Sunday, May 19, 2024

Oscar Notes: “Avatar” Winner Rushed to Hospital After Show, Shunned Actor Nate Parker at the Show, Paul Sorvino’s In Memoriam Omission Criticized by Oscar Winning Daughter


AVATAR Visual Effects Oscar winner Eric Saindon was very blue last night. I met him at the top of the stairs at the Dolby Theater with his wife and friends before the Academy Awards began. He told me he’d already been to see a doctor and discovered the pain in his side wasn’t James Cameron but a discovered kidney stone. Yet there he was! Since I’ve suffered from the same ailment and know how bad it can be I asked him, Eric, aren’t you in terrible discomfort? He replied in the affirmative. But you know, it’s the Oscars.

So after Saindon,

Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham, Saindon, and Daniel Barrett won their statues and made their acceptance speeches, the Percocet (or whatever it was) wore off. Saindon did not make the Governor’s Awards. He was rushed to the hospital where I hope he was lasered or whatever they do here in L.A. when an Oscar winner arrives with a little gold man in one hand for making people blue as he’s actually really turning that color! Get well soon, Eric. And congrats!

Will Smith should take this to heart since he’s been banned from the Oscars for the next nine years. Last night, actor Nate Parker walked the red carpet with his wife and even attended the Governor’s Ball. Parker was not banned from anything. But when he was doing publicity for his film, “The Birth of a Nation,” back in 2016, it came out that he’d stood trial for allegedly raping a young woman in college. He was acquitted, but his friend — they each had sex with with the woman and claimed it was consensual — was convicted (which was later overturned). On top of that, years later, the woman committed suicide. Parker was “cancelled” immediately mostly because his response to these revelations lacked any contrition.

When the Parker story broke, all bets were off. Fox Searchlight

gave up on the movie and it disappeared. Parker did, too, only to resurface with a film called “Solitary” that bombed. Seven years after all this happened, Parker reappeared last night at the Oscars. I don’t know if he got his tickets through the Academy lottery, but he was photographed on the red carpet and chatted away with whoever spotted him. So Will Smith can take some solace in the fact that Hollywood has a short memory about scandals.



ACTOR PAUL SORVINO was a Hollywood and Broadway great who died last year. He was beloved. His daughter, Mira Sorvino, won an Oscar two decades ago for “Mighty Aphrodite.” So of course, he was left out of last night’s In Memoriam. What is wrong with this aspect of the Oscar show? Every year two or three people from the movies are omitted. This year, also, Stella Stevens wasn’t in the clips. Big Mistake. She and her son, Andrew, are/were real Hollywood people.

Mira wrote on Twitter today: “It is baffling beyond belief that my beloved father and many other amazing brilliant departed actors were left out. The Oscars forgot about Paul Sorvino, but the rest of us never will!!”

These mistakes are regrettable considering how nice the In Memoriam was last night. Lenny Kravitz was superior, and for once you could see all the names. One of them was my late friend, Amanda Mackey, a great casting director and an actual pal. Alas, I did not know she had passed away. May her memory be a blessing.


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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