The rules for Stevee Taylor’s new expert blogathon, Making the Case, are simple: pick a film, performance, or aspect of a film that you’d love to see garner awards recognition this year, but know in your heart of hearts that it most likely will not.
Now, given that most of my favorite movies and performances from any given year typically aren’t recognized (To Michael Fass: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times), the possibilities for my contribution to this blogathon really are endless.
|Marion Cotillard in Rust and Bone|
It’s still a tad early, but I’m positive Rust and Bone will remain my favorite film of 2012. Marion Cotillard will most likely pick up a Best Actress Oscar nomination, but I could easily choose her co-star, Matthias Schoenaerts, to occupy my choice for Making the Case. Or Rust and Bone for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, or really any award it is eligible for.
Same goes for Compliance, a film I have championed since being blown away by it in August. Best Picture, Director, Screenplay – whatever. How about Michael Haneke for Best Director (Amour), or Anders Danielsen Lie for Best Actor (Oslo, August 31st)? Either or, or all.
But when all’s said and done, there is honestly no nomination I would love more than a Best Original Screenplay nod for Edward Burns’ nearly perfect The Fitzgerald Family Christmas.
|A still from The Fitzgerald Family Christmas|
As recently as, well, a few hours ago, I had a chance to exclaim my steadfast admiration for the often-overlooked work of Edward Burns. My review for his very funny and very serious Fitzgerald Family Christmas is a glowing one, and I am thrilled that the comments I’ve received on it so far are from people who either love the film as much as I do, or are genuinely interested in seeing it.
The film depicts the members of a very large Irish-Catholic family debating whether or not their deadbeat dad should be welcomed home for Christmas. At first glance, the script is a template for clichés most would avoid. But shortly into the picture, we understand that Burns is too good for that. He deals in familiar territory (dysfunctional family, romantic comedy, mumblecore antics), but makes his film anything but. In short, The Fitzgerald Family Christmas is as worthy of a Best Screenplay nomination as damn near any film I can think of this year. Yeah… really.
And it isn’t just his latest that deserves praise. She’s the One, Sidewalks of New York, and especially his 2011 feature, Newlyweds, all contain perfect screenplays, among other things. The only awards recognition Burns has received were Sundance and Indie Spirit props for his debut feature, The Brothers McMullen. And while that praise is just, I’m left wondering: will there ever be something more?
Because the Academy’s rules seem to change as often as its nominations, I frankly have trouble keeping up. Is a movie that’s released online first, then in theaters (as The Fitzgerald Family Christmas was), deemed ineligible for awards? If so, then I suppose I’ve made the case on a completely moot point. But either way, Burns’ work deserves recognition beyond the steady fanbase he’s amassed since The Brothers McMullen, and harvested since joining Twitter.
Upon further research, I see that Newlyweds was released online in December of 2011, but had a very brief theatrical run in January 2012. Would its screenplay be eligible for an Oscar this year? Shit, now we’re onto something.