I watched the Academy Awards last Sunday night. I even joined an Oscar pool – I lost. Remind me never to bet against Meryl Streep. I watched it because earlier this year I let the girls stay up late to watch the Grammys and we all really enjoyed it. They got their Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, and Bruno Mars fix. I got my Beach Boys, Bruce Springsteen, and Paul McCartney fix. We were all singing our different genres on the way to school the next day. We seemed on a roll with award shows, so I went to a friend’s house with kids in tow to watch the Oscars.
I am happy to report that this year’s show did bring my eldest daughter and me closer together, literally. Some dude who worked on the movie The Exorcist, died last year and the producers – without warning – showed a few clips of some head-spinning, pea-soup-vomiting, demon-possessing fun, and now my daughter has been sleeping with me for a week; nothing like television to bring a family together.
Then came the In Memoriam part of the show. It is, and always has been, one of my favorite segments. Since Lisa passed away, when the segment comes on, it seems like every person I see on the screen is some close friend I lost and I issue an internal thought of “Aww, Frank Jones, the grip’s screen writer’s assistant to the director’s second assistant, died. What a shame, he’ll be missed.”
My biggest emotional reactions comes when they show people who I forgot died; like seeing those names are a reminder that I didn't yet send the family a bundt cake for their loss. “Oh, that’s right Elizabeth Taylor died. Wow, has she been gone almost a year already?” I don’t even know why I have these thoughts. Is there some underlying significance for me that Liz has been gone for 11 months? Did I somehow not do my grief work this year for all the celebrities that died? I’m already so far behind in my Hollywood mourning. I’m still working on my grief from Patrick Swayze in 2010.
Speaking of 2010, the In Memoriam segment had one of the bigger uproars from Hollywood when Farrah Fawcett was left off the list and Michael Jackson was put on. Both died on the same day – I know, right? I totally forgot about that too. Must get those cards out to the Fawcett and Jackson families – and Farrah was in a number of movies, including The Apostle, which was an Oscar nominated movie. People were outraged.
Bruce Davis, who is in charge of who gets selected, said, “Her remarkable television work made her more suitable for the Emmy Awards, making room for an unusual number of "extremely distinguished screenwriters" who'd died in the past year.” He missed the point. In his explanations, he tries to justify his decision like he was doing a math problem. He used logic. Logic doesn’t help us. If it did, then hearing “Don’t worry, things will get better and you’ll find some else,” is all we would need to make everything super-duper three days after losing our spouse.
Sorry Bruce, but when Corey Haim died in 2011, we were all looking forward – that’s right, I speak for America on this one - to seeing a Lost Boys clip, or a sweet cut from Goonies, so we could heal as a nation as we think to ourselves, “Oh, that’s right, one of the Corey’s died. I wonder what this will mean for my new normal?” But you left him off because you didn’t feel his movies were Academy Award caliber. Oh Bruce, silly man, don’t you know that we are creatures that look to the outside world to tell us when to be happy and when to be sad. After all, isn’t that what the movies are all about?