Melissa’s Un-authoritative Midrash on the Academy Awards

So, did you watch the Academy Awards 2009 last night?

I almost missed it myself but thanks to a true friend of popular culture who thought to remind me, I caught the last several hours. Most award shows can’t sustain my attention but last night I thought the presentation was stunning.

I had several favorite moments but since it is Monday and we all have way too much to do, I’ll just give you two:

1) The dance tribute to the Musical for once again gaining momentum. The stage was full of fun performers like Beyonce’, Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, and Amanda Seyfried all celebrating the once much-loved genre making its way back into mainstream popularity. Oh and I feel like inserting here: I still don’t like Musicals. I’m just not sassy enough to appreciate Musicals but my personal deficiency at this point does not steal my joy for those who are.

2) The gathering of five female Hollywood hall of famers (Shirley MacLaine, Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard, Sophia Loren, Halle Berry) to recognize the five female nominees for best actress in a leading role (the nominees were: Anne Hathaway, Angelina Jolie, Melissa Leo, Meryl Streep, and Kate Winslet). Shirley MacLaine’s speech to Anne Hathaway was so kind and gracious that I could barely make out that hideously mean yet brilliant character Ouiser from Steel Magnolias. And then I remembered why she was on the stage in the first place.

For those of you who didn’t watch, Kate Winslet won the much-coveted award for best performance by an actress in a leading role. One of the delightful things about watching the Academy Awards is that actors/actresses who often play it cool and composed can’t help but get expressive. Even though they’re all dolled up, they appear surprisingly taken off guard and even corny. I found the moments of cheesiness to be a little bit refreshing. For instance, the exquisite Kate Winslet was no longer a calm and sophisticated socialite restrained in a tight corset like she once was in Titanic, for she resembled a giggly little girl whose bursts of excitement hindered her words from keeping up with her heart. She even waved to her Daddy out in the crowd. I loved when she said:

“I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t made a version of this speech before, I think I was probably eight years old and staring into the bathroom mirror. And this (holding up her statuette) would’ve been a shampoo bottle. Well, it’s not a shampoo bottle now!”

Oh the glory of seeing the fruit of one’s hard work and determination actually realized. You can almost be emotionally moved by it.

I bash Hollywood quite a bit. I’m especially hard on the women. I wonder if it has anything to do with how beautiful they are…? But, I’ve gotta admit, those chics work hard! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that they are dang good at what they do, even if we personally wouldn’t morally approve of the movie they star in. Now, you’re thinking, “Do you have any idea how much they get paid, Melissa???” Point well taken. But still.

I’m taking their example of hard work and excellence as a challenge this week. Notice that I didn’t say I am taking their moral excellence as a challenge. Please don’t misunderstand me. But back to the point– Since I am paid to be a research assistant what this means for me is sitting down with my technical books, articles, and commentaries and reading them like Angelina Jolie would read her script. Now you might think that my job sounds fun and easy, but it isn’t all fun and games. There are days I read small print for eight hours straight. Did I mention I have bi-focals? That’s because I never wear them. Anyway, there are times during the day when I get bored and want to take a nap just like you probably do. I love my job and I find great satisfaction in it but it is still a job and sometimes it is very hard.

This week I don’t want to just do a good job; I want to do an excellent job. From the corporate woman, to the student, all the way to the stay-at-home Mom, we’ve all been given important and often daunting tasks. Let’s be excellent at what we do here on this earth. We may never single-handedly change the world and get to sport Oscar de la Renta evening wear all at the same time but we can be excellent in the various spheres of influence we’ve been given by the Lord.

And on a broad spiritual level, may we continue to persevere in our callings and prove ourselves to be good stewards of our time and resources so that one day we may taste sweet and ultimate victory. A life lived excellently as unto the Lord. No earthly acknowledgment, not even Shirley MacLaine’s toast to Anne Hathaway, could ever hold a candle to the Master’s words:

“Well done, good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of your master.”


158 Responses to “Melissa’s Un-authoritative Midrash on the Academy Awards”

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  1. 151
    puzzlepiecesista says:

    Melissa, EXCELLENT post and thank you for the challenge to be a women of excellance according to God’s definition! My sister and I had our “annual” ocscar party and we were completely thrilled this year….Hugh Jackman did a most excellent job! I too loved how the academy choose to announce the nominees this year. Peers honoring one another for their successes and individual accomplishments. We need to remember to do the same in the body of Christ, so I “tip” my glass to the “Moore” women and hold you in the highest esteem for being women of excellance!!

    Love to you all,
    Angela in Redmond, WA

  2. 152
    Anonymous says:

    Ms. Wheaton,

    I was happy for Kate too; I was afraid she was fix’n to be the Susan Lucie of the movies. The Reader devestated me for a week, then it actually inspired me to write a little something on pride, love, and foolishness a few months ago. Best performance was Anne though; she has become something special, a revalatory performance. But then, Demme has an eye for matching actors to the vehicle; the academy knows that so it hurt her shot… she might have to wait like Kate though to get the award, more often than not it is about a body of work. Keep playing the keyboard!

    A Fan

  3. 153
    Melissa says:

    Anonymous who I presume to be a fellow lover of movies, I loved reading your comment.

  4. 154
    Kristin says:

    I, too, was watching in AWE when all those timeless actresses were on stage! I was imagining what those words of affirmation must have felt like to the nominees spoken by those who have received that same award in the past! WOW! The nominees received those words with smiles on their faces and gratitude in their eyes. I thought to myself, do I receive God’s words of affirmation with smiles and gratitude? Lord, I want to receive ALL you have to say to me with so much gratitude!! His words are better than any others I hear.
    I appreciated your post, why… because I did not want to go to work on monday! Your reminder to excel in order to bring glory to the Kingdom is just what I needed!!

  5. 155
    Jesusistheparty! says:

    One of the coolest things I find about God is how He set “it” up so that we can all be truly satisfied in our callings whether it’s singing for Him like Michael Duhbya Smith does with excellence or simply by serving Him with the same excellence in youth group at the church He chose for us (I used to think that it would have been better to have had a calling that included the cool singing gene). But we all have equal opportunity to experience the Spirit-led satisfied life which is clearly the only way to be genuinely satisfied. Sadly, winning an Oscar apart from a relationship with Jesus Christ will still leave one empty. Our hard work in this life and for the kingdom will reap eternal rewards. And through Christ, we can abound in every good work!(mem verse-week 2)Great inspirational post, Melissa!

  6. 156
    Kelly O says:

    I know there is no such thing as coincidence, so I’ll just say the exact same thing has been on my mind all week.

    I don’t think I saw any of the movies that were nominated (I’m not a movie person anyway) but I understand it takes a lot of hard work to get to that level, and I want to work just as hard at what I do, even if it’s not paying right now.

    That said, if someone wants to drape me in diamonds and give me Pretty Clothes, by all means COME TO TEXAS – I will not turn you away. I promise.

  7. 157
    djrtaylor says:


    I’v thought the same thing for numerous years about actors/actresses. This year I was given one big awakening. I was in Hollywood with my 15 year old daughter who began performing several years ago but felt God’s calling into acting 8 months ago. It’s been amazing the doors he has opened for her since last July but she is still no place near the award shows. The neat thing is she see’s this as her “mission field.” To her God wants her in there letting people see him through her. I know the dangers of what can happen but I have to admit I saw some amazing things happen out there during the time we spent. It was also neat from a mom’s point of view to see her praying while getting to stand on the red carpet the night before all the stars were walking on it.

  8. 158
    Becky Turner says:


    I know this post is a week old, but I just saw it this morning. I’ve been busy!!
    I agree wholeheartedly!! I am a musician/actor in the DFW area and I ALWAYS watch the awards shows. In one of my acting classes it was stated that Anthony HOpkins reads his scripts at least 200 times, so that he knows the story inside and out. It dawned on me while I was reading your post, what if we read our”script for living” God’s Word in excess of 200 times so that we know that story inside and out!! Thank you for your encouraging words.
    Becky Turner

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