America Loves Competitions, Wacky Acceptance Speeches

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Sacheen Littlefeather refuses Marlon Brando’s Godfather Oscar in 1973.Photo: Corbis


As Oscar night approaches, New York film critic David Edelstein and Hollywood producer Lynda Obst are discussing the race. Check back through the weekend for more.

From: Lynda Obst

Sent: Friday, February 23, 2007 2:18 PM

To: David Edelstein

Subject: RE: Overcoming Obamamania

Dear David:

The wide-open Best Picture race: We are a town divided. People like The Departed and think it feels like a best picture, but I sense no real passion for it. They love Sunshine, but when, of course, has a comedy ever won? At this point, it’s about how the votes split. The actors, the largest branch of the Academy, will like both. Anything can happen; The Queen could even “crash” the winner’s circle. I sensed a little nervousness in a Babel producer at the Obama reception, but that could have been the appropriate humility and fear.


I have seen the foreign films, but not the shorts. It’s either Water or The Lives of Others, a terrifying, brilliantly directed thing that made its German director, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, a hot Hollywood property.

This innovation of Laura Ziskin’s to put a Webcam backstage to catch the “spontaneous reactions” of the winners may be great for Oscar.com, but it’s definitely tragic for us TV fans. Now that I think of it, weren’t the Oscars — with Sacheen Littlefeather refusing Brando’s award, Jack Palance doing one-handed push-ups, the stunning and unforgettable “You like me, you really like me” — the first reality TV?

Off to the parties tonight, where I gather the usual “No one will be surprised if …; no one will be shocked if …; tumblers will fall to the ground if …; limousines will crash if …; entourages will disperse if …; people will fall to the ground in their gowns in shock if …” for tomorrow.

Earlier:
Oscar Loves Real People (When They’re Interpreted by Famous Actors)
When Are They Going to Award the Believable Behavers?