From the time I was a little girl, I dreamed of winning one of those little gold statues that meant you had finally made it as an actress in Hollywood. The Oscar is that little thing that means you’ve arrived, that you’ve reached the height of your career and your peers find you worthy of their highest honor. It seems like such an amazing moment and amazing night. When I was little, I made up many speeches, and accepted awards for everything from acting to directing to writing to…well, whatever I wanted it to be. I will admit, my favorite speech was the one I wrote accepting the best actress Oscar for playing Harrison Ford’s daughter in an Indiana Jones movie (at the time, I didn’t realize that pop-culture was often excluded from Oscar glory).
I will admit that part of my fascination with “hollywood’s biggest night” is the spectacle of the whole thing. I’m sure it’s exciting and impressive, but it’s also just a little bit…well, crazy…there is so much pressure and so much hype leading up to the night that it’s bound to be disappointing on some level. I’ve also grown up and realized that an award, no matter how big or important, is just one measure of success in life. I don’t see most Oscar-winners until way after they have been in the theatre, and even then, I don’t always “get” them. I like movies that entertain me and make me think, but I’ve realized that the very artistic films are above my head or too emotional for me.
As I sit here watching the Oscars (and flipping over to the NCIS marathon on USA as soon as the people start talking and thanking everyone they’ve ever met), I realize just how silly the whole thing is. Sure, it’s an honor to be nominated, and I’m sure it’s a thrill to win, but it doesn’t change anything, fundamentally. One movie, in one moment, is considered better than the competition. For that moment. Often the winners go on to make complete duds, or take roles that are beyond silly…but for some reason, they are set apart, because they get to have “academy-award winner” attached to their names for the rest of their lives. What does that mean? Usually, the title means first dibs at great roles, plus a lot more money (because, really, actors aren’t paid very much for what they do…right…), and the ability to take more risks. Because, even if your next movie flops, you are still an Oscar winner and that is all that matters.
I realize that I may never win an Oscar (or, let’s be honest…the chances are minuscule at best that I would ever even be in a film, much less nominated for an Oscar), so I thought I would share my thank-you speech here tonight.
I would like to thank a few people without whom I would not be here today. I would like to thank first, and foremost, my mother, Renee. I am only here because you believed in me. You never considered my dreams silly or impossible, and always told me I could do anything I wanted to do. Even when I didn’t believe in myself, you did. To my step-dad, Harry, you never treated me like anything other than your little girl. I am honored to have you in my life, and love to call you dad. From daddy date nights to walking me down the aisle, you have been there, silently cheering me on to success. To Cameron, you make me laugh, and make me want to be the best version of myself all the time. I love being your sister, and love more being your friend. You are growing into a great young man, and the world is yours for the taking.
To my husband, you continue to surprise me every day. You make me laugh, make me smile, and make me feel safe all at the same time. You are the perfect example of what it means to love someone with total trust and sacrifice. Our life is an adventure that continues to change every day. Thank you for loving me through this crazy journey.
Finally, but most importantly, I have to give all thanks to my Creator, the one God in heaven, who chose to give me this little gift. I don’t deserve what you give, but am forever grateful that You choose to give anyway. May I never take this moment or this gift for granted. I live to serve, live to love, and live to give back to You.
I won’t be able to give that speech any time in the future, but every word is true.