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

A man in a teal suit.
John Travolta presents the In Memoriam segment at the 95th Academy Awards in the Dolby Theatre on Sunday in Hollywood.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

The Academy Awards’ In Memoriam segment 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.”

As host, Jimmy Kimmel was tasked with shepherding along an innocuous show, free of physical controversy, and he largely succeeded.

March 12, 2023

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.”

This awards season gave a special spotlight to veteran performers Ke Huy Quan, Jamie Lee Curtis, Brendan Fraser and Michelle Yeoh.

March 12, 2023

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 (though a full listing on the Oscars website was mentioned Sunday night).

Among those omitted were “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 left out of the segment. “Six Days, Seven Nights” actor Anne Heche also was not featured.

“It is baffling beyond belief that my beloved father and many other amazing brilliant departed actors were left out,” Mira Sorvino tweeted Monday. “The Oscars forgot about Paul Sorvino, but the rest of us never will!!”


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; that could have been because of her sister’s earlier declarations that she should not be so honored.

The 2023 Oscar winners include “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Brendan Fraser, Michelle Yeoh and “All Quiet on the Western Front.”

March 12, 2023

Social media users naturally had a few things to say about the stars who left us last year who were missing from the Oscars’ remembrance.

@thejstoobs tweeted, “Did they really leave out one of the leads of best picture nominee, Triangle of Sadness, Charlbi Dean from the In Memoriam? #Oscars”

“No Leslie Jordan or Paul Sorvino in the In Memoriam segment? What the f—? #Oscars #AcademyAwards” tweeted @HunterBVideo.

Twitter user Matt Acuña said, “The Oscars not including Sacheen Littlefeather in the In Memoriam section is so disrespectful after what they put her through.”

And @OyeLoui tweeted, “A shame that @TheAcademy did not feature Ignacio Lopez Tarso in their In Memoriam tribute. The Mexican actor played Macario, in the movie of the same name, which was the first ever Mexican film to be nominated for an #Oscar. RIP, maestro.”