One of the oddest parts of every Academy Awards broadcast each year is the Death Montage. I understand the want to praise and remember the great actors of Hollywood past who have passed on, but I've never understood why they haven't adopted the "Hold your applause until the end" policy that is so common in life.
Think of the poor bastard who appeared onscreen before Heath Ledger at this year's award show. Probably someone who appeared in a few flicks and maybe you recognized him or her and there was probably a light smattering of applause to be followed a few seconds later by the deafening standing ovation that greeted Ledger. It's always struck me as a little tacky. Have the music swell a bit more, give the more popular ones a little more screen time as they had in life, but in death can't we all say we're even now?
Well whenever a celeb that was in the film field dies, I try and think where they'll place on the applause meter at the Oscars and realized with Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes passing a day apart that those two are a real tough call!
My first thought is Mac will get the big hoorah because not only is he more current (and being in the public's recent mind is a biggie for the applause break - save for those few of Iconic status) but he's current in huge blockbuster films co-starring with Hollywood Elite. Just finally saw Transformers tonight and there he is with Shia (who is being groomed as this generations mix of Tom Cruise/Harrison Ford) and we can't forget his buddies George Clooney, Brad Pitt and the rest of the Ocean's 11, 12 and 13 gang. Just on those four movies alone Bernie has to have box office receipts totalling close to a billion dollars worldwide. Money gets applause too.
So how does Isaac Hayes even have a chance? One word - OSCAR! Hayes won one. 1972 Best Music, Original Song "Theme From Shaft". You pop Hayes' photo on the screen and play that funk that everyone knows and that will be the loudest applause break this year. Pop up a shot of him as Chef from South Park while the "and we can dig it" line comes on and it could be the biggest clapfest ever at the Oscars. Personally I'd give it to Hayes for The Duke Of New York in John Carpenter's Escape From New York. The Duke was so badass he made a nine fingered President Donald Pleasence declare the truth we all know when looking back on his career. He was the Duke and he was " 'A' Number One!"
I'll miss them both, but my palms will pump a little harder for the man who gave Shaft his signature sounds.