Kids Can’t Act

So the Oscar nominations have been announced and it’s pretty much a list of the usual suspects with a bit of extra emphasis on Heroic America – hello, Argo, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty!  There is one historic race though: Best Actress. (Don’t you love how a bunch of shiny statues handed out by the entertainment elite can presume to have historical significance?) This year features the potentially oldest or youngest winner. But here’s the thing: Kids can’t act. Can’t do it. No way.

Acting is a craft. It requires thought and consideration. When you act you make choices and those choices are informed by experience or research. You create a character. You strive to bring truth to a role or affect the audience in a particular way. And you have the tools to know how to go about that.

Now I have worked with a lot of kids. They do amazing, interesting, creative things but they just do them without too much thought and certainly without finesse. Kids perform. They are coached or manipulated or bullied into responding in a predictable way that meets the director’s needs. I’ll admit that kids can perform and sometimes perform brilliantly, but this is not the same as acting. Why didn’t Uggie from The Artist get any Oscar love last year? He totally deserved a Supporting Oscar for that performance!

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