Oscars' In Memoriam Begins With A Political Figure Far From Hollywood

The film industry's tribute to its dead started with an unexpected homage.

The Oscars’ “In Memoriam” segment on Sunday opened with a tribute to a real-life crusader outside of show business. (Watch the video below.)

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who died last month in an Arctic prison, had his close-up to kick off the homage that eventually included the late Hollywood stars Alan Arkin, Piper Laurie, Harry Belafonte, Ryan O’Neal, Carl Weathers and others.

“You’re not allowed to give up,” Navalny says in a clip from “Navalny,” which won Best Documentary Feature at last year’s Academy Awards. “If they decide to kill me, it means we are incredibly strong.”

The cause of death for Navalny, a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, remains unexplained. In the Oscars segment, he is credited with the quotation, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.”

The powerful message was once referenced by President John F. Kennedy, who attributed it (incorrectly, it seems) to Edmund Burke.

Navalny’s courageous dissidence, however, is undeniable. It earned him top billing on a night Hollywood honored its own.

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