More than an Award’s Show: Oscars, The Host and Forrest Gump (1994)

“It’s that time of year again when the best of the best in the film industry vie against each other for the coveted and sought after Oscar. The Academy Awards is celebrating its 90th year. On March 4th, it is hosted, for the second time, by popular late night talk show host and executive producer, Jimmy Kimmel.

JimmyKimmel Live! has been on ABC since 2003. To be on television for 15 years is no small feat.  Kimmel is a witty, entertaining comic who has an unassuming persona. To general audiences, he is likable.  Based on the title of this post, please do not assume that I am trying to imply that Jimmy Kimmel comes across like Forrest Gump or even that he looks like Tom Hanks. However, some people claim to see a resemblance

So, what am I implying? My claim is that Oscar nominees have worked on, contributed and created an Artistic film version of a great story. This story has attracted audiences due to its relevancy in their lives.  The social issues explored, alluded to or addressed in the film imitate real life. An example of this is the Oscar-winning movie: Forrest Gump (1995). It has numerous social ills that reflect its relevance. It is because of the importance of relevancy that Jimmy Kimmel is the perfect host for the Oscars. As far as hosting the Oscars, you could not find a better and more perfect host. Unlike The Last Week Tonight show with John Oliver or  Steven Colbert in The Late Show, Jimmy Kimmel’s Kimmel Live! stayed out of the political fray; until, this year.

Soon after his son was born, a nurse noticed an unusual breathing pattern in the child. Jimmy Kimmel’s second child by wife Molly needed heart Surgery.  This life threatening medical problem for his infant son will later provide Kimmel with a social issue, child health care, that he felt he must address with his audiences. His concern was for thousands of children who need expensive medical care; but, whose parents could not afford it. Now, his show was not just about comedy, it now became relevant to every parent in his audience.

Over the years, the Oscar ceremonies has evolved from just an award show.  It has become a platform for social issues and injustices too. Watching the Oscars is not just about the red carpet, glamour, clothes, who will win, and the beautiful. Today, it makes social statements with interviews, ribbon pins or speeches.  Watching the Oscars has evolved into an event that is extremely relevant today.

This is an excerpt from The Washington Post quoting part of Kimmel’s monologue from last year’s Oscars:

He mentioned that the Oscars were airing in “225 countries that now hate us,” and said he was happy that Homeland Security let French Oscar nominee Isabelle Huppert into the country.

The U.S. is divided right now, Kimmel said, and people have been telling the host that he needs to say something to unite everyone.

“Let’s just get something straight off the top: I can’t do that. There’s only one Braveheart in this room and he’s not going to unite us either,” Kimmel said referring to Mel Gibson. Then Kimmel said that the best thing to do would be for people to reach out to someone they disagree with and have a conversation. “That could make America great again,” he said.

If you were one of those people who did not see Kimmel’s heart wrenching pleas to politicians and lawmakers to extend funding for Children’s Health Insurance (CHIP), I have included it below this paragraph. Again, his own infant son had to undergo heart surgery, not once but twice, as an infant and at age 7 months.  Kimmel’s  passionate cry  for  “common sense and decency” touched the hearts of millions. So, besides the fact that Kimmel is an excellent choice for hosting the Oscars due to his wit and comic timing,  he is also a relevant choice because he publicly cares about many social issues that people face today. By the way, CHIPS was not extended due to budget cuts.

Kimmel’s Plea For “Common Sense and Decency”

This clip is a little over 13 minutes.  If you have not seen it, you might like to watch it now.  Warning! If you do watch it, you will laugh; but, your eyes will tear up too. This is a parent who not only loves his child; but, who is also deeply concerned for other parents whose children are sick and; cannot afford healthcare without government assistance.

Once again, I believe that one of the common attributes of an award-winning film is its relevancy for people of today and in the future. I had to think about all the movies that touched my heart.  Nearly, all of them were Oscar-winning movies: To Kill a Mockingbird; On The Waterfront; Road To Perdition; Signs; The Prestige;  Rocky; Inception; Warrior; Locke; The Patriot; and so many more. The topics varied; but, they always had heart warming moments that touch my very soul.

Here is my favorite scene picks that personally affected me the most from Forrest Gump

The last 15 minutes of Forrest Gump is pure movie magic. Forrest (Tom Hanks) is recently widowed and raising his five-year old son as a single parent. When Forrest watches his little boy get on the school bus, alone for the first time, is when my eyes become floodgates. He sits on a tree stump at the bus stop; and, there he patiently waits for his son to return to him: safe and loved. This always brings tears to my eyes.  The relevancy should be obvious for any parent and perhaps children too. Especially, in light of the heinous acts of violence on America’s children in schools and on the streets. The unspoken fear of every parent: their child does not return to them after school or after play.

This first clip is Forrest caring for his sick wife and some discussion of what Vietnam War was like. Then, he visits her grave. It is nearly six minutes long. It goes by very quickly.

This next clip is very short: 36 seconds. Forrest is sending little Forrest on a school bus.  Haley Joel Osment plays Little Forrest in his first film role at the age of six.

This scene shows Forrest prepared to sit there on that tree stump; until, little Forrest returns. Besides the great story, the acting, the cinematography, the director, …music adds layers of complexity to the make a memorable scene.

Forrest Gump won six Oscars at the 1995 Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing and Best Visual Effects. It was nominated for 13 Oscars.  Many critics agree that this movie is one of the top ten movies ever produced. I believe one of the reasons is its relevancy for the audience.  This movie addresses single parenting, the physically and mentally challenged, child abuse and incest, War, Veterans of war, Civil Rights, falling in love, burying a love one, revolutionaries, racism, social protest, drug addiction, bullies, etc…The list is long.  The story of Gump is a story of human kind; good and evil.

Forrest Gump touched my heart and will remain in my memory; but there were other winners that year that are definitely worth noting

Other Oscars winners that year that included parenting as part of the plot or subplot were The Lion King; The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; Legends of The Fall; and The Madness of King George. There were two other Oscar winners that did not have parenting as a subplot; but, they did address other social issues. Ed Wood addressed drug addiction, ageist, and acceptance of alternative life styles like transvestite. Speed addressed violence and the fear of a homegrown terrorist. The main point is that nearly all Oscar caliber movies have some kind of social relevance to engage its audiences. Thankfully, we can honor all those creative artists and their movie magic; especially when we have talented hosts like Jimmy Kimmel to guide the way.

I would like to thank Oscar’s Blogathon hosts:

In honor of the Oscars this year, Paula from Paula’s Cinema Club (Twitter -@Paula_Guthat); Kellee of Outspoken & Freckled (Twitter @Irishjayhawk66) and Aurora from Once Upon A Screen are hosting this year’s 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon.  Please use the following links below to read wonderful posts about Oscar movies and other Oscar topics!

Day One


Day Two

Day Two: 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon

Day Three

31 Days of Oscar: Oscar SNUBS, 2018 Edition!


I do not own any of the images within this post


What A Character! Dame Margaret Rutherford


Character actors do not usually star as the lead in a movie; however, their supporting performance is still vital to the success of a film.  Their roles varies with unique personalities that are often found to be eccentric, quirky, villainous, or just plain interesting.  Whatever the role, you can be sure that an excellent character actor will enhance the plot of the story and the film as a whole.  As a matter of fact, many of them have a tenancy to steal the scene.

In my last post, I examined a few acting techniques by character actor, Agnes Moorehead.  I felt her techniques helped her to create powerful performances. Obviously, she is one of my favorite actresses; but, there are others. Some of my more current favorites would have to include Robert Duvall, Kathy Bates, Stanley Tucci,  Gena Rowlands, and Paul Giamatti and the list goes on. Character actors are that rare breed that you can usually depend on to give an outstanding performance even if the movie or show is a stinker.  At the top of my list for favorite character actors would have to be Dame Margaret Rutherford (May 11, 1896 – May 22, 1972).

The first movie I saw this colorful actress in was Murder, She Said (1961).  She played Agatha Christie’s super sleuth, Miss Marple.  At the time she made this movie, she was 70 years old. This movie was the first of four films by director George Pollack based on Agatha Christie’s sweet, elderly amateur detective with Rutherford as the bold and eccentric Miss Marple .

The film was based on a 1957 novel by Christie, 4:50 From Paddington. In the books, Miss Marple is a serious, soft-spoken, and a well-mannered spinster of independent means. In appearance, she is of small stature. Rutherford isn’t anything like Christie’s image of her beloved character.  As a matter of fact, Christie hated all four movies.

An interesting note, Christie’s first pick to play her beloved Miss Marple was actress Joan Hickson.  Hickson actually had a small part in this movie as a maid. Years earlier, Christie seen her in a stage play of another of her novels, Appointment With Death. She sent her a note: I hope one day you will play my dear Miss Marple.  And of course, she will, superbly, in the BBC adaption of all the original Miss Marple novels in the 90s.

Unlike Miss Marple of the books, who is genteel and prim in every way, Rutherford’s Miss Marple has the energy of a steam roller and almost the size of one too, with a witty, sharp tongue. I much prefer Rutherford’s interpretation of the character; and, it would appear Agatha Christie admired her as an actress too, despite the fact she loathe the films.

In 1962, Christie dedicated her novel, The Mirror Crack’d On Both Sides, to Rutherford “in admiration.”  That speaks volumes for Rutherford’s ingenious portrayal of the indomitable Miss Marple, especially in view of the fact how much the author acknowledged she hated the movies. Miss Hicks final performance as Miss Marple was the based on this particular book in 1992.

To appreciate Rutherford’s portrayal of Miss Marple, you need only view the first ten minutes of this movie.  Of course it goes without saying, you will want to finish it too.  Murder, She Said begins with Miss Marple moving quickly through Paddington train station.  As she walks, upbeat 60s music plays in the background. While watching her, I was thought of Paddington the Bear. I think it was because of her hat and the fact she was at Paddington station.  I learned that Rutherford worn her own personal clothes in the movie. I wonder if this helped her to get into “the skin” of her character.


As she walks through the station, she has a porter following her with her bags. She stops at a newspaper stand and quickly buys a paperback novel.  Once on board the train and in her compartment, she settles in her seat and puts on her reading glasses. She opens her recently purchase paperback book ominously titled, Death Has Windows.

In the next scene, we see her relaxed hands barely holding on to her recently purchased book, her head resting back, and her eyes shut. Suddenly, a loud passing train abruptly awakens her. Nearing the destination station, the trains are slowing down as they pass each other. As she looks out her window, she watches the people in the slower moving train. She sees a man attempting to eat his sandwich which he quickly puts down when he sees her watching him. Then, she sees a little girl looking out the window in the next compartment.  When the little girl sees her, she sticks out her tongue. Our not so prim Miss Marple sticks her tongue out too. That’s when I fell in love with the Rutherford’s Miss Marple. I doubt the book Miss Marple would ever react so child like and ornery.

After that humorous scene, we now see a different compartment with the blinds down. As Miss Marple is still looking out her window, the blinds suddenly fly up, revealing the back of a man with gloved hands wrapped around a woman’s throat.  She is fighting for her life; but, cannot break his hold around her neck.  Miss Marple frantically watches as he chokes the life out the beautiful blonde woman.  Miss Marple reports the murder to the train conductor who enters her compartment to checks her ticket. The ticket conductor is hesitate to report a murder. He sees an Miss Marple as an old maid, waking up after reading a murder mystery, titled Death has Windows, and dreams she saw a murder.  He suggests this to her; but,  she insists she knows what she saw; and he had better report it.

Next, we see Miss Marple in her own comfortable home. We observe a tidy house except for several newspapers scattered about. Inspector Craddock pays her visit concerning the report.  She offers him to set down where he proceeds to sit on her knitting needles. He painfully, explains that they could not find a woman at the train station or hospitals that matched her description. Miss Marple reminded him that she was dead.  He replied a through search was made along the whole track line and no body was found. She realizes that the inspector does not believe her. She informs him that she may be a spinster; but, she is not a dotty old maid.

She puts on her cape coat and picks up a stack of books.  She marches to her bike and feverishly rides to the library to speak to her librarian friend, Mr. Stringer. Mr Stringer ( Stringer Davis) is not in the books.  Rutherford demanded that her real husband play the added part of Miss Marple’s special companion. I love that Rutherford gave Miss Marple this buddy friendship.  It made her more earthy and urbane. Their friendship is a joy to watch as she explains to him what they must do.  They are adorable and almost child like in their planning.

The plan is to search the grounds around the tracks for the body or for clues to where the body was thrown.  Although, Mr Stringer is against the idea considering they are trespassing and it is very dangerous, he does as Miss Marple directs, like all good friends do. After Mr Stringer is nearly hit by a train, Miss Marple finds a clue. Lodged between the stones, she discovers a piece of torn fur from the collar of the coat of the victim. She deduced that the body must have been dragged over the wall.

She decides that she wants to see the estate behind the wall. My Stringer tries to hoist her over the wall. He clumsily helps her to the top but not over it. As she looks from the top to the other side, she sees a man with gun and dog. She decides to change the plan. She finds the address to the estate and becomes an employed as a maid for a referral agency. She requests to work at the estate where she soon learns they have quite a turnover for help. This is another variation from the books. Book Miss Marple never worked a day in her life.  Rutherford’s Miss Marple has had many jobs. Once she reports to the house, she finds the Lord and master of the estate does not much approve of her. Again, this is a comedy.  Miss Marple is very quick with the subtle insults and sarcasm as she finally solves the crime. Which makes this a delightful movie. Even this trailer for the movie is done in an endearing way to include the audience in the great adventure to solve the crime.

Rutherford is an Oscar winning actress, Golden Globe winner, and has been honored by the Queen of England with the OBE(Order of the British Empire) in 1961 and the DBE (Dame Commander ) in 1967.  She has appeared in over 40 movies. Many considered her a National Treasure. I love watching her performances no matter how small or in what varied role she chose to play.  To me and to many others, she is a great actress and a according to all those who knew her, a great human being too. A more personal discussion requires a separate blog to do her any justice because her life is amazing.

This is the 5th Annual What a character Blogathon! It is hosted by: Paula’s Cinema Club; Once Upon A Screen; and Outspoken and Freckled.  I am very happy to contribute a post about one of my favorite character actors: Margaret Rutherford.


You can read more posts about other wonderful characters actors using the following links:

It’s here! 5th annual WHAT A CHARACTER! BLOGATHON: Day 1