It is a recognized phenomenon that anywhere from a few months to a year after an Oscars presentation, you can't remember what movie or director won.
This will not be true for 2010.
"There is no other way to describe this. It's the moment of a lifetime. First of all -- this is so extraordinary to be in the company of such powerful -- my fellow nominees -- such powerful film makers who have inspired me and I have admired for -- some of whom -- for decades. Thank you to every member of the Academy. This is again the moment of a lifetime."
It was so immensely satisfying to see Kathryn Bigelow win her award, and realize that history and symbolism notwithstanding, her being a woman was also incidental. She was being acknowledged for a job well done. The honor was just.
This year's Academy Awards were unusual as well for being, despite the weak start and the bloated length, such enjoyable cultural comfort food. At a time when our country rarely does any one thing together - our communally watching a live show in real time has become, outside of sports on TV, an odd, almost retro event - the Oscars fulfilled a kind of American ideal.
A good guy won, and spent his speech time essentially thanking his mom and dad (The Dude abides); our best actress was as smack-dab-in-the-center American in persona as a gal can be. Mo'Nique, embodying the American dream sensibility endemic to the event, addressed her husband ("Thank you for showing me that sometimes you have to forego doing what's popular in order to do what's right. And baby, you were so right.") Sandra Bullock homaged her mom with a similar bent: "She said... There’s no race, no religion, no class system, no color, nothing, no sexual orientation that makes us better than anyone else. We are all deserving of love."
When Barbra Streisand introduced Kathryn Bigelow's win with, "Well, the time has come," it was hard to be a cynic. It felt un-conflictedly good, for once, to be us. The David v. Goliath victory of The Hurt Locker over Avatar - celebrated in the wake of so many unsuccessful movies about a war we didn't want to go to the movies to see - became an embrace of what we Americans like to feel is best in us.
"... I'd like to dedicate this to the women and men in the military who risk their lives on a daily basis in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world and may they come home safe. Thank you," Bigelow ended her Best Director speech.
Ms. Bullock's wind-up was funnier ("I thank you so much for this opportunity that I share with these extraordinary women and my lover Meryl Streep”). But the close of Bigelow's acceptance for Best Picture drove the theme home:
"Perhaps one more dedication. To men and women all over the world who — sorry to reiterate — but wear a uniform, not just the military — HazMat, emergency, firemen. They are there for us, and we are there for them."
For a couple of minutes there, you felt - and how strange to experience it while peering into the belly of the show biz beast! - that this was true.
Evidently the Academy, once in a while, can actually get it right.