More Reflections on Oscar Night

Yesterday I reflected on how nice it might be if teachers had a night like the actors had Sunday night…one where they were appreciated and had a chance to celebrate each other's accomplishments and achievements along with their contributions to their profession. Today I am reflecting on the deeper messages that were held in the speeches of some of the recipients and it occurred to me that I might share those reflections here.

The first speech that has not only impressed me but many others was made by the beautiful and graceful young new star who won Best Supporting Actress for her stunning portrayal of the young slave, Patsey in the film, 12 Years a Slave. Lupita Nyong'o made a speech that touched each and every listener with its simple sincerity. They were words spoken with humility, authenticity and true graciousness as well as her own consciousness of history. To see the entire speech, watch here.

The whole speech was beautiful, but my favorite line was the very last sentence:  “When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you are from your dreams are valid.”

What this says to me is that we owe it to ourselves not to give up on our dreams. Sometimes we do. We think we aren't smart enough, pretty enough, rich enough, just “not enough” to accomplish what our heart urges us to pursue. And so we don't. We stop ourselves, often before we have even gotten started. As I heard someone say recently, “We do the job of editing our own book before we have even gotten it written.”

So that was my first favorite moment from Oscar Night…Miss Nyong'o's beautiful acceptance speech which was a reminder about the importance of having dreams and then acting on them fearlessly because they are, indeed, valid.

My second favorite speech of the night came from Matthew McConaughey. I am thinking that if his acting career ever goes on the skids, that man has got a career waiting for him behind a pulpit somewhere. The speech he gave was a cross between an acceptance speech and a sermon.

He spoke of needing three things in his life:  someone to look up to, something to look forward to, and something to chase. For the whole speech, watch here.

I especially liked that he mentioned the importance of gratitude…”It's a scientific fact [emphasis added] that gratitude reciprocates.”

I also liked that he indicated the importance of his family to him…and finally with regard to “something to chase” he shared that he is chasing his best self as a “hero” in the future–10 years out. He recognizes that he is always pursuing his best self. He also recognizes that he will never “get there.” He will continue the chase because as long as he is living, there will be more to want, more to do, and more potential for being. That is what we are all doing, after all.

Those two speeches were my favorite. There were other nice moments throughout the night, but I believe the message of these two very gracious and clearly heartfelt speeches carried with them the nuggets of wisdom that we should always remember:  Our dreams are valid; we need to be grateful; we need to remember to look up to our higher power; we need to have something to look forward to everyday; and we need to be chasing our better selves recognizing that life is a journey, not a destination.