And the Winner is...
Sunday, March 24, 2002
Suburbia, California 

... Ron Howard for Best Director for  "A Beautiful Mind." Yes, Yes, Yes.  I was rooting with all my might for this once-in-a-lifetime sublime movie, created with inspired love, respect, heart and soul.  It also won Best Adapted Writing for  Akiva Goldsman; Best Supporting Actress for Jennifer Connelly; and Best Picture for Brian Graser and Ron Howard.

>> My thoughts on "A Beautiful Mind" 


Ron & Cheryl Howard

I grew up with Ron Howard. We had fathers named Andy.  Not in real life, of course, but with the rest of America in the 50s and 60s, via TV, when he played Opie on "The Andy Griffith Show"  and later, as Richie Cunningham on "Happy Days."  While "The Fonz" made the show's fans swoon, I was thoroughly smitten with Richie Cunningham's boy-next-door charm.

These days, Ron is part of my real life.  Sort of. Not exactly the guy next door, but as an across the bay neighbor up in Big Bear. There, on weekends, he and his brother Clint, grew up as normal kids at their parents' unpretentious, down-to-earth cabin. These days, his and Cheryl's kids are at the age when their tangle of activities keep them down the hill.  Neighbors keep an eye on their house just above their parents' original cabin, as Big Bear neighbors do for one another.

Whenever we take our walks, I recall that Richie Cunningham sense of humor.  I smile as we pass by, remembering the "Beware: Guard Dog with AIDS" sign that once hung outside his cabin door. 

I loved him from afar back then, I love him now across the bay.  And so the happiest moment of the evening was seeing that Ron won.  

With hometown pride, I am so very happy for him.


Ron Howard's win is a testament to "Whatever you can conceive (visualize) and believe, you can achieve!" ; the power of commitmentgratitude's grace, and "Nice guys do finish first."

"I'm not a good enough actor anymore to be able to stand up here and make you believe that I haven't imagined this moment in my mind over the years and played it out about a thousand times. I'm very grateful for this. I'm very grateful for an entire lifetime spent involved in this creative process... It's simple...I'm grateful... Thank you to John and Alicia Nash for sharing your important story with us. I'm very, very proud to know you and may you have many years of peace ahead of you.Thank you to John Nash...I've very proud to know you."  
Ron Howard

>> Ron Howard's Full Acceptance Speech

He acknowledged the loves of his life: Cheryl, his incredible wife; and their four children, Bryce, Jocelyn, Paige and Reed.  (Aside: Each child's middle name is the place where they were conceived)  With heartfelt appreciation, he lovingly thanked his father, Rance Howard, and his mother, Jean Speegle Howard, who transitioned in September, 2000. 

He shared the following story:  his mom had predicted before she passed 18 months ago that he would win the Oscar this time.  He then interjected, "She'd also made that prediction on every movie I've directed since 1983."

Sweet story. I think she was smiling through it all. She, too, was rooting for her boy with all her might. She kept those voters true to their mission of voting who is best for that year.  

Ron Howard is The Best Director.

Ahhh, there's so much more one can do in spirit! 


Other winners that caught my (favorable) attention as I was preparing for our trip the next morning were:  Halle Berry for Best Actress in "Monsters Ball" and Renee Zellweger for "Best Dressed" at the Academy Awards, for the first time in the Kodak Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.


"Visual,"  I am a sucker for the flash, the glitz, and the excitement that is the Oscars. Two dresses -- and the women in them -- caught my attention:

Halle Berry was fantastically gorgeous in her peek-a-boo merlot-colored ball gown by Elie Saab with ornate, floral beaded appliques to hide her berries, just beneath a see-through bodice.  The tulle and taffeta overskirt/train was richly voluptuous and flowing.  She was a vision to behold.

Renee Zellweger was a knockout in simplicity.  Up for Best Actress in "Bridget Jone's Diary," she was simply ravishing in a black strapless Carolina Herrera ball gown and Mr. Winston's diamond earrings, a perfect blend of elegance, glamour and sex appeal.  From zaftig Bridget to svelte (20-pounds-lighter), elegantly stylish Renee-at-the-Oscars, I was impressed by her wondrous, touched-by-the-magic-wand transformation.  

In the wake of 9/11, Renee's subdued choice was appropriately tasteful, noticed, and appreciated.


The most memorable -- and emotional -- acceptance was Halle Berry's.  I misted up when she hugged her Anglo mother, who gave her the courage to dream. Halle Berry is quite possibly the most beautiful woman on the planet. Flawless!  A hybrid vigor. 

To say she is Afro-American is not accurate, I think, and it doesn't take a math genius to figure that out.  I still don't quite get the one drop rule.  To me, Halle is hapa (Hawaiian for part).  Part Afro, part Anglo.  To underplay the Anglo part is as unrealistic as overplaying the Afro part.  To not as adamantly acknowledge the Anglo part of her is to erase or negate her Anglo ancestors -- and her mother. 

She is an American of African and Anglo heritages, one of The Golden People, as James Michener describes in the book, Hawai`i.  One day, race will be a moot point. No racial jokes. No race cards.

One day, life will be simpler. It'll just be "we," "our," "us."  


I like the tasteful, poised and understated, and this, Halle was not.  She was veering out of control -- totally losing it -- with gasps, sobs and tears. Yet, I was completely taken in by her genuine shock.  Clenching and unclenching her fist, she momentarily had that deer-caught-in-the-headlights stricken look.  

Her "Oh, my God" broke the spell, and after gathering herself, she uttered, "It's for every nameless, faceless woman of color who now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened."

She said it exactly right.


I was moved by director Arthur Hiller's acknowledgment of his parents after he received  the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from his "Love Story" stars Ryan O'Neal and Ali McGraw.  

"I had an unbelievably caring mother and father who lived their lives with the moral values of love and compassion of respect and responsibility for human dignity and standing up for what's right."
~ Arthur Hiller

The power of excellent parenting.


With all due respect to Denzel Washington, who is "all of our fantasies," how does Jennifer Connelly win and Russell Crowe lose? How does Russell Crowe win for "Gladiator," but not for "A Beautiful Mind"?  

Truer words could not have been spoken:  "We wouldn't be here if it weren't for Russell Crowe," said Academy Award winning producer, Brian Graser.

I guess the voters didn't want him to win twice in a row.  I guess they wanted to spread the glory around.  

I just wish those voters would keep their mission clear.  They are to vote for the best _____ of that year.  No sympathy votes.  No political agenda votes.  No it's-his/her-turn votes.  No IOU votes.  

Instead, Denzel Washington won for Best Actor in "Training Day."  Facts: It's his second Oscar; he won best supporting actor for 1989's "Glory." He is only the second black actor to win a Best Actor award since Sidney Poitier won in 1963 for "Lilies Of The Field."  

My opinion, not gospel:  I think Denzel was due this Oscar for  "Malcolm X."  Instead, back then, the award to Al Pacino for a "Scent of a Woman."  

But for this one, while a powerful and a different "bad guy" performance, he was not due. Denzel will have his shot at really earning an Oscar on the horizon.  This was hardly it. And I am one of Denzel's most ardent admirers.

Russell Crowe deserved the Best Actor Award, 2002.  He was brilliant.  He was The Best Actor.  I hope he finds some consolation in producer Brian Graser's words: 

It's my honor to work with the profound Russell Crowe. And we wouldn't be here if it weren't for Russell Crowe. His amazing dedication, work ethic and artistry have gotten us here."
~Brian Graser


Sharon Stone & John Travolta came on stage to announce the nominees for Foreign Films, dancing, a la Ginger and Fred.  I delight in John's joie de vivre.  It's contagious. 


Sidney Poitier.  A class act.  

"Life is a Gift."

Me ke Aloha, 
Author Unknown

 "The only gift is a portion of thyself..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson


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This web journal was created on a September Morn, 
September 29, 2001
September Morn 2002