Wednesday, February 29, 2012

THE BEAUTY OF THE OSCARS


As you know, the 84th Annual Academy Awards took place last Sunday. The show has been a favorite of mine since I was young, carefully flipping through the beautiful photos from 1927 to present in People Magazine's Oscar Style Special Edition (which I bought at Long's Drugs in high school and still have).


The entire Oscar evening is shrouded in a special kind of magic, beginning with the red carpet and ending with the jubilant triumph of the winners. It is a tender celebration of some of the highest forms of beauty in our world, from gorgeous gowns to striking jewels, to, of course, every artistic aspect of filmmaking. With all of the cacophonous tabloid coverage surrounding the event, it is easy to dismiss the show as trivial, especially in our troubled economic times. But if we stop to consider the true meaning of the evening, and the ingenious talent, tireless dedication, and unadulterated passion that went into each aspect of the arts represented, we may realize how much beauty truly is left in this world.

 The art of fashion design:
Cate Blanchett at the 1999 Academy Awards in a custom Christian Dior design

 The art of jewelry design:
Elizabeth Taylor at the 1960 Academy Awards in Ruser diamond and cultured pearl ear pendants

The art of makeup:
Natalie Portman at the 2009 Academy Awards with makeup by Jeanine Lobell


 The art of acting:
Katharine Hepburn in her 1940 Academy Award-winning performance of The Philadelphia Story

The art of writing:
Bette Davis in All About Eve, with the script of the film's 1950 
Academy Award-winning screenplay by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

The art of cinematography:
Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia, with the film's 1962 
Academy Award-winning cinematographer, Freddie Young


The art of costume design:
Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina, with the film's 1954
Academy Award-winning costume designer, Edith Head

The art of making history:
Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American to win an Academy Award, in the ground-breaking 
1939 Academy Award-winning film Gone With the Wind

The art of story telling:
Iconic image from 1993 Academy Award-winning Schindler's List
with Steven Spielberg holding awards for Best Director and Best Picture, two of the seven the film earned


"This is the moment of joy, and I want to kiss everybody because you are the major of the joy, 
and he who kisses the joy as it flies lives in eternity's sunrise, say the poet." 
-- Roberto Benigni's jubilance at having won Best Actor and Best Foreign Language Film for his 1999 Holocaust film, Life Is Beautiful

I hope you got a chance to watch the ceremony, and were inspired by the beauty our human race is capable of.

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