Hollywood greats were honored in the Oscars’ annual “In Memoriam” reel, but one person’s photo was noticeably absent: Joan Rivers.
Many know her for her antics on E!’s Fashion Police and the sharp humor in her 2010 documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work. But Rivers, per IMDb, boasts 38 acting credits to her name in a career that spans 63 years. She had roles in everything from Spaceballs to Iron Man 3 and also directed Rabbit Test in 1978. While she never won an Academy Award, she picked up both an Emmy (Outstanding Talk/Service Show Host in 1990) and a posthumous Grammy (Best Spoken Word Album, 2015).
Joan Rivers wasn’t the only one left out, Elaine Stritch was also absent.
“Joan Rivers is among the many worthy artists and filmmakers we were unfortunately unable to feature in the In Memoriam segment of this year s Oscar show,” the Academy said in a statement. “She is, however, included in our In Memoriam gallery on Oscar.com.”
Ahead of Sunday’s awards show, Rivers’s daughter Melissa delivered her own tribute to her mom.
“It’s hard to believe it was 20 years ago that my mother and I stood on this very red carpet for the first time. We didn’t know that, what was happening was, walking into a building was turning into an event,” said Melissa. “My mom asked questions that nobody else dared to ask.”
Best Supporting Actress nominee Meryl Streep presented the photo montage, which honored entertainment greats who died last year, including Mickey Rooney, James Garner, Maya Angelou, Ruby Dee, Robin Williams, Lauren Bacall, Eli Wallach and Mike Nichols.
“In her memoir, Joan Didion said this about grief: ‘A single person is missing for you and the whole world is empty.’ As we reflect tonight on the loss of so many talented people this year, it’s hard not to feel that emptiness because in the time they had they filled our lives with so much,” Streep said.
“Whatever role they played in moviemaking, the films that they were a part of made us laugh and think and cry and consider life with fresh eyes. They tickled us, raised our spirits when we needed it, challenged our minds and shocked our complacencies. Through their work they shared a piece of their soul, and so we will miss them with the same sadness as we miss an old friend,” she continued.
“But their work will stand and remind us how lucky we were to have them with us for a while. There will never be anyone like them, each and every one.”
• Reporting by Lynette Rice