Op-Ed: An Oscar nominee interviews ... his mother
“Try to enjoy it.”
That’s the advice I’ve heard most often, from people who care the most. But I’m sure to fail: I’m not especially talented at celebration.
From the morning my co-writers on “Logan” and I learned we had been nominated for the best adapted screenplay Oscar, my life has been like a sock inside a washing machine and I have only really felt the tumble.
In times like these, when momentum overtakes clarity, when the heart-flutter of excitement is slapped out of my chest by anxiety, I rely on how much my parents can enjoy the moment for me. They don’t even need to try, they just do.
My immigrant mother, Hana Green, has been expecting the academy to nominate my work since I told her I wanted to be a writer 22 years ago. I called her Wednesday to find out what enjoying the moment feels like.
ME: I’m turning on the recorder now.
MOM: Are you really recording me, like a yutz?
ME: Is that OK?
MOM: Because I sound terrible. We just came from temple. It’s Purim. You know it’s Purim, right?
ME: Yes. And now everyone knows you’re a Jewish mother.
MOM: I am a Jewish mother. We can’t wait to see you this weekend.
ME: When did you start imagining us actually going to the Oscars ceremony together?
MOM: Ever since you started to write for TV. I knew one day it is in storage for you. Storage? Is that right?
DAD (interjects from the background): In store!
MOM: In store for you. I knew it was coming up. My sister and I, we always talked about it. She was sure it’s a done deal.
ME: You told me a long time ago if I ever went to the Oscars —
MOM: That I must be there.
ME: You made me promise if I was ever nominated, I would bring you as my date, even if I’m married.
MOM: That must have been before I knew Amber. I didn’t know I’m going to love your wife so much. That puts me in a different position. But you got us extra seats!
ME: Not great seats.
MOM: Who cares! When you told me last week that I’m coming to the Oscars I was in disbelief. I bought a dress. I got all my accessories. I am ready to go. I feel so honored. Since I was a little girl in Israel I thought Hollywood was the end of the universe. Hollywood sounded like magic, like something nobody can reach. Something that exists but it’s really on the other side of the universe. And all those beautiful stars. Vivien Leigh, Elizabeth Taylor, Hedy Lamarr. They were like from heaven. Who ever thought I’m going to be in Hollywood? And at the Oscars. Unimaginable.
ME: Are there any stars you’d like to see this year?
MOM: No, not in particular. I want to see you. I really admire the old-time movie stars. The new ones, it’s hard to follow. I’m not obsessed with anybody.
ME: Not even Harrison Ford?
MOM: Oh, he is the cutest thing ever. I love him. He’s going to be there? What about Nicole Kidman? I’d love to see Nicole Kidman.
ME: Is there anything you’re worried about, going to the Oscars?
MOM: The two blocks that I have to walk there. My foot. I’m worried I’ll be in pain. I have comfortable shoes. I walked 45 minutes today. I’m all set to go.
ME: Is Dad set to go?
MOM: Dad is so happy he doesn’t know what to do with himself. He tells everybody he knows about the movie. And guess what? There is a doorman in our building that saw Dad wearing the shirt, “Logan,” and he said to him “How did you get that T-shirt”? So of course Dad has to tell him the whole story, “My son, the writer, ta-ta-da-dum.” Well apparently that doorman, his name is Logan. His parents named him after the character.
DAD (interjects from the background): From the comic!
MOM: If there is ever a fire or anything in this building, guess who is going to be saved first? And because of your dad they’re going to save me too.
ME: How did you like “Logan”?
MOM: Usually I don’t love the superheroes. It’s not something I would go voluntarily, but of course I love the movie.
ME: Did you watch last year’s Oscars?
MOM: I watch it every year. Of course. How could you not! I love the dresses. It’s fun! My God, it’s the most important show of the year.
ME: And you’ll be there.
MOM: To be there, it’s like even though I’ve lived in this country for a long time now.... This is something I will never forget. It’s like I can die after and I’ve done it. It’s in my portfolio. No one can touch me. I hope you like my dress.
DAD (interjects from the background): She looks great!
Michael Green is a producer and screenwriter. His writing credits include “Logan,” “Blade Runner 2049” and “Murder on the Orient Express.”
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