And while we’re on the subject of crushing …
The Oscars had many moments that I wanted to catch over and over on YouTube. There was the pizza, and the selfie, and all those British accents accepting awards for technical categories in Gravity, because we ROCK at technical stuff in films. Steve McQueen jumping up and down. Jennifer Lawrence just being Jennifer Lawrence, because she can’t help being adorable, even when she’s falling over a traffic cone. (Glad I’m not the frocked-up girl she landed on, though.)
But best of all, of course, was Lupita Nyong’o. For designing the pale blue Prada dress that made every fashion commentator feel like a princess just watching her. For saying the colour reminded her of Nairobi, and making #nairobiblue trend on Twitter. For out-shimmying Pharrell from the front row, while he sang ‘Happy’ to her.
And most of all, of course, for one of the most gracious acceptance speeches in the history of the Oscars – for Best Supporting Actress. Here are my favourite three lines from that speech:
“It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s.”
“I’m certain the dead are standing about you (Steve McQueen) and they are grateful and so am I”.
“When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from your dreams are valid. Thank you.”
Later, accepting the Best Film Oscar, Steve McQueen repeated his statement that there are still, today, 21 million people trapped in slavery in the world. 21 MILLION. I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently because domestic slavery features in my new book.
So do children who dare to dream. That’s what good children’s books do, I think: they tell their readers that their dreams are valid. It’s why reading with children, and to children, and giving them the gift of reading is so important.
And when you’re reminded about it by a girl in a blue princess-dress, accepting the highest award for her profession and about to have her life changed forever, you know it must be true.