Every year when the Oscars roll around, movie fans the world over are on the edge of their seats waiting for the highly-anticipated announcement of the winners of the classic golden statuettes. From Best Actor to Best Supporting Actress, to Best Picture, the surprises are what make the night one of the most-watched events on television.
And it wouldn’t be the Academy Awards without the moving, yet vastly important segment in which all the stars lost during the year are memorialized. The past year was a tough one; we lost so many of our beloved performers. The tribute to their contributions to the entertainment field is a highlight of the evening. And the 2019 Oscars telecast was no exception.
“The president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented the segment, and introduced the musical accompaniment of the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra, conducted by maestro Gustavo Dudamel, in a rendition of a composition by the legendary John Williams.”
During the heartfelt segment, we smiled and maybe even shed a tear while we viewed the well-known faces of movie legends like Burt Reynolds, Marvel Comics mastermind Stan Lee, and five-times Oscar-nominated actor Albert Finney, all who passed away this year.
During the somber four-minute, 21-second testimonial to the best in the business, 50 dignitaries of the motion picture industry were eulogized, covering the entirety of the contributors, not just the faces well-known to fans.
But some movie buffs are complaining that there were glaring omissions from the laudation, and they are demanding answers as to why favorite stars were unceremoniously ignored.
The Actors and actresses who were mentioned, and rightfully so, were Susan Anspach, Margot Kidder, Elizabeth Sung, Burt Reynolds, Stéphane Audran, Barbara Harris, Penny Marshall, Tab Hunter, James Karen, Bruno Ganz, and Albert Finney. Then it was over, leaving many of us wondering, "What about...?"
To say that eyebrows were raised would be an understatement. Several beloved and stars were blatantly passed over for this honor, and one has to wonder who made the choices and why stars of their undisputed popularity were not included.
Granted, there has to be a line drawn somewhere - by someone who understands the need to keep the segment within manageable time constraints, but when the performers overlooked are household names who starred in numerous productions, and were even nominated for the coveted Academy Award - well, then we just don't get it.
Fox News pointed out one of the unforgivable snubs, “Stanley Donen, the filmmaker behind several iconic films including 'Singin’ in the Rain,' 'Funny Face' and “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,' was noticeably absent during the Oscars’ 'In Memoriam' tribute on Sunday.
“Donen received an honorary Oscar in 1998 for his celebrated contributions in film, including being recognized as the ‘master of the musical.’"
Donen passed away just two days before the Academy Awards, so perhaps there wasn’t time to splice him in. But what’s the excuse for the others? Four immediately come to mind.
Carol Channing, 94, 1967 Oscar nominee for ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ whose illustrious career on stage and screen spanned a whopping eight decades, was somehow among the forgotten. Harlan Boll, Ms. Channing’s publicist immediately reacted to his friend’s snub:
“It’s inexcusable,” he continued. “I’m sitting here talking to Michael Learned, Loretta Swit, George Chakiris, Margaret O’Brien, Roslyn Kind and numerous other Academy members who are all simply stunned that Carol Channing would be ignored by the industry that she dedicated her life, and she fervently fought for and believed in.”
Then there was Sondra Locke, who was nominated for ‘The Heart is a Lonely Hunter’
“Sondra Locke, who died in late December at age 74, received no mention during the televised show either. Locke was nominated for an Academy Award for her first film role in 1968’s 'The Heart is a Lonely Hunter' and went on to co-star six films with Clint Eastwood.”
And for some reason, this next one hit me hardest of all: R. Lee Ermey. You may not recognize the name, but when you see his face and hear his voice, there's no mistaking that you know him.
"Ermey, a Marine Corps veteran, made his grand film debut in Francis Ford Coppola’s 'Apocalypse Now' in 1979. He went on to star in films, such as 'Mississippi Burning' and 'Se7en.' He voiced the character Sarge, leader of the plastic Army men, in the 'Toy Story” films. Ermey passed away in April 2018 at age 74.”
"Social media particularly expressed outrage over the Oscars snubbing Verne Troyer, who played an essential role in the 'Austin Powers' movie franchise as Mini-Me. His co-star Mike Myers was in attendance. The actor passed away in April 2018 at age 49. His death was ruled a suicide by the Los Angeles County coroner."
"Other performers left out included character actor Dick Miller, who appeared in over 100 films throughout his career, including ‘The Terminator’ and ‘The Little Shop of Horrors,’ independent film icon Mark Urman, as well as Golden Globe nominee R. Lee Ermey, as well as ‘Frasier’ star John Mahoney, among others."
“While Mahoney was recognized as a sitcom star, he also appeared in several notable films, including ‘Moonstruck,’ ‘Primal Fear,’ ‘Say Anything,’ and ‘The American President.’ He passed away in February 2018 at age 77.”
Of course, there were more, but the ones I highlighted are a good representation of the oversight of the Academy.
What are your thoughts on the inclusions and exclusions? Do you agree with the Academy or do you think these beloved stars were given a bad deal? We'd love to hear from you in the 'comments' section.
To see the tribute in its entirety, watch the video, below.