Oscar Dead Pool

Oscar prediction has become far too easy — at least around my house anyway. I just ask Mrs. James

, who hardly ever sees any of the movies and is always 100% accurate in her predictions. (Her technique: “I just pick the one that seems most obvious.”)

(My prediction for this year: Alvin and the Chipmunks in a walk.)

So the only real excitement in the Oscar-cast comes from guessing who will be the last celebrity mentioned on the Celebrity Death Roll three-quarters of the way through the show.

Here, we have three top-rank, obvious choices. Ingmar Bergman is the greatest director of all time, but Deborah Kerr is a genuine old-time movie star, and an American to boot. Will Antonioni take away some of Bergman’s heat by being another world-class foreign-film director, who died on the same day as Bergman?

Will Jane Wyman prove a spoiler to Kerr, since she was, after all, once married to Ronald Reagan? If so, what if they cancel each other out, allowing Anna Nicole Smith to squeak past?

Or will Jack Valenti wield his extraordinary influence, even from beyond the grave, and take all?

Will Kurt Vonnegut and Norman Mailer be mentioned? Plenty of movies (mostly bad) were made from their novels. If so, which will be mentioned first? If they’re mentioned, does thatmean they have to include Ira Levin, or for that matter Sidney Sheldon?

Will Merv Griffin make the list, and what about Toms Snyder and Poston? Or will they lump Tom Poston together with Charles Nelson Reilly and Kitty Carlisle Hart in a kind of “game show trifecta” moment?

I assume that Brad Delp (singer for Boston) and Eric von Schmidt (folk singer) won’t be mentioned, but what about Luciano Pavorotti? He made a movie once.

Or will the Academy, in a bow to the younger set, include the lolrus?

As for me, my money is on Dick Wilson, who, through his indelible portrayal of a haunted grocery-store manager with a unique fetish, taught a generation of Americans about the importance of squeezable toilet paper.


6 Responses to “Oscar Dead Pool”
  1. eronanke says:

    If Bergman isn’t last, I’ll eat my (very delicious) hat.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I don’t recall who was on the end of the list last year, and certainly not the year before. But I guess if I did know, I could take a more educated guess.

    Just think, in the future, all those CGI-3d-virtual actors will miss out on the death list.

    Which leads me to add, I think if an actor’s likeness has been licensed for reanimation in new ads or such, like what occured with Fred Astaire some years ago, shouldn’t they be brought off the death list? A second new list, for “re-animated”…

  3. papajoemambo says:

    The Year Isn’t Over Yet…

    There’s always one significant media death during the Holiday-New Year period.

    I find it hard to believe that the former leader of the Pakistani opposition and Oscar Peterson will be the only ones who will have gone in the next few days.

  4. but Deborah Kerr is a genuine old-time movie star, and an American to boot.

    Kerr was Scottish, and made her name in Powell/Pressburger films before Hollywood called.

    I’m pulling for a final Antonioni-to-Bergman section, maybe ending with the final shot of The Seventh Seal (come on, how can they resist ending the piece with that?).

    The best moment ever in the Oscar death montage was the year Leni Riefenstahl died, and there was this burst of big applause when her name and image hit the screen (“Oh, right, we recognize that name at least!”) followed by a great sudden diminuendo as everyone in the crowd simultaneously remembered where they knew her name from . . .

  5. popebuck1 says:

    A spoiler could still creep in – remember, it’s not based on the calendar year, but on who has died since the last Oscar ceremony. There’s still a month or two of death yet to come!

    And the “applause meter” during the death roll is perhaps my least-favorite aspect of the Oscars. Whose idea was it to always, ALWAYS mike the audience during that part, anyway?

  6. urbaniak says:

    Alice Ghostley for the win!