As 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 TheMessageOfYou.com Video Message page.