Monday, February 23, 2009


As Norma Desmond in "Sunset Boulevard", Gloria Swanson said, "It's the pictures that got small." And the Academy Awards proved that last night with their tribute to the people in the motion picture business who died in the last year.

That's the one segment of the telecast that should be beamed directly from the control booth, not shot from a camera showing the film up on stage. Queen Latifah gave a perfect and moving rendition of the accompanying song, but we didn't need to see her sing it!

And the camera kept bobbing and weaving to show all those tiny screens up on stage and we never knew where to look. Look at the size of that set above! No wonder the screens were impossible to see if the camera is taping from the audience!
Some of those so reduced, like Ned Tanen, left viewers at home wondering what they did to be honored, because their credits were too small to read. And others just cried out for the full screen treatment - like seeing Ricardo Montalban as Khan!

But my biggest gripe was the omission of Patrick McGoohan from the tribute. At first I thought it was because they were regarding him as just a TV actor. (And he was a giant in Toobworld!) But now I'm reading that it was because only Academy members were honored. So if McGoohan wasn't a member, they excluded him - a man with movies like "Ice Station Zebra", "Silver Streak", "Scanners", "Mary, Queen of Scots", "Escape From Alcatraz", and "Braveheart", for bleep's sake! - and yet Maila Nurmi (Vampira!) gets honored!

Taking a line from another movie: "Inconceivable!"

But at least for the time being, you can see that memorial montage the way it was MEANT to be seen. Click here for the YouTube copy.

Toby O'B


Anonymous said...

Having only Academy members displayed was really elitist. And there were a few people, like the Japanese director, whom I don't think were members.

Brian Leonard said...

Not to make excuses for the Academy, but it's possible that McGoohan used to be a member but didn't keep his membership up. Anyway, it's a shame he was excluded, and I agree with you about the bobbing and weaving (which was annoyingly pervasive throughout the nominations as well).

(And please don't quote Wallace Shawn in an article about death. He didn't look too great on Life On Mars the other week!)