On a drizzly Oscar night, the Governors Ball was in full swing at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at the Hollywood & Highland Center. Next door, at the former Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the courtyard was deserted, the area still cordoned off to traffic and to anyone not on official awards-show business.
And so there were James Mason‘s footprints and handprints, looking cold, damp and either lonely or beautiful.
As the cement block indicates, Mason knelt down at Grauman’s to mark the release of the costume-drama “Prince Valiant.” Six months later, he would be on screens again in Judy Garland‘s “A Star Is Born,” for which he would earn his first Academy Award nomination. The following year, the Oscars were held about a mile east of the Chinese. And so on Oscar night 1955, the Pantages Theatre was abuzz, while up the road sat Mason’s footprints and handprints, looking either lonely or beautiful.
And 20 or so other moments from the press room at the 86th Annual Academy Awards. (For Yahoo!)
Covering the press room for Yahoo! Follow me here for Oscar-y tweets.
You’ve got two choices: One, you can choke up on the bat and make solid contact on your Oscars ballot by going with the favorites; or, two, you can swing for the fences.
If you take the latter approach, there’s a risk you’ll whiff, but if you connect you’ll have achieved your ultimate goal: You’ll be the smartest person in the room.
I do not recommend swinging for the fences on every pitch or in every category, but here are three spots to crank it up:
1. Best Actress: Shock and amaze with Judi Dench (Philomena).
2. Adapted Screenplay: Shock and amaze with Philomena. Actually, anytime you want to shock and amaze, go with Philomena.
3. Live Action Short: Your friends, “How did you ever guess ‘Helium’ would win?” You: “To the average 123-year-old Oscar voter, even moderate eye strain can make ‘Helium’ look an awful like like Gravity.”
That’s it, now go mark up your ballot, alternating in the appropriate places between 12 Years a Slave and Gravity.
That’s my “stupid” question at the 1:55 mark in this snippet from Jennifer Lawrence‘s 2013 Oscar-night press conference. I was covering the press room for E! Online, and I asked Lawrence what happened on her way up to the stage to accept her Best Actress statuette for Silver Linings Playbook. Oh, sure, she appeared to get tripped up in her gown, but since she didn’t reference the stumble in her speech, how were we to know for sure? What if she’d been overcome with emotion? What if she was taking a moment? What if she’d succumbed to the vapors? And so I asked her what happened. And then she gave funny.
All things considered, I think, I’ve asked way stupider questions.
that bad. But the rest of the show? Kinda normal. You can revisit it on the Academy’s YouTube channel (minus the litigious Lowe-Snow number, natch). You can read my piece about it at Yahoo! Movies. And then you can celebrate its silver anniversary next month.
Well, all right, yes, the opening of the 1989 Oscars was
And they are. Here’s one for Yahoo! Movies on whether this’ll be the year Jennifer Lopez decides Best Picture. (Short answer: Probably not.) And here’s one for Yahoo! Movies on how the Oscars evolved into a spectator sport. (Short explanation: They didn’t evolve; they were The Os-cahs! from the start.)