During Sunday night’s Oscars ceremony, the wrong Best Picture winner was called out by presenter Faye Dunaway, a photo of living producer was displayed during the “In Memoriam” segment, and among the notable celebrities who died in the past year missing from that montage were Garry Shandling, Florence Henderson, and Alexis Arquette, who appeared in such films as Pulp Fiction, The Wedding Singer, and Last Exit to Brooklyn.
With limited time available and many storied careers to consider, the committee of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members who pick who is featured during the segment have a tough job to do, and we know that because there’s always someone left out each year. Often those names are called out by viewers and fans, but it’s Oscar-winner Patricia Arquette, Alexis’s sister, who is none too pleased at her omission. ABC News reports:
“I was really pissed off the academy left out my sister Alexis in the memoriam, because Alexis had a great body of work, but Alexis was one of very few trans artists that worked in the business,” she told ABC News.
“At a time when we have trans kids that can’t even go to the bathroom at school, you would think the academy would have a little bit more respect for a group of people that are murdered, and trans women of color are most likely to live in extreme poverty, making $800 a month, so I think the Oscars have a lot of learning to do.”
It’s a great point. Here’s an example of an oversight that is particularly galling, as the Hollywood institution bad track record on diversity has been increasingly scrutinized in recent years. The lessons are right in front of Oscar and he’s processing them like his golden dome is hollow. It would have been so easy to put the trans actress in the montage, just like it would have been so easy last year to have invited trans singer ANOHNI to perform her nominated song. But they didn’t and they didn’t and there they are, fucking things up as usual, as though the Oscars are as committed to that as they are to awarding excellence.