Undeniable ‘Beasts’

I’m not worried about the controversy that erupted among movie nerds this week when it was revealed that the cast of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” is ineligible for the Screen Actors Guild Awards. There’s a simple reason behind SAG’s ruling — the actors, most notably Quvenzhané Wallis and Dwight Henry, are not members of the actors’ union. People are freaking because the SAG Awards are often predictors of the Oscars, and Wallis and Henry deserve every award they (and a wagon) can carry.

“Beasts” is one of the most amazing films I’ve seen in decades, and I have a bet with my editor about how many Oscars the film will take. (I get Berger Cookies if I win! And, consequently, possibly diabetes!) I’m not losing sleep over SAG being unable to acknowledge the film’s cast, and I’m not mad that it’s because of a simple rule. Getting up in arms about it makes as much sense as me whining because I’ve never been nominated for the Pulitzer for investigative reporting.

“Beasts” destroyed so many rules of filmmaking — untrained actors, a script that combines ancient mythological animals and hints about Hurricane Katrina, and a largely untested director pushing the boundaries of film. SAG’s rule is seemingly the only one that “Beasts” can’t break, but I’m positive Wallis and Henry will see success in the end.

Kristen Page-Kirby covers film for The Washington Post Express.
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Vicky Hallett · October 5, 2012