Friday, January 30, 2009

Oscar Diversion--An Open Letter

An Open Letter to the Person(s) Responsible for Katie Holmes Presenting Outstanding Male Actor in a Leading Role at the Screen Actors Guild Awards,

Hello, there. Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to stumble randomly upon my blog. I will be as brief as possible and I hope in no way to offend in any way. I could be talking to any number of people--the producers of the SAG Awards, the President of SAG, the team that represents Ms. Holmes, or possibly even Mr. Cruise. Most likely, this is best addressed to some combination of the above, give or take people/associations I haven't even thought of in my limited, Hollywood-outsider scope.
I guess my first question would be why? Why was Katie Holmes presenting Best Actor at the Screen Actors Guild's High Holy Night? My inquiries are not random or arbitrary. I will support them plainly and dispassionately with fact. Fair enough?
The presenters of the other acting awards were as follows:

Best Supporting Actess: Greg Kinnear, an Academy Award nominated screen actor, co-recipient of the Best Ensemble Prize for Little Miss Sunshine in 2006 and star of three major motion picture releases from 2008.

Best Supporting Actor: Kristin Scott Thomas, star of 2008's critically acclaimed I've Loved You So Long. Three time SAG award nominated actress, and co-recipient for 2001's Best Ensemble Prize for Gosford Park. She is also Academy Award nominated for her performance in The English Patient and now moves seamlessly between french and english language performances.

Best Leading Actor: Ralph Fiennes. Nominated at SAG for his performance in Bernard and Doris. Also nominated for his performance in The English Patient (for which he received an Oscar nomination). Oscar nominated for Schindler's List and the star of four major motion pictures in 2008--The Hurt Locker, The Reader, The Duchess and In Bruges.

---This is misleading and implies a high esteem, which I don't automatically grant to awards citation. But I'm mainly focusing on contributions to the world of film and acting in general.

Finally, we arrive at Ms. Holmes. Her only contribution to the world of film in 2008 was the critical and commercial failure that was Mad Money. Prior to that, she last appeared in a film in 2005. Two actually. The clever Thank You For Smoking and the stepping stone that was Batman Begins. But the world has moved beyond both of these films in more ways than one. Their respective directors, Jason Reitman and Christopher Nolan, will surely be remembered, but for films other than these. Oh, I almost forgot. She starred on a few episodes of "Eli Stone" in 2008. So that's one feature film, and a guest stint on a now cancelled ABC dramedy.

When choosing the presenters of the other acting awards, some thought was obviously given about what contribution these thesps have made to the world of acting. Kristin Scott Thomas, Ralph Fiennes and Greg Kinnear are three performers about whom my opinion varies greatly, but I get it. And I'm sorry to be so blunt, but I don't get Katie Holmes being included on this list. It's very much a case of "one of these things is not like the other." Why was she allowed to do this? Is it because she's married to Tom Cruise? It makes about as much sense to me as having, say, Rita Wilson present. She's an actress too (I think). And hey, she's also married to a more famous actor named Tom! But that would be strange. It would make people say "huh?" Why? Because Rita Wilson didn't DO anything last year except be Tom Hanks's wife. With the exception of the aforementioned Mad Money, the same can be said about Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise respectively. Why is she being rewarded for being married to Tom Cruise? Is it because she's America's sweetheart? Because I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but she isn't. Katie Holmes is actually an anomaly on that front, in that she was a middling former television actress, struggling to transition into film when she married mega-mega-mega star Tom Cruise...and it made her career WORSE. Strange, no? It's a bizarre equation--a math proof that only Will Hunting himself could solve. But I digress.

In summation, Katie Holmes is not a fine actor, she doesn't work often (especially when comparing her to the other presenters) and (unless I'm really misreading the climate of, well...America) is not well-liked by any stretch of the imagination. The most interesting thing she has done, both in and out of the world of cinema is marrying Tom Cruise and bearing him a child. I say this not to be mean, but to genuinely raise a question. Why was Katie Holmes chosen as a presenter at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and what do we need to brace ourselves for in the future? I will understand if you are reluctant to answer.

Yours Truly,

The Pretentious Know it All

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