Tag Archives: Oscars

Oscar’s 90th – Segment 4 – Hum if You Don’t Know the Words

This segment is about the Best Original Songs in the 90th Oscar show. And it is either about the presenters introducing the songs or the songs themselves.

The first one that I want to focus on is introduced by Dave Chappelle. In the show it is the fourth nominated song for Best Original Song, “Stand Up for Something.” It is from the movie, “Marshall” that is based on a young lawyer and one of his early trials of Thurgood Marshall who we all know or should know he later became a Supreme Court Justice. And not just any Supreme Court Justice but the first black Supreme Court Justice. The song, “Stand Up for Something” was introduced by Dave Chappelle as being written by Diane Warren and Oscar winner, Common. It was recorded and performed here at the Oscars by Common and Andra Day. The song as recorded as “Stand Up for Something” by Andra Day and featuring Common is a very inspiring song!!! Andra Day has the most gifted and beautiful voice. I love it and I love the song. You can see it in its fullness here as the official music video: Andra Day – Stand Up For Something feat. Common [Official Music Video] If you expand the info below the video it will give you the lyrics. Again they are wonderful, beautiful, inspiring but interesting that they did not include the words spoken or rapped by Common. So I am going to give them to you with the song lyrics below. So you really don’t need to hum as the title of this blog entry states!

You can have all the money in your hands
All the possessions anyone can ever have
But it’s all worthless treasure, true worth is only measured
Not by what you got, but what you got in your heart
You can have, you can have everything
What does it, what does it mean?

It all means nothing
If you don’t stand up for something
You can’t just talk the talk
You got to walk that walk, yes you do
It all means nothing
If you don’t stand up for something
And I’ll stand up for you
And I’ll stand up for you, yes I will, yes I will

You do the best, to do the best that you can do
Then you can look in the mirror
Proud of who’s looking back at you
Define the life you’re living
Not by what you take but what you’re givin’
And if you bet on love there’s no way you’ll ever lose
Take a stand, make a stand for what’s right
It’s always worth, always worth the fight

‘Cuz it all means nothing
If you don’t stand up for something
You can’t just talk the talk
You got to walk that walk, yes you do
It all means nothing
If you don’t stand up for something
And I’ll stand up for you
Stand for respect, dignity
If that’s all you got, then you got all you need
And without that, you don’t have a thing, oh, no, no

(Common’s rap)

Rise up, love, lift your hands
I stand with you ’cause I understand
Ain’t here to judge, just to take a stand
The greater plan’s the Creator’s plan
Let’s all rise like the day began
Reach out and touch with the Savior’s hand
On rock, we stand like this native land
Let the ways of love be the ways of man

And it all means nothing
If you don’t stand for something
You can’t just talk the talk
You got to walk that walk, yes you do
It all means nothing
If you don’t stand up for something
And I’ll stand up for you (stand up, stand for you)
I’ll stand up for you (stand up)
And I’ll stand up for you (stand up, stand for you)
Stand up for you, yes I will, yes I will (stand up)

Again it is WOW! Love this song. They lyrics are wonderful but when sung and rapped by Andra and Common they are powerful and beautiful. Fantastic! You need to stand up for something. Something you believe in. And if it is good and right they will, I will, all of us singing along with will stand with you. All the riches in the world does not matter if you don’t stand up for something. And you have to do more than talk the talk – you have walk the walk – live what you preach. Live what you believe and stand up for it! And if you don’t then can you honestly look at yourself in the mirror. Adding in Common’s words telling you to “Rise up, love, lift your hands” and if you do he’ll “stand with you ‘cause I understand. Ain’t here to judge” you need to “just to take a stand”. But the rest of Common’s words I totally agree with as well. Simply because I am a Christian. And I think that is surprising because you do not typically hear such words in a popular song. Obviously you would in a Gospel song or Christian pop sing but not usually in pop song and one used in a movie.

Common-and-Andra-Day-oscars-stage-2018-1

Clearly, I stand for something! And for the purpose of this blog I will limit it to what this blog is all about. My activist, advocacy, passion that has been for the inclusion of people with a disAbility in the creative roles in movies and television! I STAND UP FOR SOMETHING that is so long overdue that the entertainment industry should be ashamed of themselves. And throughout this Academy Awards show they have been cheering how diverse and inclusive they are. But again it is for women, racial minorities, and the LGBT minorities and again dismiss, overlook, exclude, discriminate against the largest minority, the people with a disAbility. There is a small exception to that which I will talk about in the next segment. But still I “Stand Up for Something” that I think we all agree needs to be addressed. People with a disAbility need to be represented – and self-represented in movies and television. And I will not give up!

The Oscar Performance

The fourth nominated Best Original Song. And as I have shown this song certainly deserves this honor. In this performance they had 10 activists on the stage with Andra Day and Common. They all “Stand Up for Something” that is good. And as the song says if you do, “I’ll stand up for you.”

But as the song begins, instead of Andra Day beginning to sing for us to stand up for what we believe in and believe is right, Common decided to rap first. And he decided to tell us what is good and right. He tells us what it is that we should “Stand Up for…” Common turns to politics. Maybe we should not be surprised after all we have had the Oscar’s host Jimmy Kimmel inserted that from his opening as I showed in the first segment in this Oscar commentary. But this song is so good and universal. Common starts the song with telling us what is good and right. And not only that but because it is political he also tells us what is not good or right. And obviously this means if you “Stand Up for” any of those deemed by Common to not be good or right you are wrong and do not have the right to “Stand Up for” and if you do you are wrong. He is ruining the song. We all have something we stand up for. We do not agree on all issues. Common tells us that the NRA is not of God. What if someone else rapped saying that Planned Parenthood and their abortions are not of God?

Again we are all different. And we have such divisiveness in this country. How do we come together or have tolerance for one another if we tell one another – especially on these large platforms what we should and should not believe? What we should “Stand Up for”? But that is the beauty of this song!  The song does NOT tell us what to stand up for. We are individuals and the song tells us that standing up for something we believe in and what we believe is the right thing to do. This is wonderful and how we can all sing it together – regardless what it is we are standing up for! I do not want to get into all who have used this song to anthem their cause because the song is universal and does not tell anybody what to stand up for. We are to “Stand Up for Something” that we believe is good and right. I do not want to tell Common what he should stand up for and I do not want him to tell me or anyone else what they should stand up for. And that if they stand up for something other than what Common says to stand up for that they have no right to do so. Ruining this song in this performance and rapping in such a way has me lose respect for Common. And unfortunately, it might be some time before I can listen to this song in its original form – its original video without thinking about this Oscar performance of it. Something so beautiful has become such a downer. All thanks and no thanks to Common.

Presenters for Best Original Song

And while we are talking about nominees for Best Original Song and throwing in political statements I noticed these two presenters for the second and third nominated songs. Here in the second song nominated, “Remember Me” from the animated featured film, “Coco”, was presented by Mexican born actor Eugenio Derbez. He is a very good actor. I noticed him from the movie, “How To Be A Latin Lover.” It was hilarious and he did a great job in it. So he is here at the Oscars and presenting for this song.

Eugenio Derbez - Oscars - in the after world there are no walls

“The next nominee for original song was composed for the animated feature “Coco” by the Oscar winners for “Let It Go” Kristin Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. (Applause) In the movie, this song pulls a 12-year-old Mexican boy from the land of the living across the border to the land of the dead. All for the love of his family. Because, you know, in the afterworld, there are no walls. (He pauses for a reaction but it is dead silent) Anyway… whether sung as a lullaby or a joyous celebration this song ultimately shows the power of music to bind generations and bring people back to life. Literally and figuratively. And now performing, “Remember Me” three of the artists from the movie soundtrack, Gael Garcia Bernal, Miguel and Natalia Lafourcade. Viva Mexico.”

Wow! I would think that with that statement, “Because, you know, in the afterworld, there are no walls” and he pauses for a reaction that that audience would erupt with applause and cheers. But they did nothing. I was shocked.

The third nominee for Best Original Song was presented by transgender actress from Chile, Daniela Vega. She was on the stage earlier that night as the film she starred in, “A Fantastic Woman” in which she plays a transgender woman mourning the death of her partner had won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Daniela was the first openly transgender person to present at the Academy Awards. Which I suppose they planned whether her film won or not because the song, “Mystery of Love” is from the movie, “Call Me by Your Name” about the gay love relationship between a 17 year-old boy and a 24 year-old man. I might also state that the Academy is making history as Daniela Vega is the first transgender person to present at the Oscars. I would think the audience would be making loud cheers and applause when she presents. Here is Daniela’s presentation.

Daniela Vega Presenting original song - 1

“Thank you. Thank you so much for this moment. I want to invite you to open your hearts and your feelings to feel the reality. To feel love. Can you feel it?” – (Daniela opens her arms and hands as to invite a response. She pauses. No applause or cheers from the audience. Daniela bows her head seemingly sad that there was no response. She takes a big breath, raises her head and quickly continues) – “Our third nominated original song comes from the movie, ‘Call Me by Your Name.” (For that the audience applauded. Daniela smiles and gives a chuckle of partial relief that they like that song and also sadness for they clearly can hear and understand her with her Chilean accent.) “Love is a mysterious thing, and a first love, even more of a challenge, right? Composer Sufjan Stevens song explores a new and surprising emotions [for] the film’s 17 year old protagonists, Elio, experiences when an American graduate student, Oliver, comes to stay for the summer. Here to perform, “Mystery of Love”, is composer, Sufjan Stevens.”

I wonder why there was not any response to these two presenters when they were opening it – inviting the audience to respond and they get nothing. Were they not paying attention? Did they not understand either of them because of their Spanish accents? But they did applaud and cheer during other parts of their presentations. So therefore they did understand through their accents. And Daniela, the first transgender actress to present at the Oscars, whom the audience knows because she was up on the stage as the star of the film that just won Best Foreign Language Film and she just asked them a question and waited for their response but the audience sat still and quiet. Normally, and throughout the show they have cheered and applauded every time there was a political topic mentioned. Maybe it was because it was not Jimmy Kimmel? No, because there were others that made political statements and they got cheers and applause’s. Maybe Eugenio and Daniela are not big enough stars to pay attention to? I just find it strange. I wonder if a person with a disAbility that was not a big star would get such a lack of acknowledge?

The Grand Finale

Lastly, for this entry, I have to talk about the best part of this year’s Oscar show. This is an amazing song by an amazing singer, Broadway star, Keala Settle! She sings and portrays, “The Bearded Lady” in the movie, “The Greatest Showman.” The movie is a musical itself and tells the story of how real live P.T. Barnum (July 5, 1810 – April 7, 1891) whom had several careers but best known for becoming “the greatest showman on earth.” Some would say the original showman. Today many would recognize his name from the Barnum and Bailey Circus but Barnum began by himself as a traveling museum that had strange items, oddities and a freak show. The “freak shows” during the time of P.T. Barnum were humans commonly known as and called, freaks because they were very different, usually physically, from the general population. In the movie, as Barnum’s traveling show became more popular he socializes primarily with the rich and famous while leaving his cast of freaks that he used to befriend behind. And it is at one of these parties full of the rich and famous that the freaks, led by Lettie Lutz, a.k.a. “The Bearded Lady” with the song, “This Is Me” and into the party! Again it is a wonderfully written song made so powerful by the incredible voice of Keala Settle. And now here is the Oscar presentation by one of the actresses in the movie, Zendaya.

(Off screen Announcer) Now, please welcome, Zendaya.

Zendaya presents

Zendaya: The final nominated song is from our movie, “The Greatest Showman.” And was written by last year’s winner in this category, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. This song is so much more than a piece of music. It has become an anthem for all of us who have had trouble marching to the beat that others drum for us. For all of us who have had to find strength and beauty in what makes us different and then be brave enough to unapologetically sing it out to the world. Performing, “This Is Me” please welcome the incredible Keala Settle.

Now for those not familiar with the song here is the YouTube link to The Greatest Showman – This Is Me [Official Lyric Video] – and as it says it is a Lyrical Video. They wonderfully added the lyrics to the screen of the movie scene. Not as Closed Captioning. It is artistically done very well and worth watching! I have a screen captured from the video as the featured pictured of this blog entry – the 4th Segment of the Oscars above. And the picture right below!

This Is Me - video screen - 1

I love this song, “This Is Me”. And it is obvious as my being different, being a paraplegic and a wheelchair user, I can relate well to the song. And again Keala Settle does this so wonderfully. You feel it. And I am sure most people with a disAbility feel it too! That is why this is the Grand Finale of this year’s Oscars in my opinion! It should have won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. But I believe this song will be sung and remembered for ages – a lot longer than the song “Remember Me” that was awarded the Oscar. And the Oscar performance was amazing for “This Is Me.” Obviously it was sung by Keala Settle but she had a chorus of people from all ages and backgrounds on the stage with her. They danced a choreographed scene that eventually has some of them going off the stage and down into the aisles of the audience! I wished they had at least one wheelchair user! But this is the Academy Awards show. And despite the wonderful production of it, this was Keala that brought it home with heart-felt passion and I believe sincere tears. I am going to give you a link to it The 90th Oscars – Keala Settle singing This Is Me and I hope it remains there. And unlike the official music video that I linked above – this performance does not have the lyrics provided.

keala-settle-oscars-show-2018-2

So believe me you will not be able to hum along – therefore so you can sing along here below are the lyrics so you can follow along:

I am not a stranger to the dark
Hide away, they say
‘Cause we don’t want your broken parts
I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say
No one’ll love you as you are

But I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are glorious

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh

Another round of bullets hits my skin
Well, fire away ’cause today, I won’t let the shame sink in
We are bursting through the barricades and
Reaching for the sun (we are warriors)
Yeah, that’s what we’ve become (yeah, that’s what we’ve become)

I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are glorious

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh
This is me

and I know that I deserve your love
(Oh-oh-oh-oh) ’cause there’s nothing I’m not worthy of
(Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh)
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
This is brave, this is proof
This is who I’m meant to be, this is me

Look out ’cause here I come (look out ’cause here I come)
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum (marching on, marching, marching on)
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I’m gonna send a flood
Gonna drown them out
Oh
This is me

The song is beautiful and it was not politicized like Common did for his nominated song. This song says it wonderfully for as Zendaya has said in her introduction presentation of this song has become an “anthem for all of us who have had trouble marching to the beat that others drum for us. For all of us who have had to find strength and beauty in what makes us different and then be brave enough to unapologetically sing it out to the world.” And I feel it should be for the people with a disAbility. The often forgotten or the dismissed minority that makes up nearly 20% of the American population. And are nearly lost in any productions of Hollywood movies and television. “Marching to the best that [Hollywood] drum[s] for us.” And although there are over 56 million Americans with a disAbility – it is those of us with a disAbility who are actors, writers, directors – the creative roles out here trying our very best to be seen and heard and acknowledged by Hollywood and are saying for all of those with a disAbility – “This Is Me.” Let us represent ourselves in the 21st century entertainment industry.

Next up is the final commentary on the Oscars, “Oscar’s 90th – Segment 5 – Diversity and The Newest Hollywood Term”

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Oscar’s 90th – Segment 3 – Coco for Coco(a) Puffs

This segment is a simple one and reminds me a little about the blog entries where I simply interchange the racial minority for the dismissed minority of those with a disAbility. Here it is about the words spoken in an acceptance speech and nothing needs to be interchanged. There just needs some inclusion added to the inclusion spoken of and implied! This is my favorite part of this Academy Awards Show so far! I was coco, crazily happy with the words spoken during this segment of the show! But would like Hollywood to see it on the big picture. Real inclusive when it comes to the Hollywood’s dismissive minority – especially when this minority is huge! If they did, I am sure we’d all go coco or rather coo-coo or cuckoo – obviously I am referring to the television commercial for the cereal brand of Cocoa Puffs where the animated, Sonny the Cuckoo Bird is so happy and goes so crazy, in a good way, when given a bowl of Cocoa Puffs. I would go crazy for more of this inclusion of people with a disAbility. So let’s talk about this and how it would be if Hollywood was serious as they seemed to be during this segment of the Academy Award’s show.

This year’s Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film went to “Coco.” Producer, Darla Anderson, writer and director, Lee Unkrich, and I believe voice actors, Anthony Gonzalez and Gael García Bernal, who plays the featured characters, Miguel and Hector respectively. But the latter two only give brief thanks and I want to focus on Producer, Darla Anderson and writer and director, Lee Unkrich.

coco - lee unkrich - 3

Darla Anderson was the first to speak.

Darla K. Anderson: “Thank you to the Academy. We’re so happy. Coco is proof that art can change and connect the world. And this can only be done when we have a place for everyone and anyone who feels like an ‘other’ to be heard.”

Wow! Again something that I have been saying for decades! Here of course she is speaking primarily about her film, “Coco” that features Mexican characters and voice actors for the animated film. But it should be universal and include people with a disAbility. She says, “have a place for everyone and anyone”. There is that word “everyone” again! If you have not read my previous blog entry, “Oscar’s 90th – Segment 2 – Let’s Dream”, I invite you go back and read it! But I do believe she means it! And this means she does believe it to be universally extended to all of those, “who feels like an ‘other’ to be heard”! We certainly fit into that category! Obviously when I speak of “we” I mean those with a disAbility! The entire community of people with a disAbility would love to be seen in movies and television, as well as those trying to be heard, accepted and included as people with a disAbility in the creative and technical roles in the entertainment industry to represent ourselves in movies and television. And as she said at the beginning of that sentence, “And this can only be done when we have a place for everyone and anyone”. That place is in the entertainment industry! And then we can, just like, “Coco is proof that art can change and connect the world.” I would love to have the entertainment industry allow us a place to connect with them and so our art, our movies and television programs, can also connect us, the people with a disAbility with the world in general. That would help “change and connect the world” for us here in America but also for those with a disAbility around the world who are even more discriminated, cast aside, dismissed and even in some cultures throw out of families and treated by their societies as animals. We can help facilitate a change – if Hollywood would give us “a place”.

Next up!

The next one I want to talk about and a lot of people did talk about the day after the Oscars was the writer and director of “Coco”, Lee Unkrich. Here is what he said after he thanked his cast, crew, execs from Disney and Pixar, and his family:

Lee Unkrich: “And the biggest thank you of all [goes] to the people of Mexico. ‘Coco’ would not exist without your endlessly beautiful culture and traditions (Huge applause). With ‘Coco,’ we tried to take a step forward toward a world where all children can grow up seeing characters in movies that look and talk and live like they do. Marginalized people deserve to feel like they belong. Representation matters.” (Big applause)

WOW! WOW! WOW! – How long have I been saying this? What matters? Does this fit people with a disAbility? In our American society we have gotten much better of inclusion in the past 20+ years that I have become a paraplegic. But Hollywood has only inched their way forward. They still marginalize us. Making us feel like we don’t belong in their society. — We are creatives in the entertainment industry – particularly in the movie and television industry are dismissed and excluded even from those projects that feature a character with a disAbility. Which is rare when considering that we do make up nearly 20% of the American population. And this forgotten or dismissed minority wants and needs to be “seeing characters in movies that look and talk and live like they do.” Or is this just for the racial minorities? Mr. Unkrich was talking about his movie that featured a Mexican kid and so he did preface it by saying, “we tried to take a step forward toward a world where all children can grow up seeing characters in movies” and I agree that children with a disAbility need at least a step forward toward a world where they see “characters in movies” that “look and talk and live like they do.” But so do adults with a disAbility need to see characters who are kids and adults with a disAbility “that look and talk and live like they do.”

Representation Matters!

Yes! Representation matters! We all need to have some representation in the movies and television shows we watch and pay money for. And with Hispanic or Latino – 17.8%, and Blacks or African-Americans – 13.3%, make up the percentage of the American population according the 2010 US Census estimates for 2016. They are all looking for more representation in movies and television. Often looking for more representation in the front offices as executives but also in the writing of their characters and to have more directors. Women have also wanted more representation in all of these areas as well (I will speak about them in the final Segment of these 90th Oscars).

Like so many of those people with a disAbility, who make up 19% (according to 2010 US Census) of the American population (and I am sure it is more than that in 2018) want more representation. But unlike the other sub-groups or minorities I just mentioned, who do not need to ask for “authentic” representation because they do not have to worry about a white person portray them – or a man representing a woman in movies and television – we do have to worry about someone without a disAbility representing us on screen. We want more representation and at least some more of that representation being authentic representation. Representing ourselves more in the currently infinitesimal percentage of movies and television that Hollywood produces. Our fight for representation is doubled when you consider that we are so often excluded from representing ourselves in the little amount of movies and television we are in. Representation matters and so does authentic representation.

First, can we get some more characters with a disAbility in movies and television? Remember the percentage of characters with a disAbility in movies and television, who many were speaking parts and how many of them were portrayed by those with a disAbility, according to the research that I spoke about in the first Segment about these Oscars?

And secondly, can we represent ourselves in more of those characters with a disAbility? Is that wrong? If we are going to cheer and applaud for those when it comes to Mexican-Americans, the Hispanic or Latino communities being represented like in, “Coco” at these Oscars – and for blacks and African-Americans – and for women, like those nominated for the first time for Best Cinematography and Best Director for the first time in 8 years at this year’s Oscars — can’t we all cheer and applaud for some more representation and authentic or self-representation for people with a disAbility? Especially when you consider the disparity that people with a disAbility have in movies and television versus the American population of people with a disAbility? Can we get some support for some authentic representation? After all don’t you agree that “Representation Matters”!!!!

 

We have 2 more segments in this year’s Oscars commentary. Next up is, “Oscar’s 90th – Segment 4 – Hum if You Don’t Know the Words”

Oscar’s 90th – Segment 2 – Let’s Dream

Like many of you, I love hearing my favorite actors, actresses, or directors talking about their work, their passion for their profession and or their history of where they came from and how they got where they are in the entertainment industry. In one case a movie and television music composer, Michael Giacchinio. In most cases I have no idea who the nominees are in this category but I did recognize his name because I had watched all the “behind the scenes” features on the season DVD’s for the television show, “Alias” for which he was the music composer for and was in one of those featurettes. But it was his acceptance speech for when he won the Oscar award for Best Music/Original Score for the movie “Up” that was particularly inspiring to me and I talked about in my blog entry for that 2010 Oscar Award show.  Or better yet, watch it on YouTube.

So if a couple of my favorite actors, let’s say like Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner were at this years’ Oscars and as presenters – not as award winning speeches – and talked about how they grew up dreaming of being on that stage and working in the industry and the craft that they were so passionate about. And then saying, “And like everyone in this room, and everyone watching at home, we are dreamers. We grew up dreaming of one day working in movies. Dreams are the foundation of Hollywood. And dreams are the foundation of America.”

Matthew and Jennifer - cr - 632x324

That would be having me voicing out loud toward the television, “Yeah!” Of course, I am a dreamer! I have the same passion for working at writing and directing movies as they do in acting in movies. The same as so many others out there. “We are dreamers.”

These words were spoken at this years’ Academy Awards by Oscar winning actress, Lupita Nyong’o, as she was presenting awards with stand-up comedian, actor and this year became an Academy Award nominee for Best Original Screenplay, Kumail Nanjiani. She is a Mexican born Kenyan. Her parents are Kenyan and lived in Mexico City when she was born. She lived in both countries before coming to America for college to study drama. He was born in Pakistan and moved here when he was 18 to attend college. He has since become an American citizen. I tell you of their nationality and being immigrants because the Academy Award show writers clearly wanted that to be known as they have prepared some of what they are going to say from the teleprompter before presenting the award for Best Achievement in Production Design. There are some video on the internet of this presentation but most have been taken down by the Academy. Even the videos they put up on their own site! So for you and future readers, here is the full transcript of their prepared text (plus some reactions) at the Oscars.

Lupita Nyongo and Kumail Nanjiani Oscars 2018 - Dreamers

LUPITA NYONG’O: Good evening. We are the two actors you keep hearing about but whose names you have trouble pronouncing. (light laughter)

KUMAIL NANJIANI: Actually, I have to come clean. Kumail Nanjiani is my stage name. My actual given Pakistani name is Chris Pine. (Laughter) So you can imagine how annoyed I was when the other — when the “white” Chris Pine showed up. The “real” Chris Pine.

LUPITA: We are also immigrants. I’m from Kenya.

KUMAIL: And I’m from — (some applause and yells) ‘Kenya is in the house.’ And I am from Pakistan and Iowa. (light laughter but enough to interrupt Kumail but he moves on) Two places that nobody in Hollywood can find on a map. (sporadic laughter)

LUPITA: And like everyone in this room, and everyone watching at home, we are dreamers. We grew up dreaming of one day working in movies. Dreams are the foundation of Hollywood. And dreams are the foundation of America.

KUMAIL: And so (interrupted by applause) — to all the dreamers out there, we stand with you. (more applause) Now, the nominees for achievement in production design.

I am not voicing out loud but I am still thinking, “Yeah”! After all I am a dreamer and I am happy they are standing with me. And for all of us “dreaming of one day working in movies.” That is what they said. “And like everyone in this room, and everyone watching at home, we are dreamers.” Yes. Yes. YES! We are! I love it. Not only everyone in that room – the Oscar nominees and their guests – but everyone at home watching this show – mostly movie lovers are all dreamers. They are recognizing that they are not the only ones out here, or in there that are dreamers and are worthy to be working on making our dreams come true. They did it. Surely we can too! Yeah again! Turn off the lights – we are good to go!

WAIT!

That is not what they said? Or not what they meant? They are lying? Playing us? What did they mean? Well, anybody living in this country knows they are playing us and they don’t mean what they are saying. But for those that do not know let me say how they are taking us down this road to make a subtle but not so subtle political statement. With the changing of the case of one letter in the final sentence, a lowercase “d” to an uppercase “D” to say “…to all the Dreamers out there, we stand with you.” The “Dreamers” are the commonly referred nickname for the recipients of the 44th President, Barak Obama’s executive order in 2012, the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)” that suspends deportation for a 2-year period for about 800,000 children or were children when they were brought to the United States illegally. After the 2-year period they can reapply for another 2-year period and so on. Any illegal immigration issue is a political firestorm here in the United States. And I do not want to get into the details. And I do not want to take sides on this issue here. This is not the place and therefore I do want to say that the Academy Award show writers, producers and the using of these two legal immigrants in making this a political statement is wrong. That is not the place to take a side either. Despite that a quick internet search of “Lupita Nyong’o and Kumail Nanjiani” shows that all of the top results are articles giving praise for their supporting the “Dreamers” at the Academy Award show. But is that right? They presented with the words “we are dreamers.”

Google Search Lupita Nyongo and Kumail Nanjiani - 1

Google Search Lupita Nyongo and Kumail Nanjiani - 2

 

Changing the Definition of Everyone

How many of us are watching from home? How many of us are working on, have been working on, and will continue to be working on making our dreams come true? We are the dreamers that they spoke of in their presentation. Even as they were speaking it – I felt that they were going to make it a political statement and I would feel betrayed by the words, “And like everyone in this room, and everyone watching at home, we are dreamers.” There is nothing political in this statement. And there should not be anything political in this statement. Nor should it be in the final sentence, “And so to all the dreamers out there, we stand with you.” So how does it become a political statement as the Google results about this Oscar presentation prove that it is? They should have said what they meant by stating, “And so to all the DACA Dreamers out there, we stand with you.” But that would be out of context with what they just said about “everyone” being dreamers.

So how did it become “Dreamer” instead of dreamer? Being a dreamer and knowing so many dreamers that are “dreaming of one day working in the movies” and having those in Hollywood to say they will “stand with you” would mean a lot! It is one that I feel strong about. I have been working on fulfilling my dreams of being a filmmaker since the late 1980’s. A handful of years before I became a paraplegic. And one that has been the focus of this blog since I started it 12 years ago in 2006. Dreaming about a day when people with a disAbility, the largest minority in America, and the most under-represented and most excluded in American movies and television, will be given a little more respect and inclusion in Hollywood. —– So for them to change the context from dreamer to “Dreamer” they need to change the repeated word of “everyone” into just those that were brought into this country illegally. Thereby the inspiring words that Lupita and Kumail said do not apply to the actual “everyone,” like me or the millions of others watching. They apply just to the ones who during their childhood were brought into this country illegally.

They are lying about “everyone” or “dreamers” for this to be in their political context. Why do they have to make this political? And in the process they have once again dismissed my dreams of people with a disAbility, the over 56,700,000 American dreamers being authentically represented in movies. My dreams of being a successful paraplegic filmmaker hiring a paraplegic actor to portray my paraplegic character. And remember as I said at the beginning this is coming from Academy Award Presenters scripted words and not Oscar winners’ speeches. That would be more personal. This is about the show and the Presenters are talking to the audience. Especially these words as this blog entry is talking about. They need to keep what they are saying in context. Say what you mean. If you mean “Dreamers” say “DACA Dreamers” from the beginning. Don’t twist it all around so that my dreams and all of those who are “dreaming of one day working in the movies” are being hijacked for a political statement of “Dreamers.” So Academy, the presenters, the applauding audience members, Hollywood in general – why not just say what you mean? Why do you have to throw “everyone” else under the bus in order to make a political statement at what is supposed to be a fun and entertaining awards show?

Next up – ”Oscar’s 90th – Segment 3 – Coco for Coco(a) Puffs”