Why The 2024 Oscars In Memoriam Had Twitter Up In Arms

The Academy Awards has consistently made it a point to set aside a portion of its ceremony to honor the many actors, filmmakers, and other professionals in the entertainment industry who died over the previous year. The 2024 Oscars upheld this tradition with its In Memoriam section, paying tribute to a lengthy roster of notable names in film who are no longer with us. However, just like the nominations and awards, this segment did not escape criticism for snubbing a number of key figures.

Andrea Bocelli and his son, Matteo, took the stage at the 96th Academy Awards to perform a heart-tugging rendition of "Time to Say Goodbye," which served as the backdrop for the segment as the list of the late artists' names scrolled by on screen. Kicking it off was Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader featured on the Oscar-winning documentary "Navalny," who died in February 2024 in an Arctic prison. The list of those recognized also included, "Rocky" franchise star Carl Weathers, Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, pop star Tina Turner, "Harry Potter" star Michael Gambon, and acclaimed screenwriter Bo Goldman.

Unsurprisingly, there were also notable omissions, at least in the main segment, sparking discontent among fans. Many took to X, formerly Twitter, to air their frustrations for the artists they felt deserved special recognition.

Many notable artists were left out of the segment

Fans couldn't help but express their disappointment when the 2024 Oscars overlooked several iconic figures in its in memoriam segment, chief of whom is Lance Reddick, known for his role as Cedric Daniels in "The Wire" and Charon in the "John Wick" franchise. They took to social media to vent, with one tweeting, "no mention of lance reddick in memoriam, damn. we miss you dude," and another saying, "Leaving Lance Reddick out of the #InMemoriam section of the Oscars bothered me deeply. Vale, sir."

But it wasn't just Reddick who was blatantly left out of the main segment. Other distinguished artists, such as Treat Williams, Angus Cloud, Burt Young, Ron Cephas Jones, Suzanne Somers, and Terence Davies, were also among those who didn't make the cut. Although some of these individuals were acknowledged in the overall list, they weren't given the brief spotlight with their own slides.

While the In Memoriam segment has been a tradition at the Oscars since 1994, it has also become a "tradition" for the Academy to leave out notable names from the tribute. The Academy has never revealed the reasons behind these omissions despite facing criticism and disappointment from fans and industry insiders alike. However, The Washington Post previously reported that the Academy normally engages in a deliberation process to sift through submissions and determine who will be included in the segment. Since the In Memoriam segment is only a small part of the show, the producers likely have no choice but to exclude some names.

Snubbed stars and not enough focus on honorees

It's hard to know for sure how producers decide who is worthy of being memorialized during the Academy Awards. In 2024, actors mostly remembered for their TV roles like "Brooklyn Nine-Nine's" Andre Braugher and "Friends'" Matthew Perry were included, yet trailblazing TV writer and producer Norman Lear was left out. 

Fans of the award show don't just express their disdain over who the In Memoriam segment snubs, some also take issue with the way the tribute is presented. For example, over the past 30 years, the segment has evolved to typically involve live performances during the roughly four to five-minute-long tribute. While the songs are likely meant to entertain and evoke emotion, in 2024 it earned the ire of some X (formerly Twitter) users who said it only detracted from what should be the focus of the memorial — the recently deceased. X user @blancaCamocaoNY wrote, "Why do Oscars feel the need to 'entertain' us during their In Memoriam? I don't need to see dancers in silhouette, or the stage or even singers. I just want to actually be able to SEE who we're supposedly memorializing!" @BruceFeiler agreed, saying, "Fewer shots of the stage, please. More attention on the honorees." 

While many took to X to share similar sentiments, @djakovina focused on those who she felt were snubbed. "Raquel Welch, Suzanne Somers, Bob Barker, Tony Bennett, Burt Bacharach, and so many others that should have been honoured in this segment, we remember you always," she wrote.