I'm encouraged by last night's Academy Awards. Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win a 'Best Director' Oscar for her work of genius on the picture "The Hurt Locker." That picture won the 'Best Picture' award. I was rooting for "Up!" Even though it didn't win the 'Best Picture' award, it was only the second animated picture ever to be nominated for an Oscar (Beauty and the Beast in 1991 was the first). And it did win Oscars for 'Best Animated Feature' and 'Best Original Score.' It was my favorite movie of 2009 and gently landed, balloons and house, into my "Top 10 Favorite Movies of All Time" list.
I like a book or a play or a movie if I can empathize with the characters and find meaning in the stories. Somehow I knew I'd like "Up" the first time I saw it's preview and watched in wonder as thousands of helium balloons lifted the old house and the old man up, up, up into the sky. When I watched the picture for the first time at the theater, I empathized with shy, quiet Carl Fredrickson. I was like him when I was a kid! I found meaning in the way he and Ellie loved each other unconditionally and well. I also found meaning in the way the relationship between Carl and Russell changed them, making them more human. I appreciated the eccentricities and loyalties of Kevin and Dug because they reminded me of my own eccentricities and loyalties. I hated Charles F. Muntz but even in my hatred of him I understood why he was as he was and did as he did and it's always good when hatred gives way to understanding. Did I mention that I loved the thousands of helium balloons lifting the old house and the old man up, up, up into the sky?
How can we be a thousand helium balloons to people, especially to the smallest, most forgotten, or least lovable people in the world, and lift them up?
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