Cary Grant: The Truth About The Academy Awards

Cary Grant receiving an Academy Honorary Award in 1970.

“Years ago, when Cary Grant and Dyan Cannon were getting divorced, a perhaps apocryphal story appeared in the scandal sheets: As an example of Grant’s supposed irrationality, Cannon cited to the judge Cary’s yearly habit of sitting in front of his television and sardonically abusing all the participants. This item, true or not, must have amused nearly everyone in Hollywood, since nearly everyone in Hollywood does pretty much the same thing.

The funny thing is that from all accounts, when the Academy Awards began in 1939, they were conducted in a similar spirit of irreverence, something that has practically disappeared from the event itself. “They used to have it down at the old Coconut Grove,” Jimmy Stewart told me in the late 70s. “You’d have dinner and alawta drinks — the whole thing was…it was just…it was a party. Nobody took it all that seriously. I mean, it was swell if ya won because your friends were givin’ it to you, but it didn’t mean anything at the bawx office or anything. It was just alawta friends gettin’ together and tellin’ some jokes and gettin’ loaded and givin’ out some little prizes. My gawsh, it was..there was no pressure or anything like that.”

Cary Grant corroborated this to me: “It was a private affair, you see — no television, no radio, even — just a group of friends giving each other a party. Because, you know, there is something a little embarrassing about all these wealthy people publicly congratulating each other. When it began, we kidded ourselves: ‘All right, Freddie March,’ we’d say, ‘we know you’re making a million dollars — now come up and get your little medal for it!’“

-excerpted from Peter Bogdanovich’s Who the Hell’s In It

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  1. Michael Kennedy
    Posted March 16, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    My college roommate had Clark Gable’s Oscar on his desk in his little ham radio shack behind his parents’ house in Brentwood. Gable had given it to him. His mother was “Fieldsie,” Carol Lombard’s personal representative. My mother-in-law was Jane Russell’s personal rep.

    They did not have the awe nor were the Oscars considered as valuable as they are now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Barry
      Posted March 16, 2017 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      In light of gossip and speculation it is interesting to me that Richard directed quite a few episodes of Harry O.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Bill Brandt
    Posted March 15, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Look at what it has become. Sanctimonious “stars” lecturing the rest of the country.

    No wonder the audience has dropped so much.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. serene
    Posted March 15, 2017 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Mr. Avrech, in fact, backs me up here: “Jimmy Stewart’s aw shucks diction cannot be duplicated.”
    (from Talking About Carly Talking, Aug. 19 2015) Good you post those “related” headings!

    (Let me know when you post something related to Mrs. Miniver, I have a question.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. serene
    Posted March 15, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Mr. Bogdanovich might be great at eliciting stories, but not so much at transcribing conversations. Jimmy Stewart said “bawx” office? “alawta”? “gawsh”? Excuse me for venting, but dialect is so annoying. For those who have heard Mr. Stewart speak (at least in film), this doesn’t exactly jibe with our memories, and for those who have not had that pleasure, it won’t give them any nearly correct idea of it.
    And while the Awards ceremony may have started out as a small affair–honoring the films of 1927, as Barry pointed out– it is hard to believe that anything involving actors and competition was ever ” just a group of friends giving each other a party.” Besides, it was presented under the auspices of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, which was begun by Louis B. Mayer; that’s a group of friends?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Barry
    Posted March 15, 2017 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Cary Grant, the greatest actor ever born, based on range, depth, musicality, athleticism and beauty, but the Academy Awards were first given in 1928 to honor the film work of 1927. No Cary Grant, James Stewart or Fredric March.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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