Perhaps the greatest achievement of this year’s Oscars is trophy-winning Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski’s defiance of the most fundamental physics of awards shows. Upon accepting the award for best foreign language film and going on a bit too long with his thank-yous, Pawlikowski did what no mere Oscar winner ever thought was possible: He stood up against Big Orchestra and won.
As his speech went longer, their horns grew louder, and as the horns grew louder, so too did Pawlikowski. And as the players drained their breath into long futile notes, the triumphant director drew fresh breath and just Kept. On. Thanking.
It was an inspiring assertion of human agency that may or may not inspire revolutions in the streets outside of the Dolby Theater. Or maybe just longer acceptance speeches inside of it.
A clearly emboldened Mat Kirkby and James Lucas likewise dismissed the orchestra with their gratitudes and platitudes shortly after winning for live action short, “The Phone Call,” as did Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perr for their documentary live short, “Crisis Hotline.” When will the madness stop? (Hint: Pretty close to 11:30 p.m.)
Will the orchestra stand (or continue sitting) for this disrespect? Has the balance of power between Oscar winners and horn sections been forever upturned? In this time of uncertainty one thing remains clear: Nobody stops Pawel Pawlikowski from thanking people. Nobody.