Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Thursday Thirteen #158


As we wait to see who will be named Best Actress of 2011, let's look back on the lady who owns the category, the incomparable Katharine Hepburn.

1) She won four Oscars in the lead category, more than any other actor or actress ... ever. Meryl Streep is unlikely to top her, since of the two Oscars she currently has, the first was for Best Supporting Actress.

2) She had twelve Oscar nominations, spanning the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 80s.

3) She tied with Barbra Streisand for Best Actress of 1968. Babs won for Funny Girl, Kate for The Lion in Winter. This was only the second, and most recent, tie in Oscar history.

4) Streisand accepted her Oscar in person, but Kate did not. She never showed up for the ceremonies as a nominee, saying that sitting through the broadcast, waiting to hear if she won, would give her "dyspepsia."

5) She also never sent anyone to accept "on her behalf." Though all of her Oscars were sent to her home in Connecticut.

6) She did show up for one Oscar ceremony, in the late 1960s. But that year she was not a nominee. She presented the Irving Thalberg Award to her friend, Lawrence Weingarten. She avoided the red carpet and, instead of couture, wore a white turtleneck with black jacket and slacks. Wonder what Joan Rivers and Guiliana Rancic would have made of that?

7) Cate Blanchette won an Oscar simply for playing Kate. I thought she was a lovely Hepburn to Leo's Howard Hughes in The Aviator.

8) Hepburn won her first Oscar playing a struggling actress in Morning Glory. That was back in 1933. It was only her third movie. She was 26 years old.

9) There were only two other actresses nominated back then -- May Robson and Dana Wyland. I have no idea who either of those ladies were.

10) She won her other three Oscars playing mothers. Even though she was childless in real life.

11) Jane Fonda and Anthony Hopkins were among her children in those Oscar-winning turns. Fonda was her daughter in On Golden Pond, Hopkins was her son in The Lion in Winter. Her real-life niece and namesake, Katharine Houghton, played her daughter in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.

12) Two actors won Oscars for playing opposite her: Henry Fonda in On Golden Pond and James Stewart in The Philadelphia Story. These were the only Oscars those screen legends ever won.

13) According to TCM, her most popular movie is not an Oscar winner. They get consistently very high ratings whenever they broadcast her screwball classic, Bringing Up Baby. When that movie was first released in 1938, it was a box office bomb.

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I Want Wednesday

I want my friends to not have such worrisome career issues! My friend in the Keys is faced with selling his home (which won't be easy) and moving. But I have no confidence whatsoever that his lover is on board with this and I worry about their relationship. The hospital my oldest friend moved to Beverly Hills to work for finally canned her, and now she's going to make another ill-advised, poorly thought-out move.

I am fighting the impulse to just say to both of them, "Move over and let me drive." I am losing that battle. But I must engage again, for I want to be supportive, not bossy or insensitive.


To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

1. MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a Best Friend. It's just what it says it is -- a writer's chronicle of trying to make good girlfriends in a new city (Chicago). It's funny and sweet and, so far, feels very true to life about how hard it is to make deep, platonic connections with new people once we grow older and away from school. (Though to be honest, I've been very lucky in this regard.)

2. The Beatles: The Biography. Incredibly readable! I came away thinking again of two important supporting characters in the Beatles saga: Brian Epstein and Yoko Ono. Brian, the manager who helped catapult them to fame, was at heart a fan who served and loved the lads well, if not wisely. It was so sad to watch him rendered obsolete by their success. Yoko comes off as the other side of that coin. She didn't care about the Beatles except as her entree to fame and tool to advance her own career. Would they have eventually broken up without her? Probably. Would it have been as acrimonious? I doubt it. 

3. Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America. Warren Beatty has made comparatively few films but some of my favorite movies. Yet, the author opines, he's unknown to anyone under 30 and a joke to moviegoers under 40. How did he achieve so much so fast, and why isn't he now respected as an elder statesman of cinema, like his contemporaries Eastwood and Redford? The answers are what this exhaustive (600+ pages) biography promises to deliver.

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