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How I’ll use my 50 seconds

November 28, 2011

A few weeks ago, in the midst of a “what am I doing with my life? I have nothing, I’m a failure” pity party of one, I was walking home from the subway when a familiar shape caught my eye. It was an Emmy statue, displayed in the basement home office of a Brooklyn brownstone.  I stopped and stared, in awe of two things: that someone who actually won an Emmy is my next door neighbor (how cool is New York?) and that no one had broken in yet to steal this piece of bling (we are in New York after all…)

Most importantly, that little moment led to the dissolution of my pity party, because, it got me to start practicing my Oscar speech again.

Come on…I know most of you have one too. Mine is at least two decades old, and has been refined throughout the years. But there is one aspect of my Oscar speech I will always adhere to…That is: friends and family first.

I know the Academy Awards are an industry event, and I know that a huge team of behind-the-scenes players are partly responsible for each Oscar win.  But it still always shocks me how the Oscar winners spend 48.7 seconds of their 50 second speech (that’s the average time speakers are allotted before the band starts playing them off)  thanking their management team and other workers on the film, and then as the tall thin ladies are doing the not-so-subtle inching toward the speaker to usher them off with a wide-arm sweep towards the wings, the Oscar-winner spends exactly 1.3 seconds thanking their loved ones and telling their kids to go to bed. It just seems kind of skewed.

Of course, I have never been under the pressure of the surreal situation of giving an Oscar acceptance speech, so it seems a little harsh to criticize something I haven’t experienced. But I really hope that when I make my speech, the 20 years’ of practice will pay off. Because since I began rehearsing it, my Oscar speech always lists the family and friends first. I think it’s sort of easy for a management team to “really believe” in a top film star. And it’s not difficult for the “entire crew of the film” to “come together and tell this beautiful story,” when they have a multi-million dollar budget.

But how hard have your friends and family worked over the years to enthusiastically support every non-paying theatre showcase you’ve done, stay up at night worrying about your lack of health insurance, go over your lines with you when you are rehearsing for a text-heavy show, to pretend to be interested in your long explanations of the character arc you are developing for your role in your next short film and to understand that sometimes (more times that you would like to admit) you have to cancel plans at the last-minute — even plans that are really important to said friend/family  member — because you get a callback/booking/meeting? It’s not an easy job to be the friend and family of an actor. That’s why they need to be at the front of my Oscar speech, given full due.

But back to my pity party…as I said, the repetition of my Oscar speech was very helpful. Because in giving the 48.7 seconds to the people who loved me…I realized that I’m not a failure…I’m doing what I love AND have a group of people who love me enough to support that.  Realizing that was an Oscar-worthy moment.

OK, OK, I get it thin lady…I’m walking off stage now…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 6, 2011 3:19 pm

    This post couldn’t be more accurate. We’re lucky we have friends and family that we feel should be the first seconds of our Oscar speeches. That’s what helps me get out of pity parties!

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  1. Flashback Friday: How I’ll use my 50 seconds | The Green Room

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