Tom Berenger has been jogging around the track for 35-plus years. He broke into features in the mid ’70s and had a great 16-year run — Looking for Mr. Goodbar (’77), In Praise of Older Women (’78), The Dogs of War (’81), The Big Chill (’84), Platoon (’86), Someone to Watch Over Me (’87), Major League (’89), Born on the Fourth of July (’89), The Field (’90), At Play in the Fields of the Lord (’91), Sliver (’93) and Gettysburg (’93). And then he seemed to slip into B-level genre stuff, but he came back two years ago with a significant role in Chris Nolan‘s Inception.

The man is a veteran who’s paid his dues several times over and is now into his seventh decade of life on the planet…and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences has only just granted him membership? I understand that you have to apply and that you need a sponsor or two. Maybe Berenger never applied, but why wouldn’t he have? He knows this town and that membership couldn’t hurt and could possibly help his career, so what kind of moron do you have to be to say “naaahh, I don’t want to join”? So if he did apply before, why would Academy gate-keepers turn him down? It just seems weird. The overwhelming majority of those recently granted membership are people who broke through within the last ten years or less.

Wait…is it because he’s politically conservative or something? I don’t know anything but that kind of thing can be a stopper.

The odd thing about Berenger is that he’s allegedly declared that his favorite feature of those he’s starred in was Gettysburg, in which he played Gen. James Longstreet. That movie has stayed in my mind for one reason only — bad beards. I would say that the beards in that film were ludicrous — they looked woven out of yak hair.