A few of my favorite things at the Oscars

By Jen Furer

Sunday night’s Oscars telecast on ABC was a little over 3 ½ hours. I watched the pre-show interviews to check out what actresses were wearing, although I felt a bit guilty because Reese Witherspoon campaigned for Red Carpet reporters to #AskHerMore than “Who are you wearing?”

I am a fan of Doogie Howser so I tuned in past the Red Carpet show to watch Neil Patrick Harris host. I enjoyed the song and dance with a Disney touch to it. It was magical. No wonder: It was written and arranged by Filipino American Bobby Lopez, who wrote the universal favorite “Let It Go” from the Disney movie “Frozen.”

J.K. Simmons, the winner for the Best Actor in a supporting role, in his acceptance speech urged people to call – not text — their moms. That speech alone made me want to watch the rest of the awards show.

Dove and Twitter and their partners started the #SpeakBeautiful campaign with the hope of starting a positive trend. So I made a note of all the positive and beautiful things that were said at the Academy Awards.
Here are a few of my favorites from Sunday’s show:

-Liam Neeson said of “American Sniper:” “The soldier’s battle is often fought when he returns home.”

-Shirley MacLaine said the message of “The Theory of Everything,” is that the “truly greatest and enduring mystery of the universe is love.”

That sentence reminded me of a conversation I had with my youngest son, Josh, when he was 5:

John: Mom, do you know that we are all superheroes? Do you know that we all have super powers?
Me: And what is our super power?
Josh: Love.

-Dana Perry, one of the directors of “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1,” which won Best Documentary Short, said, “We should talk about suicide out loud.” Perry disclosed that her own son committed suicide at 15.

-My heart melted and tears shed when country singer, Tim McGraw, performed a moving tribute with the Oscar- nominated song, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from the documentary “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me.”

-“Glory” won Best Original Song for “Selma.” The speech of Lonnie Lynn (aka Rapper Common) captivated the audience.

He said of the Edmund Pettus Bridge where Martin Luther King led his followers to confront racism in Selma, Alabama in the 1960s: “This bridge was once a landmark of a divided nation, but now is a symbol for change. The spirit of this bridge transcends race, gender, religion, sexual orientation and social status. The spirit of this bridge was built on hope and welded with compassion and elevated by love for all human beings.”

-The movie “Ida” from Poland won Best Foreign Language Film. Writer-director Pawel Pawlikowski, brushed aside the time limit as he continued his heartfelt gratitude. “Life is full of surprises,” he said.

-Seeing Julie Andrews on stage was a special treat. She came on stage to hug Lady Gaga’s medley tribute to 50 Years of The Sound of Music.

We shared an elevator with Julie Andrews in Disney’s Beach Club 10 years ago. She’s my family’s favorite actress. We still sing the songs she sang at “Sound of Music” and “Mary Poppins.” With my own three sons who are passionate about music, I agree when she said, “Great music does more than enhance a film, it cements our memories in the film-going experience.”

-Graham Moore won Best Adapted Screenplay for “Imitation Game.” But he won the hearts of many when he revealed that he had contemplated committing suicide when he was 16 because he felt like he didn’t belong. He reminded people to “Stay weird. Stay different, and then when it’s your turn and you are standing on this stage please pass the same message along.”

-Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, the director of “Birdman,” won for Best Director and Best Picture. He delivered a timely speech that may have resonated with immigrants.

He said, “I pray that my native country (Mexico) finds a government we deserve and that immigrants to the U.S. can be treated with the same dignity and the respect of the ones who came before and built this incredible immigrant nation.”

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