What Kids Can Learn from the 2009 Oscar Awards

| by Dr Gwenn

What did you think of the revamped, "improved" Oscars? There were times I was pleasantly surprised but by the second big musical number, I started to fade out. Three hours of Oscars is just too much Hollywood glitz and glamor for me! In case you missed it, here's a great summary of the evening's highlights.

Thinking about the Oscars today, I couldn't help but think of how kids view a star-studded evening like that. While it is exciting and a great distraction on one level, there's also a great deal of smoke and mirrors that our kids are too young to understand. Helping them view what they are watching on TV with a critical eye will help them not only become more savvy TV viewers but not be taken in by hype, which TV and movies can promote.

When watching a gala like the Oscars, find moments in the broadcast to point out to your kids these three areas:

1. Looks can be deceiving. Anne Hathaway was asked "How much of what you are wearing is really yours?" She smiled and answered by saying "I think that is too intimate a question to answer on TV!" What kids don't get is stars are dressed for an occasion like the Oscars with many people helping them create the look of the evening. Our kids need to know this so they don't aspire to some ideal that isn't based in any sense of reality. These are actors and actresses and for the Oscars, the fancy outfits just another form of costume.

2. Public speaking is an important skill and with it comes learning a sense of timing, grace and brevity. The best acceptance speeches of the evening came from Heath Ledger's family and from Jerry Lewis. Both were just the right length, the right tone and message, and devoid of unnecessary grandstanding. Contrast this to some of the Milk acceptance speeches, which seemed out of place by going on a bit too long and discussing political messages out of context for the evening, and we have our life lesson for our kids: having an audience isn't a license to get on a soap box. Timing is everything and brevity is always best.

3. Always respect people's time and respect the time people give to you. I have two annual pet peeves when watching the Oscars: stars who are nominated for big awards but refuse to talk with red carpet media, and the length of the show. Brangelina is really dropping a few notches in my book by their refusal to play by the same rules as others. Both up for awards, I was disappointed by their refusal to graciously talk with the ABC team trying to do their jobs. Even more disappointing was the fact that they didn't realize that the ABC team is there to give us, the ones buying the movie tickets, a few minutes of airtime with the stars we may be rooting for. Contrast this to Anne Hathaway, Kate Winslet, Mickey Rourke, Meryl Streep, Penelope Cruz, and just about everyone else up for an award, or there to present an award, and we have our life lesson for our kids: Give time when people are there giving time for you...and be gracious about it. It was poetic justice given Brangelina's attitude that both of them lost last night.

Ironic that the Oscars is an award show for movies formatted in a show longer than a typical movie. Hmmm...no wonder we all find it too long!