Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Dance Party: Oscar's Oversights

The Internet was abuzz earlier this week (or at least, my section of it was) after the Academy Awards Show's "memorial" section aired. A few folks were left out, and some people were hopping mad. (Click on the highlighted names below to read my original obits.) The most glaring oversight seemed to be this model-turned actress:
Farrah Fawcett made her fame in television and with her iconic poster back in the 70s, but she appeared in a few big screen items which deserved some notice. Well, maybe only one, but the fact that Michael Jackson was included in the memoriam, after his whopping contribution of one film, then why wasn't Fawcett? Her appearance in the film version of Extremities, as a rape victim who turns the tables on her attacker, garnered her a Golden Globe nomination, and surely should have garnered her a mention at the Oscars.

Like Fawcett, this guy was also known primarily for his television work, but he delivered several high-profile performances on the big screen which should have warranted inclusion:

Henry Gibson's list of feature films is longer than you might think; those of us "of a certain age" recall his swell voice work as Wilbur the pig in the Hanna-Barbera feature cartoon Charlotte's Web. He is well-remembered for strong performances in Robert Altman films, with his work in Nashville garnering him a Golden Globe nomination.

Of the other actor-types who were overlooked at the Oscars, I would surely include this guy:

Edward Woodward became a TV star in The Equalizer, but earlier in his career, he appeared in at least two prestigious features, Breaker Morant and The Wicker Man.

This guy may have been better known for musical appearances, but his movie work still warranted some recognition:

Harve Presnell is well-remembered as a cranky coot in Fargo, but decades earlier, he headlined The Unsinkable Molly Brown opposite Debbie Reynolds. He won the Golden Globe in 1965.

This gal's work was also better known on stage and on TV, but as she's always been a favorite of mine, I missed her inclusion most of all:

Beatrice Arthur's movie credits include Lovers and Other Strangers, Mel Brooks's History of the World Part I, and a Golden Globe nomination for one of the most notorious film adaptations of a Broadway smash, Mame.

That critical flop, released in 1974, placed TV clown Lucille Ball in the title role, robbing us of an iconic stage recreation by original star Angela Lansbury. The film is sunk by Ball's rough vocals, which were so uneven that her numbers had to be painstakingly edited, line by line, to bring them closer to pitch. Arthur recreated her Tony-winning performance as best buddy Vera Charles, and does the best she can. The film is out on DVD, but I've been unable to find a clip of either of Bea's two numbers online, which may be just as well, as I'm sure they came off better in the theatre. So for this week's Dance Party, here's a clip from a musical Arthur never appeared in, but perhaps should have. The show is Wonderful Town, which never received a big-screen treatment, settling instead for an abridged version shown on live TV with original star Rosalind Russell. If you care about such things, you can spot future Broadway stars Jason Graae, Howard McGillan, and Debbie Shapiro (before she went Gravitte) in the dancing ensemble. Let's conga!