Published on February 24, 2009
I thought the use of former acting award winners to pay personal tribute to the acting nominees at Monday’s Oscar awards — to substitute the tribute for the usual name-and-video-clip nomination routine — was a deft touch. It delivered on what first-time host Hugh Jackman had promised, a depression-era awards rite with more show and less biz. It dramatically welcomed the nominees into an elite fraternity of talent (Anthony Hopkins’ lauding of Brad Pitt’s “magnificent” quality as a “character actor” left Angelina Jolie beaming; Shirley Maclaine’s praise for Anne Hathaway amounted to a benediction). Not least, it reminded a global audience that the movies have a long, storied tradition. And that that tradition must be welcomed, assimilated, transcended, lived — in sum, reckoned with—in every movie worth the name.
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Malacañang’s calculated snub of the Edsa I anniversary is offensive on many levels, but it is on the level of tradition that the offense cuts deepest. EDSA I as a political event defined the democracy that was restored, however haphazardly, in 1986; to slight it, or to leave it out of the narrative altogether, is nothing less than an attempt to redefine the tradition behind our democratic project.