21 Mar Sharing My Wins
Celebrating at the Academy Awards after-party, I held my team’s gleaming Oscar. I was amazed by two things: one, that I was actually holding an Oscar, and two, how tricky my own mind could be.
I’m a first assistant director, which means I coordinate all aspects of a film shoot to make sure it runs smoothly and on-schedule. Over the years, I’ve built a reputation for not only managing things seamlessly, but creating an atmosphere of well-being, thanks to my consistent participation in Transformational seminars. My career has flourished, most recently leading to the opportunity to serve as first assistant director on the German film All Quiet on the Western Front, a realistic and deeply moving portrayal of World War I created for Netflix.
I knew from the beginning that this was a special project, but even I was surprised when the award nominations started pouring in: the film was critically acclaimed at the highest levels.
It started off with the BAFTA nominations, which stands for the British Academy of Film and Television Awards. There were so many strong contenders in each category and we were the only movie that was not in English. So I, and probably many of my colleagues, were speechless when we received not one, and not two, but seven BAFTAs. This was unprecedented– a German film had never won so many awards at this ceremony. Everything about it felt like a win: my colleague and friend, Lisy Christl, was nominated for Best Costume Design, and even though she didn’t win, the nomination itself felt like the greatest honor.
Next came the Oscar nominations. This seemed even higher-stakes. Would a German film really perform well at this level?
I got a chance to find out in person, as I had the privilege of attending the awards myself. It still feels a little bit surreal: All Quiet On the Western Front won 4 Oscars. Best Production Design, Best Original Score, Best Cinematography and Best International Feature. This was not only a record for a German movie, but it also achieved the same status as the only 3 other foreign language movies that won the most Oscars so far: Fanny & Alexander in 1982, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon 2001 & Parasite 2020. And, last but not least, All Quiet became Netflix’s most successful movie of all time. Only Everything Everywhere All at Once won more Oscars than All Quiet this year.
So, back to my tricky mind. The whole Oscar weekend was amazing, it was rewarding to celebrate with so many members of my film team, and . . . my mind still said “more is better.” When we didn’t win the most prestigious category for Best Picture, the voice inside my head said, “Ahh, OK, so our movie isn’t so great. If we had made a truly great movie, we would have also won Best Picture.” Yes, here I was at the Oscars, having worked on a film that won four of these prestigious awards, the greatest honor in our field– and my mind found a reason to complain.
I caught the thought quickly, though– aha, I thought, there goes my mind again. The seeing of the thought was enough, and I suddenly flashed back to a moment at the Oscars that had touched me. Jamie Lee Curtis, who I really adore, gave a very emotional speech on stage after winning her first Oscar in her life. She had worked so hard for it for nearly half a century, was starring in hundreds of wonderful, super successful movies and now she finally got one Academy Award. Her gratefulness inspired me– she could have been a complaint for having had to wait so long, but she was deeply thankful, a true star, being there to enjoy her moment.
After the awards ceremony, I walked from the Dolby Theatre to the Governor’s Ball, the afterparty of the Oscars. I passed by Steven Spielberg, who was there for his film The Fabelmans. Walking further into the party, I saw the cast of Top Gun Crew and the Avatar crew. I suddenly realized what had happened: these were all fantastic movies, yet not one of them had gotten more than one Oscar. Even Steven Spielberg, one of the greatest directors of all time, went home empty handed. And we had just won 4 Oscars!
It’s so easy to deprive yourself of any win just by listening to your thoughts and believing them. I’m so happy for Transformation: I could see that these thoughts aren’t “me,” aren’t true, and I don’t have to go there. Knowing that, and being able to share this experience with our community, is as much of a win as the Oscar itself.
Congratulations, dear Benedict! Wow, great success, great story, thank you so much for sharing!
Congratulations, Benedict!! So happy for you, and your friend and colleague. Reading your article, I felt like I was there, too, oh wow! Jamie Lee Curtis!!
Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful wins.
Dear Ariel and dear Shya❣️
We could experience, what an important role you and the community played an important role for Benedict’s success and how supporting you were during this challenging time of the production of the movie. Dear Bene, Henning and me have a lot of admiration how you managed to be aware of all the challenges your team and the actors were confronted with.
An example you gave us, was, when you told us, how relieved and happy you were when the most dangerous scene of the movie was completed. You told us about the stunt men being in flames in the trenches.
Dear Sandy we specially want to appreciate your supporting love for Bene at a time you also were busy with editing.
💕 Love Brigitte&Henning
As your dad I am very proud of you
Me( Brigitte) too
Dear Brigitte and dear Henning,
Thank you so much for your kind words! Without your constant support, without your love and without having you as a dad & you as a stepmom Brigitte nothing of this would have been possible. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, so your part in all of this is a lot bigger than you might think!
With deep love,
AMAZING!!! Congrats Benedict! We are thrilled for you and your team. And boy, does that Oscar look good on you! Much love, Lutz and Karin
Dear Karin and Lutz,
Thank you so much & I look forward to see you very soon on one of the next LMEs and especially to meet you in Hamburg in person!!
Congratulations & thanks for inspiring article!!
Wow, Benedict, reading this has been such a gift! How truly wonderful that you’ve shared your inner thoughts with us, thank you. You so eloquently express not only hearing your thoughts, but that moment of transformation when you see them for what they are, they completed themselves, and you were able to step into the next moment.
This is such an awesome story. So inspiring! Thank you, Benedict
Congratulations🥳🥳🥰😍 And thank you for sharing your win and your experience with all of us🌟 You are a inspiration✨
Thank you Andrea!
This whole community is a constant source of inspiration, including you!!
I’m so so happy for you and your team… what an achievement.
And thanks for sharing your thoughts and wins – it is unbelievable how we can downsize ourselves if we are not trained in awarness.
Looking forward to see you soon.
May be at the end-of-may-in-person-seminar “Fun as the Access Way to Enlightenment” in Hamburg (Germany)? I’ll be there.
Thank you very much and yes, I will be in Hamburg for the “Fun as the Access Way to Enlightenment”-Seminar!
See you soon!