Our Intern to the Executive Director Coleman Tharpe, pictured below, recently took a trip to Houston for his chance to hold an Oscar, here’s his account:
For the first time in the 85 year history of the Academy Awards, Oscar took a road trip. He’s been on display before, but this year’s Oscar ROADTRIP is the first opportunity for those whose names aren’t in the golden envelope to hold the little man and practice a speech. Visiting ten cities over the course of February, Oscar and his handlers made two stops in the great state of Texas. The Academy’s RV stopped Monday in Dallas and the day before I met him and his friends at the Town and Country Village mall in Houston.
My first impression is that the Oscar travels in style: top-of-the-line RV, velvet cushions, and an entourage. And the folks traveling with him couldn’t be a more welcoming and inviting crew. The statue himself is as wonderful as anyone could imagine. Golden in color, eight and a half pounds in weight, and engraved with the historic logo of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Oscar’s presence commands the entire room, whether on stage at the Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood and Highland Center in Hollywood, California, or the Sprint Store at a mall in Houston, Texas.
Over the years, the Academy has garnered more than its fair share of criticism for being Socialist, racist, chauvinistic, feudal, out-dated, and exclusionary, among other things. But the truth of the matter is that the Academy and especially the artists and executives that make up its membership have helped the people of this country through their darkest times: the Great Depression, the Second World War, McCarthyism, Vietnam, countless recessions, and attacks both ideological and militaristic. Cinema gives us hope for the future by giving us celluloid dreams, so introducing my young cousins to Oscar was the best part of the trip. The Oscar ROADTRIP is bringing the excellence of the Academy to the people, and reminding us that it’s we who are the most important part of the industry – all the beautiful people out there in the dark.