Anne Heche, Robert Blake And More Stars Snubbed During The Oscars In Memoriam Segment This Year

The Oscars are an occasion on which Hollywood celebrates the past year’s best movies -- as selected by the Academy. However, it’s also a time to acknowledge the passings of performers and crew members who left their marks on the entertainment industry. This year, the 95th Academy Awards continued that tradition with its In Memoriam segment. But it would seem that some beloved actors were left out of the reel this time around. Surprisingly, notable names like Anne Heche and Robert Blake are among those who were snubbed.

The In Memoriam portion of this year's Oscars was introduced by John Travolta, who appeared visibly emotional as he spoke. As noted by The LA Times, Travolta talke about commemorating the stars “who we will always remain hopelessly devoted to.” This was surely very personal for him, since this past year, his Grease co-star Olivia Newton-John died, and his Look Who’s Talking colleague, Kirstie Alley, sadly passed away as well. While those two stars were represented as well as many others while Lenny Kravitz performed “Calling All Angels,” the news outlet -- and fans at home -- took note of the glaring omissions.

Anne Heche, Robert Blake, and Sacheen Littlefeather

(Image credit: Lifetime/Columbia Pictures/ABC)

As mentioned, one famed star who wasn’t mentioned was Anne Heche, who died at age 53 after multiple car crashes and a fire that she was engulfed in while trapped in her car. At the time, she was widely mourned by Hollywood and those who were fans of her work, such as Donnie Brasco, I Know What You Did Last Summer and one of her final films, Girl in Room 13. Considering how much attention her sudden passing received, it's honestly surprising that she wasn't included in the reel.

Another Hollywood great who was omitted from the ceremony’s segment was Robert Blake, who died this month at the age of 89. Known as being one of the first child actors to transition well into an adult acting career, he started his career in the Our Gang short film series and notably starred in the 1967 film In Cold Blood. But Blake also became synonymous with the murder of his second wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, who was shot in the head while in the former child actor’s car after the two went out to dinner. Despite his ties to the incident, Blake was still highly regarded for his work as an actor.

In addition, Goodfellas icons Paul Sorvino and Tony Sirico, who both died in July 2022, were also not included. The same is true of Native American civil rights activist Sacheen Littlefeather. She notably made Oscars history when she participated in one of the biggest Oscar scandals. In that situation, she spoke on Marlon Brando’s behalf in 1973 when he declined his Best Actor award due to his disapproval of Hollywood’s portrayal of Native Americans. Two weeks before her death, the Academy publicly apologized to her for how she was treated that night. While one can't give an exact reason as for why she wasn't in the In Memoriam reel, the LA Times speculates that it could be because of claims made by her sister, who opined that the group would be “pushing the lie” surrounding Littlefeather's Native American ancestry if she were to be featured.

It's honestly hard to say why any of these influential figures were excluded. When Luke Perry was omitted from the In Memoriam tribute at the 92nd Academy Awards, the group responded, saying that it get hundreds of requests for potential inclusion. And of course, the segment’s limited available time doesn’t leave enough room for everyone. 

Despite that, one would think that Anne Heche, Sacheen Littlefeather and more will be remembered for their contributions regardless. Fans should also be aware that even though they weren't mentioned during their telecast, the stars are acknowledged on the In Memoriam page on the Oscars' official website.

Carly Levy
Entertainment Writer

Just your average South Floridian cinephile who believes the pen is mightier than the sword.