Lessons learned from the 2015 Academy Awards

Magnus Health
February 23, 2015
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Lessons learned from the 2015 Academy Awards

I’m not going to pretend that The Oscars has an enormous amount in common with school health. But I will argue, there are lessons to be learned and/or reiterated from the glamorous affair – and none of them are about fashion.


Say “Thank you.”

Every single winner thanked the Academy for the award, every single one thanked their crew and fellow actors, but it was the first acceptance speech of the night that stuck with me. It was within the first ten minutes, it was short, and it was sweet. J.K. Simmons accepted the award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Whiplash. Simmons first thanked his wife and kids, and then urged everyone to call their own parents and say thank you. Whether it’s your parents, other role models, or mentors in your life, give them a call and say thank you.

Respect the effort, even if you don’t quite get it.

I know I’m not the only one not to quite grasp what happened during Tegan and Sara’s performance of “Everything Is Awesome” – the nominated song from The Lego Movie. The Lonely Island joined them, and Batman was there too. I didn’t see the film, so perhaps that is the confusion. Though I was thoroughly perplexed by the stage antics, I can appreciate the high energy of the performance, the positive message of the song, and the fact that it brought life to a show that has a reputation of being a bit of a snoozer. Every single person on that stage put every bit of effort they posses into that performance. Well done.

Be prepared. Especially if you have something specific you want to say.

When Patricia Arquette won Best Supporting Actress for her role in Boyhood, she put on a set of spectacles, whipped out an 8.5×11 sheet of paper, and set about thanking everyone in a very matter of fact way. It’s as if she thought she might win and as such, she was very prepared. It was not spontaneous, and it wasn’t touchy-feely, but she was passionate and she made her seconds on stage count. She thanked every single person she meant to, she didn’t forget a single thing, and she delivered a message about which she’s passionate. In the process, she set social media, Jennifer Lopez, and Meryl Streep afire. The lesson, even if you don’t take notes with you, be prepared to say what you want and mean to say.

Give a voice to the voiceless.

A number of winners gave this note. They won their awards because they represented people who cannot represent themselves. Julianne Moore gave a voice to Alzheimer’s. Eddie Redmayne won his award not just for Stephen Hawking and family, but for everyone battling ALS. Patricia Arquette spoke out for women’s rights. Common and John Legend echoed the need for equality when speaking of Selma and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Graham Moore spoke to the kid out there who feels weird and doesn’t think they belong. So here’s to everyday people giving a voice to the voiceless as well – the kid who is bullied, the student suffering because they have a sick parent, the abused, the neglected, and everyone else who yearns for representation.

Bring generations together.

This year marks 50 years since The Sound of Music won five Academy Awards. It’s an incredible film, and not everyone in the younger generation even knows about it. The best way to change that fact? Give Lady Gaga the mic. Lady Gaga’s performance of a medley of The Sound of Music songs was stellar, and thanks to social media, I know it moved many. This is how you bring generations together. This is how you honor an institution and give it life for younger generations. The same could be said of the “Glory” performance by Common and John Legend. Their performance brought the audience to tears. This is how you keep issues that have lasted generations at the forefront.

Don’t forget to have a little fun.

The Academy Awards have long been known as one of the most boring of all awards shows. Correct me if I’m wrong, but school can sometimes get that reputation as well. It’s important to have a little fun. Neil Patrick Harris had fun, and while his reviews for hosting are mixed, he wasn’t afraid to make fun of himself or the Oscars.