At the end of an Oscar season marked by the controversy of lacking diversity among the Academy's choices, one highlighted by the absence of Ava DuVernay's “Selma” in a number of categories despite finding room in the Best Picture field, singer/songwriters Common and John Legend have remained above the fray throughout. They put a nice, profound bow on things tonight from the Dolby Theater stage.
The duo were the last to perform their Oscar nominated song “Glory” Sunday night, belting out an emotional rendition to rival their Grammys performance on a stage outfitted to resemble the Pettus Bridge. It was a moment so moving that actor Chis Pine could be spied shedding some tears.
A moment of levity settled things down as John Travolta ate a little crow alongside Idina Menzel for butchering her name on the telecast last year, and then they presented the prize to the two performers. Each held ample time at the mic with eloquent and poignant speeches addressing the notion that “Selma is now,” Common noting social rights struggles across the globe, Legend commenting on the over-incarceration rampant across the country.
It was a bold and beautiful moment perhaps only rivaled by Patricia Arquette's rousing call to arms on behalf of feminism earlier in the show. And in an Oscarcast otherwise rather tame and muted, it stood out as the moment of the evening.
UPDATE: Or was it? Not long after Common and John Legend's memorable moment, “The Imitation Game” screenwriter offered one of his own, a speech admitting his own suicide attempt and offering a plea to anyone who feels like he or she is different or doesn't fit in, “Yes you do. Stay weird. Stay different.”