Nobody just up and wins an Academy Award, no matter how good the performance. First, you must campaign to score a nomination. Then, the real campaign begins. It’s rare that the “best” person or film takes the Academy Award home on Oscar night. It’s usually about the talent AND the campaign.

But did you know that cutthroat war for recognition and exposure extends over to the Memorial clip reel that airs during the annual ceremony, honoring those in the industry whom we’ve recently lost? The NY Times reports that a committee of anonymous members are “measuring celebrity, weighing achievement and trying to ward off entreaties from those who believe a loved one, friend or former client should have a last moment in the limelight.” In other words, they are putting together the last guest list these celebrities ever will find them names on.

Does that sound ghoulish? Even former Academy president Tom Sherak admits, “Of all the committees, it’s the hardest one to do.” Probably because, as the Times notes, Hollywood movers and shakers lobby for friends and colleagues who’ve recently passed but might not have the name recognition hat comes with being on the reel. And admit it, when you watch the Oscars from home, you pay attention to who gets the loudest applause on the Memorial reel, and who gets the coveted final slot. Or am I the only heartless monster out here?

This year’s reel likely will include deceased directors Tony Scott and Nora Ephron (above), as well as Marvin Hamlisch. But year after year, there are noticeable – and often unforgivable – snubs. Who will be on the reel this year? Tune in to the Oscars on Sunday, February 24th and see whose final campaign helped them make the cut.

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