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Blogs were buzzing Monday with discussion of why Brad Renfro was left out of the Academy Awards tribute to Hollywood figures who died in the past year.
The troubled 25-year-old actor died Jan. 15 of a heroin and morphine overdose. Heath Ledger, killed by an overdose of prescription drugs one week later, appeared in a scene from “Brokeback Mountain” at the conclusion of the three-minute video tribute at Sunday night’s Oscar ceremony.
“Unfortunately we cannot include everyone,” said Leslie Unger, spokeswoman for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. “Our goal is to honor individuals who worked in the many professions and trades of the motion picture industry, not just actors.”
Hilary Swank introduced the Oscar segment, which featured 43 people including makeup artists, a stuntman and several Hollywood agents. Unger said it was not required that those honored be members of the Academy or past Oscar nominees.
USA Today blogger Whitney Matheson headlined a post Monday, “Why was Brad snubbed last night?” and Perez Hilton posted a mug shot of Renfro with the words “Oscar Snub.”
TMZ speculated Renfro was not “feel-good enough” for Oscar, but public comments left on the site also pointed out that in contrast to Ledger, “Renfro wasn’t a big enough star.”
Unger shook off the suggestion that Renfro wasn’t included because of his history with drugs. “I can’t speak to what other people are going to think,” Unger said. “We can’t include everybody.”
Renfro was most well-known for his titular role in 1993’s “The Client,” and had his last major roles more than a decade ago. He had appeared in smaller parts in recent years.
Oscar-nominated “Jaws” star Roy Scheider also was not included. His death on Feb. 10 fell outside the time frame of the tribute video, which covered Feb. 1, 2007 to Jan. 31, 2008.