A Cheer for the Ineligible

With our fair city ramping up for its annual love fest of its favorite industry, also known as the Oscars(R),  I would like to give a tribute to the people who deserve to be recognized by The Academy but for one reason or another there is nothing available to them.

Best Cast

Anybody who has done even a little acting knows how much actors rely on everybody else in the scene with them.  The Emmys have a similar category, but even it is flawed in that the consideration is limited to a particular number of persons.  I think there should be an award for the movie where everybody on the screen, right down to the extras, is spot-on for the film.  That is not easy either at the big picture level of the casting director or the bit part actors themselves.  It deserves an award.  The statue would be given to the casting director but everybody would have the right to say that they were part of the cast that won the best cast award.  Hooray for the folks getting SAG scale!

Best Stunt Work

There have been numerous attempts to add this category over the years, all of them rebuffed for reasons I cannot understand.  Look at the number of other ‘craft’ awards there are:  set design, costume, sound editing, etc.  Do any of those folks have a job that they stand a serious chance of getting killed or maimed doing?  Part of the rationale of not having stunt work be a separate award was that it was covered under visual effects, but with visual effects becoming dominated by CGI the folks who really put life and limb on the line deserve one of the little gold guys.

Funniest Film

Sometimes you just want to go to the movies and laugh – unless you are part of the Academy Board.  Not a single film that I would regard as a flat-out comedy has ever won best picture, and good luck finding them in any of the other awards too.  Yet how many comedies are among your most favorite films and among the films that we regard as iconic?  Skip the ‘best’ as an artistic notion for a moment, let somebody get up on stage just as a thank you for making us laugh.  And I bet whoever wins it will give one of the less boring acceptance speeches of the show!

Best Character (not otherwise eligible for an acting award)

Lets just take one movie as an example: Darth Vader, Jabba the Hutt, C3PO, R2D2, and Yoda.  All are unequivocally iconic, all took tremendous skill in design, execution, and voice acting (and/or sound editing), and none of them ever were eligible for a specific nomination.  More recently you could cite Gollum and Trebeard from Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, the entire blue-skinned cast from Avatar and every character in every animated film ever.  Certainly there is more than enough of a body of work to draw solid nominees from, even looking at the animated, puppetry and CGI characters separately, much less as a group.

Best Scene

This might seem silly to have an award for just part of a movie, but why do they have an award for the best original song separate from the best original soundtrack?  There are many iconic scenes from our cultural collective memories that came from otherwise quite bland films.  Sometimes everything comes together perfectly for just a little while.  But wouldn’t the best scene award almost always come from the best picture?  Not always, and part of that would be that each voter must vote for a best scene from a movie other than the one they voted for for best picture.  This would keep the runaway favorite for the best picture award from just adding one more while not making it impossible for the award to come from the same movie.

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