Monday, March 8, 2010

Poll: Who Did You Miss in the Oscars "Memoriam"?

Fur is flying over Farrah Fawcett's snub, as well as Bea Arthur's—"Mame," anyone? I mean, if the gay production staffers who lobbied to get Gerard Butler and Bradley Cooper onto the same stage (and thank you boys, whoever you are) can't remember Bea Arthur in "Mame," then what's Hollywood coming to? 

I especially wish I'd seen the winsome Blossom Dearie, who made beautiful music for films and TV for over 50 years, including the jazzy "Figure 8" and "Unpack Your Adjectives" for Saturday Morning's Schoolhouse Rock. But hey, you win some, you lose some (sorry, I couldn't resist). 

It's no coincidence that all three ladies made their mark in TV more than film, and although "Motion Picture Arts and Sciences" includes television,  and the Academy broadcasts its awards show on television, AMPAS has always been biased against the upstart medium.

And FYI: Carl Malden's mug was shown last and longest only because he was a bigshot Academy bigwig. Malden's hyper-real, Method-influenced work was amazing in "A Streetcar Named Desire" and scores of other films, especially in sensitive portrayals of working-class men, but his most famous act in recent years was campaigning for his buddy Elia Kazan to get a Lifetime Achievement Award, even though many Academy members objected on grounds that the information Kazan had supplied to Senator McCarthy in the 1950s helped ruin the careers of many an artist, not to mention the fact (OK, I will mention it) that he'd already won several Oscars for his achievements!

Among the artists whose careers were damaged by Hollywood informants were Zero Mostel, Disney animator Art Babbitt (who made mushrooms dance in "Fantasia"), and the great Judy Holliday (who took home an Oscar for her first starring role as a ditzy blonde in "Born Yesterday" but actually posessed a genius-level IQ. You can read more about Judy Holliday at my other blog, Pansy Craze). Holliday's story is especially tragic, considering that shortly after the Blacklist was lifted, she died of breast cancer.

But hey, if McCarthyism hadn't hit Hollywood so hard, Arthur Miller might not have written "The Crucible," and maybe that made it OK to Malden and others at the end of the day.

In Hollywood, only two things are political—awards, and death.

OK, enough with the rants already, who did you miss in the Oscars Memoriam? Tell me in your comments below. (Or, alternatively, what would have been a more appropriate song and singer to accompany the montage?)

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