Monday, February 21, 2011

Handicapping the Oscar Death Montage

In addition to regular Academy Awards predictions (which I will post this week), I thought it might be fun to predict who will turn up in the montage of dead film makers, or In Memoriam.

Most people only ever know the actors in the montage, maybe a director occasionally, but I'm going to handicap everyone.

I'll start with the actors who have died in the last year:

Corey Haim - might make the Oscars as he was an important child star in the 80s, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him left out.

Tom Bosley - as Mr. Cunningham on "Happy Days" and the eponymous Father Dowling, he's known much more for television than films. But he did serve on the Academy's Board of Governors many years ago. So it could go either way.

Maury Chaykin - popular character actor not known much by his name, but certainly by his face. He's the one who'll be featured in the montage for people at home to say, "Oh, I know him. I didn't know he was dead."

Kevin McCarthy - Oscar nominated way back when for playing Biff in Death of a Salesman and best known for his lead role in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. He'll be on there.

Leslie Nielsen - there would be no spoof genre without his Airplane doctor and The Naked Gun's Lt. Frank Drebin.

Patricia Neal - Oscar winner for her wonderful performance in Hud. She was a big star for a while.

Gloria Stuart - If it hadn't been for her Oscar-nominated role in Titanic I don't think she'd make this montage. But she's pretty well known just from that film.

John Forsythe - also more known for television as the voice of Charlie on "Charlie's Angels" and Blake Carrington on "Dynasty," he may or may not make the montage.

Twice nominated Jill Clayburgh is likely to make the cut. Last seen in Love and Other Drugs.

Robert Culp was also more a television actor, but I think well-known and popular enough to be on the Oscars.

Anne Francis of Forbidden Planet fame (with Leslie Nielsen coincidentally).

Joe Mantell had smallish roles in high-profile movies like Chinatown, The Birds and Marty, for which he was Oscar nominated.

The well-known face of Peter Graves (the pilot in Airplane and Jim Phelps on "Mission: Impossible") should land him in the montage. I never recognized him as the bank robbing father from the opening scenes of Night of the Hunter.

Pete Postlethwaite - received an Oscar nomination for his role in In the Name of the Father. Was last seen in Ben Affleck's The Town.

Lynn Redgrave - two Oscar nominations for Georgy Girl and Gods and Monsters.

The two highest-profile celebrity deaths of the year were Tony Curtis and Dennis Hopper. The question is which of the two will open and which will close the montage. I would guess Hopper to be the first and Curtis the closer.

Directors likely to be on the show: Peter Yates (The Dresser and Breaking Away); Blake Edwards (The Pink Panther and Victor/Victoria); Arthur Penn (Bonnie and Clyde); Irvin Kershner (The Empire Strikes Back).

And others:
Dede Allen (film editor): nominated for Dog Day Afternoon, Reds, and Wonder Boys. Also edited The Hustler, Bonnie and Clyde, Serpico
John Barry (composer): Wrote the James Bond theme, scored nearly all the James Bond movies through The Living Daylights. Won Oscars for Born Free (2), Out of Africa, The Lion in Winter, and Dances With Wolves.
Robert Boyle (art director): Nominated four times for Gaily, Gaily, North by Northwest, Fiddler on the Roof, and The Shootist. Received an Honorary Oscar two years ago.
David Brown (producer): Had four films nominated for Best Picture including Jaws and A Few Good Men
Dino de Laurentiis (producer): Won his only Oscar for the very first award for Best Foreign Language film for La Strada. He was also awarded the Irving Thalberg Award for producing in 1991. He is a legendary producer, responsible for some of the best in trash cinema: Maximum Overdrive, Flash Gordon, Ragtime, Conan the Barbarian AND Conan the Destroyer, Dune, Cat's Eye, and the list goes on.
Marshall Flaum (documentary)
William A. Fraker (cinematographer): Oscar nominated 6 times including WarGames and both cinematography and visual effects on 1941. Also shot Rosemary's Baby.
Tom Mankiewicz (writer): Maybe this guy won't make it considering he's only got three decent credits. But that they are Live and Let Die, The Man with the Golden Gun and Diamonds Are Forever should be enough for the Academy to ignore the fact that he also wrote Dragnet and Ladyhawke.
Grant McCune (visual effects): Oscar winner for Star Wars. Oscar nominated for Star Trek - The Motion Picture. Also worked on Ghostbuster II and Speed.
Sally Menke (editor): Quentin Tarantino's editor for all of his films and nominated for both Pulp Fiction and Inglourious Basterds.
Irving Ravetch (writer): Nominated for Hud and Norma Rae.
Furio Scarpelli (writer): A 3-time nominee including Il Postino. He also worked on The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
Theoni V. Aldredge (costume): Nominated 3 times including The Great Gatsby. Also did Moonstruck and Addams Family Values.
Al Di Sarro (visual effects): Nominated for Die Hard. Also did Predator and Transformers.

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