The Oscars… In Memoriam…


The Oscars… Out with the Old, In with the New?

Well, another year, another Academy Awards — oops, sorry — Oscars — as they are now being officially called according to co-producer Neil Meron, who explains that it is part of a rebranding effort by AMPAS:

“We’re rebranding it. We’re not calling it ‘the 85th annual Academy Awards,’ which keeps it mired somewhat in a musty way.  It’s called ‘The Oscars.” (source:

I was actually very sorry to read Meron’s statement, as it implied that the show was being contemporized to highlight and ‘advertise’ Hollywood’s current list of priorities (understandable of course) but, unfortunately at the expense of also paying tribute to the iconic ‘greats’ that helped build Hollywood in the first place… For me, this realization was a big let-down, as I’ve always thought of the Oscars as a celebration of Hollywood’s greatest achievements and artistry — including its iconic pedigree.


Academy Award, Oscar statuette


Oh well, you can only control what you can control, so I watched the awards regardless, hoping that I would see some spectacular tribute to someone iconic somewhere among all the scripted ‘comedy’ and ‘Grammy-inspired’ glitz and glam…

I don’t want to be too harsh here, so I won’t comment too much about the ceremony itself, because (being an avid Classic Movie fan), you can probably guess that I was quite disappointed with the ‘high-school’ humor, the flat deliveries, the off-key singing, and the lack of homage paid to the ‘greats’ — but of course, I am clearly not the demographic they are now targeting in their re-branding efforts.  Oh well, live and let live…  I will say however that I was very much moved by Daniel Day Lewis’ heartfelt and funny Best Actor acceptance speech for his role as Lincoln, as well as Barbara Streisand’s magnificent delivery of “The Way We Were” sung in tribute to her colleague and friend, the late great composer Marvin Hamlisch.


Video Clip of Streisand’s tribute to Marvin Hamlisch (youtube)


…Which leads me to the fact that the Oscars’ “In Memoriam” Video Tribute omitted some wonderful and iconic Classic Movie and TV Stars — unfortunately… since this was the one included vehicle that could pay tribute to at least some of Hollywood’s greats.  Of course I realize that there are time restrictions to contend with, but just an extra minute or two carved out from ‘somewhere,’ would have done the trick. Oh well, pins and needles, needles and pins…

The video did include:

Ernest Borgnine, Jack Klugman, Celeste Holm, Charles Durning, Director Ulu Grosbard, Herbert Lom, Disney songwriter Robert B. Sherman, Writer Ray Bradbury and Produer Richard D. Zanuck.

But omitted:

  • Andy Griffith: Face in the Crowd (film debut), No Time for Sergeants, Angel in My Pocket (& of course Sheriff Andy Taylor).
  • Ann Rutherford. Gone with the Wind, Pride and Prejudice, Love Finds Andy Hardy, A Christmas Carol, Orchestra Wives.
  • Sherman Hemsley. George Jefferson on TV’s The Jeffersons. (added later: perhaps not a movie ‘star’, but did appear in some films in the 90s)
  • Larry Hagman. Ensign Pulver, Fail-Safe, In Harm’s Way (& of course the lovable Major Nelson & the not-so-loveable JR Ewing)
  • Phyllis Diller. Debut Film Role in 1961 as Texas Guinan in Splendor in the Grass.
  • Gore Vidal. Screenplay for Suddenly Last Summer starring Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn and Montgomery Clift.
  • Mel Stuart. Directed If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
  • Ben Gazzara. Anatomy of a Murder.

Do you know of any other Classic-Era Movie or TV Stars that were omitted?


–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub


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2 Responses to The Oscars… In Memoriam…

  1. Tom says:

    I’m sure the committee putting together In Memoriam considered everyone who passed away. All of the actors mentioned in the post would be considered character actors and I think they are usually and unfortunately the first ones to get the cut. I’m surprised Mr. Klugman was included because his only notable movie credit is his work in 12 Angry Men.

    • Annmarie says:

      I’m sure they did consider everyone. For me, I was surprised that they didn’t include Andy Griffith because of his performance in A Face in the Crowd (especially because they included Jack Klugman), as well as Ann Rutherford (even though she wasn’t a leading lady, she did appear in a number of popular films).

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