The Academy Responds to Outcry Over Joan Rivers Snub from ‘In Memoriam’ Segment at the Oscars
Another year, another outcry over the In Memoriam segment at the Oscars. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has caught all sorts of Hell in the past for their omissions in the In Memoriam segment, and this year was no different.
This year, the big omission causing all the outrage is that of Joan Rivers, who passed away on September 4, 2014. Granted, there were other notable omissions among those who passed away in 2014, namely, Philip Seymour Hoffman. However, Hoffman died in early February 2014, allowing him to make the cutoff for the In Memoriam segment at last year’s Oscars, hence his exclusion here. For Rivers, it’s any wonder how/why the Academy left her out. A New York Times investigation from 2013 suggested that the process in narrowing down the name of inclusions for the In Memoriam segment is every bit as political as the process to get nominated for an Oscar in the first place.
Thus, it’s strange that instead of feigning ignorance, saying they forgot altogether, and apologizing so they can move on, the Academy is instead defending itself by making it appear that the decision to leave Rivers out of the segment was an active choice on their part.
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, an representative for the Academy explained the exclusion.
“Joan Rivers is among the many worthy artists and filmmakers we were unfortunately unable to feature in the In Memoriam segment of this year’s Oscar show,” the statement read. “She is, however, included in our In Memoriam gallery on Oscar.com.”
I don’t really expect this will be any consolation to Rivers’ fans, or to her daughter, Melissa, who was among the most upset at her mother’s snubbing last night.
I suspect this will all blow over before long, since this sort of outrage happens every year. But the Academy’s way of handling it is puzzling, to say the least, if they’re expecting to keep the backlash in check.