SoundtrackNet has learned that a pioneer in the film industry will be absent from this weekend's Oscars telecast. Shirley Walker, the first female film composer to score a solo studio project, passed away last November, but won't be recognized during the "In Memoriam" segment on Sunday evening.
Walker, who had worked orchestrating and conducting with such composers as Hans Zimmer and Danny Elfman before scoring her first solo effort, the studio feature Memoirs of an Invisible Man, is best known for her work on the "Batman: The Animated Series" television show. She died on November 29, 2006 of complications from a stroke.
Earlier that same month, composer Basil Poledouris died from cancer, and he will appear in the montage segment honoring those film industry professionals who have passed away in the past year. Sources in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences say that Walker's absence from the segment was a difficult decision - it's not that they forgot about her, but rather they had time considerations and after much wrangling, she didn't make the cut. One can only hope that they will change their minds, but with only two days before the big night, it's unlikely that Walker will appear in the segment.
Not everyone is ignoring Walker's contribution to the industry, however. A special Memorial Tribute will be held at the Eastwood Scoring Stage at Warner Brothers in a few weeks, where a special presentation of film clips, photographs and memories from her friends and co-workers will be shared with other industry professionals.
So when you watch the Oscars telecast this weekend, and the "In Memoriam" segment shows up, take note of who they feel was more worthy of making the cut than Shirley Walker. It's a shame, since she was truly a pioneer of the film music industry, and a role model for female composers worldwide. In life she was constantly overlooked because of her gender, and it's truly shameful that even in death, she can't get the proper recognition she deserves.