Robin Williams may have been the most supremely gifted comedy star to die last year, but surely Joan Rivers deserved a mention at the Oscars. Rivers was a force of nature–a giant success on the stage, the small screen and in business. Her influence was powerful, not least as a groundbreaking woman in comedy. But also simply as a performer beyond category. As Chris Rock said when she died, “I know people are like, ‘Joan Rivers broke down all these barriers for women, blah blah blah.’ I think it’s a disservice to even group her…No man ever said, ‘Yeah, I want to go on after Joan.'”
So why the snub? Was it that movies stars couldn’t bear the sight of Joan Rivers’ plastic surgery-made face? Hit too close to home, that? Or did the snub come from the number of celebs in the audience that Joan hadn’t exactly been kind to? Maybe Rivers’ scorched earth comedy style (Rock again: “she didn’t give a f*#k”) put her on the outside and the powers-that-be decided to keep her there. It can’t be that Johnny Carson still has influence–can it? Though the Academy is old. Joan Rivers wrote one million jokes. And now she’s written a last one from the grave: it was a joke that she wasn’t mentioned.