At a time when so many people are behaving abominably, let us briefly pause in our ritualized outrage to raise a toast to some rare examples of selflessness and decency. Here's to Jordan Horowitz, the La La Land producer who'd just given his acceptance speech for winning Best Picture at the Academy Awards last weekend when a commotion erupted on stage. As everyone else milled around, paralyzed with confusion and embarrassment, and millions of viewers said, "Whaaaat?" Horowitz took control. He announced that a mistake had been made, and that Moonlight, not his film, had actually won the Oscar — and held the Best Picture card up to the camera to prove it. Horowitz then beckoned Moonlight's team up to the stage, handed over the precious statue, and embraced fellow director Barry Jenkins with genuine warmth. Horowitz's grace under pressure turned a horrible moment into something admirable. "Much respect to that dude," Jenkins later tweeted.
Ian Grillot's bravery was of another order altogether. Grillot, 24, was watching a basketball game in a bar in Olathe, Kansas, when a hater shouted, "Get out of my country!" to two Indian-immigrant engineers he mistook for Middle Easterners. The man fired nine shots at them, killing one and injuring the other. Grillot charged the shooter and was shot himself in the chest. Later, in the hospital, Grillot said he knew as the bullets were flying that he had to act. "We're humans — we should stick up for each other," he said. "We're all we got in this world." In recent days, three GoFundMe campaigns have raised more than $1 million for the victims and their families. "Thank you for standing up to hate!" one contributor wrote.
And thank you, Jordan and Ian, for reminding us that while humans can be petty, fearful, and cruel, we can also be magnificent.