Another Oscars, another round of In Memoriam snubs: Where was Adam Schlesinger?


Oscars, every time you do that thing you do, you leave people out. We’re talking, of course, about the annual In Memoriam segment.

Where was musician Adam Schlesinger’s name during Sunday night’s segment, fans are asking on social media. Naya Rivera? Where, for goodness’ sake, was Jessica Walter?

“Tonight, we want to celebrate the artists who gave us permission to dream,” said actress Angela Bassett, who introduced the segment Sunday night. “The technical pioneers and innovators who expanded our experience of movie love. Let us as one community say, thank you. You will remain as we remember you in our hearts, always.”

In addition to mentioning Hollywood’s losses in the past year, Bassett acknowledged the more than 3 million people globally who have died from COVID-19 amid the pandemic, as well as those who fell to what she called “the violence of inequality, injustice, hatred, racism and poverty.”


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April 25, 2021

The 2021 memorial went by at machine-gun pace, rat-a-tat-tatting 95 names and faces in 2 minutes and 45 seconds to the sounds of Stevie Wonder’s “As.” If the deceased had a serious place in film history they got a full second up on screen — maybe two. The number of faces seen was only a quarter of the 380 film-industry veterans on the academy’s full list of those who passed since the 2020 Oscars.

As for the missing persons, names are typically skipped if the actors worked primarily in television rather than movies. After all, this is movies’ big night — we simply watch it on our televisions. That was the case with Rivera, whose movie work was incidental. The “Glee” star, who drowned last summer, didn’t even make the extended list on the Oscars’ website, which does include Walter.

And fitting 380 people into a space that holds only 95 is a fairly impossible task.

The stars were glamorous and the Union Station location was dazzling. But an emotionally unsatisfying ending marred Hollywood’s biggest night.

April 25, 2021

But that doesn’t really excuse the absence of “That Thing You Do!” songwriter Schlesinger from the video. Yes, he was an actual Oscar nominee for original song for the 1996 film’s title track. (Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice ended up winning for “You Must Love Me” from “Evita.”)

Schlesinger, who died last year of COVID-19 complications, is named on the motion picture academy’s In Memoriam web page, but without a photo.


“Adam Schlesinger was nominated for an Oscar for writing ‘That Thing You Do!’ in 1997,” tweeted actress Rachel Bloom, who worked with Schlesinger on the TV show “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” “I don’t know why he wasn’t in the official In Memoriam segment tonight (especially because he wrote one of the greatest film songs of all time) so I’m honoring him here.”

Many others were left out of the video but appear online, among them “Re-Animator” writer-director Stuart Gordon, “Chariots of Fire” actor Ben Cross, “Micki + Maude” actress Ann Reinking and “The Day of the Jackal” actor Michael Lonsdale. And actor Orson Bean had the misfortune of dying two days before the 2020 Oscars, but he made the 2021 list.

Alas, not the video.