Oscars’ Always-Contentious In Memoriam Segment Almost Nailed It, Until It Didn’t

By  · Published on March 3rd, 2014

It’s a long-established fact that the annual Oscars “In Memoriam” segment will not make everyone happy – in fact, it won’t even come close to making even a majority of people happy, but damn if the Academy didn’t really try this year. We’ve already explored how one goes about making it into the segment (step one: die, step two: campaign), but even with that seemingly foolproof plan, plenty of worthy and notable talents were missing from this year’s bit.

Sure, the overall look and feel of the segment was of far higher quality than it has been in years past, as nearly ever single person who was included got both a lovely still picture and a slice of accompanying video (you may remember previous years, when some faces only got a picture while others got a whole chunk of video, a choice that could be chalked up to actually available assets, but which also seemed weird and disjointed, while this year’s picture-only picks still looked good and fit with the overall structure), and the entire thing got to play without Bettle Midler tearfully scream-singing “The Wind Beneath My Wings” (which was mercifully saved until after the video played), but still there were plenty of people left off the list.

Take a look at the segment after the break, and see if you can pick out its most glaring omissions.

Things start out quite promisingly – there’s James Gandolfini and Karen Black, followed by Hal Needham,Paul Walker, Elmore Leonard, Peter O’Toole, Ray Harryhausen, Sid Caesar, Shirley Temple Black, Harold Ramis, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Roger Ebert. There was even a nice and compelling mix of talents, from actors and directors to producers, writers, costume designers, set decorators, sound designers, and cinematographers. The audience didn’t even clap in between.

So what went wrong? Or, more to the point, who was missing?

Apparent “snubs” include Cory Monteith, Dennis Farina, Jonathan Winters, James Avery, Tom Clancy, and especially the recently deceased camera assistant Sarah Jones (who even had a petition raised in her honor to get the Academy to include her, but who was mentioned after Midler’s performance). Also notably missing? French new wave director Alain Resnais, who so unfortunately passed away on Oscar Sunday (I guess we now know that even directors who die on the day of the ceremony can’t make the editing cut).

The Oscars did, however, make a concession for the missing names – posting a gallery filled with plenty other dearly departed talents on their website, which you can see here.

Who did you miss in the segment?

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