But surely the show won't fail to acknowledge the late singer—or will it?
To be sure, Houston has the credentials for the telecast's annual "In Memoriam" package.
Though best known for her voice, Houston was once one of Hollywood's top-paid actors. She starred in box-office hits, fronted platinum-selling soundtracks and credibly held her own opposite Denzel Washington, Kevin Costner and Angela Bassett. Even her signature diva number, "I Will Always Love You," belonged to her too-short big-screen run of the 1990s.
And while Oscar shows have produced no small amount of carping over whom they haven't included in their montages—no Farrah Fawcett, no Corey Haim, no Brad Renfro, etc.—they've got a good record of late when it comes to crossover music-movie artists.
Michael Jackson made the 2010 highlight reel; Lena Horne was awarded the esteemed anchor spot in the 2011 one.
So, Houston would seem to be a lock, save for one thing: Did her death come to close to the show for her to make it into this year's montage? Does the production have a hard cut-off date?
We reached out to the Academy for comment, but haven't heard back. But the 2008 show might've provided the answer we sought.
On that telecast, the "In Memoriam" package noted that it was honoring those who had died roughly one month prior to the 2007 show and one month before the 2008 show.
True to its word, the 2008 reel did not include Roy Scheider, the popular actor, and two-time nominee, who died two weeks before the telecast. His tribute came at the 2009 show.
In 2010, musical-star Kathryn Grayson, who died Feb. 17 of that year, was honored in in the reel, but, notably, that Oscar show was held later than usual, in March.
In 2011, neither Last Tango in Paris' Maria Schneider nor MGM favorite Betty Garrett, who died on Feb. 3 and Feb. 12 of that year, respectively, were featured in the package.
Will Schneider and Garrett get their dues this year?
Will Houston, who died last Saturday, on Feb. 11, have to wait until next year for hers?
Can the Oscars afford to keep a force who drove millions to the top-rated Grammy telecast waiting until 2013? (And, by the by, if Houston's not featured, then Ben Gazzara, who died Feb. 3, has to wait, too—right?)
Considering the general lack of interest in the top Best Picture contenders, this might be the best, if saddest, storyline the show has going for it.
One More Thing: In the last five Academy Award shows, 15 late actors and actresses have, on average, been featured in the tribute reel.
Likely honorees this time out include Peter Falk, Jackie Cooper, Cliff Robertson, Farley Granger and Jane Russell, all of whom passed away last year, after the 2011 Oscars, natch, with Russell, in fact, dying the day after the telecast.
Elizabeth Taylor, who died last March 23, would seem to be a lock for the unofficial honor that is being the last name and face on the screen.
But could Apple and Pixar guru Steve Jobs or longtime Oscar producer Gil Gates get the slot instead?
The odds are with Taylor because, one, she was Taylor, two, the last time an actor or actress wasn't featured as the poignant coda was 2007, when director Robert Altman got the nod, and, three, she was Taylor.