To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing this letter in heartfelt support of Julia Sarah Stone’s candidacy for nomination in the category of BEST PERFORMANCE IN AN INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM. As writer/director, it is my great privilege and good fortune to have cast Julia Sarah Stone as “Elizabeth Gray” in my feature film, The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom. Set in the 1970’s, the film centers on the inner life and outer rebellion of this pre-pubescent girl. As such, casting this role well was critical to the film’s very existence, let alone its subsequent success.
Appearing as she does in almost every scene of this coming-of-age film dealing with issues of identity, Julia literally had to carry the movie on her shoulders. Watching her compelling, nuanced, genuine performance in every single one of those scenes, you would never guess that this was her feature acting début. She brings a credible, yet fragile combination of depth and innocence to the character of Elizabeth who is dealing with a profound longing to belong in the face of some almost primal betrayals.
Throughout the film, Julia was called upon to walk that finest of lines - the one between little girl and young woman and back again – an incredibly unpredictable and elusive trait of puberty, and yet Julia was able to do it “on command”! This level of precision and understanding makes her, in my mind, a true actor possessed of a maturity, discipline and craft far beyond her years.
One of the many “chapters” in the film that I feel captures Julia’s dexterity in navigating this slippery geography – at once conveying innocence, vulnerability and a dawning self-awareness – begins in the classroom scene of the first act and continues through to the confrontation scene between Elizabeth and her parents in the kitchen.
As I said, this is only one example of many that speak so clearly of Julia’s understated, powerful performance in a film that truly lives and breathes in large thanks to her assured and sensitive portrayal of Elizabeth Gray.
My sincere regards,
p.s. WAY TO GO, JULIA!! WE ARE ALL SO PROUD AND PLEASED FOR YOU!!