The 31st Academy Awards - 1959
31st Academy Awards Ceremony
31st Academy Award Trivia
- The producer tried to cut the show to keep it short, unfortunately it was cut too short, twenty minutes to be exact. A rerun of a sports show was used to fill the void.
- Susan Hayward was born Edythe Marrenner in Brooklyn, New York.
- The studio re-wrote and re-shot some scenes in "Gigi" before releasing it.
- Two notable omissions from the Best Picture nominees included Orson Welles' film noir Touch of Evil and Alfred Hitchcock's romantic mystery Vertigo.
- Honorary Academy Award was given to Maurice Chevalier.
- Joan Collins, Angela Lansbury, and Dana Wynter sang "It's Great Not to Be Nominated" at the Ceremony.
The 31st Academy Awards Ceremony is the awards ceremony that took place in 1959. It is the ceremony honoring movies released in 1958. The ceremony was held at the Pantages Theater on April 6, 1959. Hosts for the 31st Academy Awards were; Jerry Lewis , Mort Sahl, Tony Randall , Bob Hope , David Niven , Laurence Olivier - I don't see any actresses here, just saying.
Russ Tamblin starred in the movie "tom thumb", deliberately not capitalized. The amazing thing about this film? Besides me remembering it, the film won an Oscar for Best Effects, Special Effects. I wonder how many of you remember, or even heard about, this movie?
So many movies are made in a year, many of which we never hear of. Some movies stick in our minds even though the Academy has not chosen to honor them. Either way, let's take a look at a few Oscar Winners for the 31st Academy Awards.
While I found this a good movie it was hard to believe it won nine awards! It broke the record of "Gone With the Wind" which won eight. Amazingly enough none of them were for acting! It received no acting nominations. The draw for this film was the combined talent and musical numbers. Directed by Vincent Minnelli with songs and lyrics by Lerner and music by Lowe!
A love story that shows love conquers all, well at least cynicism, even in the Parisian society at the turn of the Century when it was more accepted to have a mistress. Actually one mistress after another. But Gigi, played by Leslie Caron, did not want to be a mistress. She wanted more even though she was trained as a courtesan. Gigi tricks Gaston, played by Louis Jourdan, into taking her on vacation where they become closer. But Gaston is a well known bachelor who has had many mistresses and Gigi is a courtesan. Watch the movie to see what happens.
Though it was compared to "My Fair Lady", the New York Times said it could stand on it's own legs. A delightful little love story.
I Want to Live
Story of real life murderer Barbara Graham. Played so well by Susan Hayward she won an Academy Award for Best Actress. Researching for this movie I found the real Barbara Graham or "Bloody Babs" as she was known was probably guilty of the murder she was executed for. The movie, however makes her look innocent making the movie more dramatic and a tear jerker...who doesn't love a tear jerker?
The movie was adapted from letters written by Ms. Graham as well as newspaper articles of the time. It shows Barbara Graham as a product of a broken home, a prostitute who lures men to card games. She tries to go straight but the man she marries is a drug addict. She does have a child. After their marriage ends she goes back to her old profession and becomes involved with a man who murdered a woman. As a result (in the film) she is framed for the murder of a woman.
Susan Hayward is definitely the star of this movie. If you don't think she's innocent and feel sorry for her in this movie, you'll never feel sorry for an actress in any movie. Her performance is powerful and her last minutes will stay with you long after you've seen this movie!
I Want to Live - Official Trailer
Nominees in Three Categories for 1959 Awards
Best Motion Picture Nominees
David Niven - Separate Tables
Susan Hayward - I Want to Live
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Tony Curtis - The Defiant Ones
Deborah Kerr - Separate Tables
Paul Newman - Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Shirley MacLaine - Some Came Running
Sidney Poitier - The Defiant Ones
Rosalind Russell - Auntie Mame
The Defiant Ones
Spencer Tracy - The Old Man and the Sea
Elizabeth Taylor - Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
The Old Man and the Sea
This movie won the Academy Award for the Best Original Score. Nice award but not one that tells us much about the movie. However, Spencer Tracy was nominated for the Best Actor Award.
I decided to write about it here because it is different than most Academy selections. First, it is said to be "most literal, word-for-word rendition of a written story ever filmed" by Turner Classic Movies. Second, it is not the most cinematically beautiful movie ever made.
Hemingway's novella of the same name was almost a fable about a man who is made fun of by other fisherman because he has not caught a fish in eight-four days. The story of an aging fisherman who must still face the elements and lands the biggest fish of all time but returns with just its skeleton after dealing with the elements has a lot of lessons in one short movie. A New York Times review stated, "It is an affecting demonstration of primal fortitude, and one's heart may well bleed for this old fellow, as do his line-lacerated hands." Just as an aside, the fish he did catch, the black marlin, is known as the "bull" of the sea and is one of the largest bony fish.
Many criticized the films lack of authentic feel, having been shot in a studio tank, but others say the musical score made up for that shortcoming, both forgetting there were scenes shot with Tracy in a real boat on a real ocean. Oh, another bit of trivia, Hemingway is seen briefly in a bar scene at the end of the movie.
Variety said of this film, "It is Tracy’s picture from beginning to end. One could quarrel with his interpretation of the old man. There are moments when he is magnificent and moving, and others when he seems to move in a stupor. It is, on the whole, a distinguished and impressive performance, ranging from the old man’s pursuit of the fish, to hooking him, to the long chase and the final slashing battle."
Definitely a movie to be seen. At times I felt sorry for the old man but most of the time I admired his calm fortitude and pursuit of his dream and livelihood. The young boy that is his friend is also a bright spot showing his loyalty to the old man even against his father's wishes.
The Old Man and The Sea
Other Notable Pictures of 1958
"The Defiant Ones" starring Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier was nominated for six Academy Awards but only won two. It is the story of two escaped criminals, one black and one white, who are shackled together and must learn to trust each other and depend on each other to survive.
Who hasn't head of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" starring Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman and Burl Ives? According to Wikipedia it was one of the top ten box office hits in 1958. Nominated for four Academy Awards it surprisingly did not win any.
What about the romantic comedy, "Houseboat". Starring Cary Grant and Sophia Loren. Cary Grant arranged for Sophia Loren to star with him after having an affair with her on another film. It was nominated for two Academy Awards but won none, and what about these five films:
- The Brothers Karamazov
- The Big Country
- Bell Book and Candle
- Separate Tables
- South Pacific
There are still more notable films from this year, too many to list. If you haven't seen them, check them out!
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