Penelope Cruz

The Globalization of the Movies

In her comments last night Penelope Cruz offered up a wonderful recollection.  When she was young, as a child in Spain, she would stay up late - yes very late - to watct the Oscars.  It was a night, she said, where the whole world came together, as one.  In this time of global economic struggle and fear it was a compelling way to start the night.  

To get a window into how global Hollywood and the movie business has become consider that the host of the Oscars last night was Australian, as was the Best Supporting Actor. Ms. Cruz won her statue for a bi-lingual role in an American film that took place in Spain.  Best Actress went to a Brit, and of course, the big winner of the night was Slumdog Millionaire, about, well, you know by now.   The lone American up there last night for the big ones - Sean Penn, for Best Actor.

It reminded me a litle bit like watching a European soccer match.  Each time my kids and I watch a Barcelona or Man U match we send up spending time looking at a globe, trying to locate places like Cameroon as the players now are truly from all over the world, and these teams wildly globally integrated.  We often wonder how the coaches and players talk to one another, what language is common to them all.  

No complaining about all this from this source, just something powerful to remark upon.  It reminds us that at this moment when protectionism and tribalism might very well start to make a comeback in our global life, there are powerful forces of integration and "flatness" that will be hard to overcome.  As Ms. Cruz said last night, that powerful sense of being one with the world is what sticks with her to this day. 

But it also does reflect what Fareed Zakaria has callled the "rise of the rest."  While America does still stand tall throughout the world, the rest of the world is in the process of figuring out our game.  For us to stay ahead, to stay pre-eminent, we will - all of us - have to try much much harder in the years ahead.  Global competition has increased on all fronts, and this idea - that we must do more, raise our game - must be one of the more powerful sentiments driving our "recovery" in the years ahead. 

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