Being alive, with Special Oscar honoree Liv Ullmann


She speaks hesitantly; listening, you wonder if there is a problem, perhaps a cognitive disorder. She meanders, and seems vague and scattered. But if you take the time, just eight minutes, to experience this beautiful set of remarks delivered by actress Liv Ullmann, on the weekend she is receiving a Special Oscar at the Awards ceremony of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences — I believe you will be rewarded.

At 04:15 minutes on the video, Ullmann’s purposefully segues to describe a life-changing moment she had while conducting aid work in Africa. It is a most-moving monologue of human memory delivered by a great actress. “Many many years ago,” she begins, “when I started to meet people that had such a different life, a no-privilege life. We were in Ethiopia …”

Suddenly in the midst of her story, she physically crouches and makes beautiful hand gestures. What follows is a vivid description of an African woman and her (ostensibly) starving infant. Ullmann concludes with, “One of my really first lessons is … to be on that side of life … is to have no choice at all.”

Her generosity toward her fellow Norwegian filmmakers, too, is laudable.

The award will be officially given to her at the Governors Awards in Los Angeles today, Friday, March 25, 2022. Elaine May, Samuel L. Jackson and Danny Glover are also being feted with honorary Oscars.

artsmeme wishes to thank nicole groessinger muj for the videotape of liv ullmann’s speech in a private home

Liv Ullmann’s Special Oscar | The Academy Awards | Sunday March 27, 4 pm in Los Angeles

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