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#OscarQuote: “I Can’t Tell You How Encouraging a Thing Like This Is.” – Ruth Gordon on Her Win at 74


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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 ArkinThe Heart Is A Lonely Hunter

Alan BatesThe Fixer

Ron MoodyOliver!

Peter O’TooleThe Lion In Winter


Actor in a Supporting Role:

Jack AlbertsonThe Subject Was Roses (Winner)

Seymour CasselFaces

Daniel MasseyStar!

Jack WildOliver!

Gene WilderThe Producers



Katharine HepburnThe Lion In Winter (Winner)

Barbra StreisandFunny Girl (Winner)

Patricia NealThe Subject Was Roses

Vanessa RedgraveIsadora

Joanne WoodwardRachel, Rachel


Actress in a Supporting Role:

Ruth GordonRosemary’s Baby (Winner, after being encouraged)

Lynn CarlinFaces

Sondra LockeThe Heart Is A Lonely Hunter

Kay MedfordFunny Girl

Estelle ParsonsRachel, Rachel



Romeo And JulietPasqualino De Santis (Winner)

Funny GirlHarry Stradling

Ice Station ZebraDaniel L. Fapp

Oliver!Oswald Morris

Star!Ernest Laszlo



Oliver!Carol Reed (Winner)

The Battle Of AlgiersGillo Pontecorvo

The Lion In WinterAnthony Harvey

Romeo And JulietFranco Zeffirelli

2001: A Space OdysseyStanley Kubrick


Original Screenplay

The ProducersMel Brooks (Winner)

The Battle Of AlgiersFranco Solinas and Gillo Pontecorvo

FacesJohn Cassavetes

Hot MillionsIra Wallach and Peter Ustinov

2001: A Space OdysseyStanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke


Adapted Screenplay

The Lion In WinterJames Goldman

The Odd CoupleNeil Simon

Oliver!Vernon Harris

Rachel, RachelStewart Stern

Rosemary’s BabyRoman Polanski (Wiener)


Best Picture

Oliver!  (Winner)

Funny Girl

The Lion In Winter

Rachel, Rachel

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.


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