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Oscar Shame: How Could They Forget Andy Griffith?
Posted By Bill Newcott On February 25, 2013 @ 1:48 pm In Entertainment | Comments Disabled
I’m not for one moment begrudging any of the film industry greats who were listed — from screen legends Ernest Borgnine , Charles Durning  and Celeste Holm  to songwriter Hal David and writer Nora Ephron .
It’s typical of Oscar’s short memory that the evening’s organizers apparently forgot that Andy was actually a first-tier movie star who made the move to television — albeit spectacularly, playing Sheriff Andy Taylor beginning in 1960.
Go ahead, right now, and rent two movies that demonstrate Griffith’s unique genius. The first is his 1957 classic, A Face in the Crowd , directed by Elia Kazan. Andy plays Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes, a plain-speaking — but secretly mean-spirited — Arkansas good-ol’-boy who erupts into a national media sensation. His performance is as chilling— indeed, as terrifying — as anything you’ll ever see in the movies. Warner Brothers thought he might be the next Marlon Brando. Why he didn’t gain so much as an Oscar nomination for A Face in the Crowd remains one of the Academy’s great shames — nearly as monumental as ignoring Andy after his death.
The other great screen turn by Andy came a year later, in No Time for Sergeants . Re-creating the role he originated on Broadway, as country bumpkin Will Stockdale, Andy finds another shade of his great Southern identity. Here he’s a sweet-natured innocent, incapable of finding fault in others, whose naivete drives the Air Force culture into which he’s been drafted absolutely batty. Here he is in the film with, as a bonus, his lifelong pal Don Knotts. 
In 1960, on The Andy Griffith Show  (yes, he was a big enough movie star to sell the series on the strength of his name alone), Andy fused those two characters’ extremes into a figure with whom America instinctively fell in love. As good-natured as Will Stockdale, but with just a smidge of Lonesome Rhodes’ awareness, Sheriff Andy Taylor was the smartest, sweetest father figure in TV history, serving as a paternal icon not just to his son Opie, but to the entire population of Mayberry, N.C..
My point is, Sheriff Andy would not have existed without Griffith’s iconic big-screen performances of the 1950s.
So indelible did Sheriff Andy become that Griffith could never convincingly return to the big screen to create more memorable characters. But his movie legacy was secure, no matter what the callow producers of Sunday night’s brash Oscar orgy might think.
Andy Griffith Show: CBS
A Face in the Crowd: Alt Film Guide
No Time For Sergeants: United States Steel
Article printed from AARP: http://blog.aarp.org
URL to article: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/02/25/oscars-shame-how-could-they-forget-andy-griffith/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/742px-Andy_Griffith_Don_Knotts_1970.jpg
 Oscarcast: http://www.aarp.org/entertainment/style-trends/info-02-2013/academy-awards-2013-photos.html?intcmp=HPBB3E#slide1
 Andy Griffith : http://blog.aarp.org/2012/07/03/bye-now-andy-yall-take-care-yhear/
 stars who died in the past year: http://www.aarp.org/entertainment/style-trends/info-12-2012/TV-movie-stars-2012-obits-photos.html#slide1
 Ernest Borgnine: http://blog.aarp.org/2012/07/09/ernest-borgnine-a-last-big-laugh/
 Charles Durning: http://blog.aarp.org/2012/12/26/charles-durning-5-facts-about-the-consummate-character-actor/
 Celeste Holm: http://blog.aarp.org/2012/07/16/celeste-holm-an-actresss-tempestuous-twilight/
 Nora Ephron: http://blog.aarp.org/2012/06/26/nora-ephron-my-tour-guide-for-lifes-twists-and-turns/
 Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Kazan-Face-still.jpg
 A Face in the Crowd: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rx2_TqpPH4w
 See Slideshow: Oscar Night 2013 — Red Carpet Stars & Style: http://www.aarp.org/entertainment/style-trends/info-02-2013/academy-awards-2013-photos.html#slide1
 No Time for Sergeants: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sol3mzUbeX0
 Here he is in the film with, as a bonus, his lifelong pal Don Knotts.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noiPNDxZKk0
 Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/463px-Andy_Griffith_1955.jpg
 The Andy Griffith Show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DU5oEgJKgY
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