I did it all by myself. That’s what he intended to blurt out when he got to the podium to collect that coveted little gold man. He was a cocky young filmmaker back then, nominated for his first movie and sure he was going to win, cause he goddamn deserved it.
He didn’t win. He didn’t even get nominated for another 25 years. There’d be more nods in the following decade, but none of them were victorious, even though the filmmaker was now an elder statesman of the business, respected by all, even by the crew members he had once seen as mere footmen in his artistic pursuits.
In his half a century in Hollywood he had gradually learned that his own ambitions and passions might were what got the studios to greenlight his movies, but that it was the hard daily work of the gaffers, the PA’s, the cameramen, the set decorators that elevated his 35mm follies to heights he could scarcely have dreamed of. Many of his former crew members were close friends now, and he often told them just how much he appreciated their contribution to his own stature. And he meant it wholeheartedly.
Yet when the powers that be ordained him with an honorary award, he still had that yellow piece of paper in his tuxedo pocket, proclaiming to have done it all by himself. And when the big movie star handed him the gorgeous, shiny statuette, that’s exactly how he read it.
He had fought the urge, but cockiness was a hard habit to shake if you were successful in this profession.
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