Cheyenne Journal

J.K. Simmons lit up Oscars with simple message

J.K. Simmons lit up Oscars with simple message

“Call your mom. Call your dad.” That simple call to action from J.K. Simmons went viral during Sunday’s Oscar telecast. The best supporting actor winner, who played a verbally sadistic, physically abusive jazz band instructor in Whiplash, revealed his real self when he lovingly thanked his wife and children during his acceptance speech. Then he gave the advice that captivated the Twitterverse and activated cellphones everywhere.635603746801449517-GTY-464156376

“Call your mom, everybody,” said Simmons on the air. “I’m told there’s like a billion people or so (watching). Call your mom. Call your dad, if you are lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet. Don’t text. Don’t e-mail. Call ‘em on the phone. Tell them you love them, and thank them, and listen to them for as long as they want to talk to you.” Tapping his hand over his heart, he concluded, “Thank you, Mom and Dad.”

The tweets evoked were sentimental and sarcastic. “Ugh, thanks a lot, J.K. Simmons,” posted HBO Girls star Lena Dunham, linking to message from her mom asking for a call. Others took his advice to heart: “Really did love the message from #JKSimmons — call your parents. Love them while they’re here,” said a tweet from a public-speaking coach from Montreal. Detroit has a strong link to the inspiration for those remarks. Simmons’ parents, Donald and Patricia, were originally from Illinois, but they called Detroit suburb Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., home during the Eisenhower and Kennedy eras.

Simmons said Monday that his Oscar comments were spontaneous and reflect what he’s learned since losing his father, who died in 2012, and his mother, who passed away in 2014. “That sort of just fell out of my mouth, and it’s because I am a parent, because I loved my parents deeply and they were such wonderful parents and role models and we lost both of them in the last couple of years,” he said by phone. “I think it’s one of those things you can’t know until you know, like having a baby.