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Commentary: Oscars overlooked those who passed

For what it’s worth, the following are my thoughts on what transpired on Oscar night.

The common enemy for everything that is included on Oscar night is time. In that inclusion are such items as any and all jokes, whether good or not, all singing and dancing routines, clips from the nominated movies and stars, any special non-typical events, which included a special appearance and song by Barbra Streisand, a James Bond 50-year re-cap, a presentation by First Lady Michelle Obama, acceptance speeches prior to the “Jaws” theme being played, and the one thing that apparently no one has control over — the long-winded, and I’m sure unwanted, commercials.

The “In Memoriam” tribute, although very sad and at times worthy of tears, is an important part of every Oscar night. This year’s list, I’m sorry to say, left out far too many people, probably in the name of limited time. If even if a small portion of the commercials were to be vanquished from Oscar night, there’s a good chance that would create ample time to include the names of those taken from us who were not recognized on Sunday night.

Here are just a few of them that should have been listed on the screen: Ben Gazzara, Whitney Houston, Dick Clark, Donna Summer, Richard Dawson, Andy Griffith, Alex Karras, Phyllis Diller, Andy Williams, Larry Hagman, Ann Rutherford, James Farentino, Chad Everett and Patty Andrews, even though she died in January of this year. Kind of makes you wonder just wherein the devotion lies, either in honoring the recently deceased or advertising just one additional product in the name of profit.


As far as rating Seth MacFarlane’s job as host, heck what do I know? I’m just a retired real estate appraiser attempting to sail through life without too many bumps in the road. Watching him, however, I got the feeling that at times he was just trying way too hard to be funny while attempting to please the audience with his form of levity. And in the process of trying too hard, he often failed to bring the desired results, as evidenced by either no laughter or a form of suppressed laughter that appeared to worsen the situation due to an awkward silence that filled the Dolby Theatre.

Other than that, he seemed to be what Captain Kirk, played by William Shatner, observed as being simply mediocre. Being a good Oscar host is a challenging task in itself, and it looks as if not everyone is up for that particular task. One such person who I really enjoyed watching was Billy Crystal, but he is probably a bit tired after doing so many of the shows.

A hint for the Academy for next year’s Oscar show, find someone like Crystal, if it’s possible. Like the late Robert Urich used to say on his “Vega$" TV program in the late ‘70s as private eye Dan Tanna, “If it was easy, anyone could do it.”

BILL SPITALNICK lives in Newport Beach.