Thursday, January 17, 2008

37th Academy Awards

The 37th Academy Awards honoured film achievements of 1964 and were held April 5th 1965 at The Santa Monica Civil Auditorium and hosted by Bob Hope. For the first time, an award was presented in the field of makeup though just a honorary one.

The Best Picture winner in 1964, Warner Bros.' and director George Cukor's My Fair Lady, was about the transformative training of a rough-speaking flower girl into a lady. The enchanting musical had run for many years on the stage (in both NYC and London). Rex Harrison was called upon to bring his marvelous characterization of perfectionist Svengali phonetics Professor Higgins to the screen.It was never assumed that the lead role in the film would go to Julie Andrews, who had played Eliza in the stage version to great critical acclaim. Audrey Hepburn was cast instead (despite lobbying from screenwriter Alan Jay Lerner), because Jack Warner of Warner Brothers wanted a box office star, and at the time Andrews was an untested screen presence. Elizabeth Taylor reportedly fought long and hard for the role as well. The casting controversy did little to hurt Hepburn's career. Andrews' subsequent Academy Award for Mary Poppins - and the lack of a nomination for Hepburn - was seen by many as vindication for Julie Andrews, though both actresses denied that there was ever any animosity between them. Hepburn's singing was judged inadequate, however, and she was dubbed by Marni Nixon. Some of Hepburn's original vocal performances for the film was released in the 1990s, affording fans of the actress an opportunity to judge whether the dubbing was necessary.

The film's director, George Cukor, won the Oscar for Best Directing. When Hollywood began to recruit New York theater talent for sound films, Cukor answered their call and moved there in 1929. His first job was as a dialog director at Paramount Pictures for the film River of Romance (1929), followed by All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) at Universal Pictures. He then co-directed three films at Paramount before making his solo debut directing Tallulah Bankhead in Tarnished Lady (1931). Cukor left Paramount after a legal dispute resulting from his dismissal from an earlier Paramount film, One Hour With You (1932), and went to work with David O. Selznick at RKO Studios. Cukor's career flourished at RKO where he directed a string of impressive films including What Price Hollywood? (1932), A Bill of Divorcement (1932), Dinner at Eight (1933), Little Women (1933), David Copperfield (1935), Romeo and Juliet (1936), and Camille (1937). Cukor was hired to direct Gone with the Wind by David O. Selznick in 1937 and he spent two years with pre-production duties as well as spending long hours coaching Vivien Leigh and Olivia de Havilland, the film's stars. Cukor was replaced after less than three weeks of shooting, but continued to coach Leigh and De Havilland off the set. Following the Gone with the Wind debacle, Cukor directed The Women (1939), a popular film notable for its all female cast and The Philadelphia Story (1940) starring Katharine Hepburn. He also directed another of his favorite actresses, Greta Garbo, in Two Faced Woman (1941), her last film before she retired from the screen.The 1940s was a decade of hits and misses for Cukor. He was off track with Two Faced Woman as well as Her Cardboard Lover (1942) starring Norma Shearer. However, he did achieve more success with films such as A Woman's Face (1941) with Joan Crawford, Gaslight (1944) with Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer, and Adam's Rib (1949) with Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. Cukor's reputation as an actor's director continued as he helped several actors win Academy Awards. James Stewart won a Best Actor Oscar for The Philadelphia Story, Ronald Colman won a Best Actor Oscar for A Double Life (1947) and Judy Holliday won for Best Actress for Born Yesterday (1950). In 1954, Cukor made his first film in color, A Star Is Born which featured an impressive come-back performance by Judy Garland. He directed the ill-fated Something's Got to Give in 1962. Progress on the film was arduous throughout, and Cukor's relationship with the film's star, Marilyn Monroe, was consistently difficult and he was openly hostile towards her. Monroe was found dead in her Los Angeles home several months after the production began and the film was never completed. Two years later, Cukor won an Academy Award himself, for Best Director, for My Fair Lady (1964), for which Rex Harrison also won a Best Actor Oscar.He continued to work into his 80s and directed his last film, Rich And Famous (1981) with Jacqueline Bisset and Candice Bergen. George Cukor died on January 24, 1983 at the age of 83.

As for the Best Actor award it also went to the My Fair Lady star, Rex Harrison. Harrison's film debut was in The Great Game (1930), and other notable early films include The Citadel (1938), Night Train to Munich(1940), Major Barbara(1941), Blithe Spirit (1945), Anna and the King of Siam (1946), The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947), and The Foxes of Harrow (1947). He was best known for his portrayal of Professor Henry Higgins in the musical My Fair Lady, based on the George Bernard Shaw play Pygmalion, especially after he reprised the role in the 1964 film version. He also starred in 1967's Doctor Dolittle. He attracted favourable notices in dramatic roles such as his portrayal of Julius Caesar in Cleopatra (1963) and as Pope Julius II in The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965), opposite Charlton Heston as Michelangelo. He also appeared as an aging homosexual man opposite Richard Burton as his lover in Staircase. Harrison was married six times. In 1942 he divorced his first wife, Colette Thomas, and married actress Lilli Palmer the next year; the two later appeared together in numerous plays and films, including The Fourposter. After several years in film, he achieved wide acclaim starring in the adaptation of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit (1945). He followed that with his first major American film, starring as King Mongkut in Anna and the King of Siam. 1947 saw the release of the classic The Ghost and Mrs. Muir opposite Gene Tierney. In 1947, while married to Palmer, Harrison began an affair with Carole Landis that became public knowledge. Hollywood blamed Harrison for Landis's 1948 suicide and the scandal resulted in him losing his contract with FoxHarrison and Palmer divorced in 1957. He soon remarried, to actress Kay Kendall. He was subsequently married to Welsh-born Rachel Roberts, who, like Landis, later committed suicide by taking sleeping pills. Harrison then married Elizabeth Rees-Williams and, finally, Mercia Tinker, who would become his widow in 1990. In 1990 he was appearing on Broadway in The Circle by W. Somerset Maugham, opposite Glynis Johns, when he fell ill. It was discovered that he had pancreatic cancer but had been unaware of it, and he died peacefully three weeks later in New York City at the age of 82.

Julie Andrews won the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance as Marry Poppins. She is the recipient of Golden Globe, Emmy, Grammy, BAFTA, People's Choice Award, Theatre World Award, Screen Actors Guild and Academy Award honours. Andrews rose to prominence after starring in Broadway musicals such as My Fair Lady and Camelot, as well as musical films like Mary Poppins (1964) and The Sound of Music (1965). Andrews had a major revival of her film career in the 2000s, in children's films such as The Princess Diaries (2001), its sequel The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004), and the Shrek animated films (2004-2007). On 30 September 1954, on the eve of her 19th birthday, Andrews made her Broadway debut portraying "Polly Browne" in the already highly successful London musical The Boy Friend. To the critics, Andrews was the stand-out performer in the show. In November 1955, Andrews was signed to appear opposite Bing Crosby in what is regarded as the first made-for-television movie, High Tor. In 1956, she appeared in the Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner musical My Fair Lady as Eliza Doolittle, opposite Rex Harrison's Henry Higgins. The show was a musical adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion and became the smash hit of the decade. Andrews was a sensation. Andrews married Tony Walton on 5 May 1959 in Weybridge, Surrey. They had first met in 1948 when Andrews was appearing at the London Casino in the show Humpty Dumpty. Andrews filed for divorce on 14 November 1967. Rave Broadway reviews aside, movie studio head Jack Warner felt Andrews lacked broad name recognition, so he hired film actress Audrey Hepburn to play Eliza for the film version of My Fair Lady. Andrews received the "consolation" of playing her first film in the title role of Walt Disney's Mary Poppins. Andrews and her husband headed back to England in September 1962 to await the birth of daughter Emma Kate Walton, who was born in London two months later. Andrews and family returned to America in 1963 and began the film. As a result of her performance in Mary Poppins, Andrews won the 1964 Academy Award for Best Actress and the 1965 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. She and her Mary Poppins co-stars also won the 1965 Grammy Award for Best Album for Children. In 1966, Andrews won her second Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and was nominated for the 1965 Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music. The movie also starred actors Christopher Plummer and Charmian Carr. The role had some superficial similarities to that of Mary Poppins. Star!, a 1968 biopic of Gertrude Lawrence, and Darling Lili (1970), co-starring Rock Hudson and directed by her second husband, Blake Edwards (they married in 1969), are often cited by critics as major contributors to the decline of the movie musical. Both were damaging to Andrews' career and she made only three other films in the 1970s, The Tamarind Seed, Little Miss Marker and 10.The roles of Victoria Grant and Count Victor Grezhinski in the film Victor/Victoria earned Andrews the 1983 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, as well as a nomination for the 1982 Academy Award for Best Actress, her third Oscar nomination overall. In 2001, Andrews appeared in The Princess Diaries, her first Disney film since 1964's Mary Poppins. The film, in which she starred as Queen Clarisse Marie Renaldi opposite Anne Hathaway, was a box office success and was followed by a sequel, The Princess Diaries 2 (2004).

The Best Supporting Actor award was won by Peter Ustinov for Topkapi while the female counterpart was won by Lila Kedrova for Zorba the Greek. In 1932, she joined the Moscow Art Theatre touring company. Then her film career began, mostly in French films, until her first English appearance in 1964 as Mme Hortense in Zorba the Greek. Her performance won her the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. She then went on to play a series of eccentric or batty ladies in several Hollywood films. In 1983, she reprised her role as Mme Hortense on Broadway in the musical version of Zorba the Greek, winning both a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical and a Drama Desk Award in the process. In 1989 she played Madame Armfeldt in the London revival of A Little Night Music. Lila Kedrova died at her summer home in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada, of pneumonia, after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. She was 81 years old.

"Chim Chim Cher-ee" is the Oscar winning song from Mary Poppins, the 1964 musical motion picture. It was originally sung by Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke.The song was written, in a minor key, by Robert B. Sherman & Richard M. Sherman (also known as the "Sherman Brothers") who also won an Oscar and a Grammy for Mary Poppins' song score. The Mary Poppins score is one of the consistently best selling scores of all time.

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow (Italian: Ieri, oggi, domani) is a 1963 comedy film by Italian director Vittorio de Sica. It stars Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni. The film consists of three short stories about couples in different parts of Italy. It was named Best Foreign Language Film.

1 comment:

Dan B (no, not Bennett, think harder) said...

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