I enjoy watching award shows like the Golden Globes and the Oscars. Like most women who appreciate fashion, I enjoy oohing and aahing. However I can’t get into it like the TV commentators, the fashionistas, the reporter and bloggers do who spend so much time analyzing which stars wore plunging V-necklines or slits that exposed too much leg, and who deserves to be on the best-dressed list or vanquished to the worst-dressed list. In the larger scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. It’s all subjective anyway. Some people loved Nicole Kidman’s Alexander McQueen gown with its mesh-lined ribcage, while others hated it. The same is true of Halle Berry’s pink-patterned, thigh-high Versace, or Jennifer Lopez’s see-through Zuhair Murad number. (I think Anne Hathaway was perfection in that white-beaded strapless Chanel.)
I watch these awards shows hoping to be more than entertained. I want to be inspired. I want to glean some pearls of wisdom from these brilliantly talented people that I can apply to my own life.
I don’t care if red, black and beige are the most popular colors worn this year; and I think journalists who ask the stars what they carry in their small clutch handbags should be banished for putting forth such a trite and banal question. I’m also not impressed that bodyguards had to walk around all night protecting the Harry Winston necklace Jessica Alba wore that was worth $5.8 million, or Kelly Osbourne’s earrings that were worth $3 million. Not when there are people who are homeless and starving in the world. Also I refuse to be one of those armchair critics who picks apart the winners’ acceptance speeches.
For those who didn’t see the Golden Globes the other night here is a recap of what I consider the best moments. I know it’s taken me a few days to put this together, but important life lessons are timeless and always relevant.
It seems SELF-DOUBT was a recurring role of the night. And I found it somehow comforting that even the most successful actors and artists have insecurities.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical – HUGH JACKMAN in Les Misérables
I haven’t yet seen Les Misérables, which has been nominated for Best Motion Picture, but the trailer shows Hugh Jackman in the performance of his life. It was an undertaking that required him to lose 30 pounds in order to convincingly play the part of the fugitive Jean Valjean, and he said he would go 36 hours withing drinking water in order to achieve that sunken-in look. Like everyone else in the cast, Hugh sang every line.
He was absolutely brilliant, worthy of a Golden Globe and an Oscar, yet in his acceptance speech Hugh shared how he’d lost all faith in himself.
“Three weeks before we started filming, we had a terrible day of rehearsal, a humiliating day, and I came home and said to Deb, ‘I have to ring him (director Tom Hooper) and tell him someone else has to play this role. I really felt that I had bitten off more than I could chew. Thanks to my wonderful wife Deb, who talked me off that cliff as she does most days.”
– Hugh Jackman
LIFE LESSON: Thank you to Hugh Jackman for showing us that he too has to be talked off a cliff. That he too struggles with doubts and fears and wants to walk away. Thank you for showing us what lies on the other side of fear and reminding us to always be willing to stretch and live up to our fullest potential.
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture – ANNE HATHAWAY in Les Misérables
Anne Hathaway was eight years old when she saw her mother play the part of Fantine, an ill-fated factory worker forced into a life of prostitution, in the first U.S. tour of Les Misérables. Twenty-three years later, Anne earned a Golden Globe, and she will probably win an Academy Award as well, for the same role. Talk about things coming full circle.
Like Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway threw herself whole-heartedly into her role. As she told America’s Vogue magazine she dropped 10 pounds by going on a strict cleanse before shooting began, and another 15 pounds by going on a near-starvation diet for two weeks consisting of two thin squares of dried oatmeal paste a day.
She said the role was terrifying. “I had to be obsessive about it – the idea was to look near death. Looking back on the whole experience, and I don’t judge it in any way, it was definitely a little nuts. It was definitely a break with reality, but I think that’s who Fantine is anyway. I was in such a state of deprivation – physical and emotional. When I got home, I couldn’t react to the chaos of the world without being overwhelmed. It took me weeks till I felt like myself again.”
In her acceptance speech she said:
“Thank you for this lovely blunt object that I will forever more use as a weapon against self-doubt.”
– Anne Hathaway
LIFE LESSON: Thank you Anne Hathaway for showing us that we can cut our hair off and wear no make-up and look even more beautiful. Thank you for giving up your vanity and ego and allowing your true beauty to shine through. I’m more impressed with you now than when you changed your gown 13 times when you hosted the 83rd Academy Awards in 2011.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama – DANIEL DAY-LEWIS in Lincoln
The audience stood up and cheered when the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, stepped onto the stage to introduce a clip from the historical drama Lincoln, which takes place during the last four months of Abraham Lincoln’s life and deals with his efforts to pass the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution that would abolish slavery.
It is hard enough to give an award-winning performance when playing a fictional character, but to portray the 16th President of the United States in a believable and riveting way is a daunting task, especially because you are a British actor playing someone from Illinois.
“It’s so daunting. The work rescues you from yourself or you would be paralyzed.”
– Daniel Day-Lewis
After a screening of Lincoln at the White House in November, President Barack Obama invited Daniel Day-Lewis to view what is referred to as the Lincoln Bedroom. White House photographer Pete Souza took a photograph of the actor looking at the Gettysburg Address. It’s a poignant visual.
In his acceptance speech, Daniel Day-Lewis exhibits humility, grace and eloquence, the same qualities Abraham Lincoln possessed.
LIFE LESSON: Thank you Daniel Day-Lewis for being so brave and bold and brilliant. Thank you for showing us what we are capable of doing. You honored Abraham Lincoln and you honor yourself and in so doing, you make us better human beings.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series of Motion Picture Made for Television – JULIANNE MOORE in Game Change
Julianne Moore portrayed another political figure, though hardly anyone of Lincoln’s magnitude, as Sarah Palin in the HBO political drama Game Change, based on the 2008 United States presidential election campaign.
Tina Fey did a fantastic job parodying Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live, but that’s a lot different than delivering a convincing performance in a serious drama. I admire Julianne for taking on such a controversial role. Here’s what two people from Palin’s own camp had to say:
Nicolle Wallace, a chief Palin 2008 aide said she found Game Change highly credible. As she told ABC News Chief Political Correspondent, George Stephanopoulos, the film was “true enough to make me squirm.”
Steve Schmidt, the campaign’s chief strategist stated, “Ten weeks of the campaign are condensed into a two-hour movie. But it tells the truth of the campaign. That is the story of what happened.” He said watching the film was tantamount to “an out-of-body experience.”
LIFE LESSON: Thank you Julianne Moore for your daring courage and your commitment to your craft.
Best Original Song in a Motion Picture – Adele – Skyfall
Though Adele already has nine Grammys and four American Music Awards, this was the twenty-four year old’s first Golden Globe nomination and win. She was up against “Safe and Sound,” a song Taylor Swift wrote and performed with the adventurous country duo the Civil Wars, which was the most prominent song on the soundtrack to The Hunger Games; “For You,” a guitar-heavy country-pop ballad by Keith Urban from the war movie Act of Valor; Jon Bon Jovi’s “Not Running Anymore” from the shoot-‘em-up Stand Up Guys; and “Suddenly” from Les Misérables.
Adele recorded the dramatic, string-heavy song with a 77-piece orchestra. As she says, she was very pregnant at the time and very emotional. She says it took quite a long time to convince her to take on the project.
“It’s a big responsibility doing a Bond song. Paul McCartney’s done it and Shirley Bassey is the Queen of them. I was worried I would let everyone down.”
But she didn’t. “Skyfall” is the first James Bond movie song to take home the prize. “For Your Eyes Only,” which was sung by Sheena Easton, Duran Duran’s “A View to a Kill,” Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does it Better” Madonna’s “Die Another Day” and Sheryl Crow’s “Tomorrow Never Dies” were all nominated, but didn’t win. Incredibly,“Goldfinger” nor McCartney’s “Live and Let Die” nor “Diamonds Are Forever” even received nominations.
Here’s Adele singing “Skyfall” in the official video from the movie.
LIFE LESSON: Thank you Adele for being so completely yourself and not changing yourself to impress others. You don’t try to put on airs. You are who you are. I wish I was as comfortable in my own skin as you are when I was your age.
JODIE FOSTER WAS MY FAVORITE PART OF THE NIGHT
The highlight of the evening was when Jodie Foster was presented with the Cecil B. DeMille Life Time Achievement Award. Her nearly seven-minute speech was unguarded, and fiercely candid.
Jodie says so much in this speech. I’ve watched it a dozen times and it still deeply affects me.Though she starts off funny and glibe, she allowed herself to be completely authentic, vulnerable and honest. Though many industry insiders knew Jodie Foster was gay and most people surmised it, it was the first time she was so public about her sexuality, acknowledging her former partner of 15 years, Cydney Bernard, who she met in 1993 on the set of Sommersby and split from in 2007.
Jodie also paid tribute to her mother who is suffering from Alzheimers. And she blew me away when she ended her speech by saying that she wants ‘to be seen, to be understood deeply and to be not so very lonely.’
Here is the full transcript of her acceptance speech. I’ve highlighted the parts that especially touched my heart.
“Well, for all of you ‘SNL’ fans, I’m 50! I’m 50! You know, I need to do that without this dress on, but you know, maybe later at Trader Vic’s, boys and girls. What do you say? I’m 50! You know, I was going to bring my walker tonight but it just didn’t go with the cleavage.”
“Robert (Downey Jr.), I want to thank you for everything – for your bat-crazed, rapid-fire brain, the sweet intro. I love you and Susan (his wife) and I am so grateful that you continually talk me off the ledge when I go on and foam at the mouth and say, ‘I’m done with acting, I’m done with acting, I’m really done, I’m done, I’m done.’
“Trust me, 47 years in the film business is a long time. You just ask those Golden Globes, because you crazy kids, you’ve been around here forever. You know, Phil you’re a nut, Aida, Scott — thank you for honoring me tonight. It is the most fun party of the year, and tonight I feel like the prom queen. Thank you. Looking at all those clips, you know, the hairdos and the freaky platform shoes, it’s like a home-movie nightmare that just won’t end, and all of these people sitting here at these tables, they’re my family of sorts, you know. Fathers mostly, executives, producers, the directors, my fellow actors out there, we’ve giggled through love scenes, we’ve punched and cried and spit and vomited and blown snot all over one another — and those are just the costars I liked.
“But you know, more than anyone else, I share my most special memories with members of the crew – blood-shaking friendships, brothers and sisters. We made movies together, and you can’t get more intimate than that.
“So while I’m here being all confessional, I guess I have a sudden urge to say something that I’ve never really been able to air in public. So, a declaration that I’m a little nervous about, but maybe not quite as nervous as my publicist right now, huh Jennifer? But I’m just going to put it out there, right? Loud and proud, right? I’m going to need your support on this. I am single. Yes I am, I am single. No, I’m kidding — but I mean, I’m not really kidding, but I’m kind of kidding. I mean, thank you for the enthusiasm. Can I get a wolf whistle or something?”
[Audio goes out]
“…be a big coming-out speech tonight because I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago back in the Stone Age, in those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family and co-workers and then gradually, proudly to everyone who knew her, to everyone she actually met. But now I’m told, apparently, that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance and a prime-time reality show. You know, you guys might be surprised, but I am not Honey Boo Boo Child. No, I’m sorry, that’s just not me. It never was, and it never will be. Please don’t cry because my reality show would be so boring. I would have to make out with Marion Cotillard or I’d have to spank Daniel Craig’s bottom just to stay on the air. It’s not bad work if you can get it, though.
“But seriously, if you had been a public figure from the time that you were a toddler, if you’d had to fight for a life that felt real and honest and normal against all odds, then maybe you too might value privacy above all else. Privacy.
“Someday, in the future, people will look back and remember how beautiful it once was. I have given everything up there from the time that I was 3-years-old. That’s reality-show enough, don’t you think? There are a few secrets to keeping your psyche intact over such a long career. The first, love people and stay beside them.
“That table over there, 222, way out in Idaho, Paris, Stockholm, that one, next to the bathroom with all the unfamous faces, the very same faces for all these years. My acting agent, Joe Funicello — Joe, do you believe it, 38 years we’ve been working together? Even though he doesn’t count the first eight. Matt Saver, Pat Kingsley, Jennifer Allen, Grant Niman and his uncle Jerry Borack, may he rest in peace. Lifers. My family and friends here tonight and at home. And of course, Mel Gibson. You know you saved me too.
“There is no way I could ever stand here without acknowledging one of the deepest loves of my life, my heroic co-parent, my ex-partner-in-love, but righteous soul-sister-in-life, my confessor, ski buddy, consigliore, most beloved BFF of 20 years, Cydney Bernard. Thank you, Cyd. I am so proud of our modern family. Our amazing sons, Charlie and Kit, who are my reason to breathe and to evolve, my blood and soul. And boys, in case you didn’t know it, this song, all of this, this song is for you. This brings me to the greatest influence of my life, my amazing mother, Evelyn. Mom, I know you’re inside those blue eyes somewhere and that there are so many things that you won’t understand tonight.
“But this is the only important one to take in: I love you, I love you, I love you. And I hope that if I say this three times, it will magically and perfectly enter into your soul, fill you with grace and the joy of knowing that you did good in this life. You’re a great mom. Please take that with you when you’re finally okay to go. You see, Charlie and Kit, sometimes your mom loses it too. I can’t help but get moony you know. This feels like the end of one era and the beginning of something else. Scary and exciting and now what?
“Well, I may never be up on this stage again, on any stage for that matter. Change, you gotta love it. I will continue to tell stories, to move people by being moved, the greatest job in the world. It’s just that from now on, I may be holding a different talking stick. And maybe it won’t be as sparkly, maybe it won’t open on 3,000 screens, maybe it will be so quiet and delicate that only dogs can hear it whistle. But it will be my writing on the wall. Jodie Foster was here, I still am, and I want to be seen, to be understood deeply and to be not so very lonely. Thank you, all of you, for the company. Here’s to the next 50 years.”
LIFE LESSON: Thank you Jodie Foster for opening yourself up to us and sharing your “modern” family with us. Thank you for your speaking your truth, for being strong and reminding us that we need to continue to stand for equality. That everyone is entitled to be themselves, to love who they choose, without fear of judgment, bullying, or any kind of discrimination or recrimination. Thank you for speaking in such a profound way that you brought me to tears.
The best part of these award shows is watching people who demonstrate enormous strength, who continually face their fears, who stretch far beyond what they think they are capable of and go for it anyway. That’s certainly more meaningful than obsessing about the color dress someone is wearing or the amount of bling they have around their neck.
I can’t wait to see what true gold presents itself at the Oscars on February 24.
Remember to BE THE STAR IN YOUR OWN LIFE. Connect with others, communicate from your heart and celebrate a meaningful life.