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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."

Last updated on April 26, 2021, at 1:10 p.m. ET

Posted on April 26, 2021, at 8:43 a.m. ET

The Oscars happened in LA last night, and it probably won't surprise you to hear that organizers are facing some criticism for the ceremony's yearly "In Memoriam" segment.

Todd Wawrychuk / AMPAS via Getty Images

The segment, presented by Angela Bassett, paid tribute to a number of notable entertainment industry people who have died in the last year, including Cicely Tyson, Irrfan Khan, and Chadwick Boseman.

ABC / youtube.com

In a speech preceding the memorial, Bassett acknowledged the humongous loss faced around the world in the last year as a result of COVID-19, as well as death due to "the violence of inequality."

"In 2020, we were united by loss," she said. "As of April 25, 2021, there were recorded over 3 million souls lost around the world to COVID alone."

"Considering the enormity of our collective loss, and the often incomprehensible times we're living through, we wish to also acknowledge those precious lives lost to the violence of inequality, injustice, hatred, racism, and poverty," she went on. "To all of those who left our lives too soon, we cherish the moments that we had the honor of having with you."

Among others recognized were Dame Diana Rigg, Christopher Plummer, Helen McCrory, and DMX.

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.

Steven soderbergh said “a lot of people died this year we’re doing the in memoriam at 1.5x speed”

Twitter: @emilypheller

The director to the editors of the "In Memoriam" segment #Oscars

Twitter: @julsrich

This year’s Oscars In Memoriam played accidentally at podcast 1.5x speed

Twitter: @chrizmillr

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.

The 2021 #Oscars going through the In Memoriam on beat with the peppy song underscoring it

Twitter: @BennyIsConfused

in memoriam edited like a fancam

Twitter: @guymrdth

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.

What an absolutely bizarre way to do the In Memoriam. You literally couldn’t even read a lot of those names before they were gone. Maybe we could have cut 30 seconds from trivia? #Oscars

Twitter: @lindaholmes

Rushing through the in memoriam is bizarre. What on earth???

Twitter: @rgay

And then there was the fact that the whole thing was preceded by Glenn Close twerking on camera.

Going from Glenn Close doing da butt to the In Memoriam

Twitter: @carriecourogen

The #Oscars jumping from Glenn Close twerking to the In Memoriam

Twitter: @theshapeoffilms

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.

Man, even the In Memoriam was a huge tonal miss tonight. “3 million people died during a pandemic this year...so here’s a weirdly upbeat song while we click through the slides faster than usual.”

Twitter: @fordm

While others simply called out the Oscars for excluding several beloved entertainment professionals, including Naya Rivera, Jessica Walter, and Adam Schlesinger, who died this year.

#Oscars didn't, so I'm doing it. IN MEMORIAM OF NAYA RIVERA.

Twitter: @heyaspetsch

Me realizing the In Memoriam segment excluded both Jessica Walter and Adam Schlesinger

Twitter: @andizeisler

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.

anthony was phenomenal. good for him truly. but how are you gonna 1) speed the absolute fuck out of the in memoriam segment and 2) switch up the order of the awards to make your audience think you’re gonna give chadwick some sort of tribute and then just....... not. feels cruel.

Twitter: @ungodlywests

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."

Wow, what a massively bad idea. And this overshadows the fact that both Anthony Hopkins and Chadwick Boseman were brilliant and one of them had to win. The spotlight is now shining solely on the producers. Huge mistake. From In Memoriam on, this show was a disaster.

Twitter: @MurrellDan

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.”

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.

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