Friday, March 12, 2010

Sandy Powell, Pioneer




In 1984, Sally Field won her second Academy Award (for "Places of the Heart") and showcased one of the most memorable speeches in Oscar history. With vulnerability that only Sally Field could get away with, she stated, "I haven't had an orthodox career, and I've wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn't feel it, but this time I feel it, and I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!"

This past week's Oscars showed us a different reaction to winning the same award again. Winning her third Oscar for Best Costume Design was Sandy Powell, who is as welcoming as the Svedka fem-bot. After showing no surprise at her name being announced as "winner", she sauntered to the stage, proudly displaying the mostly delightful smuggness I've ever seen (in addition to an equally smug tiny hat). Then, in a nearly exasperated breath she said, "Wow. Well.... I already have two of these....." 

First thought: What. A. Bitch. 

Second thought: YES!!!!

Sure, I'll cry every time the camera cuts to strong black women holding back tears of joy and pride, but what I really want in a speech is arrogance. Why humbly accept an award you know damn-well you deserve more than anyone else? Shake those tail feathers, let's hear that roar!  

As artists, we need a way to express ourselves. When you dominate another person (or people), the feeling of superiority must be let loose. The touchdown dance was invented for this very reason. I'm hoping that Sandy Powell's casual "I would expect nothing less" attitude will pave the way for more gaudy displays of egotism.

This might mean doing a choreographed dance with your costume assistants and stylists, or grabbing a Meryl Streep's shawl to dry-rub your crotch, or taking the stance of Jesus on the cross, rising into heaven. Or why not get down and dirty dirty like a Ludacris video, blow a snot-rocket, and give Penelope Cruz an atomic wedgie?

Sandy Powell, you are a pioneer. Considering the airs of dignity and grace on display at the awards, you really took it to another level. Thank you for Michael-Jordan-reverse-jamming that Oscar statue through the goal posts and shaking your Victorian pelvis at me. But don't stop now. We both know you'll win this award again, so start planning for next year because you've got to keep moving forward. In the words of Nelson Mandela, "After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb." The world is your oyster. Get it, girl.


2 comments:

Nat Topping said...

From now on, instead of curtain calls I propose we have the cast perform touchdown dances.

Anyone care to second that?

Chris Othic said...

I think it should happen at the end of 12 Angry Sketches.