Saturday, April 11, 2009

And The Winner Is: Memorable Oscar Campaigns

Actors like to talk a good game about how they aren't that into prizes and honors. They usually insist their work is their prize. The Oscars are different, however. Except for George C. Scott and Marlon Brando, nobody turns down an Academy Award or, once nominated, can resist doing a little politicking on their own behalf. Below are some of Hollywood's most colorful attempts to mine Oscar gold.

  • Tea for Two(or More)--Silent screen icon Mary Pickford rose to fame playing spunky child-women in such films as "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" and "Little Annie Rooney". With the advent of sound in the late 1920's, America's Sweetheart (and co-founder of United Artists) realized she needed a new image. "I'm sick of Cinderella parts, of wearing rags and tatters," Pickford said. "I want to wear smart clothes and play the lover." So she lopped off her trademark long curls and took the lead in "Coquette", playing a dangerous femme fatale. The movie got mixed reviews, but Mary was nominated for Best Actress anyway. Eagar for the award, Pickford started campaigning right away. She invited all the members of the Centeral Board of Judges (who chose the winners in those days) to tea at her fabled estate, Pickfair. The get-together worked; Mary was named Best Actress for 1928-29.

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