Here's Why The Oscars Is Facing Backlash For Its "Bizarre" 2021 "In Memoriam" Segment
"This year's Oscars In Memoriam played accidentally at podcast 1.5x speed."
But it's safe to say the segment didn't go down well with those watching at home, with many people calling out the bizarre choice to have the slides transition at a much higher speed than usual.
Others pointed out the choice of background music, which was jarringly upbeat for a segment focused on memorializing people who have died in a year defined by loss.
Several people called the segment "bizarre," and some suggested other parts of the show could have been cut for time to make it more respectful.
Journalist Matt Ford called it "a huge tonal miss," especially considering Angela Bassett's introduction focused on the number of people who have died of COVID.
Creator of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Rachel Bloom, tweeted in honor of Schlesinger, who died from coronavirus complications last April.
"Adam Schlesinger was nominated for an Oscar for writing 'That Thing You Do!' in 1997," she wrote. "I don't know why he wasn't in the official In Memoriam segment tonight (especially because he wrote one of the greatest film songs of all time) so I'm honoring him here."
Responding last year to similar backlash, a spokesperson for the Oscars said the Academy receives "hundreds of requests to include loved ones and industry colleagues in the Oscars In Memoriam segment."
"An executive committee representing every branch considers the list and makes selections for the telecast based on limited available time," they said at the time.
While Walter and Schlesinger both appear in an "In Memoriam" photo gallery on the Oscars website, Naya Rivera does not.
But criticism of the "In Memoriam" segment only added to criticism of the show as a whole. It was already facing backlash for moving the Best Actor category — which ultimately did not go to Chadwick Boseman — to last.
People argued that between the rushed and bizarre "In Memoriam" segment, and the failure to posthumously award Boseman for his performance in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, the Academy fell short of giving him the tribute he deserved.
"Huge mistake," wrote film critic Dan Murrell on Twitter. "From In Memoriam on, this show was a disaster."
In an interview with Variety on Monday, Rob Mills, a top ABC/Disney executive, acknowledged the segment had moved faster than previous ones, but said this was done to keep pace with the song's tempo.
“The in memoriam is always a tough nut to crack,” Mills said. “This year we chose to focus on honoring those who we have lost rather than a performance. Once a song was chosen, they timed the pace to the tempo.”