Monday, March 5, 2018

A Great Oscars Show

Brian Joseph Johns
Being a big fan of film (but of late, seldom going out to theaters but rather renting movies at home), I managed to catch the Academy Awards last night. I usually watch them every year and this year was no different.

It was a great show, perhaps one of the best Oscar shows I've seen in a long time with a lot of boundaries being broken where they should be and boundaries going up where they need to be. Especially with regard to Women's Rights (especially where it involves sexual assault), Cultural, Gender and Age Diversity as well as Gender and Cultural Equality.

Of course the progress in these areas will bring the next set of challenges but that's the very nature of progress itself. Overcome one set of issues so that progress matches that of other areas that might change the very nature of our sustainability, morality, our rights and opportunity without hindering the very nature of the tension and (sometimes) release inherent in nearly all art and without tying the hands of the artists themselves that tell stories that challenge us step beyond the comfort of our set ways.

The show didn't linger on those topics but rather treated them all professionally and concisely, allowing for their expression to an attentive audience. After all, this is about recognizing artists for their achievements in the medium of film making and perhaps the great responsibility that comes with being at the helm of such a medium itself whether you're a performer in front of the cameras or one of the multitude of people working to realize such productions from behind the cameras.

I personally believe that the pressure and responsibility that is inherent with being in the spotlight will and already has changed in nature as a result of the digital revolution and digital convergence. After all, in the age of social media stars, people from all walks of life are getting their chance to experience what that kind of pressure is like and giving us a different kind of respect for these artists who've long been subject to it.

At the same time, the subjects of the art itself are people. Both real and created characters of mythical proportions, where characters from all walks of life especially those with which we can relate form the narrative of their own stories. The waitress working at a local diner. The supportive single mother raising her daughter the best she can. An adolescent man exploring the nature of his own being and sexual orientation. A research scientist and a deaf custodian empathize with the non-human subject of an experiment whose life is captivity. A super powered mutant with exceptional healing powers deals with his diminishing abilities resulting from age, all while protecting a young girl from her own savage nature and the people who pursue them. The super powered are really just extensions of the real lives of those in society who choose to rise above the status quot and protect that for which they believe and stand. The "ordinary" every day working Mom becomes a hero of epic proportions without requiring the tights or even super powers. That Police Officer who refuses to give up on an investigation, while behind the scenes some of the crime's victims risk all to do their own parallel investigating giving eyes and ears to the law in ways it might not otherwise have.

As always it was about the arts themselves and the most important component of the arts, the audience. I won't give away any details about who was nominated and who won, so that those of you who missed it can spend the rest of the week spoiler dodging until you have a chance to see them.

I have a feeling that as things progress, that more and more people will feel less offended and defensive about social change especially when it can happen without vilifying anyone but rather challenge our views in open debate. When confronted with change at first, most people (myself included) tend to take it personally or even internalize it in some way as if it is an affront to themselves specifically rather than an overall philosophy. As we become comfortable with what we stand for and what we believe is right and worthy of our protection, I believe that we learn to rise above the very nature of conflict itself in a constructive rather than destructive manner.

In one last topic I'd like to risk broaching, I was glad to see representation on the carpet last night from my own home country of Canada. I don't believe that in expressing that happiness that I (or anyone for that matter) is implying or forcing a show of bias on the part of Hollywood or even Americans as a whole for Canada any more than it would be bias for Mexico.

Consider when you have a party. If you really want to throw a good party and for your party to be a success, you invite your immediate neighbours and I don't believe that itself is unfair bias at all. After all you can look at it like, good fences make good neighbours, or good neighbours make good fences.

I'm not one to put my money where my mouth is on this personally, but I do regard the United States Of America as the neighbour I'd love, if I'm required to "love thy neighbour" over my immediate residential neighbours (with all due respect). I guess by expressing my gratitude for seeing Canada's presence on the carpet, I was expressing gratitude much like anyone might if they were invited to their immediate neighbour's party. Even if we went home early or stayed until the sun rose the next day. It was great to feel like we were welcome and were in some small way a part of it. I would certainly say the same thing with regard to their immediate neighbour to the south, Mexico as well.

Brian Joseph Johns

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