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Sunday, February 26, 2012

"And the Oscar goes to..."

Before I start today's posts, two notes: I got some positive feedback on making the Sunday Movie Review a bi-weekly segment, so we're going to give it a try! Therefore, since I posted a review for Keeper of the Flame (1943) last week, the next review will be next Sunday, and so forth, etc. And the second is thank you all so so so much for your birthday wishes on Thursday. You all the are the sweetest! <3

As you all probably know, tonight is the night of the 82nd Academy Awards. 2011 was a great year for classic film fans, I felt. You had a movie about Marilyn Monroe, a silent film, a movie structured around the splendor of silent film, and several other movies that took place in the 20th century. Not to mention that both Meryl Streep and Christopher Plummer are nominated for Oscars; and if The Artist (2011) wins Best Picture, it'll be the first silent movie to win Best Picture since 1929 - and the first black and white since The Apartment (1960).

But on this Oscar Sunday, I'm not going to sit around predicting who's going to win what awards and etc. - though I really hope The Artist (2011) sweeps it all; and The Help (2011) I enjoyed as well - since we all know by now who's going to win what anyway. Plus, of course, this is a classic film blog, and despite the tight ties between the films at this year's Oscars and the Golden Age, they still qualify as 2011 movies.

So I thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of my favorite Oscar moments with Golden Age stars! This is just a fun, rambling list of Oscar memories, mostly with my favorite actors, no particular order or anything. I hope you enjoy, and if you want to discuss this year's Oscars, or 1939's Oscars (which, hey, guess what? - took place on my birthday!), or the Oscars of any other year, feel free to leave a comment and give your input!

Lucy's last public appearance
61st ACADEMY AWARDS | 1989, presenting 

My darling girl had her last public appearance at the 1989 Oscars, about six weeks before she passed away. She and Bob Hope were presenting and they got a big standing ovation. It's bittersweet watching this; and ironic that her last public appearance would be at the Oscars, despite the fact that Lucy was never nominated for one, and is famous as a television star, despite the fact she made more than 100 films. Her sparkling, black sequined dress is definitely a product of the 1980's, but I appreciate the slit that shows off her legs, which were still lovely at 77. She's so perfect. :')

Greer's Best Actress acceptance speech
16th ACADEMY AWARDS | 1943, Mrs. Miniver 

If anyone knows anything about my lovely Greer, they ought to know that she loved to talk. I think if talking was a sport, Greer could win all the Olympic medals. She had a habit of being able to go on and on about nearly any topic (except for herself; she didn't enjoy talking about personal matters, but to the chagrin of Hedda and Lolly) in that gorgeous voice of hers. When she won the Best Actress Oscar in 1943 for Mrs. Miniver (1942), it was about 1 AM in Hollywood when she took the stand. It is said that her speech might have been anywhere from five minutes to twenty; though the latter is likely an exaggeration, being so late into the night it might have felt that way to the other attendees. It is said she thanked everyone from the doctor who brought her into this world in London to all the cast members of Miniver and beyond. This speech is the longest in Oscar history as of; and the year following the Academy Award instilled a new rule that limited the winner to only forty seconds to thank those who needed to be thanked. Greer, alongside Bette Davis, holds the record for the most Academy Award nominations in a row (from 1941 - 1946), but she only won once, despite her amazing performances. I'm a little nervous that it might be because of this 1943 speech? There's no full footage or transcript of it, unfortunately, but Miniver DVDs tend to have a little tidbit of her speech in a newsreel or such.

Ingrid's Best Supporting Actress speech
47th ACADEMY AWARDS | 1975, Murder on the Orient Express

Ingrid won the Oscar three times. The first was in 1945, for Gaslight (1944), and then in 1957 for Anastasia (1956). The latter Oscar was accepted by her good friend and secret husband Cary Grant; that was when Ingrid was in Italy and married to Rossellini, recovering from the waves of scandal her affair with him had caused a few years before. Anastasia was her comeback film and her winning the Oscar for that movie was America's way of forgiving her. But her last Oscar was a Best Supporting Actress for Murder on the Orient Express (1974), and it's this one I chose to share, simply for the reason it starts with, "It's always nice to win an Oscar..." I couldn't post the link, but you can watch it here, and I strongly suggest that you do, because it's adorable.

Grace vs. Judy
28th ACADEMY AWARDS | 1955, The Country Girl & A Star is Born

Ahh, the age old debate of whether or not Judy Garland should have won the Oscar in 1955! Every classic film fan has heard about this controversy; when Grace won Best Actress in 1955 for her fine performance in The Country Girl (1954), but it wasn't the right year to win for everyone had expected Judy to win for her comeback movie, A Star is Born (1954). Even Grace Kelly's father released a statement after the awards ceremony, revealing that even he had expected Judy to win. I can't fairly judge this situation because I haven't seen A Star is Born (1954) - I plan to remedy that soon. And though I love Judy Garland, as we all should, Grace is one of my very favorite actresses which I guess would make me look biased. So I'll just keep my lips shut. But I'll say that I'm quite grateful Grace won in 1955; everyone thinks of her as only a gorgeous fashion plate, when she is so so much more.

Audrey's Best Actress speech
27th ACADEMY AWARDS | 1954, Roman Holiday

Audrey's win for Roman Holiday (1953) in 1954 is another subject of controversy, but Roman Holiday (1953) is one of my favorite movies; it's the movie that made Audrey a star and I just love it to pieces. I'll never have a problem with her having won that year, or any year, for that matter. Plus I think it's totally adorable how when she gets on stage, she goes in the wrong direction (I totally would have done that too) and her dress is gorgeous!

The double Best Actress of 1969

42nd ACADEMY AWARDS | 1969, Funny Girl and Lion In the Winter

The only time there was a tie for an Oscar was in 1969, for Best Actress. Both Katharine Hepburn, for Lion In the Winter (1968) and Barbra Striesand, for Funny Girl (1968) won the Oscar. Katie never showed up to accept her Oscars, but Barbra was there to collect her award in a very interesting outfit; handed over to her by none other than Ingrid - who was back in popularity thanks to Cactus Flower (1969). I LOVE the surprise on Ingrid's face when she realizes that it's a tie! Plus, as we all know, I consider Katharine Hepburn to be flawless and I really like Barbra Striesand too, she's adorable. Funny Girl (1968) isn't really my favorite film of hers, but I did like her performance in it; I mean, it made her a star, didn't it? And I know, it's terrible, but I've yet to see Lion in the Winter (1968); don't worry, I will really soon. You can watch it here.

No Natalie Wood unfortunately, because she never won an Oscar, despite being nominated four times. How stupid is that? I like to think that had she not drowned in 1981 she would've either made a comeback and been one of those winners who gets an Oscars in her late 40's or 50's; or later on she would have been awarded an Honorary Oscar.

Humphrey's Best Actor speech
25th ACADEMY AWARDS | 1952, The African Queen

Why it took as long as 1952 for Humphrey Bogart to win an Oscar, I'll never understand, but thankfully he finally did and The African Queen (1951) was a good movie for him to win it for. I love Greer's little intro and reference to her long, 1943 speech - "I have ten minutes left over from a highly emotional speech I gave a few years ago; I'll be happy to let you use it!" as well as reminding everyone of those "anticipatory noise reduction devices". And then the look of glee on her face when she realizes Bogie won; and Bogie's short and simple acceptance. I mean, I know he wasn't into that whole Hollywood scene, but from what I read in Betty Bacall's autobiography, everyone was thrilled to have him win. You get that impression from the cheer that comes up from the audience, too. You can watch it here.

Cary's Honorary Oscar speech
43rd ACADEMY AWARDS | 1970, Honorary Oscar

I think this might have been with Ingrid's Oscar, because he was much older when he won his Honorary one.

Sidney Poitier's Best Actor speech
37th ACADEMY AWARDS | 1964, Lilies of the Field

I don't think I've mentioned it before, but I love Sidney Poitier! He's one of my favorites. He's so sophisticated and distinguished, and really helped smash those racial barriers; I mean, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), anyone? The film that he won the Best Actor Oscar for, in 1964, was Lilies of the Field (1963), which I have yet to see. But I love this footage of him accepting the Oscar from Anne Bancroft, another person I adore and don't talk enough about. I mean, it was 1964 and racial tension was high, but Anne just throws her arms around Sidney and you can tell how excited she is for him. Therefore, this all results in one of my favorite Oscar moments. You can watch it here.

To prevent this list from becoming forever endless, I'll stop here. But there are sooo many Golden Age Oscar moments I love. So I'll also add the links to these: Vivien Leigh's 1940 Best Actress speech / Hattie McDaniel's 1940 Best Supporting Actress speech / Myrna Loy's 1991 Honorary Oscar speech / Greer Garson's 1962 acceptance for Sophia Loren's Best Actress and I hope you check them out because they're just as wonderful <3


Alright, that's it for this Sunday. I had a lot of fun writing this post! Do you have any favorite classic Oscar moments? Let me know in the comments!

Despite being hardcore classic film, I'll certainly be watching the Oscars tonight, how about you all? If so, Happy Oscar watching and if not, well, I hope you have a good evening anyway, my dears!


Dani said...

I'm off to watch the Oscars in a few minutes, but thought I'd stop by to leave you comment first :)
For this year's nominees, I have to admit, "The Artist" was fantastic, but "Hugo" is just perfection. It really is a flawless movie and the use of 3D in it: mind-blowing. And it's such a treat for film lovers too...I'm definitely going to the see it again in the theater. Scorsese is my favorite living director and I think he can do no wrong with a movie.
As for the Grace vs. Judy, I honestly think it could have gone either way. In both movies, the characters go through a significant change in their personalities and appearance and both performances are fantastic. But, "A star is born" had a more epic sort of feel about it. It was just a bigger movie in general, so I think that's why there was so much controversy around it.
And about the tie, if I were Barbra I'd be really pissed off at the Academy. I mean, Kate had already won a couple of times and she didn't even go there to pick them up. Even if you share the award with Katharine Hepburn, I think it would be a lot sweeter to win on your own.
Oh, and I read about the Greer Garson speech on the paper yesterday and thought of you. They said there that it lasted about 7 minutes, though.

Irene Palfy said...

Sooo glad that you like Sidney Poitier, too!! ;") Btw: I adore A STAR IS BORN with Judy Garland - actually my "problem" is the other way round: I haven't seen THE COUNTRY GIRL yet.. ;")

Have a wonderful day!

Rianna said...

So, what'd you think of the Oscars? :) I was pleased with most of the wins, but as for the ceremony itself, I was 50/50. I loved how the set was decorated like an old movie house; and though the running theme of the night seemed to be why we love cinema, sending us back to our classic roots, etc., I was disappointed that most of the montages didn't have movies that dated farther than 1969. And though that little bit from North by Northwest was cool, as well as The Wizard of Oz focus group, none of it could make up for the memoriam section. That was embarrassingly awful.

Well, it seems like the Artist took it, which pleases me :) I really need to see Hugo soon, though, I'm just dying to. As for Scorsese, I love saying his name out loud ;) and knowing that once upon a time he was Ingrid's son in-law, so I automatically like him.

I think the reason there was such a big deal over A Star is Born is because the film was built for the rebirth of Judy Garland; and even though she didn't win the Oscar, it certainly did it's job. I'm going to check it out really soon though. And I don't think I'd like to tie for an Oscar, either, but if I had to share it with someone, Kate would be okay with me. I mean, I know she never showed up... but that's just part of Kate being Kate I guess.

Yeah, I saw in one of my local papers "7 minutes" too, but who knows for sure? ;)

Rianna said...

Yes, I don't talk about it enough, he's one of my favorites! I'm going to check out A Star is Born really soon. I need to :) Have a lovely day, Irene!

Dani said...

I agree with you about the ceremony, it was just okay. The theater was really beautiful and I liked the pop corn girls. I didn't think Billy Crystal was very funny, although I did enjoy some bits of the show, like the one with the cast of Bridesmaids (maybe 'cause Rose Byrne is one of my favorite actresses) and when Emma Stone and Ben Stiller presented. Those were the only funny bits.
And, of course, I was really bummed about the best director award. But, that might be the only chance for that guy to win an Oscar and the movie was very good, so...
And I like saying Scorsese's name out loud too. Almost all italian names sound cool when said aloud.

Rianna said...

It wasn't an exceptionally funny show, though usually I'm never quite all that amused by the oscar hosts. I thought Billy Crystal trying to read the audience members' minds was a funny bit; but I think the funniest thing that came out of that show was Angelina Jolie's leg. ;)

Irene Palfy said...

I noticed that there quite a lot actors of whom I didn't talk yet - and which I just adore.. ;")

Hope you'll like A STAR IS BORN!!! :")

Another lovely day to you again!!

Rianna said...

The same for me. So many actors that I love! And I'm sure I'll like it, I hope you check out The Country Girl. Have a nice day!! :))

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