Oscars 2015: Academy addresses Joan Rivers' 'In Memoriam' absence

#Oscars2015: What the Academy had to say about Joan Rivers' absence from the 'In Memoriam' segment

In the wake of fan outrage that Joan Rivers was not included in the Oscars' annual "In Memoriam" segment honoring Hollywood figures who have died in the last year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences issued a statement to The Times on Monday:

"Joan Rivers is among the many worthy artists and filmmakers we were unfortunately unable to feature in the In Memoriam segment of this year's Oscar show. She is, however, included in our In Memoriam gallery on Oscar.com."

Rivers, who died at age 81 in September, was best known as a comedian and TV personality, though she appeared in a number of films. In a 2010 documentary about her, Rivers expressed frustration at not being recognized for her acting accomplishments. "My career is an actress' career," she said. "And I play a comedian."

Over the course of her career, Rivers also became a frequent, formidable presence on red carpets, including at the Oscars' own doorstep, where she helped to make a spectator sport of sizing up awards-show outfits and taking celebrities down a peg.

Though she poked fun at Oscars fashion, Rivers clearly revered the academy. After winning "The Celebrity Apprentice," she told The Times in 2012 she couldn't fully appreciate the honor since it wasn't taken seriously by Hollywood.

"It's not the Academy Awards," she said. "It's great, but it's only 'Celebrity Apprentice.'"

Which names make it into the academy's memorial segment — this year they included such stars as Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall, as well as less film-centric figures such as Maya Angelou and Gabriel Garcia Marquez — has frequently been a point of contention in the past.

Last year, the death of 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones on a film set prompted an online campaign to see her included in the Oscar tribute. Her name and photo appeared briefly at the end of the segment on a banner pointing to the online memorial gallery.

Times staff writer Amy Kaufman contributed to this report.

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