Monday, February 25, 2013

Oscar Losers 2013: Shameful

It happened while I was watching the Academy awards In Memoriam segment to all the great celluloid talent who've passed away in 2012.
My first reaction: Gee --so very few performers died this year.
And then I noticed the exclusion of Andy Griffith.
Now I fully understand Griffith was an even bigger star on the small screen as the iconic headliner of The Andy Griffith show in one generation and Matlock in another.
But he was not a peripheral movie star.
In 1957 as Lonesome Rhodes he gave a towering performance in Elia Kazans's A Face In The Crowd (1957).
Other Griffith movie hits included No Time For Sergeants (1958), Hearts Of The West (1975) and more recently Waitress (2007).
Why couldn't Griffith at least be briefly mentioned?
I started making a list of important movie actors who had left us and quickly added the names of Ben Gazarra, Chad Everett, Alex Karras, Jerome Courtland, Doris Singleton, Warren Stevens, Sylvia Kristel.
None were noticed Oscar night.
Everett, again, was probably discarded because of his TV fame. Karras probably suffered the same fate.
Kristel made naughty Emmanuelle movies the conservative members of the academy frown on.
But why was Gore Vidal completely ignored?
Important movies made from his works include The Best Man (1957) and Visit From A Small Planet and he was a major contributor to the scripts of Ben-Hur (1959) and I, Claudius.
But Ray Bradbury was included and Vidal was not. Was the reason political I began wondering.
It was just so very strange that Hollywood's collective memory lapse included Canadian born actress Ann Rutherford one of the last remaining co-stars of the greatest box office hit of all Gone With The Wind(1939).
Ann also was a star of 12 Andy Hardy Movies and among her dozens of pictures there are three "Whistling" movies with Red Skelton, Pride And Prejudice (1940) with Olivier and Garson and The Secret Life Of Water Mitty (1946) with Danny Kaye.
I wonder why she didn't make the cut? I'm suspecting today's Academy are disdainful of Hollywood history.
How else to explain the exclusion of John Kerr (South Pacific), Herbert Lom (all those Pink Panther capers), Susan Tyrrell (Fat City), to say nothing of William Windom, James Farentino, Conrad Bain, Phyllis Thaxter and even Robin Gibb.
Even as I write this people and sending in other names exckuded: Peter Breck, Harry Carey Jr. (all those John Ford westerns), Whitney Houston, Deborah Raffin.
This is quite a list of excluded talent.
Either the salute should have been all inclusive or it should not have been attempted at all.
I'm not denigrating Marvin Hamlish who got great, deserved  coverage when Barbra Streisand walked out to sing the theme from The Way We Were.
If it was a question of time then one of those awful opening musical numbers could have been cut.
Am I right? I think so.

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