Billy Crystal introduced this year's "In Memoriam" montage with personal, heartfelt words about two Academy Awards producers who passed away in 2011, one of whom was Laura Ziskin, who produced on films like "Spider-Man" and "As Good as It Gets."
[artist id="1653130"]Esperanza Spalding[/artist], backed by the Southern California Children's Choir, sang a restrained and powerful version of "What a Wonderful World" as the clips played. The audience was asked to hold their applause until after the montage concluded, which they respectfully abided by. This prevented the morbid "applause-meter" phenomenon of years past, which seemed to unwittingly measure one fallen industry person's popularity against another.
The montage included a number of producers, costume designers, sound technicians and other departed industry folks, in addition to writers, directors and film stars. Among those honored were Whitney Houston and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who was awarded a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammy Special Merit Awards ceremony held in Los Angeles earlier this month.
The montage also included Jane Russell (who died shortly after last year's Academy Awards), Farley Granger (who starred in two Alfred Hitchcock films, including "Strangers on a Train"), Hal Kanter, Jackie Cooper (the former child actor who also famously played newspaper boss to Christopher's Reeve's "Superman"), Sidney Lumet (director of classic movies like "Serpico," "Network" and "Twelve Angry Men") and Oscar winner Cliff Robertson (best known to modern audiences as Spider-Man's Uncle Ben).
The "In Memoriam" at the 84th annual Academy Awards closed with a clip of Elizabeth Taylor as "Cleopatra."
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