Awards should be served to 'Waitress'

The Baltimore Sun

It's tough to figure what you'll be seeing Sunday night on the strike-challenged Golden Globes, what with all the reconstituting that's been going on. But one thing you definitely won't see is anyone from the cast and crew of Waitress winning anything. And so far, that's the greatest injustice of the 2007 awards season.

Waitress, which the late Adrienne Shelly finished just before she was slain in her Greenwich Village apartment in November 2006, was one of the most delightful films of last year. An ode to empowerment and baking (not necessarily in that order), it featured sure-footed direction and a drolly subversive script from first-timer Shelly (best known as a staple of the New York indie film scene). Her work was ably complemented by invigorating star turns from Keri Russell as the titular heroine, whose unsuspected strength of character is reflected in the pies she creates, and Andy Griffith as the crusty cafe owner who, alone, understands her potential.

Maybe the movie didn't get enough of an audience. Maybe it seems too slight for award recognition (it isn't). Or maybe no one wants to be accused of praising it solely because of Shelly's tragic fate. But the film's almost total absence from awards consideration - Shelly's script is up for an Independent Spirit Award, and that's it so far - is hard to explain. Griffith's, in particular, is the sort of performance that has been known to prompt recognition for actors in the twilight of their careers.

Oscar nominations will be announced Jan. 22. It sure would be nice if Waitress finds its way onto that list somewhere.

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