As awful as Mark Hamill's acting was before that wampa cold-cocked some talent into him, it's pretty hard to argue that he was anything but the best person on the planet to play Luke Skywalker. This is because casting is a delicate, Jenga-like art that could potentially make or break a movie. Consider who Harrison Ford was up against for Han Solo: Nick Nolte, Richard Dreyfuss, John Travolta, and Robert De Niro all had a shot at the part, as well as Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds, Christopher Walken and Al Pacino. Picture any one of these people in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon and you have one hell of a different movie your hands, never mind the Indiana Jones trilogy.
Plenty of other casting near-misses should put us all down on our knees thanking the actor-choosers of the world that they're usually pretty good at their jobs.
Because this guy could have played Oskar Schindler.
And this guy could have been made into an assembly line of Terminators
So there's a reason why the Screen Actors Guild, Broadcast Film Critics and the National Board of Review all give out awards for best cast performances, and why the Emmys actually honor the casting directors themselves by giving out separate awards for comedy, drama and miniseries casting.
While we're dreaming, instead of showing us the actual performances we already watched, they could show us the failed auditions of the people they almost cast. After all, there's no reason we should have to wait 25 years to see narrowly avoided disasters like Eric Stoltz in Back to the Future.
Trailers aren't quite short films, but they're not just simple commercials, either. But as far as the Oscars are concerned, trailers are exactly worth jack shit. That's a shame because there isn't a single one of you reading this who hasn't seen an amazing trailer, only to watch the actual movie a year later and say, "What the hell is this shit?"
It's an art form all its own. Even with good movies, there's the delicate process of knowing how much to show. Check out the original trailer for Alien, which contains not a word of dialogue but had to have been making audience members poop their pants:
And if you think such mini-gems are the work of the big names and directors attached to the film, think again. Most of the trailers you know and love are contracted to marketing wizards specifically in the business to make even the shittiest movie blow your mind.
That Inception trailer that probably gave you an acid flashback last year? We have the good people at BLT & Associates to thank for that, specifically Zack Hemsey and not Hans Zimmer for the song he composed for it: "Mind Heist."
That epic masterpiece better known as the 300 trailer? Forget about Zack Snyder. You have an entire team of editors, designers, and consultants over at Mojo, LLC to thank for that monster. As for that nerdgasm-inducing trailer for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, a major advertising firm gave birth to that baby.
The best trailers are the ones that straight smoke the movie in greatness. Where the Wild Things Are pretty much sucked, but maaaan, look at that trailer:
Quick! What do Yoda, Belle, Gollum, the Avatar chick, and the entire cast of Looney Tunes all have in common? Besides their ginormous eyes, obviously?
Well, in addition to not being real humans, the voices who provided some of the most memorable characters in cinematic history--and Avatar--are all ineligible to win Academy Awards for their performances because, apparently, voice acting is not "acting."
Sometimes acting is not "acting"
The rationale behind this cop-out is that you have to appear on screen in order to be considered an "actor" actor. The only problem is some of these voice actors kinda did appear in their movies. Andy Serkis (Gollum) and Zoe Saldana (Blue Avatar Lady) both provided their own motion capture for their films, which Gollum himself described as "CG prosthetics" comparable to the heavy makeup and digital shrinkage John Rhys-Davies endured as Gimli.
But even if we kicked all digital actors out of the party, that's still Frank Oz's arm stuck up Yoda's ass that they're filming, isn't it? By these standards Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker's performances in Star Wars would not have been acting simply because their voices were added later and we do not see any skin... which is sort of in character when you consider they play freaking robots.
Not pictured: acting.
However, perhaps the biggest "screw you" in this debate came when George Lucas and Irvin Kershner personally petitioned that Frank Oz be nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back. Not only did their request get rejected like the whole damn thing was a junior prom date, but they received the equally shitty news that "puppetry wasn't an art." Like, ever.
Try saying that to the Sesame Street gang. They're all packing knives.
Puppeteering isn't an art? Voice acting isn't acting? This is the type of bullshit some kid at Starbucks spouts just so he can feel worthy of his soul patch.
If you would like to learn more about what it's like to actually be nominated for an Academy Award, Jacopo asks that you check out SON OF THE CUCUMBER KING by Ray Errol Fox
And be sure to pick up our new book which is sure to be adapted into the most Oscar-winningest movie of all time.
For more on awards, check out The 7 Most Unforgivable Grammy Award Snubs of All Time and A Trailer for Every Academy Award Winning Movie Ever.