- guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 10 March 2010 11.10 GMT
The man in charge of the "in memoriam" sequence at Sunday night's Oscars has apologised for the hurt caused to friends and family of Farrah Fawcett by the exclusion of the actor. However, Bruce Davis said he stood by the decision, which was taken on the grounds that Fawcett's notable work had taken place mainly on the TV, rather than in movies.
"There's nothing you can say to people, particularly to family members, within a day or two of the show that helps at all," said Davis, the executive director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. "They tend to be surprised and hurt, and we understand that and we're sorry for it."
Fawcett's family issued a statement following the snub declaring they were "deeply saddened" and "bereft with this exclusion of such an international icon who inspired so many for so many reasons".
Davis said the academy had considered including Fawcett, but ultimately felt her "remarkable television work" would be more appropriately honoured by the television academy at the Emmy Awards. He added that an unusual number of "extremely distinguished screenwriters" had died in the past year, and the academy had felt honour-bound to mention as many of these as possible in the short "in memoriam" sequence.
Davis said another exclusion, of actor Gene Barry, had also met with some protest. The star appeared in the original 1953 version of sci-fi classic War of the Worlds, but was probably best known for his TV appearances in shows such as Burke's Law.
Davis, who has overseen the "in memoriam" section since it began in 1993, defended the decision to mention Michael Jackson, best known for his contributions to the world of pop music, explaining that the singer had appeared in a popular theatrical film (presumably This Is It) recently. "Think of all the blogging we would have gotten if we had left him out," he added.