Each year the Academy Awards pays tribute to those actors and industryites who died during the preceding year with a heartfelt montage sequence. This year’s In Memoriam segment unspooled with John Williams’s theme from “Superman” played by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, led by Gustavo Dudamel, over photos of actors, filmmakers and many others who died between March 2018 and February 2019. Although the montage usually features the most prominent names getting slightly longer clips at the end, this year’s segment didn’t follow that tradition.
Those who were recognized included “Big” director Penny Marshall, “Deliverance” star Burt Reynolds and major filmmakers including Bernardo Bertolucci, Milos Forman, Nicolas Roeg, Neil Simon, Marvel legend Stan Lee and “Princess Bride” author William Goldman. Other prominent acting talents remembered in the montage were Albert Finney, Bruno Ganz and Margot Kidder.
In advance of the ceremony, there was an effort to ask the Academy to include Vanessa Marquez, the “Stand and Deliver” actress who was killed by a police officer last August. Marquez was not included in the remembrance segments from the Emmys or SAG Awards. Over the past few years, Oscar viewers have been outspoken on social media over the omission of some actors, including several performers of color such as Della Reese and Robert Guillaume in 2018 and Lupe Ontiveros in 2013. Performers are sometimes omitted because they had more significant careers on television, such as Adam West last year, or because they died too late to be included, which happened last year with Bill Paxton.
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Others who were omitted include Carol Channing, Ricky Jay, Sondra Locke, Verne Troyer, Kaye Ballard, “Rambo” producer Andy Vajna and Dick Miller.
Channing’s publicist Harlan Boll posted a message about the omission on Facebook, saying:
“I am inconsolably heartsick that the Motion Picture Academy would ignore one of its own members and an Academy award nominee, Carol Channing, in the in memoriam. I texted a colleague of mine over at the Academy, to inquire how this could happen. In what may have been a miss guided attempt to soften the blow, I received the response that … “Well, she really wasn’t that important to our industry and no one in Hollywood really knows who she was.” WTF?!?!?!?!? It’s inexcusable. I’m sitting here talking to Michael Learned, Loretta Swit, George Chakiris, Margaret O’Brien, Roslyn Kind and numerous other Academy members who are all simply stunned that Carol Channing would be ignored by the industry that she dedicated her life, and she fervently fought for and believed in.”
Director Joe Dante also called out a few people who were omitted, including Julie Adams and Dick Miller.