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Omar Sharif Jr. and Kirk Douglas Spar, Melissa Leo Makes Oscar History (of Sorts)

Omar Sharif Jr. & Kirk Douglas spar, Melissa Leo makes Oscar history of sorts

Standing next to veteran Kirk Douglas at the 2011 Academy Awards is Omar Sharif Jr. – grandson of Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago star Omar Sharif and an Oscar ceremony supporting player, at one point humorously sparring with Douglas over a cane. Douglas then stole the spotlight at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre, taking his time to name the eventual winner of the Best Supporting Actress Oscar: Melissa Leo for David O. Russell's The Fighter.

Then it was Melissa Leo's turn to steal the spotlight by making Academy Award history: she is the first person to (audibly) use the word “fuck” – in any form (past, present, future, noun, adjective, verb, etc.) – while onstage at an Oscar show. Well, at the very least Leo's is the first such expletive to have gone on record.

Kirk Douglas Oscar nominations

Kirk Douglas never made a movie with Omar Sharif Jr.'s grandfather, but he did receive three Best Actor nominations:

  • As an ambitious boxer in Mark Robson's Champion (1949).
    Winner: Broderick Crawford for Robert Rossen's All the King's Men.
  • As a ruthless movie producer in Vincente Minnelli's The Bad and the Beautiful (1952).
    Winner: Gary Cooper for Fred Zinnemann's High Noon.
  • As Vincent Van Gogh in Minnelli's Lust for Life (1956).
    Winner: Yul Brynner for Walter Lang's The King and I.

The 83rd Academy Awards ceremony was held on Feb. 27 at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland in Los Angeles.

March '12 update: About a year after this photo was taken, Omar Sharif Jr. became news fodder after publicly coming out as a gay (Canadian-born, internationally raised) Egyptian man whose mother happens to be Jewish.

Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Melissa Leo, Kirk Douglas, and Omar Sharif Jr. photo: Michael Yada / © A.M.P.A.S.

Melissa Leo Oscar winnerMelissa Leo Oscar winner: Academy Awards' Red Carpet.

Melissa Leo Oscar winner

Donning a white dress, Melissa Leo is seen above on the 2011 Oscars' Red Carpet. The Best Supporting Actress winner's competitors were the following:

“Controversial” Oscar ads or no, Melissa Leo's victory was no surprise, as she had already taken home a number of Best Supporting Actress awards this season. The surprise was the fact that on television her thank you speech was briefly muted as a result of her choice of words – as mentioned earlier in this post.

Two years ago, Leo was shortlisted in the Best Actress category for Courtney Hunt's Frozen River, costarring Misty Upham. She lost to Kate Winslet in Stephen Daldry's The Reader.

To date, Melissa Leo has never made a movie with either Omar Sharif Jr.'s grandfather or with Best Supporting Actress Oscar presenter Kirk Douglas.

Oscar ceremony: A couple of surprises, little humor

So far there have been a couple of surprises at the 2011 Academy Awards:

Opening movie clips featuring 2011 Oscar hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway went smoothly, but “funny” wasn't quite the word for them.

Melissa Leo Oscar Red Carpet photo: Darren Decker / © A.M.P.A.S.

Yorgos Lanthimos Ariane Labed Aggeliki Papoulia Looking dead seriouYorgos Lanthimos, Ariane Labed (left) and Aggeliki Papoulia: Looking dead serious on Oscars' Red Carpet.

Ariane Labed, Yorgos Lanthimos and Aggeliki Papoulia: 'Dogtooth' contingent on Oscars' Red Carpet

Yorgos Lanthimos, whose Dogtooth was shortlisted in the 2011 Oscars' Best Foreign Language Film category, arrives with his wife, 2010 Venice Film Festival Best Actress winner Ariane Labed (for Attenberg), and Dogtooth actress Aggeliki Papoulia at the 83rd Academy Awards.

The Greek Dogtooth lost to Susanne Bier's Danish drama In a Better World.

Although widely acclaimed, Dogtooth was considered an unlikely Oscar contender because of its “unusualness.” This year's three other Best Foreign Language Film nominees were:

Ariane Labed, Aggeliki Papoulia, and Yorgos Lanthimos photo: Darren Decker / © A.M.P.A.S.


Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (A.M.P.A.S.) website.

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1 Comment to Omar Sharif Jr. and Kirk Douglas Spar, Melissa Leo Makes Oscar History (of Sorts)

  1. Kyriakos Hizanidis

    I do not have any information as yet (if you do, please let me know) if Mr. Lanthimos added at last an acknowledgment in the honor of his (much senior) colleague Arturo Ripstein, the Mexican director whose the 1973 movie “el castillo de la pureza” inspired (actually was the basis scenario-wise and cinematographically) for his “dogtooth”. If not, the very fact he was not finally nominated, it could be a fortunate outcome. Imagine what could happen (in the case the “source of - not only -inspiration” for Mr. Lanthimos were kept in the dark) if the critics discovered later the movie is rather a remake of an almost 40 years old (and, to my opinion, better) Mexican movie!