Oscar History

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The First Televised Oscar Ceremony!

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?

Shirley Booth in NYC accepts her Oscar while the LA crowd looks on

• 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 FebruaryMORE AFTER THE JUMP

Booth (March 53) / Lawrence (February 13)

• 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!

RJ Wagner & Terry Moore at the Oscars. RJ in With a Song...

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.

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Reader Comments (40)

Jennifer Lawrence didn't invent that little attention grabbing move

I suspect these falls were the Movie Gods' way of showing their disapproval, see Marisa Tomei.

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Speaking of Kirk Douglas, does anybody else remember when he hijacked the Oscars a few years ago to ramble for 10 minutes? That was my favorite Oscar moment that year. It must be nice to be a 96-year-old Hollywood legend, just because you know they're not going to cut your mic!

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Marie

Love, love, love this series. The return of Stinky Lulu is the most exciting thing to happen in my supporting-actress-loving life since Melissa Leo. (And I'll need Lulu more than ever if this year turns into the cakewalk that it's threatening to, for a performance I didn't really take to.)
I suggest, if you're looking for suggestions, doing 1963 this year if the movies are convenient. It'll fit into your 10-25-50-75 theme, it was never done by Lulu, and you only have to watch three movies: two rarely-discussed but Oscar important ones, and a Taylor-Burton joint.

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

Disapprove of Shirley Booth? As if!

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGod

I love this series. I've only seen three of the movies (haven't tried 'Song' yet and every link I find for "Moulin Rouge 1952" ends up being the Luhrmann version!), but I would not have seen two of the films if it weren't for the Smackdown (or at least seen them so quickly). In the future though, perhaps some links to find the more obscure ones would be appreciated?

I also think that if you want to drum up interest in the series, as well you should because it's going to be awesome, you'll probably have to pick a more recent year. Not only do folks on the blog seem to care more about upcoming films or films from the recent past than they do about films from the distant past, as Nathaniel recently pointed out, but it's also a lot of work to see 4-5 movies just for the series.

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Is the shady lady Eve Arden?

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrob

Do weight McCarthyism on this year heavily. Otherwise thereis no understanding of some of the choices.

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterrobertL

Love this series, please continue. Swanson looks amazing in that photo. I understand she was a terror to deal with but gave great face.

RJW==It takes a Thief. One of my first very confusing crushes.

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

God seems to be a Clueless fan. Love it.

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

Love these retrospectives! What I find interesting is the two modern years where the top 6 went to different films are also the years Ang Lee won his Best Director Oscars.

I disagree with Evan, I LOVE seeing the full spectrum of Oscar, especially in Supporting Actress Smackdowns!

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDanny Hall

In Nathaniel's picture the lady looks like Eve Arden, but on youtube she turns and looks straight to the camera and I would say she's Geraldine Page or a lady with the same nose!

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Dark lady-- first thought was Eve Arden, but Anne Baxter's prolly more likely. LOVE this series!

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterThrowslikeagirl

Mike -- i offered 1963 but in the end I let Stinky choose so the Year of the Month (that has a funny wring to it)for September is going to be 1980.

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNathanielR

Nathaniel - I'm not sure I understand the Best Actress / Broadway stage hits trivia. Why doesn't Judy Holiday in Born Yesterday also qualify?

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterphil

Nathaniel: Ooh, a scoop! Honestly, I'll be interested in any year y'all do (especially years earlier than, say, 1994, before I started really paying attention), and 1980 will be nice, both for the Brennan and because it's a year with no clear winner.

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

phil -- that stat was referring to people who won both the Tony & the Oscar for the same role. There are only 8 of them and only 2 in best actress. Judy won a Tony and an Oscar but for different roles.

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNathanielR

Love the series! Can't wait for the Smackdown but more to see who gets place and show since I'm certain who will win.

Disagree with Evan I for one love the older films as much as the new if not more and enjoy the reviews of the older films and the occasional look back at a classic star like Veronica Lake or Barbara Stanwyck and would welcome more. Especially enjoyed Natalie Wood week!

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Definitely not Anne Baxter. Not Eve Arden either.

Maybe she's just a wife. :-/
she does look as if she's in her 40s or 50s. She's like an old version of Geraldine Page (though she's not Geraldine)

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlex in Movieland

Thanks for posts like this. I don't even want to know how long it took you.

OT. Went down the rabbit hole that is watching acceptance speeches on youtube and ended up watching the 2010 Golden Globes. Supporting actress winner Mo'nique, the camera seems to try to get the reactiions of the other nominees, we see Anna Kendrick and then we go to... Amy Adams, a year that she wasn't nominated, lol. I guess the cameraman just went for the usual suspect. /end of useless info.

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteriggy


August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

I do love this, and my guess would be Lucille Ball.

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterforever1267

I love posts like this.

1980: yikes. I've only seen three total Oscar nominated movies from that year. So embarrassing, especially since "Raging Bull" is not one of them. Besides that movie, does anyone have any favorites from that year that I need to watch now?

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercash

Just to be clear: I'm not stating any personal bias against older films! There was just a question of whether readers were paying attention to this series and I just thought aloud that choosing later years (as in '70s and on) for the first couple of editions might help to drum up support for this wonderful series.

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Evan - understood and I think ur right

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

I would cast my ballot for Eve Arden. Perhaps she was a presenter in 1952 awards year.

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPete

That woman is a) someobody's wife/girlfriend/mother or b) a seatholder for someone in the powder room at that moment. And she's appreciating not hating GG. ;-)

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

True story, Nat: my Mormon dad was, swear to God, Terry Moore's "home teacher" when our family lived in Southern California in the early '80s. They were so...chummy that my parents had, I kid you not, a copy of Terry Moore's Playboy issue on our coffee table, and would show it as a curio to visiting friends and family. This is not normal but was, in retrospect, nevertheless hilarious.

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

@Mareko: That is amazing.

@Nathaniel: I loved this entire post.

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNick Davis

I think the mysterious lady is Jean Hagen, also nominated that year

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commentereddie

Thelma Ritter perhaps? Also nominated that year...

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStéphane

i think the shade woman is swanson; seems to be the same earings and fur wrap (note the striped appearance) as in the earlier pic

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermatt

I love it.

I am going to share it.

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarcelo - Brazil

Loved this!

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGJP

If I only had that one photo to go by for the shady lady, I would have guessed Claire Trevor (obscure but the right kind of face). I don't think if Claire was there she would have been in such a prominent place though. Does anyone have any moving images from that moment?

And I did NOT know that about Terry Moore. My uber-Mormon family would have been all over that but I'm guessing they didn't discuss it because of the Playboy thing (at least). But how can Terry Moore be any more Mormon than Aaron Eckhart and Amy Adams if she's posing in Playboy! Looks like it's the Telestial Kingdom for Terry. She can't even win in the after life! :-)

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

Telestial Kingdom...LOL. Oh my God, Dave, I'm dying.

September 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

@Dave: for the moving image (which I watched too many times before posting my comment above), go to YouTube and type Gloria Grahame and Oscars in the search field.

September 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Well now that I've seen the moving image, I'm changing my guess from Claire Trevor to Mary Martin. I know, weird, but the mouth looks right and the moving image at that time tended to flatten a lot of the features. Does anyone know if she had any business being at that awards ceremony? And why, even if she did, would she be seated closer to the stage than a supporting actress nominee?

September 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

Mareko, I'm glad someone is out there to catch the bizarre references. It might have been a common term if Mitt Romney had gotten into office. :-)

September 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

Oh, Shirley Booth is not the only one winning at her 50's! Julianne Moore joined her last year.

February 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRafael

I thought Spotlight only won 2 awards ending the streak of The Greatest Show on Earth.

Ps. I'm along time reader and I love this retrospective. So fascinating!

February 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJames P.

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