Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

The Academy Strikes Again: The 2016 Oscar Memorial Snubs

Last night, according to the official Academy Awards website, “the Oscars took time to honor the many talents we lost during the previous year, the lives they touched and the art they made or made possible…”sis-oscars-1

Yes but they never take quite enough time, do they? I mean, it’s entirely up to them how many minutes they devote to the Memorial Reel versus, say, lame-ass production numbers or cringe-worthy canned banter. (And somehow, while leaving out genuine artists, they found enough time to squeeze a bunch of publicists in there. And Kirk Kerkorian, Destroyer of MGM. Which is a bit like Chicago building a monument to Mrs. O’Leary’s cow.)

So here we go again, kids, with our annual tradition: taking a moment to honor those who were shamefully left off the reel.

This year, Oscar seemed especially eager to show his back half to those who toiled in classic film, with snubs including Joan Leslie, Coleen Gray, Betsy Drake, Dickie Moore, George Cole, Jayne Meadows, Nova Pilbeam, Betsy Palmer and Setsuko Hara. But there was plenty of dissing to go around. And talk about ironic: Abe Vigoda, subject of a running joke about being dead when he was still alive, was left out the year he actually left the earth.

Here are the names that ran through my mind in the hours after Oscar ran the dagger through once again: Joan Leslie, James Best, Jayne Meadows, Setsuko Hara, Dick Van Patten, Betsy Drake, Gunnar Hansen, Dickie Moore, Fred Thompson, Franco Interlenghi, Colin Welland, Abe Vigoda, Tony Burton, Elizabeth Wilson, Wally Cassell, Marty Ingels, Geoffrey Lewis, Marjorie Lord, Grace Lee Whitney, Jack Larson, Nicholas Smith, George Cole, Patrick Macnee, Ron Moody, Nigel Terry, Nova Pilbeam, Kevin Corcoran, Betsy Palmer, Al Molinaro, Jean Darling, Monica Lewis, Angus Scrimm, Richard Dysart, Glenn Frey (songs and soundtracks for films including Beverly Hills Cop and Thelma and Louise), Wayne Rogers, Colleen Gray, Martin Milner, Gerald O’Loughlin, David Canary, Amanda Peterson, Gene Saks, George Gaynes, Jacques Rivette, George Winslow…

…and yes, Uggie, who was the heart of The Artist, which won five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor. The little guy even attended the ceremony.

And oh, this is priceless: the Academy is quick to point out that many people who didn’t make it into the televised memorial segment can be found in a photo gallery on the website. So apparently in Hollywood, the whole A-list/B-list thing literally never ends…

I know, in my haste and fury, I overlooked people, so please mention them in comments, and I’ll add them here. So far, my incredibly astute readers have pointed out three Oscar winners—cinematographer Andrew Lesnie, screenwriter Michael Blake and costume designer Julie Harris—as well as writer/producer/directors Manoel de Oliveira and John Guillermin, actor/activist John Trudell, producer/graphic artist Michael Gross, producer Robert Stigwood, animators Yoram Gross and Brian Michael Jennings, and actors Roger Rees, Richard Libertini, Jacques Sernas, Frank Finlay and Denise Matthews (Vanity).

Here’s a warm, wholehearted farewell to everyone we’ve lost since last year’s show. Thank you for everything you gave us, from all the little people out there in the dark…


  1. Great! Might I reblog this, please?

  2. The current Academy members and committee, have absolutely NO sense of their movie history. They really should let TCM produce the Oscar telecast next year. Crikey!! Good post, Sister Celluloid! 😦

  3. Reblogged this on Noirish and commented:
    +++A great offering from Sister Celluloid. The omissions really are boggling.

  4. I’m so tired of the Academy Awards that this year I ignored it for the first time in years…if I had watched and saw all the names omitted from the Memorial segment, I probably would have hurled something at the tv, which would have benefitted no one. From my friends who watched who said it was not much more than a “Shame on you” speechfest, I’m very glad I didn’t tune in.

    • Chris Johnson

      Me too. TCM really should produce the Oscars. It’s gotten so elitist. It used to be a real occasion to watch; now it’s just a royal bore.

      • Diana \Victoria Aljadeff

        They forgot all these people and also the portuguese directorManoel de Olivera (1908=2015).

  5. Betty

    I’m in total agreement with your post/thoughts regarding how many people they opted to leave out of their ‘in memoriam’ segment. I also did a double-take when I saw the Kirk Kerkorian mention-what the h***l? Although, I shouldn’t be so surprised. Three years ago, I took the Sony Picture tour, only because it took over the old MGM studio which made my favourite musicals, and it was the worst tour that I have ever been on. I complained loudly and got my money, but not my time, back. I also mentioned to the joker who contacted me about the terrible tour, that their website was incorrect: they listed Peter O’Toole as winning an Oscar for Lawrence of Arabia, that never happened, and was told that I was wrong. He had won an Oscar for that role! That says it all.

    • Good Lord, Betty, that’s awfull!! Especially since the crime of Peter O’Toole NEVER winning a competitive Oscar is pretty much well known among movie lovers. I had a similar experience on a tour where the guide was talking about James Dean being a speed demon, and it killed him, and I had to correct him to say Dean wasn’t speeding that day and the other driver was 100% responsible. UGH…

      • Betty

        Exactly. People are paying money to see and hear and maybe learn about movie history. The guides should know their facts backwards and forward.. You have to wonder how they choose their staff and so-called tour guides. The whole Sony tour left a very bad taste in my mouth. I’ll say one more thing about that particular tour and then I’ll stop. Sony studios has all the Oscars, collectively won by MGM, Columbia, and yet the ‘tour guide’ presented them as being Oscars that were won by Sony. Well, as you can imagine, I was incensed, and told the tour guide that he was wrong. That those Oscars had been won by the other two studios and not by “Sony.” I’m sure that by the end of that tour, they were more than happy to see me go.

  6. tracybham

    Thanks for posting this. I wasn’t alert enough to notice these omissions, but it is outrageous. Joan Leslie, Dickie Moore, Fred Thompson … just amazing.

  7. I agree with CineMaven. They should contract the Memorial Reel to TCM, who always does a beautiful job.

  8. Dickie Moore? Really, NARAS? Joan Leslie,? What fools these people be.

  9. Dana Laing

    Also snubbed: John Trudell. Native American activist, poet, musician and actor. “Smoke Signals”, “Thunder Heart”, “Pow Wow Highway”, Ken Burn’s documentary “The West” and others.

  10. Manoel de Oliveira, the Portugese filmmaker who’d began making films in 1927 and continued to do until his death at 106.

  11. Sorry, I meant AMPAS.

  12. charlieisdepressed

    Director John Guillerman (KING KONG ’76) was missed as well.

    • Matthew Baker

      Not just King Kong, but that wonderful 1978 all-star version of Death on the Nile.

  13. Andreas

    To the one comment above…The Academy members have little influence on who will be mentioned in that segment. sometimes, members rally for a particular name, but it is up to the specific committee who goes in and who stays out

  14. philip jaeger

    one of my favorites – star of 1956’s HELEN OF TROY & many peplum films – JACK(JACQUES) SERNAS. I thought some of the inclusions were as bad as the omissions.

    • Oh absolutely! If I’d been drinking when I saw Kirk Kerkorian, I would have done a spit take… and the publicists? REALLY?!? How do they enable art to be made, exactly?!?

  15. Jim Avey

    John Guillermin. Director of The Towering Inferno & the 1976 King Kong.

  16. ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY Magazine used to do a great job with this in their yearend issue. But not anymore.

  17. Estelle Shay

    Also snubbed — film
    producer Michael C. Gross, who was also responsible for one of the most iconic symbols of our time — the Ghostbusters logo.

  18. Kerry Pitts

    Aussie cinematographer and Oscar winner Andrew Lesnie ( The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit, The Water Diviner, etc) was omitted.
    Oscar winner Michael Blake (Dances with Wolves screenplay) -?
    Oscar winning costume designer Julie Harris – ?
    Aussie animation pioneer Yoram Gross -?
    Robert Stigwood, Aussie producer of Grease and Saturday Night Fever – ?

  19. vonnalynn

    You do such a wonderful job of informing us. Why can’t the Academy handle such an easy problem? Surely, there is a secretary somewhere there who could keep a record of those who pass away? [I know, don’t call me Shirley!] There are organizations who make it their business to know who has died. AMC and TCM could probably give them some assistance?
    There are so many websites that people work diligently to update to inform their readers when someone of renown passes. Use one or two or these! Why must it be a popularity contest? Why can they not just list everyone who died in the previous year in alphabetical order and be finished?
    For lack of argument, I started with March 2015: were the following people mentioned?
    Nigel Terry (actor) — Emphysema. Died April 30, 2015. Born August 15, 1945. Mostly a theater actor but had major roles in at least two memorable movies – Prince John in The Lion in Winter and King Arthur in Excalibur.
    Kate Chappell (special effects artist) — Lion attack. Died June 1, 2015. Born December 19, 1985. Special effects artist for Game of Thrones and Divergent, killed while on a photo safari.
    Rick Ducommun (comic/actor) — Complications of diabetes. Died June 12, 2015. Born July 3, 1952. The ‘burbs, Groundhog Day and many other movies/TV shows in addition to many years of stand-up.
    James Horner (composer) — Dead. Small plane crash. Died June 22, 2015. Born August 14, 1953. Oscar-winning composer for the score of Titanic, also composed score for The Wrath of Khan, Apollo 13 and Avatar. While better known for the ubiquitous “My Heart Will go On,” he also co-wrote the lovely and underrated “Somewhere, Out There.”
    Roger Rees (actor/director/writer) — Died July 10, 2015. Born May 5, 1944. Robin in Cheers, Frida’s father in Frida, co-writer of Peter and the Starcatcher, died same day as Omar Sharif.
    Herbert Wise (director) — Died August 5, 2015. Born August 31, 1924. British TV director who directed I, Claudius, Upstairs, Downstairs, Elizabeth R as well as The Woman in Black (1989), Pope John Paul II (1984) and Breaking the Code (1996).
    Yvonne Craig (actress/real estate agent) — Cancer. Died August 17, 2015. Born May 16, 1937. Was in Kissin Cousins with Elvis Presley and was Batgirl, first wife of Jimmy Boyd.
    Kevin Corcoran (assistant director/kid actor) — Cancer. Died October 6, 2015. Born June 10, 1949. Lots of Disney movies including Old Yeller, Toby Tyler and Pollyanna, served as first assistant director for many TV shows in the ’80s and ’90s, producer of Sons of Anarchy. Odd fact, his sister Noreen Corcoran just died on January 15, 2016! He was one of eight children. They ALL were in films.
    Melissa Mathison (screenwriter) — Neuroendocrine cancer. Died November 4, 2015. Born June 3, 1950. Wrote the classic script for ET, married to Harrison Ford in the ’80s and ’90s.

    If I can come up with this amount of information just from keeping records, why is the Academy so lame?

    • It’s Hollyweird. What can anyone say?

    • Michelle

      Melissa was in the in memoriam slot

  20. Abe Vigoda died in 2016, not 2015.

    • Um, yes, I’m aware of that. The Memorial Reel honors those who’ve left us from one Oscar telecast to the next, not in the calendar year…

  21. Ron

    You would think that somebody over there could go through the obituaries in the issues of Variety that came out between the date of last year’s show and the date of this one’s – if anyone was anyone who had anything to do with filmmaking, Variety would have mentioned them.

  22. B. J. Hudson

    Hard to imagine HOW “they” decide to include the people they do but because HOLLY WOODLAWN was included this year…. I’m going easy on them. The Academy deserves a tip of the hat from all independant/alternative/underground filmakers as well as the LGBT community for giving Holly the tribute she long deserved.

  23. Michael C.

    Denise Matthews (Vanity) from the films The Last Dragon, 52 Pick-Up and Action Jackson and Prince’s all-girl music group from the early ’80s Vanity 6.

  24. Matthew Baker

    Frank Finlay, Oscar nominated for Othello (1965) died last month.

  25. richard dumesnil

    tyrone power never nominated even for nightmare alley…..barbara stanwyck only winning a special oscar ovelooked in stella dallas roslind russell no nod for the women…..heath ledger losing in 2005 for brokeback mountain…..i never watched that stupid 3 hour show anymore.

  26. M. Betts

    Martin Milner

    • I already named him in the article!! Tomorrow, I’ll be adding a new section with the names all my wonderful readers have added in the comments section… ❤

  27. Philip

    Robert Stigwood
    Anne Meara
    Jackie Collins

  28. Patrick Macnee …

  29. Andrea

    I don’t remember seeing Anita Ekberg. But maybe she made last years? Who can forget her wonderful Tivoli Fountain scene in 8 1/2?

    • Yes, she and Rod Taylor, who were once engaged, left us very close together in January 2015, before the previous year’s ceremony. And both, thank God, were in last year’s memorial reel.

  30. Christine Byrne

    Brian Michael Jennings. Nominated for Academy Award for Best Animated Short for Technological Threat in 1988.

  31. cadavra

    How could everyone forget Richard Libertini?

  32. Geoffrey Lewis

    • Um, Geoffrey Lewis, like several others who’ve been mentioned, was already in my article…

  33. Tony Burton, Sonny James, Lennie Baker (Sha Na Na in Grease movie), George Gaynes, Vanity and Harper Lee all died recently, and would be in next years inclusion.

    Noreen Corcoran (Kevin’s sister) died as well. She was in movies as well.

    Dan Haggerty appeared in some Elvis movies.

    David Margulies

    Patricia Elliott known for Rene on One Life To Live career got started in the movie The Green Slime.

    Angela McEwan (Nebraska)

    Jason Wingreen (voice of Boba Fett in Empire Strikes Back, and appear in Airplane)

    Yvonne Craig (Batgirl, starred in several Elvis movies.)

    Ellen Albertini Dow (Sister Act, Rapping Granny in tThe Wedding Singer)

    Kristine Miller

    Diana Douglas

    There was a B-Western movie actress of the 40’s and 50;s died as well. Played many cowgirl roles in that time.

  34. Thank you. Based on the Oscars I thought almost no actors died.

    • You’re welcome! And yes, it did seem like that…

  35. Filmbaker

    “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. Most notably a wrestler, but starred in They Live as well as other films.

  36. Kevin Pica

    Thank you. I thought I was just confused but this has explained a lot!

  37. Are the memorial reels done by calendar year, or the period between Awards broadcasts? If it’s the former, that might explain the absence of Frey and Vigoda, who died in ’16.

    • No, as noted previously, it’s from one show to the next. And most of the people omitted left us in 2015 anyway… these oversights are a perennial thing…

      • Anne cox

        Anne Meara,Wayne Rogers,Sawyer Sweeten

  38. Kathy

    If the Razzies were worth their weight they’d have their ceremony the next night and have a memorial including all of the people the Oscars keep missing.

  39. Patrick

    No Setsuko Hara?? I beleive could have been the greatest actress of all time…
    Disgusting!! Shows its not for real.


  1. The Annual Oscar Memorial Reel Fiasco: Who Got Snubbed This Year | Sister Celluloid

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