Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ray's Oscar Night

"After announcing the names of the five nominees, she [Ingrid Bergman] turned to the man from Price Waterhouse, held out her hand and said, "And now, the envelope, please!" Quickly she tore it open and unfolded the sheet that held the name. A great bit grin appeared on her face. Like a blow to the heart I knew I hadn't won. She was smiling and I'd never even met her. It had to be one of the other four. Then dimly, I heard the words, "Are you nervous, Mr. Milland? It's all yours!"

In the applause that followed I just sat there. I never thought to move until I felt Mal's elbow in my ribs, a blow which I still feel to this day when it's raining. My dear one hissed, "Get up there, sweetheart! Get up there! It's you! It's you!"

I don't remember much of what happened after that. Everything was a jumble of handshakes, microphones, people with notebooks and pencils, and flashing camera bulbs. It was almost midnight before we could get to our car and pull away from the theater and head toward the Restaurant La Rue, which Paramount had taken over in anticipation of winning a few Awards. By God, they were right. The picture [The Lost Weekend] carried off four Awards. Otherwise it would have been a wake.

I thought of the sixteen years since I had first seen Sunset Boulevard, in 1930, when all I had was curiosity and not much purpose, when the world seemed one big candy box, and suddenly I hit the chauffeur on the shoulder and told him to go out on Sunset to the bridlepath and stop near Hillcrest. We could come back to La Rue's later.

"But, darling," cried my wife, "You mustn't. They're all waiting for you back there!"

"It's all right, dear," I replied. "There's something I want to do first. It'll only take a couple of minutes."

When the car stopped at Hillcrest I got out, and with the golden Oscar in my hand, I walked to the edge of Sunset and looked down at the lights. They seemed very bright that night. After a few moments I quietly said, "Mr Novarro. Tonight they belong to me!"

From Ray's autobiography Wide-Eyed in Babylon


la peregrina said...

Carrie, that was a nice read, thanks for putting it up.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, thanks for putting that up - what a beautiful anecdote, and yes, Ray's Oscar was very much well deserved! :D

Carrie said...

Glad it was of interest!