A petition to include Sarah Jones, the camera assistant killed on a film set in Georgia last week, in the Oscars “in memoriam” tribute has so far failed to sway the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Two sources close to the academy said Jones would likely not be added to the “in memoriam” segment of the Oscars show. Instead, Jones’ name is expected to be added to an extended in memoriam list on the academy’s website, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the decision.
Although Jones was not a member of the academy, more than 55,000 people have signed an online petition urging the academy to make an exception for Jones, 27, who was killed by a freight train on the first day of filming the Gregg Allman biopic “Midnight Rider” near Jesup, Ga.
Seven others were also injured in the accident, which has stunned the film and TV industry and renewed debate about whether there are adequate safety measures on film sets. Authorities have said Unclaimed Freight, the Pasadena company producing the film, and the Georgia-based Meddin Studios film crew did not have permission to film on the railway tracks.
Production on the film was halted this week as several agencies, including the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, conduct investigations into the accident. The death of Jones, who also worked on"The Vampire Diaries” TV series, prompted an outpouring of tributes from crew members around the world.
“I think it’s a missed opportunity to honor her [Jones] on a much larger scale,” said Ed Gutentag, a cinematographer who has supported the Oscar petition. “There are pictures of slates coming in from [British TV series] ‘Downton Abbey’ and Chile. Everyone in the world knows about this. Why can’t they stick one more picture in that memoriam? What’s the big deal?”
Academy spokeswoman Teni Melidonian did not respond to requests for comment.