Oscars 2015: Italian Media, Viewers Criticize "In Memoriam" Snub of Francesco Rosi

Francesco Rosi

The Italian maestro, considered one of the country’s best directors, was missing from the night's "in memoriam" montage.

The Academy Awards' annual "in memoriam" tribute on Sunday night left out a man who is widely considered one of Italy’s greatest directors, Francesco Rosi. The snub, which came in addition to snubs of the likes of Elaine Stritch and Joan Rivers, drew criticism in the Italian media.

Italy’s Cinecitta News commented that Rosi was forgotten by the Academy. Rai News also ran a story about the snub and used the headline “Oscar Shame.” La Repubblica and Il Messaggero called the oversight a gaffe. And numerous people on Twitter, who were watching the ceremony on Sky Italia’s Sky Cinema Oscar channel, voiced their discontent about the omission.

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While the academy paid tribute to actresses who made international waves in Italian films, including Virna Lisi and Anita Ekberg, excluding Rosi was a major shock for Italian film fans. Rosi’s influence on Hollywood is vast, with numerous directors, including Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola, having spoken of his importance in writing cinematic history.

Rosi, an outspoken voice against corruption, was one of Italy’s last heirs to the Golden Age of Italian cinema. Alongside directors like Pier Paolo Pasolini, Gillo Pontecorvo and Franco Zeffirelli, Rosi created the post-neorealist cinema of the 1970s. Together, they launched Italy as a global cinema player continuing in the tradition of post-war directors Michelangelo Antonini, Federico Fellini and Luchino Visconti.

Over his career, the filmmaker took home almost every major film honor. He won the Silver Bear in Berlin in 1962 for best director for Salvatore Giuliano. In 1963 he won the Golden Lion in Venice for Hands Over the City. In 1972, he took home the Palme d’Or in Cannes for The Mattei Affair. He won the BAFTA award for best foreign-language film in 1979 for Christ Stopped at Eboli. And in 1981, he was nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign-language film for Three Brothers.

Berlin honored Rosi with a Golden Bear lifetime achievement award in 2008. And Venice gave him a Golden Lion lifetime achievement award in 2012.

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Rosi was remembered at a ceremony in Rome in January after his death by directors Paolo Sorrentino, Franco Zeffirelli and Ettore Scola, and the former President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano.

The Academy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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