Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Kennedy Center Honors Announcement Coming– The Eagles Are In, Dick Van Dyke, Doris Day Are Overdue


It’s getting time for the Kennedy Center Honors announcement. (Last year it was on July 15th.) It could come any time in the next month. So who should be considered?

First of all, the Eagles will get their award from last year.  They postponed from last year because Glenn Frey fell ill, and then died. So that will be emotional.

And then: there are loads of living performing artists who are overdue. First up on that list would be Dick van Dyke, who is 91 years old. I’m shocked he doesn’t have this award. Mary Tyler Moore also isn’t on the list of past winners, but she may not be up to the trip to Washington. Doris Day is obvious, but she definitely doesn’t travel. One 90 year old who would come and should be inducted: Jerry Lewis.

Among filmmakers, Woody Allen and Francis Ford Coppola are huge names missing from the Kennedy Center. So is Melvin van Peebles, who invented indie filmmaking.

Actors: Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Helen Mirren are all names that come to mind among females. Gene Hackman, Al Pacino, and Denzel Washington among the men. Whoopi Goldberg, an Oscar and Tony winner, seems like a slam dunk at some point if not this year.

Broadway: Tommy Tune, and of course, Liza Minnelli!

Pop musicians: Joni Mitchell is sorely missing, although her health might preclude the trip. James Taylor isn’t in, although he did receive the Merit of Freedom award this year. Bette Midler and Cher are two performers who are going to get it at some point. Soul man Sam Moore and Mavis Staples are popular choices, too. Roberta Flack is also missing.

Classical music: Michael Tilson Thomas, opera singers Kiri te Kanawa and Frederica van Stade, Andre Watts are all names to be considered. Renee Fleming might be too young.

Country music: Kenny Rogers and Charley Pride are two names that come to mind as trailblazers who haven’t been acknowledged.

The Kennedy Center awards are for merit, and a lifetime achievement. They are serious, too, and they take this whole thing seriously. CBS broadcasts the show, but the inductees are not chosen for ratings even though the producers and the Kennedy Center brass have changed in the last couple of years.

I am told that Prince was contacted last year but never returned the call. Prince was also supposed to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame but kept putting off the invite. David Bowie was also said to be high on the Kennedy Center list of “wants.” Joan Rivers certainly would have made the list had she lived.

For TV: I would induct Regis Philbin. Every single talk show is based on Regis’s invention of the opening dialogue among hosts chatting about their lives. And Phil Donahue should be honored already.

Have I missed some names? Who do you think should be in for 2016?


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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