This nervousness is astounding, my heart is beating fast, sweat is forming in places that are dumb. Back of my neck, inside of my thighs, the crook of my arm. I had been nominated for 4 Academy Awards, Best Supporting Actor, Best Actor, Original Screenplay and Best Original Song. By this time of night I’d lost 3 of them and now it was time for the last category I’d compete in and one of the last of the night, Best Actor.
This was one of the best years of my professional/ personal life. I wrote a movie for me to star in AND I got to work with 2 acting heroes of mines Meryl Streep and Steve Martin. I had become engaged to a childhood friend that summer and became a step-parent to his 2 kids Savanna and Rob Jr. I also inked a deal to write a pilot for HBO about the lives of escorts to the stars, that was getting a lot of buzz. In other words, a fucking fantastic year.
My friend Zarah was by my side at the Oscars being the support, the comedian (we played guess who gets drunk quicker) , and my edible buddy (she owns an edible bakery). I admit I wasn’t largely favored to win any of the major awards but best Original Song, I thought I had it in the bag. Top 10 hit, platinum seller but alas so was Sam Smith’s ballad that ended up winning. I found myself tearing up after not winning that one, my self esteem was slowly falling down. In my eyes this award show was my moment, my HEY WORLD IM HERE, my launch pad. One by one after each announcement of the winner I had to fake a smile, damn those cameras.
It was after the winner was announced for the screenplay award where I decided I was gonna take a year off and cry, eat, sleep. You know stay at home and play househusband. One thing about me it shows on my face when I’m upset, worried, irritated, hungry, happy etc and boy was my face twisted up that night. Commercial break comes and a tap on the shoulder jolts me, it’s Samuel L Jackson whispering in my ear “keep your head up brother, shiiiiid you’ll be up there next year. You new to the game. You can’t always win awards but you put out good work and the rewards gon be great. You’re a champion Youngblood. Believe that shit” before I could respond we were back from commercial break.
Best Actor category up next, the sweat is on my eyebrows now, Zarah is holding my hand. There are some great actors nominated tonight Izaya Spencer (acting school buddy), Sharlto Copley, Orlando Bloom and Matt Damon. I’m rubbing my leg with my right hand, tapping my shoe and the winner is called and it’s…….Orlando Bloom
I jump up and start clapping, seeing me do it the other nominees follow suit. Standing and clapping, my mind is cloudy, throat is dry, hands now hurting holding back the tears. I could play it off and say I’m just happy for my buddy Orlando (first nomination) but it’s a mixture of disappointment and genuine happiness for the winners.
It was my first as well, do I count? I could see the headlines now, and I’d be in them as capital L for loser. On the way home I’m silent, Zarah is running down the coolest moments of the night, who she met, who she’d fuck, whom she wouldn’t. She gives me a hug before she walks up to her townhouse and whispers “You’re my Champion forever and always ” followed by a kiss on the cheek and then she skips to her door. The driver gets on the PCH and that’s when I lose it, tears streaming down my face. I had to let it out, the driver sensing discomfort just let me be. He put on some music and the first song that comes on is Champion by RuPaul…..45 minutes later I’m home.
Rob comes at me both arms raised and we hug, sobs coming from my mouth, nose stuffed up. He knew as soon as he saw me, I felt embarrassed, distressed and low. Letting me go, I then go into my meditation room and see a bouquet of flowers with a note attached from my spiritual mentor it read “To my friend, always remember : Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday. -Wilma Rudolph followed by Best of Luck my friend signed OPRAH WINFREY
A smile appeared on my face. It was time to regroup and so I started my meditation……