I got upset about Roy Scheider being ignored in the Oscar telecast’s death montage (i.e., “in Memoriam”), and Us magazine has gotten riled about Brad Renfro being left out as well. But what about Ulrich Muhe, who gave one of the 21st Century’s greatest performances in The Lives of Others, which is hands down one of the century’s greatest films? He died of stomach cancer last July, and the Academy blew him off also.
An Academy spokesperson told Us that Renfro’s omission was “an editing decision because we can’t fit everyone in…there was no specific reason.” Well, c’mon. The Academy cut Muhe out because he was German and because they tend to think like xenophobes now and then. Ask anyone in this town who cares about movies what they thought about Muhe’s performance in Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck‘s film (which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film). One of the film’s more ardent admirers, I read somewhere, is Tom Hanks.
Famed trailer and main-title designer Kyle Cooper (the guy who designed the main-title sequence in Se7en) cut “In Memoriam.” I called his company, Prologue, to ask him about the omissions. He said he didn’t make the choices; Gil Cates’ office did. He was just given a list of names and instructions about who comes first and comes last and that was that. Cates’ assistant said he was out. An Academy spokesperson said the same thing about the p.r. team.