It's a daunting task, sifting through the tinsel and ribbons of dozens of artistic careers, weighing them against each other and coming up with a slate of Kennedy Center honorees. For the center's board of trustees -- acting on recommendations by a committee of artists -- it's been an annual requirement for a quarter-century. Over the years, there has been a certain amount of criticism regarding oversights -- even, occasionally, about the choices themselves -- but we always try to stress the positive. In that spirit, here are some suggestions from Post critics:

Licia Albanese

Jane Alexander

Betty Allen

Woody Allen

Alicia Alonso

Eddy Arnold

Milton Babbitt

Anne Bancroft

Warren Beatty

Tony Bennett

Marlon Brando

Mel Brooks

James Brown

Grace Bumbry

Carol Burnett

Sid Caesar

Zoe Caldwell

Carol Channing

Cy Coleman

Barbara Cook

Doris Day

Suzanne Farrell

Philip Glass

Berry Gordy

Gene Hackman

Uta Hagen

Julie Harris

Rosemary Harris

Jerry Herman

Al Hirschfeld

Dustin Hoffman

Virginia Johnson

George Jones

Gladys Knight

Jerry Lewis

Jerry Lee Lewis

Little Richard

George Lucas

Loretta Lynn

Shirley MacLaine

Natalia Makarova

David Mamet

Peter Martins

Robert Merrill

Mary Tyler Moore

Mark Morris

Mike Nichols

Al Pacino

Les Paul

Roberta Peters

John Raitt

Robert Redford

Mickey Rooney

Martin Scorsese

Artie Shaw

Phil Spector

Steven Spielberg

Bruce Springsteen

Ralph Stanley

Barbra Streisand

Twyla Tharp

Dick Van Dyke

Shirley Verrett

August Wilson