We were planning to go - our invitation still sits on the desk in the "to be answered" pile. I guess I had better move it.
I love going to the awards. Some people who go regularly, find it a bore or pretend they do. I guess some people think it is cool not to admit that one finds anything exciting. But I do find it exciting. I love all the industry events we go to - since we're pretty selective and don't go to many. I like the ones that the media is not invited into (though they hover outside the doors, ready to burst into attack mode when the doors open at the end). No-camera parties are vastly different from filmed events.
The last big party I went to before we went to Wales included in its guest list these people [as listed in Variety]:
Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, Warren Beatty, Jennifer Aniston, Cameron Diaz, Harrison Ford, Jodie Foster, Mike Myers, Billy Crystal, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Drew Barrymore, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Herbert F. Solow, Garry Marshall, Emily Mortimer, Danny DeVito, Lucy Liu, Hans Zimmer, Benicio Del Toro, Janice Pennington, Ashton Kutcher and Estella Warren, etc.
I had a great time. I love Hollywood parties (the elegant, dignified, black tie, moderate-drinking, no-drugs kind which are the only ones I go to). I love big cities, I love concerts, events, galas, the Academy Awards, and I love the kinds of conversations, power, laughter, etc. that go with them. But there is something I love even more about these events: Gratitude. One of the main attributes almost all these people above - and many more of our friends - is appreciation. They genuinely appreciate people's efforts. They genuinely appreciate people. I remember writing about this to one of our friends, an actor (a household name whose face was once said (bizarrely) by a prominent magazine to be more recognisable around the world than Jesus):
"I didn't see you at the Hollywood Film Festival Awards Ceremony and Dinner on Monday night - did you go? Harold Michaelson was receiving an award. It may be corny but I have to say that I had such an elevation of appreciation in my heart for this lovely experience. It is easy to take it for granted if you go to enough of them - and grumble about traffic and late hours. And perhaps it is fashionable to do so.
But if you look at it with appreciative eyes - one cannot help but express what you expressed in your last email - what a blessed life we lead! I mean, how many people on Planet Earth get to spend time in such aesthetic and other delights - from the beautiful women and their dresses and the handsome elegant men in their evening dress - to the dinner which was so artistically presented (and was delicious besides) - to the astounding flower arrangements on the table - in the company of the some of the most talented people in the world? Producers, camera people, song writers, composers, directors, actors, art directors, etc. The great legendary films of our time - and some before our time - were all created by these amazing people.
And how many people on planet earth get to hear Billy Crystal when he is not constrained by television cameras or a script?! He was so completely off the wall - we couldn't stop laughing. He did a debate between Rob Reiner and Arnold Schwartzenegger (who were both there) as two candidates running for governor.
It wasn't the glittering string of attendees that was the attraction - it was the feeling of appreciation in the room - the sense of great loyalty and friendship and private cohesiveness - that was like a special moment in a family's life. Just a good, good ambience. One LA newspaper article said -"How did they get these people to show up just to honour someone - when there would be no press there? And then went on to answer its own question - with this very sentiment.
They went to honor the people whom they appreciate - art directors, camera guys, people behind the scenes as well as in front of it, because they genuinely appreciate what these guys (male and female) do to make the movies they star in, look good. In any case, one of the qualities I like most about Hollywood, is something that no outsider ever sees (and every outsider stupidly thinks does not exist): an appreciative enthusiasm for what life has to offer and what people do for each other.
Of course the business offers so much more than awards ceremonies. But if we can delight in and be thankful for these joyful and satisfying moments - how much more can we be grateful for when we look around the world at large?"
I've had a lot of joy at Academy Award ceremonies - but I have also had the kind of fun on Oscar night that is hard to describe - like sitting on the bed with an actress friend with whom I was spending a weekend long ago, wearing pyjamas, eating cold chicken and caviar and sour cream - and drinking champagne, watching our friends on the screen and keeling over with laughter about nothing, really. We've had fun at small private parties where screenwriters & directors wager their best guesses against actors and producers in each category or sometimes, cast against crew in a good-natured contest as we watch the ceremonies on screens throughout the hose.
Tonight, my husband and I are in a cabin in the dark woods, trying to finish our books. We'll stop to watch the familiar ceremony and wish our friends and colleagues well. I feel a tinge of regret that we're not going. But not as much as I would have felt before I went to Wales, where, as I explained in another email "my circle of interests gradually changed from which art director will win the Academy Award and which lawyer we have to see next to when Martin the porter will get his golden pheasants to raise and when the Welsh Choir will hold its practice in the local chapel so we can go listen and cry.
And now the daffodils are just coming out and the days are like days from childhood - the air is too clean and sparkling and the white clouds billow over these emerald hills and the whole place is just too beautiful to grasp sometimes."
The point is to find joy everywhere. It will be interesting to see if that sentiment holds fast tonight, in the dark and isolated woods of the frozen Northwest. Somehow, I think it will.
Causes Harrison Solow Supports
Lupus Foundation of America
Museum of Tolerance