Oscars 2017: Why Was Trans Actress Alexis Arquette Left Out of the In Memoriam?
Any news out of last night’s 2017 Academy Awards is overshadowed by that little mix-up that happened during the night’s last award — you know, when the biggest award of the night, Best Picture, was accidentally given to the wrong picture, La La Land, only to have that film’s producer figure out what went wrong and personally invite the correct film, Moonlight, onstage to accept its deserved award. What a night! But something else made queer audiences cringe, and left us wondering who is in charge of the Oscars’ “In Memoriam” reel. Trans actress Alexis Arquette, who has starred in over 70 projects and who passed away in September, was nowhere to be found.
How can you forget the actress who played George in The Wedding Singer? Or Whitt in Of Mice and Men? Or Georgette in Last Exit to Brooklyn?
Arquette was hardly a “big player” on the Hollywood scene, especially compared to her more famous Arquette siblings Patricia, Rosanna and David, but she was a talented member of the Hollywood community.
“I’m really bummed,” Patricia told Vanity Fair‘s Michelle Collins following the ceremony. “For the in memoriam, they left out our sister Alexis, and she was trans.”
To be fair, Arquette wasn’t the only Hollywood talent who passed away since last year’s Oscars but didn’t make the cut. Garry Shandling, Robert Vaughn, producer and director Dan Ireland and Doris Roberts were also nowhere to be seen. Actor Bill Paxton, who had passed away just a day before, was also not included, though Jennifer Aniston, who presented this year’s “In Memoriam” segment, acknowledged him personally beforehand.
[Alexis had] a great career as a male, and came out as a trans woman and lived her life in her truth. … Her career was cut short, not by her passing but by her decision to live her truth and her life as a transgender woman. Despite the fact that there are few parts for trans actors, she refused to play roles that were demeaning or stereotypical. She was a vanguard in the fight for understanding and acceptance for all trans people.
We’re living in a time right now where trans kids can’t even go to the bathroom in schools, and they’re diminished in society. It’s really unfortunate that the Oscars decided they couldn’t show a trans person who was such an important person in this community. Because — trans kids — it could have meant a lot to them.
It was an unfortunate misstep, Oscars! Be better.