Monday, February 11, 2008

It Ain't Long Enough

Three and a half minutes.

That's the length of a song.

Three and a half minutes.

That's the length of a commercial break.

Three and a half minutes.

That's one minute and three seconds short of John Cage's Musical titled 4' 33"

Three and a half minutes.

That's how long Ruby Dee was on the screen in American Gangster.

And three and a half minutes ain't long enough for a SAG award and certainly isn't long enough to warrant an Oscar nomination. It's a screen test, not an outstanding performance.

Brian wrote a post a few weeks back titled Better Late Than Never where he listed actors that received Oscars for the wrong roles. And that's exactly what we have here. Ruby Dee is absolutely deserving of praise for her career thus far, but unless the Academy knows for a fact that she's going to kick in the next few months, let's not throw her a going away party just yet.

Here's hoping The Academy does the right thing.


Fletch said...

I've been thinking the same thing. I've had it with "Lifetime Achievement Supporting Actor/Actress" Oscars, and I fear we're getting another one here (don't know if Holbrook's counts for this as well, as I have yet to see Into the Wild, but from what I hear, it's deserved).

Dee has essentially 2 scenes. One is her walking to the house going "Oh my god! Mine?"


The other is a great scene, with her pretty much bitch-slapping her son. Great scene.

Unfortunately, many of the other nominees had, I don't know, 8 or more great scenes in their respective movies. Amy Ryan, anyone?

It will be a joke if Dee wins the Oscar.

Ed Hardy, Jr. said...

Having lived my whole life as a cinephile caring not a whit for who won what award or keeping up with such matters, these types of things usually don't pique my interest. But three and a half minutes is, indeed, a very short amount of time. Anybody know any stats about the shortest performance awarded/nominated for an Oscar, or any such jive? Seems like some interesting stats to consider in the wake of this development.

Piper said...


That's one helluva slap if she wins the gold man for it.


My interest in these things probably falls in the middle. I couldn't tell you the day they announce the nominations and I don't really fuss too much over who gets what and why.

But 3 1/2 minutes felt like something to talk about.

The only other performance I can think of that falls in this kind of category is Hopkins in Silence Of The Lambs. It's my understanding that he had roughly 12 minutes of screen time, but I might argue he did a nice job with those 12 minutes.

But I also read that Beatrice Straight's performance was about 5 1/2 minutes in Network and she won an Oscar for that.

And Judi Dench's performance in Shakespeare In Love was around 8 minutes and she won an Oscar for that.

Man Ed, there's a damn post here and I missed it.

brian said...

fletch, it will be no crime if Hal Holbrook wins for supporting actor. He was terrific. I actually welled up - but positioned the popcorn so my wife couldn't see.

Allen L. said...

It's like Ellen Burstyn's emmy nod last year. What was she onscreen for? 2 minutes? It's crazy.
Weird about Lambs. I never understood why that film won so many Oscars and Hopkins' win seemed weird until I looked back on that year's noms and it's such a crappy year for movies that, yeah, what the hell.

Beatrice Straight. There was a LOT of talk that year. But, hey, look what she did with the oscar, huh?

fanshawe said...

Yeah, there are several really outstanding supporting actress noms this year and if they wanted to give Ruby Dee a lifetime achievement award, then that's what they should have given her. She certainly deserves one and this was just the wrong way to go about it.

Nayana Anthony said...



Marilyn said...

A woman hasn't gotten an honorary Oscar in 15 years, and when they are honored, they tend to be international legends, like Sophia Loren, Greta Garbo, and Deborah Carr. Ruby's a great actress, but she ain't no international legend.

Oscar used to have honorary awards for juvenile actors and actresses. Maybe they should resurrect that so people like Jamie Bell and Ellen Page can be recognized.

MC said...

Ellen Page isn't that far from the groove in terms of age to win one on her own if she chooses her projects right.