Usually I am an unabashed movie fan and Academy Awards (Oscars) watcher. However, as we enter into another year of movie watching deeply affected by COVID-19 and I enter another year of movie watching deeply affected by my TBI and severe hearing loss, I can’t help but start to feel less enthusiasm for movies. Yesterday’s Oscar ceremony and its “Best Picture” winner “CODA“ helped re-engage me as a moviegoer. I look forward to telling you why in this pop culture extra post for Brain Injury Awareness Month.
If you’re not into The Oscars or didn’t watch them last night you can find the Oscar winner results here and read a recap of the ceremony here. The big talking points were that CODA won for Best Picture and Troy Kotsur won Best Supporting Actor for CODA and became the second deaf actor to win an Oscar (after his costar Marlee Matlin who won decades ago for “Children of a Lesser God“). The biggest controversy was that Will Smith won Best Actor for “King Richard” (playing Venus and Serena Williams’ father) moments after slapping presenter Chris Rock. The dialogue I was seeing online was that they didn’t feel Smith should’ve been allowed to stay at the ceremony let alone accept his award. When Smith accepted his award he apologized and appeared humbled and we were left to make up our own minds on whether that was acceptable. I personally was grateful for his response as any other reaction wouldn’t have been appropriate (in my opinion). Honestly he could have been more direct and openly apologized to Chris Rock but at that moment I don’t think he was in a place to do so. Hopefully he gets there because honestly he’s been in the industry for far too long to react like that to a dopey joke. (Note: Will Smith got to a place of forgiveness the day after the Oscars and issued a statement and apology on his Instagram. Good for him.)
Thankfully the movie that had my parents and I invested in watching the awards show, CODA, won Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay. We had also watched “The Power of the Dog” but were rooting more openly for CODA because it was a lighter easier film to root for and felt important and long overdue that a film about deaf adults made the mainstream. Of course my own experience with deafness and hearing loss also was an important factor in why we were rooting for it.
It’s unfortunate that the news cycle after the Oscars is now dominated by stories about Will Smith. The Academy has openly condemned violence (but they haven’t taken away Smith’s award). As a movie fan a buzzy event like a slap at the Oscars doesn’t put me off Hollywood and awards shows. The reason is that there are still moments of brilliance amongst the obnoxious glitz and egos. This year for me it was the speech by Best Supporting Actress Winner Ariana DeBose who won for her role as Anita in the West Side Story Remake. Her speech and her heartfelt line to other queer people “that there is indeed a place for us” left me smiling (watch it here). I LOVE the original West Side Story but I don’t plan to see this one because not hearing the music as I know it is and should be would break my heart. So instead I enjoyed DeBose’s win and connecting feeling as if she belongs with the classic West Side Story song “Somewhere (A Place For Us)” (see this teaser trailer for the new movie that includes “Somewhere”).
My Thoughts on Movies and The Oscars
I am not the only one who struggles with watching the nominated movies. The Oscars have struggled with remaining relevant and watchable long before COVID-19 (and on a personal note I have struggled long before my accident and hearing loss). The year before my accident I made a point to see all the Best Picture nominees and even did a two in a row (double header) showing to get them all in. I felt excited and energized by the moviegoing experience and I was excited to that again… then my accident happened and seeing a movie and HEARING a movie was the last thing on my mind. Then COVID-19 happened and we all hid in our homes. Going to the movies was more like switching on the TV and the specialness of movies started to evaporate (for me at least). After watching both “CODA” and “The Power of The Dog” I was reminded of WHY I love movies, books and theater: STORIES. As I learn more about crafting my memoir I can’t help but think of my own story and how I am very excited to tell it.
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. To find out more about Brain Injury and specifically Brain Injury in the United States, visit the Brain Injury Association of America website and more specifically the campaign page for the 2021-2023 “#MoreThanMyBrainInjury” campaign. Why I care about Brain Injury Awareness Month and why I write about brain injury: In September 2016 I was in a near fatal car accident where I suffered a severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) that resulted in a 3-week coma. Ever since I have been living a very changed life changed by the disabilities I now have. In the process of recovering and healing I rediscovered my voice as a writer and love of writing and have been working on a memoir where I am writing my brain injury story. I hope to complete my memoir this year (2022) and pursue getting it published. I write about my brain injury and pursuits in writing my memoir every week in a post on this blog called #MemoirMonday (check out my MemoirMonday page to read more on that and check out my About page to read more about me).
Monthly Focus: Discussion of the Week- Write Second Half of Memoir
Note: If you’re new to my blog, I am working on writing a memoir about recovering from a severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and coma that I experienced in September 2016. Each Monday (or really just each week) I focus on a different area of writing my memoir in a weekly blog post I call “#MemoirMonday.” You can read more about my memoir on my dedicated Memoir Monday page.
If I’m brutally honest with you and myself, I am horribly behind on my memoir. In my memoir planner I am supposed to be in thick of the second half of my memoir. I’m not. Yet I’m inspired and hopeful but I definitely need to focus!
Daily Doodle Projects of the Week
A Selby Sweetie Conclusion
“The Power of a Sleeping Dog, Part II.”