Two days after the 81st Annual Academy Awards, the talk of who won and who got snubbed is dying down. But let me ramp it back up for a second. As the archly irreverent blog FilmDrunk points out, there are often people "left out" of the Oscar telecast's "In Memoriam" section "and no one knows exactly why." They make an unimpeachable case for one person who should not have been omitted, Don LaFontaine, who "did virtually every movie trailer for 30 years and was easily the most famous voice-over guy who ever lived."
Too right. This is the guy who basically invented the trailer opening phrase, "In a world, where...," you know..."bunnies poop exploding doubloons"...or whatever. A nation of filmmakers who needed a trailer to quickly make sense of a world where bunnies pooped exploding doubloons or where pirates ruled Lake Michigan or where robot tricycles from Luxembourg threatened the time-space continuum relied on LaFontaine to quickly establish their idea in the minds of moviegoers, jonesing for their feature presentation. In short, LaFontaine's voice was often the first thing to bridge the gap between the creative spark of a filmmaker's inspiration and the yawning imagination of the filmgoing public.
That voice was unmistakable, by the way, as anyone who saw this GEICO ad campaign remembers:
One can't help but think there might have been several uniquely good-spirited ways the academy could have honored LaFontaine Sunday night, giving viewers one last chance to enjoy the man they called "The Voice of God." That they didn't is a real shame.