The Jazz.com Blog
November 23, 2008 · 4 comments
Here is the story in a nutshell. Garcia (now 92 years old) played a key role in composing and arranging music for Charlie Chaplin's film Limelight (1952). Yet because the Oscar for this score was not awarded until almost twenty years had passed, the honor was given—probably due to confusion over names—to the late Larry Russell, who apparently had no involvement with the music.
Marc Myers broke this story at his JazzWax blog back in September, and I followed up with a report a few weeks later. I urged readers to contact the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (which can be done here). In my article, I wondered why no one in the print media had covered this story. (I am still wondering.)
I should note that Russ Garcia himself prefers to make no stir about this. He has commented: "I'm a Baha'i. It's part of my faith never to be the source of grief to anyone." But that prohibition does not apply to journalists, who should be guided by a sense of fairness and a desire to report on subjects as important and newsworthy as this one.
Here is an update . . . although not the update I would like to be giving. The Academy has not responded to any of my repeated requests. They seem content to stonewall, and wait for this issue to go away on its own.
Perhaps I should have expected this. But I am even more surprised by the dead silence from the jazz media and mainstream media. I tried to interest the arts editor of the nation's paper of record (yes, that one) in this story, but with no success. Not a single media outlet (as far as I know) has covered this matter.
Yet jazz fans are outraged. I know because I hear from them.
What is going on here? Why isn't this story—which is both important and newsworthy—on anyone's radar screen? Do Sid Ganis and his colleagues at the Academy have more clout than I realize? Are print journalists just reluctant to cover a story that was first broken by a blogger? Is jazz coverage in the mainstream media so decimated and marginalized that editors just block out the whole art form?
I know that if (heaven forbid!) there were a miscount in the American Idol voting, it would be all over the news. Yet an unassuming 92-year-old jazz pioneer has his Oscar denied him for several decades, and this doesn't even get a whisper in the press. Or even in the jazz press!
If any one out there has any answers or can cast some light on what is going on here, please let me know.
This blog article posted by Ted Gioia.