Where was Andy Griffith at this year’s “In Memoriam?” If you think that you missed the familiar smiling face during the Sunday night (Feb. 24) Oscars ceremony broadcast live on ABC Television, you didn’t. It wasn’t among the many photos that flashed by as Barbra Streisand performed “The Way We Were.” And yet, it was a glaringly obvious omission.
Every year the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) presents a segment to honor those who have passed away during the previous year. And there are times when someone of particular note seems to be missing from the montage, such as when Farah Fawcett was omitted from the 2010 collection of Hollywood notables. This year, it appears that the Academy has done it again and to none other than acting legend Andy Griffith.
Oh sure, they’ll hem and haw, just as they did with Fawcett, and say that there was no intentional snub. It’s just that Andy Griffith was more of a television icon, they will say.
And he was a television icon. His downhome wisdom was a mainstay on two enduring shows, “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Matlock.” But Griffith was also a movie star.
Although much of his career was spent on television, Griffith starred in a few successful films, like the 1958 comedy “No Time For Sergeants,” where he met fellow actor Don Knotts. Knotts would go on to become the goofy and lovable deputy on “The Andy Griffith Show,” Barney Fife, and win five Primetime Emmy Awards for the role.
Griffith was a versatile actor (he was nominated for a Tony Award for the Broadway version of “No Time For Sergeants” in 1955), proving it the year before he made “No Time For Sergeants” in his film debut, “A Face In The Crowd,” where he co-starred with Patricia Neal, Walter Mathau, Tony Franciosa, and Lee Remick (her debut film as well).
In fact, Griffith’s last acting role before his death in July was the lead in an independent movie, 2009’s “Play The Game.”
Griffith’s contribution to Hollywood cannot be minimized. It was “The Andy Griffith Show” that proved a springboard for the movie careers of Don Knotts and Ronnie (later, just Ron) Howard.
Griffith’s passing appears to be just another leave-it-for-the-Emmys moment (and in this case, the Emmys delivered back in September). But they didn’t completely overlook Griffith’s contributions. He is included in the “In Memoriam” slideshow on Oscars.com. He’s slide No. 28.
But what is most galling about the “In Memoriam” segments is that each year the photo montages are around three to four minutes long, with some actors, directors, and important industry people getting extended seconds and others getting the briefest of inclusions. Still, in a ceremony that stretches nearly four hours, it wouldn’t have hurt a thing to have put Andy Griffith’s image up for just a second or two.