Did Farrah Fawcett and Bea Arthur Belong in the 'In Memoriam' Montage?
Aside from a surprise appearance by Music by Prudence co-producer Elinor Burkett -- the "Kanye of the Oscars" -- no more scandalous event occurred than the omission of Farrah Fawcett and Bea Arthur from the annual "In Memoriam" montage. Or... was it scandalous? While I've got to say their exclusion threw my In Memoriam pool ballot into a tailspin, there's a case to be made today for leaving out two actresses not exactly best-known for their big-screen work.
Arthur's is a particularly tough case to make, with virtually all of her success having occurred on television between milestones like Maude and The Golden Girls. She did co-star in the Oscar-winning 1970 comedy Lovers and Other Strangers, but her last memorable film role -- as a Roman unemployment clerk in Mel Brook's History of the World, Part 1 -- was an uncredited cameo. So what are you going to do? Tough break, but again, there are only 30 spots, and business is business.
Which makes Fawcett's snub more than a little surprising. The Academy will tell you that when it comes down to folks on the In Memoriam bubble, it has to go with deceased Oscar nominees and/or Academy members before reverting to the celebrity factor. But even setting that factor aside (not to mention the sympathetic goodwill she'd accrued in the last months of her cancer battle, when she became a filmmaker herself, or that her death was culturally overshadowed by Michael Jackson's), Fawcett worked in a pretty broad range of movies since her 1976 debut in Logan's Run, including genre trash (Saturn 3), comedic hits (Cannonball Run), dramatic misses (Extremities), underrated indies (The Apostle), and auteur ensemble fare (Dr. T and the Women). I can't imagine they couldn't shave a single second off four or five other decedents to squeeze Fawcett in there under the circumstances, but again: What are you going to do?
No, really, I'm asking. Did Oscar screw up?