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What a Waste of Oscar's Red Carpet

Nicole KidmanAs I was watching the Academy Awards Sunday night, I was saddened by the amount of wasted airtime that took place on the red carpet.

Half the interview time was spent with endless chatter about the clothes the women were wearing. Once a year, we have a parade of the most accomplished people in the entertainment industry, with the chance to ask them the one question every aspiring comic or actor most wants to know: "How did you get here?"

Instead -- we take much of that time to answer what we already know: it's a long dress, it was designed by one of five or six famous designers, and yes, there is cleavage.

The other half often winds up being filled by a standard response to some random - but not so unexpected question, like, "What is your new movie about?" or, "Are you excited about being nominated?"

I saw Nicole Kidman (who's been nominated for best actress THREE times) asked one of these meaningless questions, and after taking it in for a moment, she politely answered - but I couldn't help but wonder what a much more interesting conversation it could have been.

Let's look at her bio for a moment: Here's an Australian who was actually born in Hawaii (to Australian parents), and who was a stutterer (like yours truly) as a child. She was (and still is) extremely shy. (Not a good start for an acting career.)

Yet, she's gone on to star in 17 movies grossing over 2 billion dollars. She's also a mom with 4 kids, she's been married to Tom Cruise, and is currently married to country music star Keith Urban. She's won an academy award, but knows what's it like to lose (twice), and she's a mega millionaire with a net worth around 300 million dollars.   
Isn't there a much more interesting conversation waiting to happen than just asking, "What's your next movie about?"

Think how much more interesting the night would be if - instead of all the focus on gowns and gossip -- more people had taken the time to discover - and were given the opportunity to speak -- the unique messages of their individual journey: the journey that got them from wherever they started, to the red carpet at the Oscars.

Unfortunately - the show is already four hours long, and most of the red carpet interviewers are looking for sound bites - not inspiration.

Still, occasionally, actors do speak about their "mess-to-success" journeys -- but it only makes me wish that more shared those stories.

(I just read a bit of Golden Globe winning actor Jim Carrey's biography . He had to quit school at 15 to work as a janitor to help support his family; he seems to be doing a bit better now, financially.)

It's those stories and speeches - especially the success stories that started with the most ordinary backgrounds -- that give an audience hope. And it's easy to forget in all the glamour what movies (and maybe the recognition that goes with them) really should be about: not just entertaining - but inspiring us.

If there isn't anything in your life inspiring you right now, maybe you're overlooking elements in your own story that could inspire you, and others.

So - what will you say in YOUR Oscar speech? Let me know in the comments. And to view mess-to-success stories from my LA book signing, please go to Video Message page


Kurt Bodden said...

Amen, Judy!! Every time I hear someone ask a movie star or athlete, "Did you EVER THINK you would end up on the red carpet / Olympic podium / semi-finals of American Idol / Super Bowl / etc.? How does it FEEL?!" I want to scream.

All the money and ambition and brains and power that go into producing network television ... and that's the best question they come up with? Sigh.

Jerry Steele said...

Love your blog.

You inspire me constantly. I use your The Comedy Bible every year in my high school speech class, and have just ordered The Message of You.

I'm working on the story of me. Thank you for all the pushes and nudges.

I would love to read the story of you. Coming any time in the future?


juila hubbel said...

Judy, this speaks volumes about airheaded journalism and what our schools are turning out in that field: vapidity. People like Brad Pitt had to pay some serious dues before he ended up turning in star studded performances in movies like Moneyball. His lack of arrogance says a great deal- and we'd like to know who he is, not the maker of his damned tuxedo. I have stopped subscribing to many slick mags for this very reason- the emphasis on appearance vs substance. You hit the nail on the head. If we are going to tolerate four hours, let's hear stories that leave us deeply moved.

Angela Hoover said...


I could give a sh*t what they are wearing! How about an opportunity to inspire other artists? No wonder half of them looked resentful when being interviewed.

Thank you Judy for another never talked about insight.

Angela Eren said...

OK! Of course, the only reason I EVER watched the Oscars was for tidbits, insights. Just like Judy said: How did they get there?
I VOTE FOR JUDY to be the interview MC for the Oscars 2014!!!!
Let's get some real ratings!

Rama said...

Thanks for writing this wonderful article. I completely agree to your point that the audience should not only be entertained but also be inspired. and that is what creates magic..

Kelly Swanson said...

Right on Judy!!!!! Speaking as someone who no longer bothers to watch the Oscars - if they started asking real questions like the ones you mentioned, I would actually tune in. That's what we all want to know. I'm not sure how many of us really care about the label on the dress.

Ben Dover said...

What a wasted opportunity to show us why are you so famous and teach us the 'secrets' of comedy by actually being..funny, sarcastic, to really give it to those Hollywood snubs! Instead of doing something similar to Stewart, Maher, became just another one of us 'little people' complaining, with just a dab of humor or sarcasm!! Way to little for your self-honored 'title'! Im just saying...

mike said...

When people stop watching Red Carpet it will go away. Until then, it is is here. The info you mentioned would take way too long to get on the red carpet on Oscar night. Stars to talk about these things on interview shows like Ellen, the View, etc.
I love hearing the backgrounds of people, but the Red Carpet is all about fashion. I never watch it.