A spokesperson for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has provided the following statement to the L.A. Times about the absence of the late Joan Rivers from the “death reel” segment during last night’s Oscar telecast: “Joan Rivers is among the many worthy artists and filmmakers we were unfortunately unable to feature in the In Memoriam segment of this year’s Oscar show. She is, however, included in our In Memoriam gallery on Oscar.com.” Well, that’s bullshit. The Academy’s Board of Governors (and not, I’m told, Oscar show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who had nothing to say about it) weren’t “unable” to include Rivers. They considered whether to include her and then crossed her out. Their reasoning, one presumes, is that they decided that Rivers was more of a comedian and red-carpet interviewer — a periphery figure — than an actress or filmmaker. But if you think about it Johnny Carson — a guy who never made or starred in a film but who merely hosted the Tonight Show for decades as well as five Oscar telecasts — was just as much of an outlier. When Carson died in ’04 did the Oscar producers blow him off? No — in fact they devoted more time to his legend and passing than they did to the great Marlon Brando, whom they merely included in the death reel on the ’05 Oscar telecast. Carson was deemed such a major Oscar figure that he wasn’t even included in that montage — they gave him his own special tribute. You can argue that Carson was “bigger” than Rivers, but they were both essentially commentators and quipsters and deserving of the same kind of respect, certainly in the eyes of the Godz.