I love the Academy Awards. Every year I get together with a group of friends to watch and share our thoughts on the awards show. This year, I was with a different group of friends, in celebration of a pal’s birthday, but the critiquing was just as serious.
As I did last year, I’d like to share the lessons we can learn from the mannerly and not so mannerly behaviors witnessed at the event.
Swearing is not cool
Melissa Leo, Best Supporting Actress winner, used the F-word in her acceptance speech. While she was clearly overwhelmed and excited by winning, she did not need to “drop the F-bomb”, as so many people referred to it. Further, I was disappointed that Ann Hathaway condoned the word usage when she was interviewed afterwards at the Governor’s Ball. I know the Academy was trying to make the event appeal to a younger, hipper audience, but really, that does not mean you need to swear.
Be prepared, but not too prepared
I was also surprised Melissa Leo didn’t have a speech prepared. She was a pretty clear favorite for winning an Oscar, so one would expect she would have given some thought to what she would say. She even admitted on the red carpet she hadn’t prepared a speech. Consequently, she breathlessly rambled.
On the other hand, Colleen Atwood, the costume designer for Alice in Wonderland, wrote a speech, and then read it word for word. It was a lovely speech, but it would have been much better delivered if she had used bullet points, or at least made an effort to look up at the audience occasionally.
Whether an Academy Awards nominee, a sales person or someone in a meeting, be ready to be called on to speak, but use notes sparingly.
Mom knows bet
Mila Kunis was lovely in her lacy purple dress, but as several of the commentators stated, her serious facial expression made her seem unapproachable or even bored. A smile enhances your beauty. Do it often.
Ann Hathaway did a great job as co-host of the show. She was upbeat, funny and enthusiastic. Her co-host, James Franco, was just the opposite. He lacked energy and almost seemed bored with the whole thing. He also rarely looked at Ann or even the camera. As a speaker, energy is vital to keeping people engaged and enthusiastic.
Don’t bend over the mic
I mentioned this last year and it bears repeating. A few people bent over the microphone to speak directly into it, despite the mic being raised or lowered to accommodate each speaker’s height.
This is also really common in the professional world. I often see speakers contort themselves to get their mouth right next to the microphone. It’s usually not necessary. Microphones are a lot more sensitive these days. Even if they don’t move, they should amplify your voice just fine. Stand up straight and speak. You’ll be heard.
Best quote of the night
Actress Halle Berry paid tribute to Lena Horne, singer and actor who died last year, and shared one of Ms. Horne’s quotes; “It’s not the load that beats you down. It’s how you carry it.” While that quote can mean so many things, I am reminded of the amazing poise Sandra Bullock had at last year’s Academy Awards as she accepted her Oscar. Despite a difficult year, having been jaded by her then husband, Jesse James, she was poised, confident, humble and gracious.
Readers, what gaffes and good graces did you witness at the Academy Awards?