The audience–in person and across the airwaves–got to see more than fashion last night. Thrills included a star performance by Adele, whose “Skyfall” won best original song, “One More Day,” an all-encompassing number from Les Miserables, sung in person by all the major characters, and even a cameo from the First Lady, Michelle Obama.
While Michelle announced the winner for best picture–"Argo", her presence struck many conservatives as insulting. After a close election and tense battles over gun control and sequestration, many on both the Left and the Right turn to Hollywood for a release from political angst.
Michelle played her part well, but aside from questions of propriety (should a first lady be involved in entertainment?), the political reminder did not sit well with many viewers.
Seth MacFarlane also took a playful jab at “the Christian Right” while introducing Daniel Radcliffe and Kristen Stewart–“He’s a boy wizard and she’s a girl vampire. Together, they are pretty much everything the Christian Right thinks is wrong about Hollywood.” Happily, I was able to laugh at this remark.
Recalling Saint Augustine’s advice–to “plunder the Egyptians” and glorify God for all good things in the world–and the deep moral entertainment of Harry Potter, I can only pity those who see no good in Hollywood.
Last, but certainly most important, the acceptance speeches last night resounded with one note–very friendly to morality and the Christian tradition. Nearly every speaker thanked his wife or her husband.
Daniel Day-Lewis, while accepting Best Leading Actor for his role in "Lincoln", put the icing on the cake. “I know that I’ve received so much more than my fair share of good fortune in life.”
“Years ago,” he recalled, “before we made the switch, I had actually been committed to play Margaret Thatcher and Meryl [Streep, who had introduced him] was Steven’s first choice for "Lincoln." ” What a show that would have been!
Even after accepting the role, Day-Lewis had to convince Spielberg “perhaps "Lincoln" shouldn’t be a musical.”
After the raucous laughter inspired by these great quips, Day-Lewis thanked “my fellow nominees…my equals…my betters.”
Then the gem: “Since we got married 16 years ago, my wife Rebecca has lived with some very strange men.
“They were strange as individuals and probably even stranger if taken as a group.
“Luckily, she’s the versatile one in the family, and she’s been the perfect companion for all of them.”
In one sentence, Day-Lewis captured the highest achievement of marriage. Despite our faults, mistakes, changes of character, the man or woman who commits–through thick and thin, for good times and bad, “in sickness and in health”–to be our “better half” is truly that. The mystic chords that bind us as a nation are nothing compared to the iron will, the contract signed in blood, that fits on the left ring finger.
Like the diamond resting there, still, serene, clear, constant, is the best love between a man and a woman, which makes each “the perfect companion” for the other. Few better tributes have been given.
For Day-Lewis' speech, start the film at 3:50.