The Oscars happened Sunday night and everyone’s angry at Sean Penn for making a super-lame greencard joke about Alejandro González Iñárritu. And while I agree that Penn is a giant skid-mark who hasn’t been cool since he was ordering pizza to Mr. Hand’s history class, what’s really got me upset is the snubbing of Joan Rivers.
Why was she ignored? What more do you need to accomplish in order for the Academy to acknowledge you in their memorial segment? Some people are trying to justify this atrocious, heinous omission, they’re saying infuriating things like “Well, Joan was never nominated for or won an Oscar”. Yeah? And? What’s your point? They found the time to acknowledge Virna Lisi during the “In Memoriam” segment and she was just an Italian Marilyn Monroe wannabe who was never an Oscar winner or nominee – in fact, she’d barely done anything in North Amercia since the 70’s. They acknowleged Aussie actor Rod Taylor whom we’ve, of course, all come to know and love. Wait a second, Rod who? Exactly.
WHERE’S THE LOVE FOR JOAN????? Since when do you need to be an Oscar winner or nominee in order for the academy to pay homage? How many “marketing executives” get honoured every year? A bunch! And I’m sure they were all wonderful people, I’m doing my best not to bad-talk dead people here, but can you honestly say there’s ever been a “marketing executive” who was more deserving of praise and acknowledgement in the context of showbusiness/pop culture than Joan Rivers? Joan “I walked through every door I kicked open” Rivers? You know she hosted the friggen Tonight Show, right? Pretty sure Johnny got a mention at the Oscars the year he passed away and he never acted in a film. I am certainly not dumping on Johnny Carson. I’m just trying to point out that Joan was at the very least as deserving of a mention as he was.
Joan was an actor as well as being a comedian. Yes, she often played herself. So what. She played Dot Matrix in Spaceballs too, y’know, and that movie was awesome. Not to mention how she kinda sorta invented the red-carpet interview, which in and of itself was the reason countless people tuned in to the awards every year. The Oscars should have led with Joan for the “In Memoriam segment”, she did more for those awards over the last 20 years than just about anyone has. She made them accessible to people who weren’t movie nerds and she didn’t worship at the altar of celebrity. She never treated movie stars with reverence; she brought them down to our level and made these shmarmy silver screen stars come across as a little human for just a night. No small feat.
But, if she never did any of that red carpet stuff, she’d still be worthy of a mention. Her work as a comedian alone is staggering, her accomplishments are as gigantic as any in the field. And she made her name at a time when women weren’t often given a fair shake. You’d have to be a stunning blue eyed, blonde haired Italian version of Marilyn Monroe just to get noticed. Not much has changed.
Joan Rivers made the Oscars better. Shame on the Academy for failing to acknowledge that.