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Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Emily St. Martin

A teary John Travolta couldn’t distract from Oscars In Memoriam’s missing big names

LOS ANGELES — The Academy Awards’ In Memoriam forgot a few Hollywood greats.

Before introducing the In Memoriam montage Sunday night, Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel joked, “Now it’s time for the interactive part of the show. Everybody, please get out your phones, it’s time to vote. If you think Robert Blake should be part of the In Memoriam montage, text, ‘give me a Blake’ to the number on your screen.”

The phones must have stayed in place because Robert Blake (“Baretta,” “In Cold Blood”) was omitted. But so were several Hollywood greats at this year’s 95th Academy Awards.

A choked-up John Travolta introduced the Oscars segment at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday night.

“In this industry, we have the rare luxury of getting to do what we love for a living, and sometimes getting to do it with people that we come to love,” Travolta said through tears after walking out to “Hopelessly Devoted to You” from “Grease.”

“And since tonight is a celebration of the work and the accomplishments of our community in this past year, it is only fitting then that we celebrate those we’ve lost, who’ve dedicated their lives to their craft, both in front of and behind the camera, through their immeasurable contributions. Each of them left an individual and indelible mark, that shared and informed us, they’ve touched our hearts, they’ve made us smile, and became dear friends, who we will always remain hopelessly devoted to.”

The In Memoriam segment began with his “Grease” co-star Olivia Newton John and featured stars from Kirstie Alley — also a co-star to Travolta — to James Caan.

But there were several notable people missing, and Oscar viewers noticed.

Among those omitted was “Goodfellas” actors Paul Sorvino and Tony Sirico. South African actor Charlbi Dean, who died shortly before the release of her film “Triangle of Sadness,” was even left out of the segment. “Six Days, Seven Nights” actor Anne Heche was also not featured.

Also not honored was Sacheen Littlefeather, who had minor roles in “Shoot the Sun Down” and “The Trial of Billy Jack,” but was most famous for declining Marlon Brando’s Oscar on his behalf in 1973. The Academy reportedly celebrated her legacy at a tribute event last year but failed to include her Sunday night, but that could have been because of her sister’s earlier declarations that she should not be so honored.


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