Oscars explain leaving Luke Perry out of the In Memoriam segment

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It seems like every year, the controversy over who gets left out of the Academy Awards’ “In Memoriam” segment gets more contentious. In 2017, Garry Shandling, Florence Henderson, Robert Vaughn, Doris Roberts and Alexis Arquette were among those left out. In 2018, actors Adam West, Della Reese, and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Poltergeist director Tobe Hooper didn’t make the cut. Last year, Carol Channing, character actor Dick Miller, actress Sondra Locke, Reg E. Cathey, and John Mahoney weren’t recognized. I also have to mention that in 2017, the particularly egregious problem with the segment was that a picture of very-much-alive producer Jan Chapman was shown alongside the name of her friend, costume designer Janet Patterson, who had passed away in 2016.

This year, people are upset that Luke Perry wasn’t included in the segment. Fellow actors Orson Bean, Cameron Boyce, and Sid Haig were also snubbed. (Though, perhaps like the omission of Singin’ in the Rain director Stanley Donen last year, Bean’s absence may have been down to timing: he passed away Friday. Last year, Donen died the Thursday before the ceremony.)

The Academy released a statement about the omission of Luke and Cameron:

“The Academy receives hundreds of requests to include loved ones and industry colleagues in the Oscars In Memoriam segment. An executive committee representing every branch considers the list and makes selections for the telecast based on limited available time,” the Academy said in a statement. “All the submissions are included on Oscar.com and will remain on the site throughout the year. Luke Perry and Cameron Boyce are remembered in the Oscar.com gallery.”

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

In 2018, Vanity Fair explained the process behind the “unenviable job” of creating the segment:

The Academy has the unenviable job of curating the three- to four-minute segment, which usually features between 40 and 45 names, from a list that this year began with close to 800 people. That gritty process was handled by a committee of Academy members during one lengthy January meeting, where the merits of Hollywood’s most-recently departed luminaries are discussed.

One source who’s been involved in the decision in years past said the meeting can go on “for hours and hours,” adding, “It’s all about status. It’s impossible to be fair. You try, every year, to add in a certain number of editors and art directors. It’s about a person’s prominence in their field, and you don’t want to just go with the movie stars or the big-time directors.”

“In recent years,” the article goes on to note, “the reel has become much more diverse in all areas: field of expertise, gender, race, and nationality.” I can appreciate how incredibly difficult it must be to come up with a fairly representative 4-minute segment from hundreds of names. In the case of Luke Perry, as The Hollywood Reporter points out, Luke wasn’t known for his film work as much as for his starring turn on Beverly Hills 90210. I’d actually forgotten that he was in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, too. Luke will always be (to me) Dylan McKay and Fred Andrews. So, I understand why he might not have made the cut. Still, it must be upsetting to expect to see a loved one recognized and to have them be skipped over.

I don’t think anyone will ever be completely happy with the segment, though I’d prefer a longer segment to a bunch of long speeches. But if the Academy made a longer segment, they’d still need to leave people out, and everyone would be even more upset. I wonder whether the powers that be could consider doing “In Memoriam” segments throughout the show, tied to some of the different categories. They might be able to get more names in, but I suppose that would also get depressing after a while, too.

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22 Responses to “Oscars explain leaving Luke Perry out of the In Memoriam segment”

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  1. Busyann says:

    I get their reasoning. I think a lot of people assume that big names are honored and don’t realize how much goes into it to honor a wide scope of people. I would not want to be involved in that process at all.

    • Jamie says:

      I agree. And it does seem like they’re trying to include more people. I remember when only one person was shown at a time on screen; now they sometimes pan out to a wide shot to show more than one person.

  2. Lucy says:

    I think that the thing with Luke in particular is that pretty much everyone in the industry, at least from the past thirty years, seemed to love him a lot.

  3. Enny says:

    I think with so many people being left out, it’s generating a lot of ill will that overshadows the honorable intent of the segment. It would probably be better if they didn’t do the segment at all, and just honored everyone equally on the website.

  4. boredblond says:

    They should just use the year end in memoriam produced by TCM–classy, and includes people who actually built the film industry, big and small. They even left out Michael J Polllard a former nominee.

    • Christin says:

      I came here to mention TCM’s wonderful way of honoring those who left us the previous year. I think their montage runs less than five minutes. It’s always well done. There also seems to be no hierarchy or specific order – it’s a mix of well-known a unknown names.

    • The Recluse says:

      YES!!! This exactly.
      If TCM can do it and do justice to those who have passed, picking excellent music to boot, then the Oscar’s have no excuse not to do the same.
      And if they can’t, then just ask TCM to handle it for them. Problem solved. (And they update their reels too if someone else passes. )
      I have discovered excellent songs by the way because of that too.

  5. Lucy2 says:

    Considering he was in one of the most nominated films, they should have included him. Every year they skip someone that people get upset about.

  6. CQ says:

    as tragic as the lose of Kobe Bryant was, he got mentioned in the segment. I know he produced the documentary but Luke Perry was more representative of the industry than Kobe if you were to look at his “body of work”. So they do pander to recognition. I like the idea that the segment is not just about “front of the house” but seems like thats BS IRL. Maybe Luke can get a shout-out at the Basketball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

    • Arpeggi says:

      As an Academy Award winner, Kobe was a member of the Academy: that’s why he was mentioned. I doubt that Luke Perry was an Academy member, having a role in some movies, even if the movie gets a nomination doesn’t make you a member. It’d make sense to see him in the Emmy’s “In Memoriam”; at the Oscar? Not so much

      • StormsMama says:

        I agree with Arpeggi
        Kobe won an Oscar
        Additionally his 2nd act promised to have amazing productions in the future that now are lost. He deserved to be included.

        The “last minute timing” excuse seems dubious bc Kirk Douglas died days before the ceremony and was obviously included.
        I’m sure it’s difficult to narrow it down
        And I definitely DO NOT WANT them to abandon that segment. I think it’s SUPER important to recognize those that have come before and those that have passed on and left their marks.
        Perhaps they should include a list of names as well? Like credits at the end of a movie? But instead just figure out a way to intersperse they lists broken down by department. So as they show an editor that died they then Show a list of others who died. And so on. It can be done. These are creative people let’s not forget.

      • Dutch says:

        This. Luke Perry was a TV star who appeared in movies. He got his due at the Emmys, the segment of entertainment he is best known for, this past year.

      • holly hobby says:

        Orson Bean died the day before Oscar (Saturday). So yes he didn’t make the cut.

  7. K-Peace says:

    Luke should’ve definitely been included. He was in one of the Oscar-nominated movies! (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”) His career was thriving at the time of his death, with his role on “Riverdale”. And, he was known as a really good person who was well-liked by everyone; i’ve never heard a bad word about him. As a fan of his for 30 years i’m still so sad about his death and bummed out that he wasn’t included.

    • Enny says:

      He was a really good guy. That, I can attest to personally. I also think that wouldn’t have been to stressed about recognition at the Oscars, he wasn’t someone to define himself by awards. But, the In Memoriam segment – like any funeral or memorial – is for the living, not the dead. And the living are having an adverse reaction to him being excluded. Which is why I believe that it shouldn’t be anyone’s job to determine which members of a very broad “industry” should be recognized. The industry itself should. If they keep the segment going forward, they should submit to each Academy member a list of names, and the segment should be based on those who receive the most nominations. Or they shouldn’t do it at all.

  8. Leducduswaz says:

    Meanwhile his son Jack’s current employers, All Elite Wrestling, have had more than one segment paying tribute to him…

  9. MJM says:

    It was an egregious omission for a number of reasons.

  10. Lucky Charm says:

    Why have the pictures and film clips and highlight only a few? They could just list everyone with their job and have that run instead. Have a list they can add to throughout the year, then it’s ready to go during the ceremony.

    IN MEMORIAM
    Luke Perry, Actor
    Jane Doe, Director
    Joe Blow, Voice actor, Director
    John Q. Public, Sound editor
    Josie Pussycat, Makeup artist

  11. Chlo says:

    He was in a nominated film, so I think he should have been included, but I also don’t envy the job of assembling that montage. I don’t like how people clap and cheer during the in memoriam section. It’s not a popularity contest, you know? I worry that makes loved ones feel even worse if no one cheered for their dearly departed. There may be better things to worry about, but every year I think that. I think there was one year recently they asked people not to clap or cheer until the end.

  12. No Doubt says:

    Luke was known for being a television star – not movies. I’m not surprised he was left out. Why don’t they just include a list at the end of the montage?