It has taken me a little time to reflect on the movies nominated for awards at tonight’s Oscars. It’s a lot to see the Best Picture nominees back-to-back. (You should try it though…next year with me!) But, as I think about them as a group, I realize that a common thread binds them. From a lowly lobby boy who goes on amazing colorful adventures to a physicist whose mind far surpasses the limits of his body, these movies deal with Greatness — what it means, how to achieve it, and how to sustain it. What mark does one leave on the world during his time here? And interestingly enough, the quest to be great goes hand in hand with the quest for Love.
I cried the most at THE IMITATION GAME. At the end,when I found out what happened to Alan Turing and imagined his life, full of secret achievement yet lacking true love, I was a mess. And I identified with so many characters in all of the movies: the actor trying to be more than he’s known to be, the drum student rehearsing until he bleeds because he wants to be greater than the average people sitting at his dinner table, the leader needing to speak out but also watch over his followers. I’ve been there. I AM there. But as I, or each of us, takes our life journey, and tries to leave a different mark on the world, it’s so important to recognize that love, too, has an impact. Like the war hero who finds peace in helping others or the dad who trades his prized car in for a minivan so his family will be safe, I have come to realize.that loving and being loved is what makes “being great” the same as “being complete.”
I think that is why I must name BOYHOOD my Best Picture of 2014. This movie took the concept of love — not love as grand gestures, but the everyday, over the years, little acts of love that make up a boy’s young life — and by stringing them together, came up with something great. Amazing performances and creative feats of direction, authorship and production occured in all the movies nominated, and many more, and those artists should also get their due. But for me, the movie that took all the elements and transcended the medium was BOYHOOD, an ambitious undertaking that didn’t do much, but did a lot at the same time.
And as for me, I am still looking to do something great. I haven’t shortened a war – either through marksmanship or my brilliant code-breaking mind — yet. I haven’t become a legendary musician or an actor who is so successful that I need to change it up — yet. I haven’t led a movement or changed the way people look at the universe — yet. I haven’t raised a kid — yet. I have gone on some wild adventures, but not so Grand as to be filmworthy — yet. But I have loved, and I know that I am loved — and, as I saw in these Best Picture nominees, that’s the hard part. And I’ll continue to do so (and I hope you will to), as I keep working towards greatness, which is never too late to achieve…In the words of Stephen Hawking, “Where there’s life, there is hope.”
And the winner is……..