Memo to the Academy: How About...? 

Ian McKellan? Maggie Smith? And for goodness' sake: Harrison Ford!

Academy worthy?

Academy worthy?

As many of us will be kicking the holiday season to the curb, Hollywood will hand out gifts in no fewer than 14 award shows starting Friday, Jan. 1, 2016 and ending Sunday, Feb. 28, the night when the Motion Picture Academy doles out the Oscars (the nominating process runs Wednesday, Dec. 30-Thursday, Jan. 14).

While some like the Golden Globes and the BAFTA awards offer more glitter than, say, the People's Choice awards, Oscar still rules. But, hey, Academy members: How about mixing things up a bit this year?

Best Picture nods are almost guaranteed for Spotlight, The Martian, The Revenant and Carol. But how about Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens? Seriously, the Academy needs to get with the program. A Star Wars Best Picture nomination would dial up the television ratings for a broadcast that has been hemorrhaging viewer numbers for years.

Best Actor nominations will probably go to Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant) and Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl). But how about Ian McKellen for Mr. Holmes? His gem of a performance is a distant memory--the picture was released last summer--but not completely forgotten.

Most are betting the Best Actress Oscar will go to Brie Larson (Room) or Cate Blanchett (Carol). But how about giving the irascible Maggie Smith a statue? She deserves it for her delicious performance in The Lady in the Van, which opens in Boise in early 2016.

One final plea to Academy members: How about Harrison Ford as a Best Supporting Actor contender? Ford's Spencer Tracy-like acting style is too easily dismissed, but his return as Han Solo in The Force Awakens is a major reason for the film's record-breaking success. Show him a little love.

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Mike Rosenthal

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