Despite being nominated for a sixth Oscar (in nine years!) for her best film performance ever, Judi Dench has opted to undergo bone-cracking knee surgery rather than applaud politely as the other dame collects her 28th trophy of the year. Too bad. Dench classes up the joint, but it appears it's gotten entirely too rote for her. Or maybe she's sick of the self-love (she's said she hates to watch herself on screen). Other famous Oscar no-shows: Joan Crawford feigned illness in 1946, then made a quick recovery by the time the cameras arrived at her sick bed and she was presented the Oscar -- in her nightgown -- for Mildred Pierce. George C. Scott called the Oscars "offensive, barbarous and innately corrupt," boycotted the ceremony in 1971 and won anyway for Patton. Katharine Hepburn was not present to pick up any of her four statuettes. Paul Newman stayed away and finally won in 1987. Anne Bancroft and Ellen Burstyn had shows to do. If Dench somehow wins this year (and she deserves to), I hope Mirren accepts it for her: "Jude, if you're kneecaps weren't already broken, I'd break them for you."