing. I remember being ten years old and actually praying that Dustin Hoffman would win for Rain Man. (He did.) I love the dresses and the anticipation, the glamour and magic of it all. We all love movies for so many different reasons. As a little girl growing up in an even littler town, movies, for me, represented the big world that was out there somewhere...

As I've gotten older, the dresses, while still very important, have had to play second fiddle to the speeches as my favorite part of the very long ceremony. I love the crying and the shout-outs to moms and dads. More than anything, however, I love when an actor takes their one moment to speak on behalf of a greater good. (Some people don't like their actors political. I, however, am not some people.) This is an incredible opportunity and the Oscar stage is a platform like no other.

My all time favorite speech was given by Adrien Brody, my Hollywood crush, after he kissed Halle Berry and accepted the award for The Pianist only four days after the Iraq war began in 2003:

"... you know, it fills me with great joy. But I am also filled with a lot of sadness tonight, because I'm accepting an award at -- at such a strange time. And you know my experiences of making this film made me very aware of the sadness and the dehumanization of people at times of war, and the repercussions of war. And whomever you believe in, if it's God or Allah, may He watch over you, and let's pray for a peaceful and swift resolution. Thank you." - Adrien Brody 2003

This year's ceremony had many beautiful moments. I loved Penelope Cruz's "Art is the universal language" speech and the words spoken by Heath Ledger's family were heartbreakingly touching and lovely. I am a huge fan of Kate Winslet and was so happy she was finally able to take home the gold she has deserved for so long. It was Sean Penn's odd, funny and moving speech, however, that really won me over this year.

First of all, Sean Penn is just plain cool. He's talented, smart and outspoken. He somehow survived being married to Madonna, which I can't imagine was any small feat, and married the Princess Bride herself. (It doesn't hurt that he also looks like my devilishly handsome boyfriend, but that's really neither here nor there.) When introducing him as a nominee, Robert De Niro said, "Tonight it’s great to be an actor, in life it’s great to be a good human being and that is Sean Penn." I loved that. What else did I love? Any speech that starts out, "You commie, homo-loving sons-of-guns" is alright by me. When I was in college, I did a research project on Harvey Milk and was particularly touched by Penn's plea for equal rights, "for those who saw the signs of hatred as our cars drove in tonight, I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren's eyes if they continue that way of support." Gay marriage is a human rights issue and I was moved that Sean Penn took the time to lend his eloquent and eccentric voice in support.

Oh, and next time Sean, thank your wife.