Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

The Annual Oscar Memorial Reel Fiasco: Who Got Snubbed This Year

Okay boys and girls, it’s time for our annual Sister Celluloid tradition: filling in the massive gaps in the Oscar memorial reel!

Granted, this was a horrible year. That old cliché that celebrity deaths come in threes? Yeah no. Sometimes it felt more like tens. The most common posts on social media consisted of a single word: No. As in, Not him. Not her. Not another one.

So the producers had an overwhelming job this time. But instead of acknowledging what a hideous year it was—and giving the memorial segment the time it deserved—they blew it again.

Couldn’t they have cut down on the lame-ass patter, contrived stunts or commercials to honor the long, long list of people we loved and lost? Good God, you could drive that stupid tour bus they spent 10 minutes on through the gaping holes in that “tribute.”

But hey, not to worry: the Academy assures us there’s “an extended photo gallery of filmmakers, artists and executives”on its website! Can you think of a more depressing Hollywood fate than being an also-ran in the freaking memorial reel? “Hey, Mom, I’ll bet Dad’s glad he devoted his whole life to his craft—he’s number 121 in the slideshow! Really, just keep clicking, you’ll get there!”

A friend once kidded that I only watched the Oscars “when some old guy was getting an award.” Which wasn’t true. I also watched for the old ladies. But a few years back, in a further kick in the teeth to classic film, the Academy ghettoized the Governors Awards for lifetime achievement—and doesn’t even bother to televise them. So now I watch the Oscars mostly for the memorial reel—and then clack away at my spittle-flecked laptop to honor all the fabulous people they didn’t bother to acknowledge.

You didn’t have to be from the classic era to be snubbed—but as usual, it helped. Among the missing actors were Gloria DeHaven, Alan Young, Ruth Terry, Robert Vaughn, Madeleine Lebeau, Michele Morgan, John McMartin, Gordon Kaye, Anne Jackson, Steven Hill, Brian Bedford,Tammy Grimes, Bernard Fox, Rita Gam, Richard Bradford, Joan Carroll, Billy Chapin, Dick Davalos, Patricia Barry, Marvin Kaplan, Al Molinaro, Francine York, Van Williams, Douglas Wilmer, Peter Vaughn, Fritz Weaver, Madeleine Sherwood, William Schallert, James Stacy, Doris Roberts, Alec McCowen, Burt Kwouk, Barbara Hale, Fyvush Finkel, Robert Horton, Jon Polito, Garry Shandling, Charmian Carr, Maggie Blye, Larry Drake, Miguel Ferrer, Alexis Arquette, Florence Henderson, Richard Hatch, Bill Henderson, Teresa Saldana, Kevin Meaney, Noel Neill, Jinpachi Nezu, Joseph Mascolo, Frank Pellegrini, Joe Santos, Gil Hill, Ron Glass, Jack Riley, Peter Brown, Nicole Courcel and David Huddleston.

Overlooked filmmakers included Guy Hamilton (as in “Bond. James Bond.”), Pierre Etaix, Giorgio Albertazzi, Don Ireland and Herschell Gordon Lewis.

I’m counting on you, dear readers—as you did in 2015 and 2016—to take note of the ones I missed, in comments. Let’s honor them all—and never, ever hold our breath for the Academy to do so.



  1. maddylovesherclassicfilms

    Hi Janet. It always annoys me too when they leave people out of these tributes. At least their loved ones can take comfort in the fact that the fans of these performers remember them. I agree that if you’re going to do something like this, make sure you put the effort in and do it right. If they can’t fit everyone due to time constraints at the ceremony; then make a full length video tribute to everyone and put it on the website or play it separately on the TV, before or after the televised ceremony.

  2. Experimental filmmakers Tony Conrad & David Hutton

  3. Here’s the thing. A large number of the people cited on the list made their greatest impact for their performances not in film, but on television. It was perhaps the belief of the producers that these people would be suitably honored (if they haven’t already been) at the Emmys instead.

    And yes, I hear the cries of, “But Mary Tyler Moore didn’t do films.” Not really. Very few. But she was someone with an Oscar-nominated performance -in “Ordinary People” (1980). The Best Actress nomination is probably what earned her that spot – and why they showed a clip of her performance.

    Does this explain the list perfectly? No. But it will chop it down substantially.

    Be well.

    • Actually, I don’t need it “explained” to me at all, but thanks! 🙂 Yes, obviously, some of these people made a greater impact in television than films, but that doesn’t mean their contributions to film should be ignored…

  4. Pete R

    Well, Sis Cel, I give you great credit for listing all of these names, and please keep on with it. I wish we could somehow see every worthy industry veteran acknowledged in the Oscars ceremony proper, but I almost think eliminating the tradition altogether might be better than finding a longer song and tacking a few more faces onto the piece. Adding another forty-five or sixty seconds to the song might allow another six or eight people, but this doesn’t so much eliminate the problem as make it smaller, and only slightly. I can instantly tell you which six or eight more I think should have been included, but that’s still drop in the bucket time, especially for this past year. Can we really find a solution that doesn’t create a new problem? I’m unsure.

    All the same, I thank you for reminding us, quite comprehensively, of the many faces of new and old Hollywood worthy of a decent mention.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Pete, and as long as the Academy continues to snub people, I’ll keep calling them on it!! I’d be perfectly happy if they cut what is an increasingly perfunctory exercise out of the ceremony and did a nice, long, lovely video with everyone in it, and put it on their website. Or if they wanted a format they could easily add names and photos to, simply an “In Memory of” honor roll.

  5. David Roberts

    Oscars are a joke . disgusting leaving all these actors without a mention . I thought Richard Bradford was one of the finest actors ever and criminally neglected all his life so no surprise that he didn’t even get a mention in death!
    I could use a lot of words to describe these morons who are responsible for this but l won’t waste my breath on these phonies and will never watch this excuse for a awards ceremony again.
    David Roberts.

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