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Academy Refuses to Apologize for Farrah Fawcett Snub

Farrah Fawcett

We noticed it. You noticed it. Her friends noticed it. But apparently the powers that be weren't as clued in.

We're talking about Farrah Fawcett's omission from the In Memoriam segment at last night's Oscars, possibly the biggest snub of all at a ceremony that otherwise unfolded as expected.

"I would not say that it was an oversight," Leslie Unger, spokeswoman for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, tells E! News. "No matter how carefully and how conscientiously people address who is included, there are people who just simply can't be."

But why was someone like Michael Jackson, with a far skimpier film résumé than Fawcett, whose film roles earned her both Golden Globe and Spirit Award nominations?

"In any given year there will always be some people that other people think should have been included and that there's more justification for one person versus another," says Unger. "It is impossible to include everybody."

Indeed, Bea Arthur and Ed McMahon, like Fawcett better remembered for their TV work than their movie roles, were also overlooked during the segment, which also included nods to Patrick Swayze, Brittany Murphy, Jean Simmons and Karl Malden.

"We were disappointed that she was not included," longtime companion Ryan O'Neal said through publicist Arnold Robinson.

"I think this is what Farrah struggled with her entire career," says Craig Nevius, Fawcett's close friend and producer of her documentary, Farrah's Story. "She struggled with respect and told me many times she felt she was put in a box.

"She loved television, and she was primarily a star on TV, but she was also a star on stage and film. You know, how you can discount Extremities [which earned her a Globe nom for Best Actress in a Drama], The Apostle [which earned her an Independent Spirit nom for Best Supporting Actress] and Dr. T and the Women, I don't know.

"I think it would be very big of them to own up to the mistake, but I also think it might set a dangerous precedent for them, which is why they probably won't do it," says Nevius of the Academy.

And it sounds like he's right.

"Every year there are many difficult decisions that have to be made and not everybody who passed during the year can be included," says Unger. "That's the unfortunate reality."

(Originally published March 8, 2010, at 11:02 a.m. PT)

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