There is something magical about the Oscars that makes even Cinderella’s fairy godmother seem impotent. The transformation from mortal to demi-god happens as the winner walks, stumbles gushes onto the stage to receive their golden dolly. Time is suspended and all eyes are fixed on the chosen one as they get their 60 seconds to graciously respond.
It seems mean spirited to begrudge anyone their due. Who wouldn’t be happy to hear, “You’re the top of the pops”. It also makes great vicarious viewing. From the designer dresses to outlandish goody-bags, the Oscars are quintessential Hollywood. Yet amongst the: I’m so happy, I’m so grateful, I’d just like to thank … there are those who perhaps have felt there is no I in Oscar.
The first person to decline the golden one was screenwriter Dudley Nichols. In 1935 he turned down a best screen writer award due to a union dispute. In 1970 George C Scott refused best actor for Patton because he didn’t want to be part of a two hour meat parade. Scott died in 1999, but it would be interesting to hear what he’d call the current meat parade, Vegan-Versace?
Woody Allen would do well to bulk print his RSVP’s: Do not disturb me with another Academy Award Invite. You know I’m playing clarinet tonight.
If you’re a cynic you’d say Marlon Brando boycotted the 1973 Academy Awards because he was fat. However you need only watch Sacheen Littlefeather’s heartfelt speech to know that Brando’s weight wasn’t the pressing issue. Littlefeather explained that Brandon had declined his Best Actor Award for The Godfather in protest of the way Hollywood portrayed Native Americans.
In 2003 Michael Moore, won an Oscar for Bowling for Columbine, he used the podium to voice his outrage over the Iraq War
Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you— Michael Moore, Documentary film maker
It’s not the first time the Middle East has been mentioned with Oscar in hand. In 1977 Vanessa Redgrave won Best Supporting Actress for her role as anti-Nazi activist in Julia where she made reference to ,
A small bunch of Zionist hoodlums— Vanessa Redgrave, Actress
Yet it was Redgrave’s daughter the late Natasha Richardson who got the balance right between glitz and a good cause. Richardson’s father the film director Tony Richardson had died of AIDS. In 1999 Natasha organized an auction: Unforgettable fashion of the Oscars. Actresses donated their Oscar dresses which were then auctioned. $1.5 million was raised for AIDS research. Now that’s a real winner!
Africa and Azania from Capetalk/702’s Weekend Breakfast spoke to Nadia Neophytou in Los Angeles about the 87th Academy Awards Ceremony.