Every year, someone finds fault with the Oscars’ "In Memoriam" tribute honoring those who passed away over the course of the year. Usually the criticism falls on one or two entertainers who died in the past year and are left out. There was some of that this year, but a bigger focus was the new, less frenetic style of the tribute.
The tribute was set to a soulful, cool performance of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” as sung by Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding, and included homage to, most notably, Elizabeth Taylor, Whitney Houston, Peter Falk, Jackie Cooper, and Steve Jobs. The full list can be seen here.
Unlike ceremonies’ past, this year’s arrangement was mostly a series of slides featuring images of honorees, rather than a montage of film clips. There were a few audio and video excerpts sprinkled throughout, but overall, the tribute was silent except for Spalding's song.
The decision was met with mixed reviews among viewers of the broadcast. Some appreciated the serenity of the piece, claiming it was the most beautiful yet, while others wondered if the Oscar staff was too lazy to sort through video clips.
Lisa Milne tweeted, “Wow quietest in memoriam ever #Oscar very nice.”
Ethan Anderton, an editor at FirstShowing.Net, tweeted, "Someone didn't want to dig through video clips for the In Memoriam montage this year. #lazy."
Elizabeth (Elle) felt otherwise, saying, “Dear #Oscar, Don't save time by cutting corners on the memoriam. Give them the final moment they are due.”
And Christina Lynn adds, “My new goal in life is to join The Academy and create better "In Memoriam" videos for the show."
Many had been wondering how the Academy would honor late pop singer and actress Whitney Houston, who died Feb. 11. Houston. who of course was better known as a singer although she did star in films, was included with a photo, but some felt it wasn't enough.
A commenter going by txguy101 wrote on the Academy’s official blog, ”What, no sound bites, clips or anything of Whitney Houston other than a black/white face pic?!....Cliff Roberson, Elizabeth Taylor and a few others had screen shots, sound bites and whatnots.”
Of course, there was also dissatisfaction with those left off the list. Perhaps the most famous name left out was that of Harry Morgan, who while best known as Col. Sherman T. Potter on TV's "M*A*S*H" also starred in more than 100 films, including "The Ox-Bow Incident" and "High Noon."
Other entertainers not seen in the tribute included Ryan Dunn of "Jackass," Charles Napier of "Rambo," stuntman Bob Anderson who handled the sword work for Darth Vader in "Star Wars," and costume designer Eiko Ishioka (“Dracula”).
What did you think of the "In Memoriam" tribute? Who deserved more attention? Did you like the new format? Tell us on Facebook.