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Ten Actors That The Oscars “In Memoriam” Segment Snubbed

Apparently, the Oscars choices are "subjective."

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The Academy Awards are an annual celebration of the best (more or less) that the film industry had to offer during the previous calendar year, but since 1994, the event has also served as a depressing reminder of all the great talent that the world has lost.

The “In Memoriam” segment is a montage set to the somber music, with still photos and video clips of beloved actors, writers, directors, and cameramen (many of which you’ve probably never heard of). The way the Academy chooses which names make the cut is not perfect and has been described as “subjective,” which means that even in death some of our favorites will be snubbed.

Here are some of the more surprising omissions from the past 23 years.

Abe Vigoda (1921-2016)


Image via Wikimedia Commons

How is it that Vigoda (who played Sal Tessio in The Godfather) got a shout out from The Beastie Boys on their debut album back in 1986 (on the track “Posse in Effect,” MCA raps “You know I got more rhymes than Abe Vigoda”), but not from the Oscars when he died thirty years later in 2016? Vigoda was in good company though, because according to The Hollywood Reporter, the 88th Academy Awards also failed to remember screenwriter Stanley Mann, Rocky actor Tony Burton, George Gaynes, and actress Joan Leslie.

Joan Rivers (1933-2014)


Image via David Shankbone on Flickr // CC BY 2.0


Despite being a fixture at the award show for two decades and changing the way red carpet interviews were conducted, Joan Rivers was not mentioned at the Oscars in 2015. The argument has been made that Rivers, like others who have been snubbed in the past, was more of a television star, but her presence and impact on the annual event should have warranted a special acknowledgement. Her daughter and collaborator (Melissa Rivers) did have the opportunity to honor her mother with a retrospective during the red carpet coverage, and the Academy did add Joan’s name to its “In Memoriam” online gallery.

Phyllis Diller (1917-2012)


Image via Wikimedia Commons

Coincidentally also mentioned by MCA on “Licensed to Ill,” comedian and actress Phyllis Diller died at the age of 95 in 2012. She and her fellow forgottens (including Richard Dawson, Andy Griffith, and Snakes on a Plane director, David R. Ellis) made headlines for not making the cut for the 85th Academy Awards the following year. Diller appeared in over 30 films throughout her career.

Corey Haim (1971-2010)


Image via
YouTube

As one half of “The Two Coreys,” Haim never really had a shot at winning an Academy Award for acting, but the Canadian actor’s life and career deserves to be celebrated. Known for what seemed to be an endless stream of teen-oriented films in the ‘80s, Haim died of pneumonia in March of 2010 but was not included in the 2011 tribute. “When it was over, I shut the TV off and was so hurt, and I was numb and feeling his pain,” Judy Haim (Corey’s mother) told People.

The Academy sent their condolences and told her that it was impossible to mention all 200 people that passed away that year. “I felt there were people we didn’t even know who were on,” Haim said. “The Academy is not aware who is a household name. A lot of people were pissed off he wasn’t mentioned and this was last chance to be honored by his peers.”

Farrah Fawcett (1947-2009)


Image via Wikimedia Commons

Farrah Fawcett’s death was overshadowed by the fact that she and Michael Jackson died on the exact same day, so when MJ was included in the montage and Fawcett wasn’t, it was twice as disappointing. Former executive director of the Academy of Motion Pictures, Bruce Davis, tried to explain the oversight to the Associated Press. Davis argued that Fawcett was better known for her television work, and added that the Academy struggled to include the “unusual number of extremely distinguished screenwriters” that died in 2009. So why was Michael Jackson included? Davis listed the documentary This Is It as a film credit for the King of Pop and said honestly, “Think of all the blogging we would have gotten if we had left him out!”

Roy Scheider (1932-2008)


Image via
YouTube
 

The bigger boat that the Jaws lead was referring to clearly wasn’t the 80th Academy Awards, because like Brad Renfro, his name was also not mentioned. However, unlike some other snubs, the Academy had a good reason for leaving Scheider out: the spokeswoman who spoke to MTV News acknowledged that because he died on February 10 (14 days before the event), there simply just hadn't been enough time to add him to the tribute.

Brad Renfro (1982-2008)


Image via eBay

The public (millennials specifically) made a big fuss when Brad Renfro’s headshot didn’t appear on their television screens during the 80th Academy Awards. The 25-year-old actor had died from an accidental heroin overdose just a month before the event, so the loss was still fresh in the minds of his fans. A spokeswoman for the Oscars told MTV News that the montage was not something that could have been edited right up until the eve of the event. She added that being a member of the Academy (which Renfro was not) is not a requirement for inclusion, but it is one of the factors considered when compiling the list.

Eartha Kitt (1927-2008)


Screenshot via YouTube
 

Born Eartha Mae Keith, the icon of music, television, and film was famously snubbed during the tribute at the 81st Academy Awards after a long and storied career. Her former publicist said in a statement to The New York Post that the producers of the award show were “either 12 or have been living under a rock for the last 60 years.”

Ingrid Thulin (1926-2004)


Image via Wikimedia Commons

The Swedish actress and trained ballet dancer appeared in nine Ingmar Bergman films, including Wild Strawberries, The Silence, and Cries and Whispers, which won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography in 1974. Thulin was nominated for several awards over the course of her career and won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival for her performance in Brink of Life in 1958. Ingmar Bergman was acknowledged upon his death in 2007, an honor that was not given to his leading lady three years prior.

André the Giant (1946-1993)


Screenshot via YouTube

The first “In Memoriam” segment in 1994 honored the likes of Telly Savalas, George “Spanky” McFarland, Cesar Romero, Brandon Lee, Vincent Price, River Phoenix, and Audrey Hepburn, but the biggest loss (literally) was not among them. André René Roussimoff was best known by his professional wrestling moniker, André the Giant, but the ring wasn’t André’s only stage. His filmography extends back to the late 1960s in France and includes smaller television and film roles stateside, but it was his iconic appearance as Fezzik in The Princess Bride that should have guaranteed him a nod and a warm round of applause.