Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Showpeople (9): annual movie trade fair time again

Oscar fever weekend arrives as the latest award ceremony gets underway. I do not anticipate too many, if any, surprises - Jeff Bridges will hardly win 2 years in a row (that hasn't happened since Tracy or Hanks) and after losing to Bridges last year it is certainly Firth's turn this time. A piece on morning television this a.m. was all gush about the glitz and glamour - it was a fashion showbiz event to them, they had no interest in the movies - but then that was hardly aimed at the movie buff crowd!

But when did it all become about the red carpet and the dresses and the jewels and the parties and the exposure - probably since it started really but only now with all the television rolling exposure and our new celebrity culture it is a whole new ballgame. Back in the '50s though we only had reports and photos of the (much smaller) ceremony in the fan magazines and annuals as a record of the event. Here are a few:Top: Dana Wynter, Angela Lansbury and Joan Collins performing a skit "We're glad we are not nominated" at the 1958 shindig. The '58 winners: GIGI producer Arthur Freed, Burl Ives, Susan Hayward, David Niven, Ingrid Bergman (presenting) and Maurice Chevalier (besg supporting actress Wendy Hiller presumably didn't attend); on to the 1962 awards and a glamorous Joan Crawford graciously shares the limelight with winner Gregory Peck and presenters Sophia Loren and Max Schell (1961's winners). Joan accepted the award for the absent Anne Bancroft, thus putting Bette Davis's nose out of joint! and a page of pictures from the 1957 show [click picture twice to enlarge]. Nowdays though one is hard pushed to remember who won a year or two ago!


  1. Interesting to see these photos from when the Oscars were actually fun and entertaining to watch. It used to be a big event for me, but I'm not sure I'll even be watching this level of enthusiasm is next to nil. And you're right - I had the Oscar acting winners memorized for many years, but I am hard-pressed to even remember the last decade's winners, let alone nominees, a year or two after the fact. Movies have changed so much, and not, sad to say, for the better!

  2. Indeed. Back in the 50s and 60s and 70s there was a lot of interest in who won and one knew all the winners of each year. Now it is just a glitzy show which passes us by here in the UK - it is only available on a subscription channel, but the edited highlights the next day will suffice. But for the last 20 years or so it does not seem relevant any more as awards were being handed out on what seems like a rotation basis. It used to be interesting bsck then too to see the likes of James Stewart and Kim Novak reunited to present an award.