I love the Oscars. I love looking forward to them, watching the red carpet hours before, and listening to every boring speech. I understand that not everyone sees the Oscars as important to their lives as I see it. I continue to believe that there are so many lessons that we all can learn and apply in some way to the next speech we give, event we host, or attire we choose.
Following are 5 lessons I learned or was reminded of at this year’s Oscars:
1. Practice in the Shoes You are Going to Wear
When I showed horses, I was taught to practice in the “habits” I would wear at a horse show. I had to actually ride in the jodhpurs, the boots, the jackets, everything. You didn’t want to split your pants during the most important ride in your life.
Halle Berry took her Oscar shoes to the rehearsal the day before Oscar Day. She said you have to go up the steps in the shoes you will be wearing to make sure you can do it on television in front of billions of people.
2. Be Remembered for Great Lines
One of my requirements of speakers is to have great lines that help your audience remember you. You need many great lines because what is a great line to one may not be a great line to others. Jimmy Kimmel had many: maybe you will think one of them is funny. I think he navigated that treacherous line between mean-but-funny. It’s always a balancing act for all of us.
We don’t discriminate against people based on what countries they come from. We discriminate against them based on their age and weight.
Fake tans we love but not fake news.
When you lose, you realize you taped your boobs to your dress for nothing.
3. Open with a WOW
Those that have worked with me have heard me say over and over again, Open with A Wow. And your audience gets to decide if it is a Wow; the speaker doesn’t get to decide. The Oscar format was changed this year. The show opened with one of the nominated songs, led by Justin Timberlake.
The production “Can’t Stop the Feeling” opened the show. In the past, nominated songs have been sung later in the show. I understand that the goals of the show this year were to open strong and stick to their 3 ½ hour timeline.
4. You Can be Effective in Under a Minute
It’s a challenge to be effective in a short period of time. That is one reason why the Gettysburg Address is so famous, it is so short. Winners have 45 seconds after they hit the podium. I think some may get a little leeway. Still, even 60 seconds in not long.
Yet one of the Italian recipients for make-up was memorable, when he said he waited 50 years and he was going to talk. Another recipient for Hacksaw Ridge thanked his deceased mother when he said; Mom told me to work hard and win yourself an Oscar and mention my name on the stage.
Of course, the reigning queen of speeches is Viola Davis. Now I cry before she even says a word. She could read the phone book and make it impactful. Every word she cajoles and embraces as if it was the most coveted word ever said. What a line, the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life. Just using the word Exhume, exhume stories. What a great visual: exhuming stories. I do wish she would have put down the train of her dress so she could have used both hands.
5. Create Magical Moments
Like great lines, you have to have many. What is a magical moment to one is not a magical moment to another. I loved the candy coming down from the ceiling like little umbrella parachutes. I loved the tour bus shtick. Really, I loved it.
Movies are supposed to be for ordinary people and here were ordinary people charmed by the Hollywood “elite”. And the celebrities charmed by the tourists. There were the actors taking pics of the tourists and the tourists taking pictures of the actors. If that happened to us, I would have seen Moshe sitting on someone’s lap; I just don’t know whose lap.
At this award show Taraji P. Henson looked amazing. At the last awards show, not so much. Just goes to show that like any of us, sometimes our visual protects our value more than other times. This lesson and so many more I share with you from the Oscars.