Kobe Bryant and Kirk Douglas were among the stars honoured during the Oscars’ In Memoriam segment.
Academy Awards bosses paid tribute to those associated with the movie industry who have lost their lives over the last year towards the end of the show at Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre on Sunday (Feb 9), with the basketball star – who died in a helicopter crash last month – and the 103-year-old screen legend, who passed away just a few days ago, featured in a video montage at the beginning and end respectively.
As Billie Eilish, backed by her brother Finneas O’Connell on piano, sang a stripped back version of The Beatles’ ‘Yesterday’, clips of stars including Rip Torn, Diahann Carroll, Robert Forster, Andre Previn, Doris Day, Peter Fonda, John Singleton and Peter Mayhew were projected onto the screen behind them.
However, actors Luke Perry, Sid Haig and Cameron Boyce were noticeably missing from the televised tribute.
The segment had been introduced by director Steven Spielberg, who hailed the late stars as “legends and icons”.
He said: “Legends and icons. Our friends and fellow artists, all who have inspired and touched us.”
“It’s not about me. This is about them and showing love. It’s not my thing. It really is true.”— Billie Eilish
Ahead of the ceremony, Billie had confirmed she wouldn’t be debuting her new James Bond song at the event, insisting it wouldn’t be appropriate for her to play the theme for ‘No Time To Die’.
She told ‘Entertainment Tonight’: “I can’t do that for the In Memoriam.
“It’s not about me. This is about them and showing love. It’s not my thing. It really is true. I don’t want it to be about me. I want people to be watching the screen, watching the people.”
But the 18-year-old singer admitted she got “shivers” every time they had rehearsed the slot because of Kobe’s appearance.
She said: “It’s just sad. It’s like, I don’t know what else to say. Every time, when we were in rehearsal and they run kind of what’s going to be playing, every time I see his face, I’m like what? It’s so weird. It doesn’t make sense to me. I just got shivers, it’s horrifying.”
While she didn’t get to perform her Bond theme, Billie was pleased with the chosen song.
She wrote on her Instagram Stories ahead of the show: “honored to be performing during the in memoriam segment for the oscars tonight covering a song i’ve always loved. watch with us.”