Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

The Ever-Infuriating Oscar Memorial Reel: Who Got Snubbed In 2019?

I used to slog through the bloated Oscar show every year just to see the honorary awards for Lifetime Achievement, which were grudgingly doled out to classic stars and directors the Academy had criminally ignored throughout their careers. But then a few years ago, they banished them to a smaller event that’s not even televised. (“You’re being honored for decades of brilliant work? Hey, we’ll be sure to post a link on YouTube!”) Then this year, they planned to squeeze the Cinematography, Editing, Live-Action Shorts and Makeup/Hairstyling awards into commercial breaks. (They claimed they were “forced to,” but somehow when folks like Martin Scorsese, Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuaron blasted them for it, they backed down. So “forced to” was really more like “try to get away with.”)

If they shaft living Academy members this shamelessly, God help those who are gone. Which brings us to our annual list of snubs from the Oscar memorial reel.

As usual, they somehow found time to get several publicists in there, and who among us doesn’t count their press releases among our favorite film moments. But they left out Stanley Donen. I actually had to rewind the whole thing to make sure that was true. How long would it have taken to make a last-minute addition for a Lifetime Achievement Oscar winner?!?

Just as a palate cleanser, to get that awful taste out of your mouth, here he is accepting his award in 1998, and throwing in a little soft shoe:

Also snubbed were actors Verne Troyer, Ricky Jay, R. Lee Ermey, David Ogden Stiers, Charlotte Rae, Hugh Dane, Scott Wilson, Dick Miller, Jo Andres, Anthony Vajna, Eunice Gayson, Philip Bosco, Michele Carey, Peter Donat, Douglas Rain, Louise Latham, Dolores Taylor, Sondra Locke, Bob Einstein, Pamela Gidley, Harry Anderson, Liliane Montevecchi, Vanessa Marquez, Ken Berry, Bibi Ferreira, Carmen Argenziano, Joe Sirola, Nita Bieber, Kristoff St. John, Clive Swift, Louisa Moritz, Kevin Barnett, Verna Bloom, Robert Mandan and Louis Zorich; writers Harlan Ellison and Christopher Knopf; producers Arnold Kopelson, Meg Randall, Alan Johnson, Gary Kurtz and Philip D’Antoni (who produced Bullitt and won an Oscar for The French Connection); directors Stan Dragoti, Michael Anderson, Vijaya Bapineedu, Larry Brand and Lewis Gilbert; composer Arthur B. Rubinstein; stuntman Jimmy Nickerson; and designer Hubert de Givenchy.

Classic film always seems to get slammed especially hard in the memorial reel, which gets more painful as there are ever-fewer artists left to honor. Left out along with Donen were Donald Moffat, Allyn Ann McLerie, Mary Carlisle (still an active supporter of classic film when she was over 100), Connie Sawyer (whose career spanned ten decades), William Phipps, Tom Reese, Dewey Martin, Jean Porter, Liz Fraser, Jerry Maren, Carol Channing, Kaye Ballard, Chuck McCann, Julie Adams, Joseph Campanella, Patricia Morison, Clint Walker, Rose Marie, and Charles Aznavour. And Gloria Jean and Susan Miller, who, 77 years after co-starring in W.C. Fields’ Never Give a Sucker an Even Break, died five days apart.

Whenever they’re called out on their slights (even overlooking Oscar winners), the Academy’s stock responses are: the show is so very short on time (while still managing to fit in lame bits, canned banter, and endless commercials), and there’s a longer list on the website. But all that does is set up a creepy A-list/B-list for dead people. (Does this never end in Hollywood?) It’s gotten to the point where pre-show lobbying campaigns have become a sad annual ritual.

I don’t know what the answer is. But as long as they keep dissing people, we’ll keep trying to honor them here. And the ones we miss, please point out in comments so we can add them (the timeframe is from last year’s March 4 telecast to tonight’s show).

Godspeed and heartfelt thanks to all of them—from the little people out here in the dark…


  1. robert blake

    I’m certainly with you Sister C., I haven’t made it through an entire broadcast since the early 80s. Of the serious omissions this year, several were downright criminal. Your list was so comprehensive, there were several I hadn’t been aware of myself. Thank You, and good night

    On Sun, Feb 24, 2019 at 10:38 PM Sister Celluloid wrote:

    > sistercelluloid posted: “I used to slog through the bloated Oscar show > every year just to see the honorary awards for Lifetime Achievement, which > were grudgingly doled out to classic stars and directors the Academy had > criminally ignored throughout their careers. But then a few y” >

    • Thank you, Robert!! I sort of make it a mission of mine to make sure everyone’s remembered… ❤

  2. Cristiane Young

    Genuinely appalling. It started off so well with the beautiful music, but then I went back to thinking. “Why don’t they just buy the gorgeous In Memorial package from TCM?” as I do every year.

  3. maddylovesherclassicfilms

    I’ve never been a fan of the Oscars at all. Art is so subjective and everybody will never agree about the winners and losers at that ceremony. To exclude from their tribute video the men and women who have contributed to the film industry is appalling. It strikes me that us fans could do better tribute videos than the paid professionals of the industry can. Thank you for remembering those who have passed and not been included. Can’t believe Julie Adams and Stanley Donen were excluded. Was Albert Finney included?

  4. This year’s list of omissions seems particularly large and puzzling. Why do they bother at all?! As a film fan, this hurts. It is becoming more and more apparent that the people who work at/for the Academy are not film fans.

  5. Thank you for a beautiful article and your incredible list, which is amazing. And sad. And even sadder that they left out the people who made the movies what they are. I was surprised their reel was mostly behind the scenes people, and here you have such an amazing list of so many people the audience loved.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Elayne!! And yes, there were probably not a lot of people glued to their sofas hoping they’d honor a bunch of publicists. I work hard on this feature every year because I feel like I owe it to the people who made the movies I love.

  6. mercurie80

    I want to thank you for your annual post on whom the Oscars snubbed in the In Memoriam segment. It amazes me that they somehow believe the audience wants to see several publicists honoured instead of people like Carol Channing, Stanley Donen, Julie Adams, and Joseph Capanella. I know I am obviously biased where she is concerned, but I am still very angry that they excluded Vanessa Marquez even after we had campaigned to have her included. I think a petition with 8700 signatures speak for itself!

    • You’re welcome, Terry. Every year they blow it, and I feel obligated to try to do what I can to right it…

  7. I don’t know where to start as to which of those omissions pisses me off the most, so I’m just going to break out my collection of Sondra Locke/Clint Eastwood DVDs…

    • Movies are a good remedy for Academy rage…

      • Here’s an idea…If you look at my blog, I do a lot of comparisons between sports and and classic films. How would you like to do a joint piece where you list your top ten Oscar snubs, and I counter with a list of sports awards mistakes? If you are interested, email me at

      • I don’t think I could narrow my Oscar snubs to 10, or even 100, and don’t get me started on the people/films they GAVE Oscars to… 🙂

      • Could you do the top ten? It’s such a great topic…

      • Honestly I meant it when I said I couldn’t narrow it to a top ten!! 🙂 But if you write about sports and films, you could do both!! 🙂

      • I’m going to give that a shot 🙂

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