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Thanks, mom. It’s a prizewinner speech cliché. But on Sunday night, it became something a little bigger. It became a rallying cry.
For an Academy Awards show that was near epic in its stupefying dullness, in the somnambulant appearances of so many of the presenters, this year’s show still managed to deliver some breathtakingly moving moments — and some powerful social messages. There were Common and John Legend, following up a show stopping performance of the song “Glory” from “Selma” with their impassioned acceptance speeches, acknowledging that “That right now, the struggle for freedom and justice is real.” There was “Birdman” director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s prayer for “my fellow Mexicans” – after Sean Penn preceded the announcement of his film’s win with the question “Who gave this guy a green card?” — that “I just pray that they can be treated with the same dignity and respect as the ones who came before and built this incredible immigrant nation.” There was “Imitation Game” screenwriter Graham Moore’s admission of a suicidal period in his teen years, and his directive to other struggling kids to “Stay weird and stay different.” But in the midst of all those socially conscious messages — as well as speeches that touched on awareness for ALS and Alzheimer’s — there was another voice to be heard as well. The one that says, listen to your mother.