Dear Academy Awards Committee:
Generally speaking, the individuals that make up your voting body pick rotten movies and worthless actors to win your Oscars. This year, please don't make the mistakes you made last year, with the likes of Shakespeare in Love. Instead, choose the best work of the year: Thirteen Days.
Historical-dramas are always an easy Best Picture pick, but this one is different. The dramatization of the Cuban missile crisis, Thirteen Days manages to capture all the fear, panic and tension of the Cold War's pinnacle. The fighter jet scenes are captivating; imagine flying over a hostile Cuba and being unable to shoot back. However, even those shots don't create the edge-of-your-seat feeling the behind-the-scenes, smoke-filled room deliberations between the president and his advisors do, or the anxiety the constant waiting does.
Because of the intense sense of reality created, Thirteen Days will do for baby-boomers what Saving Private Ryan did for war veterans. It will take them back. So, for your Best Picture, Director and Screenplay awards, keep Thirteen Days in mind. But don't stop there.
While he hasn't had an easy past few years, in Thirteen Days Kevin Costner reminds us he can act. As the special advisor to the president he does seem a little too infatuated with the Kennedy boys, but his sense of duty to his nation is completely believable.
However, Costner's award-worthy performance is overshone not once, but twice. First, by Canadian Bruce Greenwood's immaculate portrayal of John F. Kennedy. His J.F.K. has depth, self-doubt and a sense of humanity, and the rich Boston accent is dead on. But the show stopper is delivered by Steve Culp. Culp does not simply do an amazing job as Attorney General Robert Kennedy, he becomes Robert Kennedy. It's hard to believe that he isn't R.F.K.: the voice, the face, the motions are all perfect.
However, no matter how brilliant a movie, it generally doesn't catch the Academy's attention unless it does well at the box office. Hopefully, Thirteen Days will. Our American neighbours should see it, if for no reason but to renew their love and pride for their own country, and to learn what the leader of the free world should be like. Sorry Bush Jr., you just don't compare. The rest of the world also shouldn't ignore this movie for fear of too much anti-Russian sentiment. Thirteen Days doesn't simply pit the good, morally-right Americans versus the big, bad Russians; it recognizes that in some cases there is no right and wrong.
What would be right though, is to see Thirteen Days get the critical and box office attention it deserves.