For today's daily nooner leadup to the Supporting Actress Smackdown of 1952 -- and to get us all pumped up for the burst of Fall Film Oscar Madness, I thought we'd look at the Oscar ceremony itself and some really fun trivia. Ready?
• Did you know that the 1952 Oscars (held in March 1953) were the first televised Oscar ceremony ever? Now you do! They were also bi-coastal (!!!) with Bob Hope entertaining in LA and the great Fredric March working the crowd in New York.
• Shirley Booth, who won for Come Back Little Sheba, fell on the steps to the stage! You can watch it here. Jennifer Lawrence didn't invent that little attention grabbing Best Actress move this past February! MORE AFTER THE JUMP
• Speaking of... Jennifer Lawrence is a typical best actress winner in that they like them young and beautiful and 20something and often when their careers are just beginning to blaze. Shirley Booth is a total anomaly, still the only 50something actress to ever win the top female prize.
• The early '50s through the early 70s' was a good era for the Broadway stage since hits often transferred to the screen (instead of the other way around) and sometimes they even brought their Tony winning stage leads with them. It happened 8 times all told but only twice in Best Actress (Anne Bancroft won ten years after Shirley for The Miracle Worker)
• 1952 was early enough in Oscar's history (25th Oscars) that silent film giants were still attending. Note that Mary Pickford and Gloria Swanson were at the ceremony for Cecil B. DeMille's win for Best Picture!
• Best Actor winner Gary Cooper (High Noon) wasn't present so John Wayne accepted on his behalf with a tetchy fun speech which ended with him pretending murderous rage that he didn't play the High Noon role.
• Gloria Grahame gave what might be the shortest acceptance speech in the history of the Supporting Actress category for one of its briefest roles. (She's only onscreen for 10 minutes tops). She merely said "thank you very much" as she raced past the microphone! But what I want to know is who is the woman throwing her shade and looking her up and down as she walks up to the stage?
Anyone know? I want to say Anne Baxter but that could totally be wrong.
• As previously mentioned The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) holds the all time record for most Oscar wins without a Best Picture nomination. It won 5 statues. High Noon was in second place with 4 trophies and the Best Picture The Greatest Show on Earth, to which history has not been kind, only took home two.
• No Best Picture winner since The Greatest Show on Earth has won less than three Oscars but 1952 was an unusually scattered Oscar year. It is one of only 4 years in Academy history when Picture, Director and all four acting awards went to different films. The other years are 1956, 2005 and 2012... so by that pattern this won't happen again until after I'm dead *sniffle* in the 2070s when it will happen twice in short succession ;)
• Finally, if you watched the films we'll be discussing tomorrow you will surely love this last factoid: Terry Moore, ...Sheba's Supporting Actress nominee pictured sneaking past the velvet rope exclusivity chain, had Robert "RJ" Wagner as her date!
It's kind of a perfect encapsulation of my Sunday night last week when I watched both Come Back Little Sheba and With a Song in My Heart (in which RJ has a small but important role as a WW II soldier) back-to-back. What a looker. No wonder Natalie Wood fell so hard 5 years later after her teenage rebellion.
• Terry Moore is the only Oscar nominated actor of the Mormon faith... unless you count Amy Adams who was raised Mormon but does not practice.
• Despite the Mormonism, Terry led a fairly tabloid friendly life in Hollywood, claiming to have married crazy Howard Hughes in 1949 (she wrote two books about him but is not included in Scorsese's biopic The Aviator... which ends before '49 if I recall), marrying five more times and posing for Playboy.
• Terry Moore is totally hogging these trivia notes! Life Magazine dubbed her "Hollywood's Sexy Tomboy" on their cover in 1953
• With the recent death of Julie Harris (RIP) only three acting nominees from 1952 are still with us: Best Actor nominee Kirk Douglas (The Bad and the Beautiful) who is 96, and two of our supporting actresses (Terry Moore is currently 84 and Colette Marchand from Moulin Rouge is 88).
If you enjoyed this weeklong daily 1952 retrospective, we'll do it again next month for the year of the next smackdown (1980!). But if you don't comment or share the posts we don't know if you loved 'em.