The 91st Annual Oscars were held earlier this year, which is always an exciting time. The following is a brief excerpt of Lady Gaga’s speech for her big win for from that show, for Best Original Song for “Shallow,” along with Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt, from the motion picture “A Star Is Born.”
Q: I think that a lot of people might look at you and all the wins and success you’ve had in your life and they don’t really see what you’ve been through to get to where you are today. Can you talk a little bit about some of the struggles that you’ve had to overcome and what’s brought you to where you are today?
Lady Gaga: … “The truth is people see what they see on the outside. And in some way, shape, or form, at times, we become architects. But the truth is, I was so determined to live my dreams and yet there was so much in the way. There were so many things I did not anticipate that broke me, that tortured me, that traumatized me. And I think sometimes, what you are trying to clarify, is that people think that it comes easy to us because when we show up and we have our suits on, that it’s all okay. But the truth is every single person on this stage has been through so much. We are friends. We have worked on ourselves in life. We have tried to heal through the torment of this industry and being artists. And the truth is that this is very, very hard work. And it is not for the faint of heart. But I would never want to imply that anyone in the world is faint of heart. I wanted everyone tonight to feel like they could be each one of us on that stage. And I’m so very grateful that I got to be up there with these incredible men that I call my friends. I remember the moment we wrote this song together. It was great, it was beautiful, and I’m so honored to be here.”
An ordained minister; ministering to the homeless on skid row in Los Angeles, and to those men and women in some of the worst prisons in the country throughout the United States, Mel Novak is a Hollywood legend to all; and simply like an angel to many of those who know him best.
A Mission to Save
As noted in his official biography, “For the past 36 years, Mel has faithfully ministered on the streets of L.A., and in the chapel services at the Union Rescue Mission, Fred Jordan Mission, L.A. Mission and the Long Beach Rescue Mission. Mel has also ministered at prisons for 35 years, in penitentiaries from San Quentin and Pelican Bay in California, to New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, Alabama, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, and Oregon.”
Mel Novak states, “I have done over 9,000 services and over 180,000 have accepted God’s precious gift of salvation through grace, by receiving Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and rededicating their lives. (Eph. 2:8) Jesus sets the captives free (Isaiah 61:1) and by his stripes they are healed (Isaiah 53:5) spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically.”
As his biography also states, “Although Mel believes that Christ heals more important things than bodies, he has personally experienced God’s miraculous healing power.” Mel states he has had 28 surgeries, and says, “I should have died 7 times, but God had another plan for me!” He references Jeremiah 29:11-13 from The Bible.
A native of Pittsburgh, Mel was an outstanding athlete in several sports. He states he passed up 60 football scholarship offers and signed a pro baseball contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates. His career was cut short by a massive rotator cuff injury. Despite the pain and setback from his injury, Mel says he learned even more clearly “that God works all things together for the good of those who love him and for those called according to His purpose.” He references Romans 8:28.
“I preach Christ Crucified at Chapel services in prisons and penitentiaries around the country and have been doing so for the last 35 years,” Mel reveals. He adds, “Many are Level 3 & Level 4 (Maximum Security with some on Death Row). There are times that I minister in the “yard ” as well as one on one from cell to cell. When I started out in Prison Ministry, there were 750,000 men & women in prison… today there are 7 million incarcerated & 14 million on parole. The ones who are released and pray the “Arsenal Prayer ” DAILY have not returned. To date over 1,000,000 people have received the Arsenal Prayers.”
Mel says, “For 36 years I have ministered at the 4 Skid Row Missions in L.A, doing Chapel services, Bible Studies on Spiritual Warfare, counseled & prayed with and for multitudes. I also minister on the streets, and have been giving Bibles out of my car trunk for over 34 years. In addition I have given out over 300,000 Bibles and over 3,000 pairs of reading glasses.”
Mel states, “I will go anywhere the Lord opens a door to preach His word. I ask for expenses but do “not” have an honorarium. In the prisons they call me “machine gun ” because I back up everything I say with 1, 2, or 3 verses of scripture. Preaching in a church is like going on a picnic, as my ministry is behind enemy lines.”
Mel has starred or co-starred in fifty feature films. Most well known for Bruce Lee’s “Game of Death,” his other films include Jim Kelly’s “Black Belt Jones,” Brynner’s “The Ultimate Warrior,” Steve McQueen’s “Tom Horn” and Chuck Norris’s ‘Eye for an Eye.”
Some of his recent starring roles are: “Syndicate Smasher,” “Tales of Frankenstein,” “Nemesis 5,” “Abeyance,” “An Hour to Kill,” “When it Rings,” “Fight or Die,” “Holy Terror,” ” Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance,” and “Check Point.” Other starring roles Mel has done are “Giants,” “Power Elite,” “Swat” Warhead One,” “Thunderkick,” “Vampire Assassin,” “Expert Weapon,” “Sword of Heaven,” “Force of Darkness,” “Family Reunion,” and “Capital Punishment.”
Mel also did two movies with acclaimed Director Garry Marshall. Mel will be starring in an upcoming movie to be released in 2019 called “Robo Woman.”
Having died 23 times on screen, Mel says he says happily “I get what I deserve in the end. The Lord’s justice is very much like that.” Mel Novak is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Listen to our following interview with screen legend, and spiritual warrior and humanitarian Mel Novak, exclusively for the Hollywood Sentinel here below:
From visionary filmmakers James Cameron (Avatar) and Robert Rodriguez (Sin City), comes Alita: Battle Angel, an epic adventure of hope and empowerment, based upon the Manga graphic novel series by Yukito Kishiro.
When Alita (Rosa Salazar) awakens with no memory of who she is in a future world she does not recognize, she is taken in by Ido (Christoph Waltz), a compassionate cyberphysician who realizes that somewhere in this abandoned cyborg core is the heart and soul of a young woman with an extraordinary past. As Alita learns to navigate her new life and the treacherous streets of Iron City, Ido tries to shield her from her mysterious history while her street-smart new friend Hugo (Keean Johnson) offers instead to help trigger her memories.
But it is only when the deadly and corrupt forces that run the city, headed by Vector (Mahershala Ali), come after Ido and Alita that she discovers a clue to her past – she has unique fighting abilities ingrained in her that those in power will stop at nothing to control. If she can stay out of their grasp, she could be the key to saving her friends, her family and the world she has grown to love.
“You see this story through Alita’s eyes, eyes that have an innocence to them and see the beauty in things,” director Rodriguez says. “We set out to create something that feels very tactile, that’s immersive, that has unexpected moments, all the things you anticipate in a Jim Cameron movie. What’s amazing is that Jim has been working on Alita since 1999, but even now, nobody has made anything like it. Making it finally happen has been an incredible process of collaboration.”
Rodriguez adds, “The fervor, risk-taking and fusing of mind and machine, that drove the making of Alita echo what Alita discovers about pouring your all into what you do. At its core, this is the story of a girl who gets a second chance at life, and decides this time it will be about following her heart.”
About the Star; Rosa Salazar:
Rosa Salazar (Alita) was recently seen alongside Sandra Bullock in Netflix’s Bird Box, directed by Susanne Bier, which premiered on December 21st and was watched by 45,037,125 accounts in the first week, the best first seven days a Netflix film has received.
In 2019 she will star in Undone, Amazon’s first primetime animated series from the BoJack Horseman team.
Her past films include The Kindergarten Teacher for Netflix, Maze Runner: The Death Cure for Twentieth Century Fox, CHiPS for Warner Bros., Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials for Twentieth Century Fox, The Divergent Series: Insurgent for Summit, Search Party for Focus and Night Owls for Orion among others.
Her past television work includes Big Mouth for Netflix, Man Seeking Woman for FXX and Parenthood for NBC among others. Her directorial debut, the short film Good Crazy, premiered in competition at Sundance in 2017.
Producer James Cameron recalls: “It’s almost impossible to quantify just how big the reaction was that Robert and I had to Rosa. She brought such heart and vitality to every moment. I’ve never seen anything like it.” Adds Director Robert Rodriguez: “It’s like a dream when someone walks in the door and you see that thing you were looking for that you couldn’t even describe. That’s what happened with Rosa. It was magic.”
Rosa Salazar knew she’d be walking a tightrope in the role—so she thrived on the safety net provided by Cameron and Rodriguez. “Jim explained all the nut-and-bolts of Alita to me, but also, Jim has such tenderness towards Alita and that gave me a lot of insight. And with Robert I felt an immediate artistic and human connection,” she says. “He’s so energetic and always creating, yet his demeanor is calm. When he listens to you, he really hears you. I always felt my words had weight with him.”
Martial Arts Training
Months before production began, Rosa leapt into intensive training, studying the demanding arts of Wushu, Muay Thai and Kung Fu, and honing her inline skating repertoire as well. “The training almost killed me,” she admits. “I had to get my endurance way up, build lots of strength and start to think like a regimented warrior. A lot of it was learning the forms, harnessing that energy and rhythm.”
Though Salazar did some of her own stunt work, the overwhelming complexity of the shoot necessitated having up to nine different “stunt Alitas” in play, including world-class gymnasts and contortionists. “Alita kicks a lot of (butt) and she kicks the (butts) of huge, enhanced cyborgs,” Rosa Salazar explains. “What I like about her fierceness is that I think it gives girls permission to realize you can be both soft and brave, you can express your emotions but also be determined never to let evil win.”
Rosa was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Greenbelt, Maryland.
About James Cameron:
James Cameron (Screenplay, Producer) is an acclaimed film-maker and explorer. As director, writer and producer he is responsible for some of the most memorable films of the past three decades: The Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, True Lies, Titanic, and Avatar.
Avatar is the highest grossing film in history with over $2.7 billion in global box office, beating the previous record holder, Cameron’s own film Titanic, which held that record for 12 years. Cameron’s films have also earned numerous nominations and awards, most notably Titanic’s 14 Academy Award nominations (a record) and 11 Oscars (also a record), including Cameron’s own 3 Oscars for Best Picture, Best Direction and Best Editing. Both Titanic and Avatar won the Golden Globe for Best Director and Best Picture. Avatar was nominated for 9 Academy Awards and won 3 Academy Awards.
Technology and Exploration
Over the last 17 years Cameron developed cutting edge 3D camera systems for movies and documentaries, as well as for broadcast sports and special events. He was at the vanguard of the 3D renaissance that has transformed the movie industry in recent years. He also developed unprecedented deep ocean exploration vehicles, lighting and 3D camera equipment. Most recently, Cameron led his eighth deep ocean expedition to some of the deepest trenches in the world. On March 26, 2012, he set the world’s solo deep diving record of 35,787’ in the Challenger Deep in a vehicle of his own design.
Cameron is a National Geographic Explorer in Residence, and recipient of their most prestigious award, the Hubbard Medal, as well as the Explorer’s Club medal for Explorer of the Year.
Cameron is also passionately involved in sustainability issues, having founded the Avatar Alliance Foundation to take action on climate change, energy policy, deforestation, indigenous rights, ocean conservation and sustainable agriculture. His production company, Lightstorm Entertainment, installed a 1-megawatt solar array on the roofs of their soundstages at Manhattan Beach Studios, to generate all the power for the Avatar sequels. James and Suzy Amis Cameron, both environmental vegans, founded the Plant Power Taskforce to promote awareness of the impact of animal agriculture on the environment and climate. He is currently in production on Avatar 2, 3, 4 and 5.