David looks back on the biggest cinematic year of one of cinema's most glamorous stars...
The thrill of this moment keeps me from saying what I really feel. I can only say thank you with all my heart to all who made this possible for me. Thank you.
Grace Kelly’s surprise Oscar win on 30 March, 1955, was the belated cherry on top of an incredible year by any actress’ standards, and certainly the busiest and most successful of Kelly’s ultimately brief Hollywood career. The basic narrative is now one of legend: the young, popular new star caught the attentions of the Academy over the established older performer; in this case, despite only being seven years older, Judy Garland. Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper said it was a matter of just 6 votes. If you believe her, than it's probably the closest Best Actress race ever, outside of the 1968 Hepburn-Streisand tie.
History has decided that Grace Kelly didn’t deserve it. History may be right.
But at the time, there seemed to be no more fitting capper to Kelly’s incredible year than this reward, one received in such gracious form. In 1954, she starred in 5 films – almost half of her entire cinematic catalogue and a ubiquity comparable to the likes of Julia Roberts in 1990, or Jennifer Lawrence in 2012. While Princess Grace has been mythologised like few other Hollywood stars, the real story is a far more complex one than the romantic image allows. But that, of course, is the Hollywood machine for you. [More...]