At the Oscars on Sunday, they gave a touching In Memoriam segment. The slideshow was introduced by an emotional John Travolta and was played during a live performance from Lenny Kravitz and his 2004 song, “Calling All Angels”.
“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,” Travolta started, having lost his close friend and Grease co-star, Olivia Newton-John, who died last August.
“Each of them left an individual and indelible mark, that shared and informed us,” he continued, “they’ve touched our hearts, they’ve made us smile, and became dear friends, who we will always remain hopelessly devoted to.”
As Kravitz began to play, the slideshow of the late Hollywood stars – both in front of and behind the cameras – played and included Newton-John, James Caan, Ray Liotta, Burt Bacharach, Raquel Welch, and many others.
However, there was a significant amount of actors that were not shown during the segment. Most notably, they omitted Gilbert Godfried, Anne Heche, Leslie Jordan, Tom Sizemore, Charlbi Dean, Paul Sirico, Barbara Walters, Chaim Topol, and Paul Sorvino.
While most of these actors’ fans came to their support and expressed their disappointment in the Academy over Twitter and other platforms, Sorvino’s wife and daughter made sure their frustrations were heard firsthand.
“It is baffling beyond belief that my beloved father and many other amazing brilliant departed actors were left out,” she wrote on Twitter. “The Oscars forgot about Paul Sorvino, but the rest of us never will!!”
In 1996, Mira won her first and only Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the film Mighty Aphrodite. On Instagram, prior to Sunday’s award show, she posted a video of her winning that award alongside her father, writing, “On this Oscars night I am so happy for all of the nominees and the winners, but I am also moved in a thousand different ways when I think of the night I got to share my Academy Award with my Dad, the very great actor Paul Sorvino, who was never nominated. To get to share this blindingly positive moment with my father… My first and best teacher […] On this first year after his passing it is truly a bittersweet but beautiful memory. I love you Dad, I miss you so much.”
On Monday, however, she updated the post after learning of Paul’s omission, writing, “Incredibly hurt and shocked that my father’s lifelong, irreplaceable, enormous contribution to the world of cinema was overlooked by whomever made that list. We his adoring family, and you, his adoring public, know just how unique and incredible he was. We hope @theacademy does something to put this right.”
Dee Dee Benkie, who was Paul’s wife from 2014 until his death, shared a statement on Monday, per Rolling Stone.
“Paul Sorvino was one of the greatest actors in cinematic history in Hollywood. It is unconscionable that he would be left out of the In Memoriam segment of the Oscars. It’s a three-hour show, they can’t give a couple more minutes to get it right? Paul Sorvino gave decades to this industry and was loved by all.”
While Paul and all the other actors were not included in the actual slideshow, there was a QR code that was presented that sent viewers to the Academy’s website where every actor that passed away in the past year was mentioned.
But Dee Dee said the QR code was “not acceptable” and that the Academy needed to “issue an apology”.
“Paul Sorvino deserves better,” she added, “the audience deserves better. Is the Academy so jaded they forget people who are loved, who have given their hearts to this industry?”
The Academy also issued a statement addressing the many omissions of late actors, saying, “An executive committee representing every branch considers the list and makes selections for the telecast based on limited available time. All the submissions are included on A.frame and will remain on the site throughout the year.”