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The Maundy Monday Newsletter - This Week in History March 20 - March 26
Happy Monday! I think I missed the Academy Awards this year, but I’m glad to know you never miss a Maundy Monday newsletter. Thank you!
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I’ve never been a fan of award shows for the arts. For the record, I have won a few best actor trophies in my lifetime, so I’m an expert here. Last year was a rare time when I watched the Oscars with Anonymous, and being half asleep, I saw Will Smith slap Chris Rock. The slap is now the most talked about thing with the Oscars for a long time.
What do you remember about ANY Award show? Nothing.
The 70th Academy Awards took place on March 23, 1998. I was a senior in college, and there was no way I was at home watching this thing. At the time, I was at Dana’s, one of two college bars, telling everyone about my Al Smith play and fumbling through many words I couldn’t pronounce.
Billy Crystal hosted it, and James Cameron’s Titanic won eleven Oscars. How about that. Eleven. Out of, I don’t know, 45 nominations.
It won Best Picture and Best Director. However, it had no award-winning actors, which I guess is a good reason for it winning best picture and director to overcome such a hurdle.
Titanic won Best Art Design and Best Sound. It won Best Cinematography, which I can’t spell and pronounce correctly. What’s the difference between cinematography and art design? I have no idea.
It won Best Editing, something Okay History would never be nominated for, let alone win, and Best Visual Effects because watching people drown is worthy of an award.
Visual Effects, Art Design, Cinemato, Cinamen, and Cinematography sound alike. Cinematography. Use this in a sentence. Christopher cannot spell or pronounce Cinematography.
Titanic’s 11 Academy Awards ties a record with the film Ben Hur, and six years later, Lord of the Rings, Return of the Nerds also won 11. There you go.
Okay, let's highlight what else happened this week. Here's what I got:
President Reagan announced the Strategic Defense Initiative on March 23, 1983. Nicknamed Star Wars, the plan called for lasers and missiles and missiles with lasers to protect us from space invaders. Or soviets. It was never implemented, but it would have been excellent if it had.
Elvis Presley joined the Army for two years beginning March 24, 1958. The King of Rock became Private Presley and was stationed as a regular soldier in Germany, where he met his wife and the drugs that ultimately killed him in 1977.
Alcatraz Prison closed on March 21, 1963. The notorious federal penitentiary known as The Rock Alcatraz experienced its first escape a year prior when three inmates broke out through the utility ducts of the main building onto a raft. The FBI still considers the case open, although it is most likely that the prisoners drowned. The movie The Rock, starring Nicolas Cage and Sean Connery, was nominated for an Academy Award in 1996 for Best Sound and somehow lost to The English Patient.
Good Will Hunting was another movie that came out the same year as Titanic, and Matt Damon and Ben Affleck won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. I liked the movie and recently rewatched it instead of reading the numerous history books that sit on my shelves.
Damon wrote Good Will Hunting in his playwriting class at Harvard, and instead of a one-person play, he handed over an entire script.
This makes me wonder if I could turn my Al Smith one-person play into a movie. Smith was known as the Happy Warrior, so I could call it Happy Al Smith.
So I have the title but no plot. I’m already envisioning my Academy Award speech now. I’m winning Best Cinematography.
Okay, Let’s wrap this up.
I’ll be back on Friday with another edition of the Amendment Rankings. Will the Seventeenth Amendment be up next? How about the Sixth? Perhaps maybe the Eleventh will drop in. Who knows!
In the meantime, have a great week.