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The Flipside of the Oscars

"I'd like to thank the members of the Academy... and everyone who ever left a message on my phone machine....." Congrats to all the winners of the Oscars!

In my film classes, I would start them by asking the students to write their Oscar speech.  It's a very different kettle of fish that you thank when you're starting then when you're ending.. except in some cases.  It's a bit like crossing over - who is going to greet you?  Who will applaud you for your hard work and job well done?  Well... quite a few (according to the research in "Flipside" and "It's a Wonderful Afterlife")
Let's examine the awards from the Flipside view of things.  That would be the observation of what was said during the Oscars from a spiritual point of view, or rare evidence that what happened last night on the Oscars wasn't just about glitz and pomp.  Beneath the fancy frocks, some profound spiritual lessons were revealed.

Begin with revelation of the mom who made a film about the suicide of her son.  She said "we should speak about suicide."  (forgetting for a moment NPH "takes balls to wear that dress" comment. It took balls for NPH to come out of the closet, and to do this show.)  Then just a few moments later, a young man gets up for winning the script award for ''The Imitation Game" and talks about suicide.  His own. How he had tried it because he didn't fit in.  Because he felt "weird." And he said "to all you who feel weird look where I am today."  He said it's okay to feel weird.  It's what makes us human.


What are the odds that a woman would say moments prior to her accepting the award that "we should talk about suicide" and a few seconds later a man stands up and does EXACTLY THAT?

Then take the song for "Selma."  The set of the Pettis bridge, that iconic bridge that became a focal point for the Dr. Martin Luther King's journey in this lifetime.  It was the bridge you cross to get to vote.  People were gassed and beaten to stop them from crossing the bridge.  Dr. King led the march - and it finally took the national guard to ensure their trip across that bridge.

And then the artist known as Common actually used the metaphor of the bridge to show that it's a bridge that connects us all.  That the bridge from ignorance to enlightenment exists.  That the song that has inspired many people comes from the same source.  The actor who played Dr. King (David O) had tears streaming down his face.  He channeled Dr. King in his performance.  It's pretty unusual for a fellow from England to so accurately find a voice and gestures of someone so foreign to his background.. and yet, he was clearly channeling Dr. King in his performance. Certainly Dr. King enjoyed that performance last night as well.

And John Legend and Common were clearly channeling Dr. King, or the energy behind Dr. King's message of nonviolence change in their song.  And in their speech.  The reason it resonates is that it is spiritual.  It is of the spirit. 

Then the lessons of playing roles of people with issues or problems in our society.  "The Imitation Game" deals with the powerful story of a man who signed up for a lifetime where he could not only solve the enigma code, but also a lifetime where he could demonstrate that being gay should never have been a crime.  I would venture to say that he SUCCEEDED IN HIS ENDEAVOR.

We have the story of a man who signed up to live a life in a wheelchair, using only his mind to wrestle with the most complex problems of the universe.  I would argue that he chose that lifetime because if he had lived his life normally, he never would have gone as far or gotten as deep as he has.  That the lifetime that Stephen Hawking chose, is dramatically proven that he SUCCEEDED IN HIS ENDEAVOR. (And would argue that he can find the theory of everything in examining how it came to be that he chose a lifetime like his own.)

And the actors who played these roles - E Redmayne and B Cumberbatch - are doing exactly the SAME THING that these souls are doing - signing up to play a role, one that is difficult, one that represents deeper truths, deeper spiritual lessons - and they got awards for them at the Oscars.  Because that's what we do when our fellow beings choose difficult lifetimes - when we greet them in the afterlife we APPLAUD THEM just as these people were applauded last night.

CITIZENFOUR is a film about a fellow who made a difficult choice in this life - to go into data collection, and then seeing what he'd seen - to reveal it to the world at great risk to his life and family.  

The soldier Manning did the same kind of revelation - and she credited looking at the planet Earth from outer space - the "PALE BLUE DOT" of Carl Sagan fame's photo - where she observed that everyone on Earth is the same, and doesn't deserve to be tortured or killed without reason.  And decided to speak up about it (and took the consequences).  Chelsea Manning.  The Overview Effect.  In like form, Snowden sees the planet from this bigger perspective - not us versus them, but us versus us.  

Who are we if we use information that's private against fellow human beings?  Crime prevention is one thing, but as he notes in TODAY'S REDDIT SESSION with Glenn and Laura, not a single terrorist act has been affected by the collection of all this private data.  Still - who among us could give up their lives for what they believe in?  Certainly one day he will have the applause and accolades he deserves - whether it be future generations, or directly from his soul group. 

Luana Anders starred in "Board and Care" an oscar winning film. Producer Sarah Pillsbury neglected to thank her. I don't think Luana cared.  But Jack Nicholson mentioned her in his Oscar speech for "As Good As It Gets." She's the inspiration for "Flipside"

The same goes for BIRDMAN, a film about ego, and the variations of what it does to control our lives, to drive us down avenues we wouldn't normally go... the film is variations on that theme - what lengths will we go for love? what lengths will we go for ego? are there metaphors that follow us around in our lifetime? that going on stage is a bit like jumping off the edge of a building? that allowing creativity to soar off the edge of a cliff, not knowing where we will land is worth praising?  that the good that we do reverberates through all those who experience it?  The film examines the "darkside" of EGO, but it's also a film about courage and daring - and when all is lost to actually allow our inner voice to champion who we really are .. even if it means pulling a gun on stage - after all, we're just actors upon the stage, and there is nothing that can happen to us that we can't examine later with the help of our friends and soul group...

 and I would argue that by forcing us into streets we normally wouldn't traverse, the ego does a yeoman's job of getting us to live lives that are beyond what he might have imagined them to be, and that we are all SUCCEEDING IN THAT ENDEAVOR.  Hence we are all Oscar winners when we get to our final bow.

Author with Charles Grodin
After all that's why you've been drawn to this page, this blog, this research. Because you know on some level, that we really don't die.  That we really are here to celebrate life in all its forms.  So please, take a bow for the path and journey you've chosen.

And as Mike Myers would say: "End scene." 

1 comment:

  1. One of the best posts I've read here Richard.
    I was thinking similar thoughts when watching the Oscars live on the big screen on the other side of the world when I heard the acceptance speech of the young man who adapted "The Imitation Game" to the big screen,
    and then thought back to the mother who lost her son to suicide.
    But then again,maybe I'm biased,as 30 years ago I,like that young man attempted suicide also,and should have succeeded.
    I was never proud about my attempt,but I was never ashamed either...I just never talked about it to anyone...not that people didn't know what I had done...they just didn't want to talk about it either.
    To me only someone who had been in a similar situation could really understand the reasons for doing something that many couldn't,or don't want to understand.
    I admire this young man's courage to share a very private moment from a dark place in his past to millions of strangers around the world watching on the night.
    I personally know how much guts that took and I can imagine the lives he probably saved last night by using his past as an example.
    I'm still clapping him in my heart.


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