by Ophelia Grace
Today is the final day for submissions to our Congratulations Project for Mr. Waltz.
In the three years of running CWF, I have never experienced quite such a response to our projects as this one. Over 150 messages. 80 works of art. Letters from every continent except Antarctica. Letters in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Japanese.
One of the privileges of being in this position is that I, also, get to read your letters as I am compiling them into the final project. Some of your letters made me laugh, made me groan, and some of them made me cry. All of them – however – are such a testament to the power that movies and the actor has. An actor, by taking up a role, causes us to emotionally join with him in his performance or to emotionally reject him. We witness the story his character is taking us through, and, at it’s best, we feel we are with him in the story. For the two hours he is on screen, we travel with him through whatever journey he is embarking upon. This opens an actor up to being our avatar in this world, to cry for us, to laugh for us. We draw parallels with the character’s travails to our own lives. Such is the nature of the global culture we exist in, that actors now are not only playing a role on screen, but off as well – in the press and media. Their stories form our perceptions of them. We “like” them or “hate” them depending on what they choose to do in their private lives. We see their ups and downs and can relate to them as people. They become real to us.
Mr. Waltz’s story is unique as it resonates with everyone who -did not- immediately rise to the top. I believe it holds it’s appeal in that it is one of very few tales where the good guy didn’t immediately have life made easy for him. He worked at it. Every day. Through every TV role. Through the months and years. He stuck at it when the win wasn’t forthcoming. When the acclaim wasn’t happening. When the film roles were uninteresting, boring and poorly made. It’s not glamorous. It’s not the stuff that we see on the silver screen. It’s real life. We don’t all get Oscars after 30 years. For most of us we will live lifetimes without a significant “pat on the head”. Yet, we do it because that is the stuff that is real, and true, and tangible. And Mr. Waltz has shown us how to do it with class. How to be gracious. How to put aside the dream and work through the real stuff we are all mired in. This is the one common thread I feel in nearly all of the letters in this project – Mr. Waltz, through his public persona, has given people hope.
Hope is the one emotion that is the hardest to define but the most crucial. One can live without love, yet one cannot live without hope. Once hope is gone, the will to live dies. Mr. Waltz’s hope became real when he won his Prix d’interpretation Masculin, and then became embodied when he won the first Oscar. We have cheered him on, watching this unassuming man from Vienna have the pinnacle of his career descend upon him, and fully change his life from the outside-in. This is the stuff of legends. This is proof that one must never, ever, let go of one’s dream.
I thank all of you for sharing your stories and writing your letters to Mr. Waltz, and for trusting me with your words and artwork. It is an honor to give your words to him so that he can understand exactly what he means to us, and why we are proud to identify as Christoph Waltz Fans.
With love and best wishes,
PS: If you have not submitted your letter yet, you have until midnight tonight (GMT -5)! Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org