(Which of these filmmakers actually won the Oscar they’re posing with?)
As already reported tonight, the Academy is discarding the lovely heartfelt tributes to each of the lead acting nominees in an effort to eliminate any genuine flavor from the broadcast, boiling it down to the slick chemical consistency of low-fat sugar-free pudding. Producer Bruce Cohen says, “we found a version of that, without using the five people on stage, from the 1970 Oscars, and we stole it.”
AD reader Buzz is curious: “Gee well now I want to know what different thing they did back in 1970‚Ä¶ too bad I wasn‚Äôt even born then.”
Partly because it’s supercute that we have a reader named Buzz, I did some research to see what we could find out. So they stole the new plan from the 1970 Oscars? Does Mr Cohen mean the ceremony for the movies released in 1970? That’s an odd year to choose for stealing presentation ideas, judging from reports of that broadcast in Damien Bona’s Inside Oscar:
- Orson Welles wasn’t there for his Lifetime Achievement Award. His acceptance was pre-recorded.
- Freddie Young had already won 3 Oscars for Best Cinematography. Didn’t attend to win his 4th.
- Coppola skipped picking up his Patton Screenplay Oscar (too busy with The Godfather)
- Helen Hayes watched herself win Best Supporting Actress on TV, from home.
- Ingmar Bergman didn’t show up to collect his Thalberg Award.
- Franklin J. Schaffner won Best Director, but no, wasn’t there.
- George C. Scott outright rejected his Best Actor award.
- Glenda Jackson was a no-show for Best Actress.
- Director Luis Bu√±uel‘s Tristana was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film in 1970, so there’s a legendary guest. Except Bu√±uel said, “Nothing would disgust me more morally than receiving an Oscar. Nothing in the world would make me go accept it. I wouldn’t have it in my home.”
Interesting night, if they replicate that.¬† Saves a lot of 45-second nonsense when the winners aren’t in attendance.
The no-show Oscars is even more streamlined than holding the holding the Honorary Oscar banquet sequestered in secrecy, because this way you don’t even have to feed the winners. Nope, 1970-71 don’t look like prime ceremonies to try to replicate.
But I can’t really find anything else too unusual that happened in 1969-70 either, except for another failed experiment: 16 high-voltage “Friends of Oscar” helped officiate throughout the broadcast. For example, weirdly the year before, Ingrid Bergman, Jane Fonda, Rosalind Russsell, Natalie Wood and Diahann Carroll all came onstage together to present the award for Best Director. All five actresses carried envelopes, which they all opened, but only one envelope had anything inside. Psyche! ooh, fake out! sorry Ingrid, your envelope’s empty! Only Jane Fonda’s envelope contained the winning name.
Having 5 famous actors at the podium is the only unique difference I can find for the presentation procedure between the years 1969-1971. Can it really be such a simple variation? Same basic thing visually: Five major stars somehow remotely announce the names of the nominees — but that’s all they get to do, just share the name-reading. No talking please. Intros take up so much time. And require listening, thinking. Reflecting, appreciating. And who has time for all that, right?
Oh, and the 5 Best Director nominees announced by Ingrid, Jane, Rosalind, Natalie and Diahann?
- Oliver!: Carol Reed
- The Lion in Winter: Anthony Harvey
- 2001: A Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick
- The Battle of Algiers: Gillo Pontecorvo
- Romeo and Juliet: Franco Zeffirelli
Anyone else have a clue about what kind of cleverness happened in 1969, 1970, 1971 worth reviving?