I hope that when I finally win my Academy Award that I will be as witty as Ruth Gordon during her acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress when she took home her little gold man for her performance in Rosemary’s Baby 50 years ago. Gordon:
“I can’t tell you how encouraging a thing like this is. The first film that I was ever in was in 1915 and here we are and it’s 1969. Actually, I don’t know why it took me so long; though I don’t think, you know, that I’m backward.” Anyway. Thank you, Roman. And thank you, Mia. And thank all of you who voted for me. And all of you who didn’t, please excuse me.”
Gordon was presented her Oscar by Tony Curtis on April 14, 1969 at The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. It was the 41st annual Academy Awards, honoring films released in 1968 (50 years ago!)
Rosemary’s Baby (1968) was written and directed by Roman Polanski, based on the bestselling 1967 novel by Ira Levin. The film starred Mia Farrow, and featured John Cassavetes, Sidney Blackmer, Maurice Evans, Ralph Bellamy, Patsy Kelly, and, in his feature film debut, Charles Grodin. It is the story of a young bride (Farrow) who moves into a new apartment in an historic NYC building with nosy neighbors. She soon gets pregnant.
Beside Gordon, Rosemary’ Baby was also nominated for Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Also that year:
Cliff Robertson for Charly (Winner)
Alan Arkin – The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter
Alan Bates – The Fixer
Ron Moody – Oliver!
Peter O’Toole – The Lion In Winter
Actor in a Supporting Role:
Jack Albertson – The Subject Was Roses (Winner)
Seymour Cassel – Faces
Daniel Massey – Star!
Jack Wild – Oliver!
Gene Wilder – The Producers
Katharine Hepburn – The Lion In Winter (Winner)
Barbra Streisand – Funny Girl (Winner)
Patricia Neal – The Subject Was Roses
Vanessa Redgrave – Isadora
Joanne Woodward – Rachel, Rachel
Actress in a Supporting Role:
Ruth Gordon – Rosemary’s Baby (Winner, after being encouraged)
Lynn Carlin – Faces
Sondra Locke – The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter
Kay Medford –Funny Girl
Estelle Parsons – Rachel, Rachel
Romeo And Juliet – Pasqualino De Santis (Winner)
Funny Girl – Harry Stradling
Ice Station Zebra –Daniel L. Fapp
Oliver! – Oswald Morris
Star! – Ernest Laszlo
Oliver! – Carol Reed (Winner)
The Battle Of Algiers – Gillo Pontecorvo
The Lion In Winter – Anthony Harvey
Romeo And Juliet – Franco Zeffirelli
2001: A Space Odyssey – Stanley Kubrick
The Producers – Mel Brooks (Winner)
The Battle Of Algiers – Franco Solinas and Gillo Pontecorvo
Faces – John Cassavetes
Hot Millions – Ira Wallach and Peter Ustinov
2001: A Space Odyssey – Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke
The Lion In Winter – James Goldman
The Odd Couple – Neil Simon
Oliver! – Vernon Harris
Rachel, Rachel – Stewart Stern
Rosemary’s Baby – Roman Polanski (Wiener)
The Lion In Winter
Romeo And Juliet
Oliver! became the first, and so far, the only, G-rated film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. In contrast, the following year would see the only X-rated film to win Best Picture, Midnight Cowboy.
The presenters included: Ingrid Bergman, Diahann Carroll, Jane Fonda, Rosalind Russell, Tony Curtis, Bob Hope, Burt Lancaster, Henry Mancini and Marni Nixon, Walter Matthau, Gregory Peck, Sidney Poitier, Don Rickles and Natalie Wood.
For pure nuttiness, Aretha Franklin sang the song Funny Girl from Funny Girl and Frank Sinatra sang Star! from Star!.
The year was notable for the first, and so far, only tie for Best Actress and the only acting category tie. For 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects. It was the only Academy Award he would ever win.