“Guys, guys, I’m sorry, no, there’s a mistake. Moonlight, you guys won best picture.”
And with those words, the Oscar changed hands. Awkward.
And, as Jimmy Kimmel said, “La La Land was both the biggest winner and the biggest loser at the same time.”
But was La La Land really a “loser?”
Of course not. It is just that while La La Land and Moonlight are both excellent pictures, there can be only one Oscar for “Best Picture.”
Unfortunately, the world tends to focus on the “greatest” and ignore the “great.” We idolize the gold medalist, but struggle even to remember who won the silver or bronze.
In Jewish thought, however, a person isn’t a winner for beating someone else. And more importantly, a person also isn’t a failure for losing, either. In fact, our tradition explains that, after a person dies, the “heavenly judgement” they receive is an assessment of the person they actually were, compared to the person they could have been. The challenge of life is to be your best self, not someone else.
Hollywood may never understand this concept. After all, there can be only one “Picture of the Year.” But, in Jewish thought, each person is a unique film, with unique expressions. We might not have the ability to become the “greatest person in the world,” but we all have the ability to become the “greatest self of all time.”
March 20, 2017