2017-02-27 19:53:02 UTC
The Morning After
Published Monday, February 27, 2017 at 9:59 AM.
As is usual after an Oscar or Emmy ceremony, people are compiling lists of folks who should have been in the "In Memoriam" reel and weren't. So far, I've seen Gloria DeHaven, Alan Young, Robert Vaughn, John McMartin, Anne Jackson, Steven Hill, Brian Bedford, Tammy Grimes, Rita Gam, Dick Davalos, Patricia Barry, Marvin Kaplan, Ruth Terry, Madeleine Lebeau, Francine York, Van Williams, Douglas Wilmer, Peter Vaughn, Fritz Weaver, Madeleine Sherwood, William Schallert, Charmian Carr, Maggie Blye, James Stacy, Alec McCowen, Burt Kwouk, Barbara Hale, Robert Horton, Jon Polito, Garry Shandling, Larry Drake, Miguel Ferrer, Bill Henderson, Teresa Saldana, Kevin Meaney, Jinpachi Nezu, Joseph Mascolo, Frank Pellegrini, Gil Hill, Peter Brown, Nicole Courcel, Joe Santos, Florence Henderson, Doris Roberts and David Huddleston.
Some of those are arguable, not because the people weren't important but because they weren't important in movies. And I'll bet you a couple of those names were from last year. Still, that's an awfully long list. I don't know why, given all the time the ceremony spends on silly things, they can't spare two minutes more for that segment.
I also wonder if anyone has ever thought to change "In Memoriam" to "In Celebration" and make the segment a bit more upbeat and not so maudlin. Get a presenter with a little energy and charm to come out and say, "Let's pause to remember some of the wonderful, talented men and women we lost this past year…and let's give thanks that we got to know them and their contributions." Having been to many a funeral that was conducted in that frame of mind, I think a lot of people would prefer that.
Guess they're afraid that someone's loved ones would complain a death had been trivialized or not given the seriousness it required. There was though this complaint…
Australian producer Jan Chapman says she was "devastated" when she saw her image used in the Oscars' 2017 In Memoriam segment in place of a picture of her "friend and long-time collaborator" Janet Patterson, who died in October 2015.
But no one's going to pay much attention to that gaffe because they're still talking about the biggie. PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm that handles the envelopes, released this statement this morning…
We sincerely apologize to Moonlight, La La Land, Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for best picture. The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected. We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred.
There's not much to investigate here. They have two representatives backstage who each have a full set of all the envelopes. One of them accidentally handed a duplicate of the Best Actress envelope to Warren Beatty — or to someone who handed it to Warren Beatty — instead of the proper Best Picture envelope. You could prevent this particular mistake by only having one set backstage but it would still be possible to hand out the wrong envelope earlier in the show by getting them out of sequence. And we can all make up scenarios where one envelope is lost and they need a backup.
Folks are debating today how much responsibility Warren Beatty and/or Faye Dunaway had for reading the wrong name. It would have been nice if Mr. Beatty, who obviously noticed something wasn't right, had done something other than show the card to Ms. Dunaway, who read the name. Her confusion is understandable…his, a bit less so. But really, the blame should go to whoever dispensed the wrong envelope and especially to the folks backstage who didn't stop the acceptance speeches immediately.
As I noted, there was at one point a procedure to handle this kind of thing. Did they not still have it in place? Or did someone simply fail to invoke it? Blaming the folks on stage is easy and probably wrong. They're just told where to go and what to say and they don't have a whole lot of command over what's going on.
And Jimmy Kimmel is probably kicking himself that he didn't think to come out and say, "Apparently, Price-Waterhouse was sabotaged by Russian hackers that wanted La La Land to win…"
[It's Derek hereon]"
Mr. Evanier does have a point: Van Williams, William Schallert, Charmian Carr, Robert Horton, Garry Shandling, Larry Drake, Miguel Ferrer, Kevin Meaney, Frank Pellegrini, Gil Hill, Joe Santos, Florence Henderson, and Doris Roberts, are all primarily knpwn for their TV work.
The problem with the "you-can't-include-everybody" dynamic is that corrections are seldom, if ever, made. When Peggy Lee died and was Oscar-excluded, her people complained to the Academy, who in turn made the case that Ms. Lee was primarily known as a singer. Her family cited straight-acting movies in which such as "Pete Kelly's Blues." IIRC, Peggy Lee was not retro-included in the following year's ceremonies.
My solution would be to have TWO "In Memoriam" reel: one rife with techie and behind-the-scenes necrology-ees (make-up, special effects, publicists, etc.) that can be played during the closed, non-televised, Special Awards ceremony, and the traditional one comprised of actors and superstar directors (your Hillers, Wajdas, Babencos, Ciminos, etc.).
It's either that or devising an "In Memoriam" reel that would go on the requisite 10-15 minutes, playing the highlights reel during the Oscarcast, and availing an expanded, unexpurgated, more-inclusive reel on the Academy's website.