Friends and fans fumed that Joan Rivers, the comedian who was to the Oscars red carpet what Betsy Ross was to the American flag (except that Rivers didn’t actually sew it), was not mentioned in the four minute In Memoriam segment during the Oscars on Sunday night.
Actress Elaine Stritch wasn’t mentioned either, but she made her name onstage rather than the screen. Rivers, who was almost never subdued and always one to be noticed, was certainly visible through such a glaring omission and was heard through the vociferous complaints of her fans. Billy Eichner tweeted: “No Joan Rivers in the montage? She basically created the red carpet that makes all of these bitches millions! For Shame!” Lance Bass asked if it was an oversight or a beef.
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Even when well-intentioned folk patiently tried to explain to the bereaved and the bereft that the Academy had a policy that they could not include someone in the Memoriam segment who was not a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, people still cried out about the snub. On Facebook, there were more than a few Jewish posters who felt that Hollywood was somehow punishing Rivers for her vocal pro-Israel outburst just days before her death. In the clip she sarcastically called Selena Gomez “that college grad” for supporting the Gazans.
When asked about the omission of her mother from the In Memoriam segment, Joan’s daughter, Melissa Rivers said, according to contactmusic.com, “It would have been nice, especially considering the impact she had on awards season, but Cooper and I have been overwhelmed with love and support over my mom’s passing and we choose to focus on that.”
Apparently, Academy was hit with so much outrage, they issued a statement, “Joan Rivers is one of the many worthy artists and filmmakers we were unfortunately unable to feature in the In Memoriam segment of this year’s Oscar show. She is, however, included in our In Memoriam gallery at Oscar.com.” Nice bandaid, but for sure, kvetching about the omission of Joan Rivers from In Memoriam in 2015 will be a new Oscars tradition every time it rolls around, like her annual red carpet fashion review.