The Reel Dad reflects on his favorite Oscar moments
With Oscar 2020 now in the history books, its winners now join the collection of memorable moments from the movies.
How can we forget the exuberance of Boon Joon Ho over his Oscar wins for “Parasite”?
I first watched the Academy Awards in 1960, first closely observed the nominees and winners in 1961, first made predictions in 1962, and first began to circulate my picks in 1963.
And, from all the years since, here are seven of my favorite Oscar moments.
Julie Andrews, Best Actress, 1964
From the moment Andrews was announced by Sidney Poitier, the jubilant Julie created a contagious excitement that fills the theater. From her first reaction - “I know you Americans are known for your hospitality, but this is ridiculous” - Andrews’ sincerity began a love affair between this breathtaking actress and movie audiences who still adore the lady and the work.
Louise Fletcher, Best Actress, 1975
Few people knew the actress who created such a chill as Nurse Ratched in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” And, on Oscar night, many wondered who she was until Fletcher captured the crowd by sharing part of her acceptance speech in sign language. As she expressed, “for my mother and my father, I want to say thank you for teaching me to have a dream. You are seeing my dream come true.”
Barbra Streisand and Katherine Hepburn, 1968
Yes, they tied for Best Actress, with each receiving 3,030 votes. While Hepburn missed the show - as she did with each of her four Oscars - Streisand dazzled the crowd in a see-through gown that created a lot of muzz on the red carpet. And, when she stepped up to the podium, she simply said, “hello, gorgeous,” repeating her opening line from “Funny Girl.”
Sally Field, 1985
For years people have poked fun at Field’s jubilation - “you like me, you really like me” - that they remember after she won her second Oscar, for “Places in the Heart.” She actually said, “I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you really like me,” comparing this win to her first, a few years before, for “Norma Rae.” But people remember what they remember. About life and Oscar speeches.
Sidney Poitier, 1963
At a turbulent time, Poitier became the first black man named Best Actor, for “Lilies of the Field.” Years later, he said, “It represented progress, embracing a kind of democracy that had been very long in maturing.” It took 38 years for the Academy to honor another black man as Best Actor, Denzel Washington for “Training Day” and, each year, the struggle for diversity among nominees is a topic of discussion.
Marlon Brando, 1972
He capped a comeback by winning the Best Actor award for “The Godfather,” 18 years after winning his first Oscar, for “On the Waterfront.” But Brando was not in the theater on Oscar night. Instead, a female activist, Sacheen Littlefeather, walked to the stage to explain the actor could not accept the award because of the portrayal of Native Americans on screen. He was later nominated for two additional Oscars.