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The 28th Academy Awards in 1956
Katherine Hepburn in Summertime 1955
Academy Awards History
I have been a movie buff for as long as I can remember so writing a series about the Academy Awards and the Academy Awards winners is like a dream come true. I get to write and I get to write about what I love.
The Academy has recognized so many great actors from Janet Gaynor to Jennifer Lawrence, not to even mention the fabulous male actors along the way. Who can forget Clark Gable or James Cagney. What about Jimmy Stewart? These people were all great actors and actresses but the Academy Awards helped bring them to the public eye and keep them there. Over eighty Academy Awards Ceremonies!
Did you know In 1934, Frank Capra suffered the worst mistaken identity in Oscars history? He walked out onto the stage to collect the Best Picture award when the presenter said “Come and get it, Frank”. The problem was the Frank he was referring to was Frank Lloyd, director of Cavalcade.
Gone With the Wind and From Here to Eternity still hold the record for thirteen Oscar nominations and eight wins. No film has yet to beat that record. By the way, Gone With the Wind was the first color film to win a Best Picture. It was also the longest movie up till that time at just under four hours!
There is just so much rich Academy history that I could write on and on about it. However, 1955 was a good year for pictures and deserves a good look, so let's get on with it.
Ernest Borgnine and Betsy Blair
Quote from Marty
You don't like her, my mother don't like her, she's a dog and I'm a fat, ugly man! Well, all I know is I had a good time last night! I'm gonna have a good time tonight! If we have enough good times together, I'm gonna get down on my knees and I'm gonna beg that girl to marry me! If we make a party on New Year's, I got a date for that party. You don't like her? That's too bad!
A surprising topic for a film. This Academy Award winning Best Picture, was about an Italian butcher in the Bronx who lives with his mother. Not unheard of, but he was thirty-four. He's a good hearted and good natured guy but his mother and friends are always after him about when he's going to get married. Marty doesn't let it show, most of the time, but he would love to get married, just hasn't met the right girl. He figures he's always going to be a bachelor. I always felt sorry for Marty and thought everyone should leave him alone.
Marty, played by Ernest Borgnine, meets Clara, played by Betsy Blair, at the Stardust Ballroom. Clara's been dumped by her blind date. She's a plain girl, a school teacher but much like Marty. They talk and find they have a lot in common. They talk and dance then Marty brings her home. They get closer and realize there is a mutual attraction, before his mother gets home. Marty seems to be very happy and after he puts Clara on the bus to go home, he even punches a stop sign, showing how happy and up his mood is.
However, happiness isn't in Marty's future. His widowed aunt moves in with him and his mother and tells his mother how lonely life will be if Marty marries. His friends are jealous of his new love and give him a hard time. All of this chiding gets to Marty and he doesn't call Clara. It eats at him though and he knows Clara makes him happy. I absolutely loved it when he told off his friend! No, I won't tell you how the movie ends, it is up to you to watch and find out.
This movie not only won Best Picture but won Borgnine a Best Actor and won Best Director and Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay.
This movie won a Best Supporting Actor for Jack Lemmon. I decided to write about this movie because I love it. I've seen it over and over. Its a "war movie" like no other. Actually it takes place as WWII is winding down so to speak.
The characters in this movie are so rich. First, you have the Commanding Officer played by James Cagney. I'm not allowed to use foul language here so let us just say he is difficult, demanding, selfish, and mostly unreasonable. Next is the Executive Officer who is also the Cargo Chief - Mister Roberts, played by Henry Fonda. Typical, likable Henry Fonda. He constantly tries to keep the crew happy in spite of the Commanding Officer. Additionally, he really wants to get into the action and keeps putting in for transfers. Though the CO has to forward the requests he does not have to endorse them so it seems Henry Fonda will not get his transfer.
Then there's Ensign Pulver, played by Jack Lemmon. The ne'er do well who just tries to hide out and stay out of the Captain's way. In spite of his avoidance techniques he is the officer "in charge of laundry and moral".
Of course there's a "Doc" and this one is philosophical, and quick witted, played by William Powell. In researching this movie I found out this was William Powell's last movie role. Doc tries to convince Roberts that the role he plays aboard this ship is an important one to the men. He keeps the peace and tries to keep up the men's moral.
There are plenty of laughs in this movie, particularly over the Captain's beloved palm tree, simulated scotch, and the nurses' visit. While there are plenty of laughs there is pathos too. You can't help but sympathize with Roberts and his desire to see action. When the Captain bribes him to let the men go on leave, Roberts agrees to the Captain's bribe of not putting in for a transfer anymore. This made me very angry, I don't know about you. Of course things don't end here.
Am I leaving things out? You betcha. This is a funny, dramatic, and touching film. As usual, I have no intention of giving away the ending. You really should see this one for yourself.
Mister Roberts - Making Scotch
A scene from Rebel Without a Cause
Rebel Without a Cause
Rebel Without a Cause was not an Academy Award winner but it was nominated for Best Supporting Actor (Sal Mineo), Best Supporting Actress (Natalie Wood) and Best Writing, Motion Picture Story. I chose to write about this movie because it is such a classic and one most people are familiar with because of it's stars, James Dean, Natalie Wood, and Sal Mineo.
The story of confused teenagers trying to cope with their ineffective parents and a world that doesn't understand them. The three main characters meet in a court room when each of them is brought in for a wrongdoing. From the Court Room the movie follows the lives of these three teenagers as they intertwine in school and after over one twenty-four hour period.
It is a sad film as all three come from less than supportive homes. Plato's parents are never around, Plato is played by Sal Mineo, Judy's father is afraid of her being an adolescent probably because he is sexually attracted to her, Judy is played by Natalie Wood, and Jimmy's father lets his mother dominate him and Jimmy. Jimmy is played by James Dean. I must say, I found the mother very annoying myself and kept wishing Jimmy's father would stand up to her.
Jimmy has been a troubled teen and instead of dealing with his troubles his parents move every time he gets in trouble. That is how he came to this town. It is a complicated story, and yet a simple one. Probably the most famous line in the movie is one Jimmy says to his parents, ""You're tearing me apart! You say one thing, he says another, and everybody changes back again."
By today's standards this film probably doesn't hold up too well. The plot is weak in that you really can't get into each character in the time given. While the performances may have been hailed by critics I'm not thinking they're the greatest which is a shame for such good actors. I think one of the reasons it became so popular is that James Dean died in a car crash before the movie's release. I'd love to know your thoughts on this one.
Rebel Without A Cause
Academy Award Nominations for 1956
Best Actress Nominees
Best Actor Nominees
Best Picture Nominees
Anna Magnani - The Rose Tattoo
Earnest Borgnine - Marty
Susan Hayward - I'll Cry Tomorrow
James Cagney - Love Me or Leave Me
Love is a Many-Splendored Thing
Katherine Hepburn - Summertime
James Dean - East of Eden
Jennifer Jones - Love is Many-Splendored Thing
Frank Sinatra - Man with the Golden Arm
Eleanor Parker - Interrupted Melody
Spencer Tracy - Bad Day at Black Rock
The Rose Tattoo
1955 Movies NOT Nominated or Awarded by the Academy
- Lady and the Tramp
- The Seven Year Itch
- To Hell and Back
- Guys and Dolls
- Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy
- Blackboard Jungle
- Chief Crazy Horse
- Davey Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier
- Female on the Beach
- Godzilla Raids Again
- It Came From Beneath the Sea
- The Long Grey Line
- To Catch a Thief
The 28th Academy Awards
Certainly an awards ceremony like many others. Each year though there is something different. The Best Picture Award, as you know, went to Marty. Did you also know Marty was a low budget film and one of the shortest to ever win the Best Picture Award? At the awards ceremony Eddie Fisher sang "Love is a Many-Splendored Thing" in a studio in New York while the orchestra that accompanied him was in Hollywood.
What about the movies themselves? You've read through my article and you're wondering why I didn't write about Bad Day at Black Rock or The Man With the Golden Arm or maybe even Picnic? Well, I want to take you out of your comfort zone and have you view movies you may or may not have seen before. I would really like to know how you feel, not just about this article, but about the movies of 1955!
Thank you for reading and hopefully leaving a comment.
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