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Oscar's 2nd 50 Years starts with a BANG!
HelenaHatcheese from United States
14 April 2007
Following a great 50th Anniversary show, the 51st Academy Awards
continued the tradition of star power that lit the previous year.
Johnny Carson marks his first run as host and immediately makes the
proceedings his own. Musical numbers were stellar: Barry Manilow, Debby
Boone, Olivia Newton-John, Johnny Mathis & Jane Olivor, and the
sensational Donna Summer sang the nominated songs (the first time all 5
were sung by the original artist). Another musical number, the
controversial "Oscars's Only Human", lasted almost twelve minutes and
featured Steve Lawrence and Sammy Davis Jr. lamenting the great film
songs that were "not even nominated". At the time this number probably
seemed tired and old hat but watching it recently, I felt a nostalgia
for that kind of entertainment which hardly exists anymore.
Star power was at its zenith with the return of Kim Novak to the Oscars
for the first time in 13 years. Dean Martin, Audrey Hepburn, and
Geraldine Page all made rare Oscar appearances. No shows were Robert
DeNiro and Ingrid Bergman (battling a recurrence of cancer). Laurence
Olivier made only his second Oscar appearance (he also received his
record breaking, at that time, 10th nomination). Olivier was given an
honorary Oscar by Cary Grant and blew the audience away with a rather
Maggie Smith was a surprise and welcome winner for her turn as an Oscar
losing actress. Present at the awards (she was not for her previous
win), she was genuinely shocked and dedicated it to co-star Michael
Caine (WHY hasn't anyone cast them together since????). Maureen
Stapleton had been the odds on favorite and ironically she and Maggie
presented an award earlier in the evening. Maggie's award was presented
by George Burns and Brooke Sheilds who provided some amusing moments.
George showed what a classy guy he really was.
Embarrassing moments included: Francis Ford Coppola constantly
scratching an itch under his beard. Shirley MacLaine's tribute to her
"little brother" and an off the wall comment about his...libido.
Of course the most dramatic moment was the appearance of John Wayne.
Gaunt, Wayne stole the show by ambling down to the stage and presenting
Best Picture. There was a prolonged ovation and everyone from Jane
Fonda to Warren Beatty and Gregory Peck to Rip Torn stood. Two months
later the Duke was gone.
Ironically another presenter that evening passed away a few weeks later
BEFORE the Duke. Jack Haley (Tin Man) presented with Ray Bolger
(Scarecrow) and they provided a few jokes regarding Haley's son who was
directing the show.
Of note: This year marked Olivier and Ingrid Bergman's last nominations
and Meryl Streep's first.
Diane Keaton, the previous year's Best Actress, refused Jack Haley
Jr.'s repeated pleas to present the Best Actor Oscar. Apparently, Haley
was very angry as Keaton spent the whole night in plain view with
current boyfriend Warren Beatty. At any rate, pairing Ginger Rogers and
Diana Ross was a total inspiration!!
This was a great start to the second half of Oscar's first century and
will be getting repeated viewings in the future.
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