'Going My Way' 1944 Oscar Counterfeit? + 'The Exorcist' & 'A Room with a View'

by Andre Soares
Going My Way 1944 Bing Crosby Barry Fitzgerald Rise Stevens

Counterfeit 'Going My Way' 1944 Oscar Says Academy

Press Release: Beverly Hills, CA –  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has examined the Oscar® statuette that was scheduled to be sold at an Internet auction on August 16 and declared it a “high-quality counterfeit.” Auctioneers Mastro Auctions, who brought the statuette to the Academy on Thursday so that its authenticity could be confirmed or disproved, has announced that it is cancelling the sale of the item.

The proposed sale of the statuette, which was purported to be the award presented to Leo McCarey in 1944 for his direction of that year's Best Picture Going My Way, had been widely covered in the press. Those reports came as a considerable surprise to McCarey's daughter, Mary McCarey Washburn, who called the Academy to point out that all three of the statuettes that her father had won during his career were sitting safely on her mantel.

That information was relayed to the auction house, which then asked the Academy to examine the Oscar. Academy executive administrator Ric Robertson reported that a group of Academy experts had closely studied the award and had found it to be made up of two mismatched parts, neither of which was ever a part of the authentic McCarey award. The lower section is an authentic Academy Award base with its original identifying plate pried off and replaced with a far more recent plate inaccurately identifying the statuette as the 1944 Directing award. The statuette proper, Robertson said, was a close copy of an Oscar but weighed a full pound more than an authentic one and differed from a genuine Oscar in three key additional respects.

Robertson said that there were indications that the individual who consigned the statuette to the auctioneers may have himself been misled at the time he acquired it. He said the Academy would attempt to identify those who had unlawfully reproduced its copyrighted award, and that it would pursue its legal options if those efforts were successful.

Leo McCarey 'Going My Way' Oscar for Sale

July 22: Via the Associated Press / Metromix.com: Leo McCarey's Best Director Academy Award for the 1944 Best Film winner Going My Way is going to be auctioned by an anonymous collector. The opening bid is US$25,000.

McCarey, who died in 1969 at age 70, directed several Hollywood classics, including The Awful Truth (1937), for which he won his first Best Director Oscar, the romantic melodrama Love Affair (1939), and its remake, An Affair to Remember (1957). McCarey was also well-known for his right-wing politics.

Going My Way was one of his most successful films. Starring Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald (both also won Oscars, as Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively), the sentimental comedy-drama revolves around the grudging relationship between a cantankerous older priest and a jovial younger one. A sequel of sorts, The Bells of St. Mary's, was released in 1945. Starring Crosby and Ingrid Bergman, it made even more money than Going My Way.

According to the AP report, “the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences frowns on the sale of Oscars, [but] it wasn't until 1950 that the Academy began requiring winners to sign statements promising neither they nor their heirs would sell one.”

Director Steven Spielberg has bought several pre-1950 statuettes that were then donated back to the Academy. Spielberg paid $180,000 for Bette Davis' Best Actress Oscar for Dangerous(1935), $578,000 for Davis' Oscar for Jezebel (1938), and $607,500 for Clark Gable's Best Actor Oscar for It Happened One Night (1934).

Online bidding for McCarey's Oscar goes from July 31 to Aug. 16.

'The Exorcist' screening

One of the weakest mainstream horror movies of the 1970s, The Exorcist – with its mixture of hammy acting, starchy obscenities, and a spicy simulated sex act with a cross, all topped with vomited avocado sauce – somehow managed to become a box office phenomenon. The film will be shown at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater on Aug. 7, as part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' “Great To Be Nominated” series. No kidding, this devil-in-the-flesh mediocrity garnered no less than 10 Oscar nominations.

I'm wondering if anyone will ask Linda Blair, who will be present for a panel discussion, about her Best Supporting Actress nomination. There was quite a bit of controversy at the time because of her vocal performance. (Her facial expressions, some of which are unintentionally funny, are little more than make-up creations.) In the film, Blair's voice – cute and sweet while she's the little daughter of obnoxious actress Ellen Burstyn; hair-raising and expletive-filled while she's in the possession of the dullest (and most stubborn) demon this side of Hades – caused a sensation.

The catch: Blair's demonic voice was dubbed by (non-demonic) actress Mercedes McCambridge, winner of a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for the 1949 All the King's Men. McCambridge had been promised credit for her work, but got none. She became possessed.

“If people had heard [fourteen-year-old Blair] saying some of those obscenities, they would have fallen over laughing,” McCambridge complained. “Bill Friedkin promised me a special credit and then broke his promise. It's heartbreaking when a friend does that.”

One of those instances when the behind-the-scenes stories are considerably more entertaining than the film itself.

Press Release: Beverly Hills, CA – The 1973 Best Picture nominee The Exorcist will be screened as the next feature in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' “Great To Be Nominated” series. The film, based on the best-selling novel by William Peter Blatty, will be shown on Monday, August 7, at 7:30 p.m. in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Actress Linda Blair, cinematographer Owen Roizman and editor Bud Smith, all of whom received Oscar nominations for their work on the film, will participate in a panel discussion following the screening.

In The Exorcist, Ellen Burstyn stars as Chris MacNeil, an actress dealing with dangerous changes in the behavior and physical appearance of her daughter, who is deemed “possessed.” Blatty, who adapted his own book for the screen version, was inspired by a reported exorcism in the Washington, DC area in 1949. The film received a total of 10 Academy Award® nominations and took home the Oscars for Sound (Robert Knudson, Chris Newman) and Writing – Screenplay based on material from another medium (Blatty). The film also received nominations for Best Picture (Blatty, producer), Actor in a Supporting Role (Jason Miller as Father Damian Karras), Actress (Burstyn as Chris MacNeil), Actress in a Supporting Role (Blair as Regan MacNeil), Art Direction (Bill Malley; Set Decoration: Jerry Wunderlich), Cinematography (Roizman), Directing (William Friedkin) and Film Editing (Jordan Leondopoulos, Smith, Evan Lottman, Norman Gay).

The Oscar-nominated animated short The Legend of John Henry and the Oscar-winning live-action short The Bolero will be screened prior to the feature.

Tickets for The Exorcist may be purchased at a cost of $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. Tickets may be purchased by mail, in person at the Academy during regular business hours or, depending on availability, on the night of the screening when the doors open at 6:30 p.m. Curtain time for the feature is 7:30 p.m., and pre-show elements will begin at 7 p.m. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call (310) 247-3600.

McCambridge quote source: Mason Wiley and Damien Bona's Inside Oscar

'A Room with a View' Academy Screening: James Ivory Romance Classic

Possibly James Ivory's best film, A Room with a View boasts excellent production values, a literate screenplay (Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, from E.M. Forster's novel), several first-rate supporting performances (Maggie Smith, Denholm Elliott, and, surprisingly, Daniel Day-Lewis), and a dreamlike atmosphere of romance. The film's only drawback is the casting of the two inadequate leads, Helena Bonham-Carter and Julian Sands.

The duo might have become a black hole at the heart of the story, but Ivory's direction manages to circumvent that handicap. The director's touch, in fact, is just right: his film is neither cloying nor cold. Instead, A Room with a View exudes warmth mixed with a tinge of sadness for a world that's long since disappeared.

A Room with a View will have a special New York screening on Aug. 21. See below for details.

Press Release

New York, NY –  James Ivory, the three-time Oscar®-nominated director and one-half of the legendary Merchant Ivory production team, will be the special guest at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 20th anniversary screening of A Room with a View, on Monday, August 21, at 7 p.m. (earlier time) at the Academy Theater at Lighthouse International in New York City.

Hosted by film scholar Brian Rose, a professor in the Department of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University, this screening will be the first big-screen presentation of A Room with a View since its initial theatrical run in 1986.

Adapted from the E.M. Forster novel by two-time Academy Award® winner Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, A Room with a View is a romantic comedy that examines the class system of early 20th-century England. After a life-changing vacation in Florence, young Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter) finds herself in an emotional dilemma: Does she follow through with her engagement to dispassionate, snobbish, upper-class gentleman Cecil Vyse (Daniel Day-Lewis) or follow her heart and accept the loving advances of George Emerson (Julian Sands), a free-spirited, eccentric young man she met in Florence?

The film also stars Maggie Smith as chaperone Charlotte Bartlett and Denholm Elliott as Mr. Emerson.

In addition to a Directing nomination for Ivory, A Room with a View earned a total of eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture (Ismail Merchant, producer), Actor in a Supporting Role (Elliott), Actress in a Supporting Role (Smith) and Cinematography (Tony Pierce-Roberts).

The film won Oscars for Adapted Screenplay (Prawer Jhabvala), Art Direction (Gianni Quaranta, Brian Ackland-Snow; Set Decoration: Brian Savegar, Elio Altamura) and Costume Design (Jenny Beavan, John Bright).

Preceding the feature, the Academy will present Luxo Jr. (1986), the first computer-animated short film to receive an Academy Award nomination (John Lasseter and William Reeves).

“Monday Nights with Oscar” is a monthly series showcasing high-quality prints of films that have been nominated for or won Academy Awards.

The Academy Theater at Lighthouse International is located at 111 East 59th Street in New York City. Tickets for the screening are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID.

Tickets may be reserved by calling 1-888-778-7575. Depending on availability, tickets may be purchased the night of the screening. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.oscars.org/events.

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2 comments

GonzoHunter -

I JUST watched A Room With a View in the middle of last night on Encore (nice side benefit of insomnia). I had almost forgotten what an innocent, yet seductive, visually captivating film this is! It was a real treat seeing Bonham-Carter, Sands and yes, even Day-Lewis in their younger days. And Judi Dench (was she a Dame yet?) and “Poor Charlotte”, Maggie Smith, played of each other wonderfully. The most memorable character, besides the Florentine setting, is Denholm Elliot as George Emerson's doting father. Only he could have given such a pathetic rendering of the need to explain passion to those who abide by tradition. Daniel Day-Lewis is priceless as the effete fop, Cecil. Note a foretelling scene with Lucy, involving lighting a lamp and then watch “The Age of Innocence”. My, how he's grown; he now leaves lamp-lighting to the servants.

Note: Freddie, Lucy's brother…I just saw him in something recently (2009). Anyone know what? It's driving me nuts!

Reply
Mary Hustad -

A Room With A View is my favorite film of all time.
I have loved it since the first time I saw it.
I have seen it many times over the 20 years it has been around. I would very much like to write fan letters to actors in the movie.

Sincerely yours,
Mary

Reply

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