I mean, the fans of "Lady Bird" seem more upset about its imagined slight than Greta Gerwig herself. Really? Wow. Inarguably, the worst of these movie malcontents - and the least informed - are those who make claims against the Academy's In Memoriam segment on behalf of the dead.
Case in poin: Something called Film - Blogging the Reel World chided the Academy for omitting "notable, deserving people" from this year's segment - such as Bill Paxton. True, Bill Paxton was missing from this year's tribute. But that's because the actor was honored last year, in 2017.
And most memorably at that.
Jennifer Aniston, seen in the above photo introducing the segment in 2017, singled out Paxton, who died the day before the broadcast. Her tribute to those who passed ended tenderly: "As was Bill Paxton, our beloved friend who left us yesterday, all were loved and all will be missed."
I found this fact - on the internet, of course - in less than five minutes. There's no excuse for people who work - and all but live - on the internet to routinely pass on misinformation. But they do and with much authority.
And, if you think about it, given that Paxton died in 2017, should he really have been honored on an Oscarcast devoted to the 2016 movie year?
But more about that later.
First, I feel compelled to defend the Academy (did I actually just say that?) and explain how it acknowledges movie-related deaths every year, given that its public-relations arm has been shamefully remiss in this area.
Aside from Paxton, other deceased film personalities who have supposedly been snubbed this year include John Gavin, Anne Jeffreys, Bradford Dillman, Miquel Ferrer, Powers Boothe, Dina Merrill, Tobe Hooper, Elsa Martinelli, Don Gordon, Anthony Harvey, Christine Kauffmann, Clifton James, Chuck Berry, Adam West and Jean Rochefort. But they weren't.
You see, every movie year, the Academy compiles two memoriam lists. One is a complete list that is posted on its site as a gallery of photographs, covering those who died the year before (as well as during the first couple months of the current year). Case in point: This year, there were 213 people listed. But for this year's broadcast, the number was whittled down to 51 names (including 19 actors and eight directors). The broadcast list is reduced every year due only to time constraints. The Academy's site for The 2017 Oscarcast listed 185 names; less than half made the broadcast.
While it would have been impractical for the Academy to flash 213 photos during the broadcast this year, it could have included more than 51 by eliminating the gratuitous "visit" that host Jimmy Kimmel and other celebs paid to average moviegoers at a screening in an adjoining theater. Filler.
Which brings me to a point that the film experts overlook. The 90th Annual Oscars - aired this year, in 2018 - paid tribute strictly to films made in 2017. It did not include any titles released in January or February of 2018.
That wouldn't make any sense, right?
Again, strictly 2017 movies. So why isn't this standard applied to movie deaths? The fact is, Bradford Dillman, John Gavin and Malone did not die in 2017. They all passed during the first months of 2018 and, according to any reasonable logic, these actors would be honored next year during 2019's show. And Bill Paxton, who as noted died the day before 2017's broadcast, would have been acknowledged this year. In 2018.
The problem is, the Academy caves to its viewers' inability to appreciate that a year spans from January to December. When someone dies a month before the show, the public, ill-advised by the aforementioned film experts, wants to know exactly why that person was ... snubbed.
The Academy could avert this annual "controversy" if, during this year's broadcast (as an example), it had made it clear that its In Memoriam segment was being devoted to those film personalities who died only during 2017. Specifically. Again, from January to December.
It it would also help if it advised its viewers that, due to time contraints, the list being aired is only partial and if it also used a scroll to direct them to the complete list on the Academy's site. A PR problem would be solved.
Note in Passing: And it's my opinion that actors from TV with limited film credits should not be among the honored at all. This year, that would include West, Rose Marie, Jim Nabors, Della Reese and David Ogden Stiers (even though the latter did a lot of off-screen voiceover work).
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~Jennifer Aniston introducing the In Memoriam Segment during the 2017 Oscarcast, giving a shout out to Bill Paxton
~photography: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 2017©
~Dorothy Malone with her Oscar for "Written on the Wind"
~photography: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 1956©