Photoplay (Jan-Jun 1949)

Record Details:

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Academy Awards: Following this year’s presentation of the Academy Awards, it looked as if there would be no more Oscars. The day after the Awards, Jean Hersholt, President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, announced that the motion picture companies would no longer support these annual presentations. Whereupon, there was great dismay. Some said the executives of the motion picture companies were withdrawing their financial support because “Hamlet,” a British production, was voted the finest picture of the past year. Subsequently, this was denied by the movie companies, who insisted they had declared their intention to discontinue their Award support as long ago as last autumn. Now, with the cost of the presentations borne in some other way, it seems almost certain the annual Awards will continue. Which is as it should be. It would be a great pity if Hollywood no longer was to know the deep satisfaction that comes to actors and actresses when they are honored by those in their profession. Certainly, the night of the Awards is always a great occasion — and this year was no exception. Jane Wyman, in a simple white crepe gown, climbed the steps to the stage of the Academy Theater and accepted her Oscar for giving the best performance of the year as the deaf-mute in “Johnny Belinda.” “I accept this very gratefully for keeping my mouth shut once. I think I will do it again,” Jane said, her voice breaking a little, amidst the applause that rocked the theater. And just as enthusiastic was the applause for Sir Laurence Olivier, absent in England, who won, as Hamlet, the best acting award of the year. Streamlined and shorn of the glamour and nostalgic sentimentality that high-lighted former Awards, the Academy officers (with Robert Montgomery as master of ceremonies) spoke briefly and to the point. From the moment the curtains parted, revealing a long row of gleaming golden Oscars beneath a giant replica, the presentations were short and sweet. Hollywood’s most beautiful girls — Ava Gardner, Arlene Dahl, Ann Blyth, Jeanne Crain, Deborah Kerr, Kathryn Grayson, Celeste Holm, Loretta Young — came arrayed in breath-taking gowns. Hollywood’s own Santa, Edmund Gwenn, handed out the Oscars to winning technicians, cameramen, producers, designers, writers and actors. Out front, Glenn Davis seemed dazzled with the beauty of Elizabeth Taylor in a hoop-skirted gown. Howard Duff wandered up and down the aisles, before the curtains parted, complaining, “Somewhere I’ve lost a girl.” No one seemed to know whom. Barbara Stanwyck, a nominee for “Sorry, Wrong Number,” was first to join the applause that greeted Jane, the winner. Olivia de Havilland, another nominee, notified the Academy only a few hours previous that her doctor forbade her to attend. Sympathy went out to Olivia, who turned in a masterpiece of acting as the deranged woman in “The Snake Pit,” because of the grave illness she is suffering during her pregnancy. Sitting together were father and son, Walter and John Huston. Pride shone in John’s eyes when his father accepted his Oscar for winning the best supporting actor award in his son’s film, “Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” But when young Huston was called twice to the stage to win Oscars for the best written screen play and best direction — both for “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” — Walter was deeply moved. Jane Russell sang “Buttons and Bows,” which won for the best song. Later at Romanoff’s, at a table for two, Jane sat with husband Bob Waterfield. Once she unashamedly wrapped her arms about Bob, who gave every appearance of being a happy man. Just as happy was producer Milton Bren when his lovely wife Claire Trevor won an Oscar for her supporting role in “Key Largo.” Another Huston was honored when John’s father, Walter, was presented with Oscar for best performance in a supporting role by last year’s winner. Celeste Holm A gift to gladden any girl’s heart: Edmund Gwenn who won for “Miracle on 34th Street” last year, presents Claire Trevor with Award for best supporting role in 1948 15