Monday, February 1, 2010

And the Honorees Should Be Part 2. Kennedy Center Honors Suggestions

Well, this year's Kennedy Center Honors have come and gone. Who will be next year's recipients? I'm guessing most Americans won't actually care, which is a shame because we have so much artistic and creative output to be proud of. Still, here again I offer five new names for consideration, in alphabetical order.

Born 1938

1.) Shirley Caesar

She may not be the Queen of Gospel (that would be Mahalia Jackson), but Bishop Shirley sure is the Grand Duchess. Putting aside her influence within the gospel world, we should remember that her vocal style have had an impact on R & B, jazz, pop and even blues performers. Everyone from Janet Jackson to Whitney Houston to Mariah Carey owes something to Dame Shirley. Let Caesar Reign.

Born 1930
 
2.) Gene Hackman

Popeye Doyle in The French Connection. Lex Luthor in Superman. Coach Doyle in Hoosiers. Two Oscars and a powerful force on screen, Hackman was (and I'd argue is) not a star but an actor who knows what he's doing on the screen. He brought an extraordinary quality to his portrayal of honest cops and master super-villains, intense military officers and wicked sheriffs. I believe that quality is called, "talent".

Born 1936
 
3.) Mary Tyler Moore

She more than turned the world on with her smile. She's proven herself a first-rate actress. Her eponymous television show was among the greatest, but see her turn in Ordinary People and see if there isn't more to her than Mary Richards. Looking at other performances, primarily on television, she's proven her range in both drama and comedy. Yes, she may be Laura Petrie or Mary Richards to two or more generations of viewers, but what she also is an extraordinary talent.

1932-2013
 
4.) Peter O'Toole

Few actors have shot out into film history on their debut. Peter O'Toole did. For argument's sake, let's say there was never another film in his career after Lawrence of Arabia. Wouldn't that have been enough to have made him a legend? Still, look over his various performances in My Favorite Year, The Ruling Class, The Lion in Winter, Becket, The Last Emperor. He's still very much in the game and he would say, as his shamefully overlooked performance in Venus proved. Alas, one of the greatest is also one of the last.

Born 1952

5.) George Strait

There are musicians, then there are artists, then there are legends. There can be however, only one King. That would be George Strait. His career has been built on only one thing: to make the best country music around. He does it so well, you can't blame everyone else for trying. There are many pretenders to the throne, but he's showing no signs of ever abdicating.  His influence over two generations of country artists is undisputed.

These are only five that I could come up with. More to come in the future. Hey, guys at the Kennedy Center, as the song says, "Hey, look them over".

*Update: Peter O'Toole died on December 14, 2013 at age 81.  As of January 2017, none of the following have been recognized, despite the fact that all but one is either in their 70s or 80s.  Tom Hanks, who has been honored, is 4 years younger than the youngest suggested performer, who is 64.

1 comment:

  1. I like these people that you put for the honorees. I still can't believe that Peter O'Toole hadn't won an academy award...at least from what I've heard. I agree with you 110% with you when it comes to George Strait. Almost every upcoming Country artist has been influenced by him.

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