Thursday, January 3, 2013

MEMO TO THE A.M.P.A.S. (2ND EDITION): WHILE SELECTING THE NOMINATIONS THIS YEAR FOR THE ACADEMY AWARDS, PLEASE CONSIDER.... (And also consider, giving the voters a little TIME TO SEE THE MOVIES!)




Dear A.M.P.A.S. Members:

Before I begin discussing in this annual memo, some people/films that should be considered for Oscars, I want to recommend that next year, you find a way, some way, any way, to move back some of the dates a little farther back next year, or how about, do it for this year, and more than just a day. It's coming so fast. The nominations are going to be announce this year, before the Golden Globes Awards this year; you guys are really trying to jump on top of everybody this year, and I don't like it, and frankly a lot of other voters don't either. A lot of them have already been complaining that they don't have enough time to see some of the major and/or better films that are expected to be Oscar contenders, before the voter deadline of Jan. 4, which you did, finally extend, to Jan. 5. One friggin' day. Look, I understand that with a lot of these Awards that come out earlier, and may have undue influence, but I gottat tell ya, you're the Oscars, you should be last, and you guys should be the final call, and let everyone else know that it doesn't matter who's won whatever, until we say, you're aren't the best. You're the Oscars, you should be the top. BTW, this is a particularly bad year, to try and do everything earlier than ever, because, I can't remember a recent year, where practically every category is up in the air, and even the favorites, aren't clear favorites. So far, I'm not sure what movies are going to win, and/or be nominated, and it looks like a lot of voters aren't sure right either, so while you're all scrambling, trying to fill in your online ballots, allow me to help you guys out, and refresh your memory on some choices that I have seen this year, that do merit some consideration.

Let's start with the some films that should be considered in a few categories, starting with one film, that might get appreciated in a category like Best Original Screenplay, but I consider "MOONRISE KINGDOM" to be one of the best films of the year, and I'd argue it's Director WES ANDERSON's best film, and on Oscar nomination day, I'd like to wake up and see both a BEST PICTURE and BEST DIRECTOR nomination for "Moonrise Kingdom". A few other categories as well; this would be a good time to reconsider your reluctance to a Best Casting or Best Ensemble category. Lets not forget the ART DIRECTION either, Anderson's script are challenges to the best set decorators, but they are worth, if nothing else, but the opening shot of the film. "Moonrise Kingdom" plays like one of those wonderful children's lit novels, about young kids going on an adventure alone, and oddly enough, for a Wes Anderson film anyway, it's wonderfully believable here, and it's still whimsically entertaining. I've seen the film three times so far, and I'm still entertained by it.

Another film I thoroughly love, which I expect to get nominations in SPECIAL EFFECTS, deservedly so, as well as ADAPTED SCREENPLAY, CINEMATOGRAPHY, BEST PICTURE and BEST DIRECTOR, is "LIFE OF PI". Now, it's a bit on the outside looking in, currently, in some of the more major categories, which is a shame actually, 'cause I think it's an amazing filmviewing experience. I'll suspect it'll sneak into those aforementioned categories, and possibly Supporting Actor for Irrfan Khan also, although I think that's a bit of longshot, but how about an acting nomination for this film, that isn't getting attention, despite it being an incredibly difficult, hidden-in-plain-sight performance. In the BEST ACTOR category, I'd like to recommend SURAJ SHARMA. Now, this film marks the young Indian actor's debut feature but consider the physical challenges of his part, and the demands of it, not to mention the fact that, for much of the movie, he has to act with bengal tiger, that isn't there. A majority of the movie, is basically a one-man performance, and a difficult one at that, and for some reason, his name has hardly come up at all in the category.Maybe it's his youth or his inexperience, but especially when you consider difficulty, it's one of the best performances of the year.

There's a lot of great performance in Quentin Tarantino's new movie "DJANGO UNCHAINED," and the movie looks like it's goona be a big player at this year Oscar, I suspect in BEST PICTURE, DIRECTOR, ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY, and a few other technical categories, (Oh, and don't forget, BEST SONG, it should get at least one in that category, there's about four or five great eligible choices in the film) but this movie, has an overabundance of incredible, memorable acting. Let's start with the SUPPORTING ACTOR category, and I suspect that LEONARDO DiCAPRIO, is a likely nominee, and deservedly so, but I also think, just as worthy are performances by CHRISTOPH WALTZ, and SAMUEL L. JACKSON. The Supporting Actor category, might as well, just be filled with performances from "Django..." and "LINCOLN", and I don't think anybody would complain. However, once again, the lead is being buried, and frankly, it shouldn't. I recommend to the Academy they nominate JAMIE FOXX for BEST ACTOR, for "Django Unchained". Now he's still an incredibly underrated actor, despite him winning his Oscar a couple years back for "Ray", and some people forget, he was nominated twice that year, as he was up for Supporting Actor for "Collateral" also. Now, he not exactly the showiest character in the film, but it's also a tough performance that's in nearly every scene of the movie. It's a quiet performance, for a Tarantino film anyway, but I like that about it actually. We now Jamie Foxx is talented enough to go off and do anything, but it's the patient and quiet moments in "Django...", that I appreciated the most. You really get to see, just how good a leading man Foxx can be, holding his own against other great leading men too.

I mentioned "Lincoln", earlier, and I'm pretty certain that movie's getting nominations in a lot of categories, BEST PICTURE, DIRECTOR, ACTOR for DANIEL DAY-LEWIS, SUPPORTING ACTOR for TOMMY LEE JONES, SUPPORTING ACTRESS for SALLY FIELD, you can just simply go down the list here. One that, might be a little less likely, and bit of a longshot is DAVID STRAITHARN performance as William Seward, but I consider it a performance worthy of SUPPORTING ACTOR consideration. It's also a good counter-balance performance to Tommy Lee Jones's performance as Thaddeus Stevens, and the movie counter-balance between those two performances, Jones was flashier, as he should've been, and was, but Straitharn was just good going the other way.

A couple other BEST ACTOR considerations out there. This is a loaded year, and some great performances can really be forgotten. For instance JACK BLACK gave maybe the best performance of his career, in the Richard Linklater mockumentary "Bernie". I had some issues with the film, but his performance is really special, not only showing, how good an actor he is, but also, just how talented an overall performer he is. One of the complaints with the film was that, there wasn't enough of his performance, and you know you've done something right, when you leave them wanting more.

Also, one of the more powerful performance from this past year, came from the Norweigan film "OSLO, AUGUST 31", it wasn't seen by a lot of people in America, but it's eligible for the Oscars, so how about considering ANDERS DANIELSEN LIE for BEST ACTOR, as a heroine addict, who's gotten the one day out from rehab to go for a job interview, but also goes to see his old drinking and drug buddies, and consider what next to do with his life, in anything.

Another rarely seen film was "THE TROUBLE WITH THE TRUTH", and I was one of the first people to see the film btw, which would be impressive if more people had seen, but it was still quite a powerful film, and it included a memorable and vulnerable LEAD ACTRESS performance by LEA THOMPSON. She's another one of those actors who a lot of people, know from a few movies and TV shows, don't realize how talented she is, and in this film, which follows her and her ex-husband, played by John Shea, who I wouldn't mind seeing nominated either, spreading out of a dinner, and drinks one night, "Before Sunrise" style, discussing their past, and present and consider rekindling their romance, despite them now, both being in serious relationships, and have long moved on from their marriage days. It's not exactly ground-breaking material, but it's certainly requires, and it gets, some amazing acting.

Now before I continue, there was a strange technicality that unfortunately made one of the Best Animated Films of the year, ineligible for the category, and that's a real shame unfortunately for "THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY", and I just wanted to mention that briefly before going on. The Hayao Miyazaki-penned film was amazing, but unfortunately, it's didn't debut in time, in America, compared to it's release date in Japan, which was in 2010, a stupid technicality I must say, but I do understand it though, but still, there've been examples of foreign films, being released in America years after their home country's original release, getting nominated in other categories, just a shame, they oughta look into that rule.

Now, in the SUPPORTING ACTRESS category, I've seen a few people remember the Sarah Polley- directed movie "TAKE THIS WALTZ", with Seth Rogen and Michelle Williams on their Top Ten of the year, and I think that's a cool choice, not on my list but I understand it. There's some strong acting performance all around in that film, but a bit of an outside-the-box considering thinking, the performance I really remember from the film was from SARAH SILVERMAN. A lot of people, who just know her stand-up or her Comedy Central, don't quite realize, that was a trained actress first, and here, she has a critical role as the alcoholic sister-in-law of Michelle Williams character. For me, it's not as a surprising a performance as it might be for others, but if more people can see how good an actress Silverman, than I think it's worth promoting, it's one of her best performances, and a rare dramatic turn for her.

Last but certainly not least, because of your quick time-table Academy, you've already narrowed down categories like foreing language film and DOCUMENTARY FEATURE to shortlists already, so my input is coming a little bit belated here, but one film that's on the Documentary shortlist that shouldn't be forgotten is "THE INVISBLE WAR", from Director Kirby Dick. The movie showcases the mistreatment of women and men in all branches of the military, after they were raped. The subject matter, I'll admit, was always a pet project of mine; I've known about some of the statistics for years, and the despicable manner in which such claims were investigated and handled, and personally, one of my best friends from high school, a woman, is a Marine, who I tried desperately to convince not join the military after 9/11, and was too late, but honestly, I was about as scared for her, being in the military, because of the rape epidemic there, as much for the fact that she was going on multiple tours of Afghanistan and Iraq. If you don't want my opinion on the film, you should consider Leon Panetta's Secretary of Defense, who saw the movie, and a couple days later, changed the process in which such crimes were investigated. Before then, commanding officers at bases were the ones who investigated such claims, which they weren't adequately prepared to do, and in certain cases, they were the attackers, so there's loads of conflict, and now, those cases are being passed off to civilian investigators. Kirby Dick's been in the Academy doghouse for a bit, after his film "This Film is Not Yet Rated," which investigated the MPAA, but with these films, as well as his film "Outrage", he's really become a great documentarian, and this is one of his most powerful films yet.

Okay, here's my recap of my recommendations, Academy.

BEST PICTURE
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Moonrise Kingdom

BEST DIRECTOR
Wes Anderson-"Moonrise Kingdom"
Ang Lee-"Life of Pi"
Steven Spielberg-"Lincoln"
Quentin Tarantino-"Django Unchained"

BEST ACTOR
Jack Black-"Bernie"
Daniel Day-Lewis-"Lincoln"
Anders Danielsen Lie-"Oslo, August 31"
Jamie Foxx-"Django Unchained"
Suraj Sharma-"Life of Pi"

BEST ACTRESS
Lea Thompson-"The Trouble with the Truth"

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Leonardo DiCaprio-"Django Unchained"
Samuel L. Jackson-"Django Unchained"
Tommy Lee Jones-"Lincoln"
David Straitharn-"Lincoln"
Christoph Waltz-"Django Unchained"

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Sally Field-"Lincoln"
Sarah Silverman-"Take This Waltz"

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Life of Pi-David McGee

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Moonrise Kingdom-Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola
Django Unchained-Quentin Tarantino

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Life of Pi

ART DIRECTION
Moonrise Kingdom

VISUAL EFFECT
Life of Pi

BEST DOCUMENTARY
The Invisible War

BEST SONG
"Freedom"-"Django Unchained"
"Who Did That to You"-"Django Unchained"

I hope while you fill out your last second ballots, that you names into consideration; and seriously, at least next year, moves the dates back, like a week at least. This is way too early this year. Thank.

Sincerely,
David Baruffi,
c/o "David Baruffi's Entertainment Views and Reviews",
davidbaruffi.blogspot.com

This article has been posted on the A.M.P.A.S.'s Facebook page, and tweeted to them.
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