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The Oscars

Freeze Frames: TV arrives

March 23, 2003|Susan King

The 25th Year

When: March 19, 1953

Where: Pantages Theatre, Hol- lywood; International Theatre, New York City

Host: Bob Hope in Hollywood; Conrad Nagel in New York

Winners: Best picture: "The Greatest Show on Earth"; best actress: Shirley Booth for "Come Back, Little Sheba"; best actor: Gary Cooper for "High Noon"; best supporting actor: Anthony Quinn for "Viva Zapata!"; best supporting actress: Gloria Grahame for "The Bad and the Beautiful"; best director: John Ford for "The Quiet Man."

Milestones: The academy celebrated its 25th anniversary with its first television broadcast. NBC carried the bicoastal event hosted by Hope and Nagel. Cooper and Quinn were in Mexico making "Blowing Wild" and did not attend the Oscars. Neither did best director winner Ford. John Wayne, the star of "The Quiet Man," accepted Cooper's and Ford's Oscars. Katherine DeMille picked up the award for her husband, Quinn. Booth received her award in New York, tripping on her way up to the podium. Grahame, the only acting winner in Los Angeles, looked like a frightened animal as she made her way up the aisle and on stage to accept the award from Edmund Gwenn. Perhaps one of the most surreal moments occurred when Celeste Holm sang the Oscar-nominated tune "Thumbelina" to her thumb that had been painted with a face.

To honor Oscar's 25th anniversary, previous actor, actress and juvenile winners appeared together during the ceremony. Mary Pickford, one of the founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, made a rare TV appearance to present the best picture Oscar to "The Greatest Show on Earth," produced and directed by one of Hollywood's pioneers, Cecil B. DeMille. He was also presented the Irving G. Thalberg Award by Charles Brackett. Screenwriter Brackett also bestowed Hope with an honorary Oscar for "his contribution to the laughter of the world, his service to the motion picture industry and his devotion to the American premise."

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