My favorite Oscar makes wieners. “And the winner is Oscar Mayer.” Yes, I can sing the whole song if you would like. I’d print the words of the chorus, but then you would remember the melody and for the rest of the day, this little ditty would be stuck in your mind. My guess is that you have more important things on which to focus. If not, you may want to consider your current lot in life.
I don’t watch the Oscars — or any other awards show, for that matter. I find them to be laboriously long and filled with freakishly fake people. Plus, if I want a political view point, I’ll watch the shows devoted to such drivel. No, I don’t watch those shows, either, for the same reason — long and filled with fakes.
Anyway, I read a wonderful story about the Oscar presentation held in 1961. A story about class, love, respect, friendship and good taste. Kanye West had yet to be born. Reality TV had yet to be born. America had real heroes who were known for their accomplishments, not just for who they were in some prime-time farce. Our heroes were flawed, but we didn’t need to know every detail. We knew their on-screen persona was airbrushed with goodness. We also knew they were a mess. After all, they were human. Enough said.
Gary Cooper was one of those indestructible heroes. He was as big as the screen on which he appeared, but on that night in April 1961, he was not there to accept his honorary Oscar for years of excellence in film. No, Jimmy Stewart accepted the award on his behalf, and he did so with grace and elegance, according to the story I read.
Apparently, Mr. Stewart was struggling with the words, but the emotion — understated, yet palpable — was telling the world all that was needed. Gary Cooper was not there because he was very sick and dying.
I read the printed retelling of Stewart’s time on stage that night with great interest. More than anything, the story grabbed me with respect to the great care and consideration one must take in choosing the right words for a dear friend. There was something about the story that seems so rare today.
In a world filled with “a need to know,” Stewart was far from obvious in his comments. Today, we would have secretly snapped pictures of Cooper in his most desperate of times, then would have covertly acquired audio. Both would have been sold to some tabloid TV show that would have shamelessly put them up for all to see.
We lack something today in our dealings with each other. Grace comes to mind. Just grace.