Tonite’s Oscars

I liked Kimmel.  I’d watched them in the past with a friend…who also recently passed.  So I watched alone tonite.  I loved all the nominated films, I was happy for the winners…but I was struck by how personal the broadcast seemed to me.

I’ve never been to the Oscars, I’m a successful dinosaur.  Once upon a time, there was a category of actors we regarded as our middle class.  I was among their numbers.  You recognized us; we bought homes and raised families…and life was good.  😉  We’re now history…but many of us carried spears, so to speak, in support of those who became stars.

Tonite was personal because so many people I saw have figured in my life.  Meryl Streep is legendary, justifiably so…The memory that stays with me, that first arises whenever I think of Meryl was of a morning encounter at The Public Theater in the 70’s.  It was a fine marble building that the city of NY had leased to Joseph Papp for $1 a year.  He then became one of the most important theater producers in America.

There were at least three theaters within that building, probably a black box as well.  Through the 70’s, Joe Papp continued to attract some of our most accomplished actors, particularly for Shakespeare In The Park.  On this particular morning, I was walking down the 2nd Floor wide circular staircase.   A window on the landing allowed sunlight to flood the stairway.  Walking up the 1st Floor stairway was Meryl.  She reached the landing, glanced up and noticed me …and she smiled.  Her smile was for me.  Her smile just uplifted my spirit that morning…then pretty high-spirited, already.  😉 That’s my go-to memory of Meryl.

I’m appreciating how very comfortable and dignified Denzel’s interaction was, throughout the Oscar broadcast.  He sits at the head table; iconic, embraced, respected…and rightfully so.  We met 40 years ago on a Joe Papp project…that also included Samuel L Jackson.  Early on, I appreciated what charisma really meant, after watching Denzel in A Soldiers Play (which won a Pulitzer).  He’d stand on a stage with several other actors.  They were speaking, he was listening.  And my focus invariably went to Denzel. He wasn’t drawing focus, wasn’t doing anything but actively listening…and somehow, he was the most interesting person on that stage.  That’s when I got it.  Charisma, huh?

So I find it personal…and somehow personally satisfying.  I’m enjoying the ascension of my colleagues to such prominence.

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