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On This Day: Pharrell Williams, "Out" Nominees, and the 1964 Oscars

On this day in showbiz history, some gay Oscar lore, lots of two time Oscar winners, and future Oscar winner Pharrell Williams (and much more)...

1883 Oscar favorite Walter Huston (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre) born in Toronto. Without him no Huston acting dynasty!

Helen Keller learns "water" from teacher Anne Sullivan, the moment will serve as the emotional climax of the popular stage and screen drama The Miracle Worker

 Two time Oscar winner Spencer Tracy (Boys Town, Captain Courageous) born...

1901 Two time Oscar winner Melvyn Douglas (Hud, Being There) born. He was the 5th of 7 actors to win two supporting actor Oscars (the only two in our modern era to join that list are Michael Caine and Christoph Waltz).

 Two time Oscar winner Bette Davis (Jezebel - pictured, Dangerous) born. Yes yes I know I'm late with the Feud recap. Soon, dear reader, soon.

Albert R Broccoli born to vegetable farmers in New York. Later he storms pop culture as the original producer of the insanely popular James Bond franchise 

 Oscar winner Gregory Peck is born.

1929 Oscar nominee Nigel Hawthorne (The Madness of King George, 1994) was born. He was "outed" during the buildup to his Oscar ceremony but he brought his longtime partner Trevor Bentham to the ceremony (so he must not have been too mad about it) which I believe was a first. Bentham, a stage manager and writer, and Hawthorne were together from 1968 through Hawthorne's death in 2001. (Bentham is now 73).

Hollywood's still got a long way to go with treating LGBT actors well - Sir Ian McKellen is the only indisputably already "out" actor to have ever been Oscar-nominated and he's done so twice. (Many then-closeted or still-closeted actors have been nominated, of course... as well as some women who've declared themselves bisexual but whose only public romances have been heterosexual)

1933 Frank Gorshin, the Riddler himself, born in Pittsburgh. He was my favorite of the Batman villains (other than Catwoman of course) when I was a wee thing, watching reruns

Provocative auteur Peter Greenaway (The Cook The Thief His Wife and Her Love, The Baby of Macon, Pillow Book, etcetera), who is far too underdiscussed these days, is born. I blame contemporary cinephilia's lack of interest in him to the fact that his career collapsed right around the time internet film culture was properly born (and all the 24/7 discussion that came with it, propping up various careers). Happy 75th!

Andrea Arnold (American Honey, Fish Tank), one of the most exciting female directors working (she already has an Oscar for the great short film Wasp), born in Kent on this day.

1963's Best Actor Sidney Poitier escorts 1964's Best Actress Julie Andrews off the stage

1965 The 1964 Oscars are held. It's the only time in Oscar history when two musicals are the frontrunner for Best Picture -- My Fair Lady (the prestige choice though it's not aged as well) and Mary Poppins (the blockbuster) divvy up the Oscars between them with 8 and 5 wins respectively, including most of the top awards. Because they're both musicals, though, the Adapted Screenplay prize eludes them going to Becket, its only win from 12 nominations.

Élodie Bouchez (The Dreamlife of Angels, Wild Reeds) born in France

Steven Spielberg's first theatrical feature, The Sugarland Express starring Goldie Hawn opens. Have any of you seen that? (I never have)

Tom Riley is born. Currently starring as a masochistic gay designer in The Collection

Hayley Atwell is born. Raise your hand if you miss Agent Carter!

Actor Marshall Allman is born. Currently doing a fine villain turn on the underappreciated second season of Humans

a classic of TV comedy, "The Tracey Ullman Show"

1987 Married with Children and The Tracey Ullman Show both premiere on FOX, marking the beginning of a new disrupting presence to the big three (CBS, ABC, NBC). Imagine anyone back then knowing what was around the corner for TV options! 

Two rising British actors Lily James (Cinderella, Downton Abbey) and Freddie Fox (Pride, The Riot Club, King Arthur) share this birthday

Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin co-star in The Marrying Man, new in theaters. They are married two years later and make one more feature together (The Getaway)

Jurassic Park is rereleased in theaters, in 3D this time, prompting the posting of this webcomic

2014 "Happy" by Pharrell Williams was in the middle of its ten week long run as the #1 single (which began just six days after his Oscar performance of the song. Was it that Meryl shimmying magic that pushed it over the edge?). It also happens to be Pharrell's birthday today (Happy 44th!) and he already has two Oscar nominations (song for "Happy" and best picture for Hidden Figures) How long til he wins do you think? 

Warner Bros aims to release Shazam! on this day starring Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson. But, then again, what DC superhero film don't they "plan" on releasing?


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Reader Comments (19)

1883 - Nice to see him pop up here after just watching Five Came Back, with some mention of Walter.

1981 - Too bad The Collection is so damned dull. Sets and costumes are fab, though. But in this era of great TV live and streaming (including some amazing international shows), there are WAY better things to watch.

1982 - Raising hand. Yes, to all things Hayley Atwell.

April 5, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterpam

Pharrell is 44?! Wow!

I hope the update the Helen Keller story into a film about her adulthood when she became a major social critic/activist.

April 5, 2017 | Unregistered Commentercatbaskets

Nigel Hawthorne was also terrific and gave a touching performance in The Object of My Affection.

April 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

Can I just throw in the great German actor Curt Bois, who was born on this day in 1901? He was acting in movies before he was ten years old, and he had to flee from Germany once Hitler was in power. His two most best remembered performances are the pickpocket in 'Casablanca' ("Dis place is full of vultures, vultures everywhere."), and his final screen performance as the aged poet Homer in Wim Wenders' 'Wings of Desire'.

April 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMrW

Being closeted secures multiple Oscar wins for acting: Katharine Hepburn / Foster / Spacey. Although, I'm waiting for this to be true with Kathy Bates. And for some odd reason, I don't suspect Dianne Wiest to be entirely straight.

April 5, 2017 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

Are the actors really closeted or do we just guess once they get past 35 ish that they must be.

April 5, 2017 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordon

I miss Élodie Bouchez.

The gay nominated actors issue deserves a whole post.

April 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I tend to think of Hawthorne as a (highly enjoyable) tv actor (especially but not exclusively because of Yes, Minister), but when it comes to him and film, I'm with Raul - he's great in The Object of My Affection.

April 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

//Sir Ian McKellen is the only indisputably already "out" actor to have ever been Oscar-nominated// Pretty sure Jaye Davidson wasn't exactly in the closet.

April 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterIrvin

I so love that performance of "Happy" at the Oscars. Every now and then I think of it and smile.

FOX's debut felt like such a seismic event back when.

April 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Irvin -- but he was a complete unknown. different thing. people had no idea who he even was so it was all about the character.

April 5, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Wiest,Bates were did that come from,i'm more suspicious about the glossy blondes and redheads who take their mums to the Oscars like the fellas do.

April 5, 2017 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordon

There's something very odd about this phrase:

"some women who've declared themselves bisexual but whose only public romances have been heterosexual"

I feel like it's the germ of a sociological study.

There's no difference between "declaring yourself" and "being" bisexual, ya know. Bi women are weird.

April 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

I guess when (out?) Kristen Stewart (finally) gets nominated she'll join this list.

April 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Deborah -- agreed that my phrasing is ... well, i understand your objection. But with celebrities who are married to men but speak about bisexuality I think it's a different issue entirely. To the industry I feel very sure that this reads as heternormative... it doesn't upset their ideas about who people are or what is okay to talk about or be publicly to the entire world. Partially i think because women-on-women action is a well documented fascination of the straight male gaze

April 5, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Spencer Tracy, ahem.

April 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

I've seen "Sugarland Express" and . . meh. It's hardly the best from Spielberg. And I really miss "Agent Carter"!!

April 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony

"Sugarland Express" isn't much, but you can already see some Spielbergian touches in it's directions and editing.

*also raises hand for "Agent Carter" (though still needs to watch Season 2)

"One shouldn't be too hard on oneself when the object of one's affection returns the favor with rather less enthusiasm than one might have hoped." - Nigel Hawthorne, "The Object of My Affection"

...truer words.... Sigh.

Just finished reading Melvyn Doughlas' granddaughter Ileana Douglas' memoir "I Blame Dennis Hopper". She mostly talks about working with Scorcese and the ins and outs of the industry, and discussing favorite movies with favorite movie people. It's a light, breezy, but education portrait of a happy person happily enjoying her place in The Industry.

April 5, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterforever1267

Nathaniel -- agreed. That's what I meant by sociological study. There are layers and layers on how gay and bisexual women are treated differently than gay/bi men, both by the culture and by one another.

As a bi woman who was previously married to men, visibility matters to me. OTOH, every time I see an out woman being really visible -- Rachel Maddow, Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi, Holland Taylor, Sarah Paulson, Cynthia Nixon, Wanda Sykes, Ruby Rose -- I cheer wildly. And yes, I named those all off the top of my head, because, yes, I keep a running mental list. What, doesn't everyone?

April 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

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