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Dateline: Hollywood, California.
Tinseltown readies itself for its grandest of nights -
the Academy Awards.
This year's Oscars promises to be an absolute nail-biter
between favourites Lawrence Of Arabia and The Music Man.
But the real trouble in River City,
and the race everyone is talking about,
is the contest to see who will be crowned Best Actress.
Here's icy beauty Lee Remick,
nominated for her turn as Jack Lemmon's boozy bride.
Skipping the wine and sticking to roses, Lee?
Kooky Anne Bancroft,
who brought her inimitable Annie Sullivan to the screen
in Arthur Penn's The Miracle Worker,
will be working a miracle herself
to make the curtain in her latest Broadway triumph.
Golden Globe winner Geraldine Page out walking her pooch.
Will Oscar follow the Globe's lead
and give Tennessee Williams' latest muse
Hollywood's highest honour?
With her ninth nomination, screen legend Katharine Hepburn
will not be making a Long Day's Journey
to the West Coast this year,
as she plans once again to sit out the festivities
in her Connecticut hideaway.
But all the Vegas odds-makers
say the smart money is on Bette Davis.
It's an honour just to be nominated...again.
Miss Davis, do you have any comment on the Academy
snubbing your co-star, Joan Crawford?
One thing's for sure, no matter who wins, history will be made
in three weeks when Frank Sinatra hosts the 35th Academy Awards.
The 1963 Oscars.
I have to say that's when things took such an ugly turn.
Not that everything was
sunshine and lollipops up until then,
but it was the Academy Awards that year
when it became the point of no return
for both Bette and Joan.
I truly believed that the ladies
would put aside their natural personal enmity,
but there were so many people who profited
from them being at each other's throats.
The studio, the publicity people,
and of course, the columnists.
I know first-hand.
Unscrupulous reporters did everything they could to sow hatred
between myself and my own sister.
The actress Joan Fontaine is your younger sister.
Well, she's not that much younger, but, yes.
So there is no feud between you two?
A feud implies continuing hostile conduct
between two parties.
I can't remember an instance
where I instigated hostile behaviour.
You refused to speak to her backstage after your 1947 Oscar win.
You're referring to that photo of me in Photoplay magazine.
I wasn't turning my back on my sister in that photo.
I just didn't see that she was there.
It's hard to imagine
the pressure the Academy Awards puts on one.
Which brings us back to Bette and the other Joan.
Well, it all started, I remember, with the nominations.
And understandably, Joan was hurt,
because she was snubbed.
Unfortunately, dear Bette wasn't about to offer her any solace.
But Joan, being a fighter,
wasn't about to let one tiny detail
like not being nominated push her out of the limelight.
The very day of the nominations,
Joan marched herself down to the Motion Picture Academy
and demanded to see Mr Wendell Corey,
the President of the Academy.
Mr Corey, Joan Crawford's headed this way and she's not slowing down.
Joan, I can promise you, the vote tally is beyond reproach.
The people at Price Waterhouse are honest to a fault.
Wendell, I'm confident under your stewardship
that everything here at the Academy is above board.
I wish all the worthy nominees good luck and Godspeed.
I'm here to offer my services.
As it turns out, I'm available to present this year.
Either Best Picture or Best Director.
You decide which.
Oh, well, that's...
That's very generous.
Of course I'm going to require a few things.
I'd appreciate it if the Academy could pay for my hair and make-up.
And, of course, provide a car and chauffeur.
Well, we don't do that for presenters.
You will for me.
I believe if Bette had said to even one reporter
that she regretted Joan not getting a nod,
all that unpleasantness would have gone away.
She came across as cold
and unsympathetic to some,
but really she was nervous.
Bonsoir. I have a person-to-person call
for Mademoiselle de Havilland from Mademoiselle Davis.
Oh. Yes, of course, operator.
Livvie. I have no idea what time it is there. Did I wake you?
No, not at all. I was just reading what passes as a script
for a new movie they've offered me.
Anything in it for me?
Not unless you want to play a wino or a hoodlum.
The title alone makes me want to shudder.
Lady In A Cage.
-Just sounds so awful.
Awful! And if you don't snap it up, I will.
I doubt very much indeed that it will bring you your fourth Oscar.
-Don't jinx me, I haven't won the third one yet.
In only a few weeks' time, too.
You know I'll be pulling for you.
Pulling for me? You're going to be sitting right next to me.
Oh, you can't really expect me to travel all that way
for an award show.
You bet your ass I can.
Oh, Livvie, you have no idea what they've been saying
about me in the press.
About you and Joan, you mean?
-Christ, is it in the French papers, too?
-In any language, all they want
is a catfight.
-You have to stop giving it to them.
I should be kinder, I want to be,
but she sets me off.
I know the impulse well.
But two words -
Easy for you to say. My Joan is FAR worse than your Joan.
You know what my bitch sister has taken to telling the press?
That I broke her collarbone when we were children.
Can you imagine?
And the press...just gobbles it up.
Livvie, you have to come.
The goddamn Hollywood press, they won't be able to say shit about me
if there's another woman of comparable stature supporting me.
Comparable to Joan's stature, you mean.
What else would I mean?
-LIV IN VOICEOVER:
-Bette was never easy.
But I know she respects me.
We both have two Oscars, and she knew that winning another one
didn't matter that much to me,
so I wasn't competition to her, I suppose.
I was never a threat.
In her mind, I was always Melanie Wilkes
to her Scarlett O'Hara.
Of course, I really was Melanie Wilkes.
Her third Oscar.
You always did stink at math, Joanie, not a third Oscar.
Her tenth nomination, her eighth loss.
That's the way you got to think of it.
But she is the odds-on favourite.
Well, that's because this town loves nothing more
than to bestow titles. And they're just itching
to give that old nag the triple crown.
But we're going to see she doesn't get it.
There are, as of now, 655 Academy members
in your peer group that'll be casting a vote for Best Actress.
We just have to get to, say, a hundred of them,
and we can tip this thing.
You mean actually lobby the Academy members
-to vote against her?
Well, because it will be seen as sour grapes on my part.
And that's why you have to stay squeaky clean.
You let me poison the well.
You're gonna serve up nothing but rainbows and moonbeams.
Get out your phone book.
We're gonna play a little game I learned from Jack Webb -
"Good cop, bad cop."
I'll put the word out on Davis.
You plump up the other nominees.
Well, who do you think is her closest competition?
Well, they're not gonna give it to that buzzard Hepburn.
She's never once showed up to the ceremony.
I'll bad-mouth her a little bit, too. Her and those slacks.
Remick's no threat, they all still think of her
as a television actress.
Push for Page or Bancroft.
Lean on the "Hollywood reaches out to Broadway" angle.
One of them gets it, it'll sting her even more.
You hate her more than I do.
I find her vulgar.
Besides, she thinks we're all hypocrites.
Aren't we, though, Hedda?
Well, of course we are,
but I'm not gonna be judged for it, not by her.
Hypocrisy is the tribute vice must pay to virtue.
You've always understood that.
She never has.
The only reason the rest of the country allows this Babylon
to stay standing is because it believes we have a conscience.
And for 30 years, I have been that conscience.
And I gave up everything for it.
My career as an actress, my marriage,
my dream of having many children.
What has she sacrificed? Nothing.
Well, then, let's make some calls.
Chuck, it's Hedda.
I just had to call and say how much I loved you in El Cid,
how I adore a man in a leather skirt.
Oh, why, thank you, Doris. That's very sweet of you.
But I really wasn't expecting one this year.
Oh, but I was thrilled to see Geraldine Page get nominated
Yes, a concussion. She kicked her right in the head twice.
Joan would have been well within her rights
to file assault charges.
Well, I was lucky enough to see Miss Bancroft play it onstage.
And do you know, Loretta,
her Annie Sullivan seemed even more blind on screen?
Why should she have three?
You know, the one they gave her for Dangerous she uses as a doorstop?
Mm. Her bathroom. Can you believe it?
That poor Oscar has to watch that woman go to the toilet.
No, Anne Bancroft is absolutely brilliant.
Love to you, Cary.
It's no use.
-What are you talking about?
-It's a fool's errand.
She's already won.
-No, I don't mean today or on Oscar night.
I have been in competition
with that goddamn woman my entire career.
A constant battle.
For men, for roles, for magazine covers.
And I don't know why.
I was the bigger star.
My leading men were more attractive.
My pictures made more money.
And yet I was always made to feel inferior.
After years of working so hard to be
an ambassador for Hollywood, to be part of this community,
while she gives the industry the finger
from her mouldy home in Connecticut.
And yet, when presented with the opportunity,
they nominate her...instead of me.
It's so fucking humiliating.
I think you've had enough of that iced tea.
No, I mean it, Hedda.
Something inside me broke when they announced those nominations.
Not because I was counting on it
or because I hoped that it would ensure
a few more precious years of work.
It was beyond that.
Whatever self-confidence I had left was gone.
She leeched it out of me!
Oh, God, I can't believe I said I would present at those awards.
I don't know what I was thinking. I can't go to that awards show.
I can't show my face any more.
Joan, you are going to those awards.
We can get you your self-confidence back.
-I don't see how.
-I'll tell you how.
She may have been the one who was nominated,
but as God as my witness,
that woman is not going to walk off that stage
with the Oscar for Best Actress,
because you are.
JAZZ PLAYING, PHONE RINGS
Well, gee, don't get up or anything.
Is this Miss Geraldine Page?
It is. Rip, turn that down.
I can't hear.
This is Joan Crawford, dear,
calling from Hollywood, California.
-It's Joan fucking Crawford.
Miss Crawford, how may I help you?
I just want to say right up front that I was not upset.
Upset? Why would you be upset?
With the performance you were nominated for
in Sweet Bird Of Youth.
The faded movie queen swanning about.
Oh, I think we all know who that was based on, dear.
Oh, no, Miss Crawford.
Mr Williams created that role. I was just...
No, I was flattered, Gerry.
Really, I was.
You got it so close to perfect.
Although I would never date a man under 40.
Not enough money to keep this lady happy.
What does she want?
Was there something you needed, Miss Crawford?
No, I just wanted to say congratulations, Gerry.
I mean, with so many wonderful performances this year
and only five nominations,
I was so glad to see you get recognised.
-Can you believe it's only two weeks away?
-And I haven't even cut out potatoes yet.
Those television cameras are many times more punishing
than the motion picture cameras.
Who's doing your gown?
My gown? I hadn't really thought about my gown.
Well, of course, you have many fine options out there in New York.
But you want to be fitted here the day of.
May I suggest Edith Head?
Really, there's no-one better, dear.
I could speak to her for you, and then, if you like,
I could personally help you select your jewels.
That is awfully generous of you, Miss Crawford, really,
but I think I'm gonna try and keep it simple.
Don't forget, Gerry.
You're representing Hollywood.
I mean, this broadcast will be seen all over the world.
People depend on us to brighten their ordinary lives
with a little glamour.
Well, if their lives depend on my glamour,
I've got some bad news for them.
Well...it really is too stressful, isn't it, dear?
Lord knows the year I was nominated for Mildred Pierce,
I was too nervous to attend.
No, I stayed home and faked pneumonia.
And do you know what?
They brought the Oscar to me.
And in a way, it was more intimate, more of an honour.
Is that what you think I should do?
Well, I could accept it for you.
It's just down the road from me, and I have to be there anyway.
I'll say lovely things and you can watch from the comfort
of your New York one-bedroom.
Sure, Miss Crawford.
You are welcome to accept the award on my behalf.
Well, if that's what you want.
Just send me a list of people to thank.
Let's try to keep it to three names.
Short and sweet, in my opinion, is the best.
I will do that.
All my love to you, Gerry.
JOAN HANGS UP
I'm not going to make you put on a tux this year.
You're actually gonna let that high-strung show pony
represent you at the Oscars?
Well, she needs it.
Hollywood should be forced to look at what they've done to her.
Annie...you have a visitor.
Joan Crawford caught the performance?
-Sure. Pull the other one, Lydia.
She's right outside the door.
Well, hell, show her in.
Miss Crawford. What an honour.
I just had to pop back
and tell you what an astonishing performance you gave tonight,
and to a half-empty house. That really is dedication.
Well, thank you.
You theatre gals.
I don't know how you do it.
Night after night, weekends,
Oh, it must be terribly taxing on your voice.
I drink a lot of tea.
I was so looking forward to seeing you next week
at the Academy Awards,
but I read in Dorothy Kilgallen's column that you won't be attending?
I'm afraid not. I can't.
I'd have to miss three performances, and I just couldn't do that
to the people who paid to see the show.
It's either the work or the reward, you know.
So you're not mad at our little movie colony?
I know they gave that Shirley MacLaine
your part in Two For The Seesaw.
Well, I heard that movie stank.
-To high heaven.
Can I offer you a drink?
No, no, no, no. Please, let me get it.
I also understand that you have requested
young Patty Duke to accept your prize should you win.
Yeah, but because she's nominated, too,
the Academy put the kibosh on that idea.
Well, that seems silly.
It's probably for the best, though.
What if I were to win for Best Actress
and Patty lost for Supporting?
I'd hate to put the kid through that.
But, between you and me, I think she's going to win.
Yes, I think she is, too.
And my sixth sense tells me
that you're going to win also.
Wouldn't that be something?
Yes, it certainly would.
The blind leading the blind.
..did you fly all the way here to ask
if you could accept my award for me?
No. No, but I certainly would be happy to...
But would it make you happy?
Well, then I really hope I do win.
I'd be honoured to have someone of your stature
accept on my behalf.
I'm sorry. I really must go now.
I have a dinner engagement in an hour.
-It was lovely to meet you, Miss Crawford.
-Yes, and you, too.
Davis may have had the flashier role,
but you made that movie work.
I really admired what you did.
Good. The jewels and the gown have been approved by Miss Crawford.
You know where to carefully lay them out.
Upstairs. She just woke up.
Move, move, move. Do not speak, just work.
That goes for everyone here.
Do not address Miss Crawford unless she speaks to you first.
And pick up the pace.
It is Oscar day.
"Dearest Bette, good luck tonight. You deserve to win.
"Bette, take home the gold. We are so proud of you.
"Ronnie and Nancy Reagan."
You're a shoo-in to win, Miss Davis.
Everybody thinks so.
So it seems.
Edith Head gave me this idea. Everything in silver.
Like a silver Oscar.
I think silver's so much more elegant than gold, don't you?
Did you know Edith already has seven Oscars?
-And you have two?
OK, time to go.
How do I look?
You look beautiful.
Like the first frost of fall.
Like Sonja Henie in one of those... winter wonderland skating pictures.
Mr Cukor, will you do the honours?
You are one of my oldest friends.
We have known each other for 40 years,
and I have never bullshitted you.
Now, there's something I want to say to you,
and you need to listen.
Don't do this.
Try and take it from her.
It'll be seen in all quarters for exactly what it is -
a petty act of revenge from a woman scorned.
If she doesn't win, you'll get bad press.
Better than no press.
These people will never work with you again.
Joanie, you're bigger than this.
No, I'm not.
Christ, you always look better than me.
Let's get one there.
Our chariot awaits.
Bette, what happened to this one?
Did all the gold plating fall off?
Rubbed off, you mean.
Every night when I watch television in bed, I hold it.
He's the perfect companion.
He doesn't talk back. He listens.
when I need it,
he reminds me of that perfect night
when I won him...
and the whole world...
..stood up and cheered.
And I was loved.
God, that's sad.
as a woman heading toward her second divorce,
I get it.
I get it completely.
Let me visit the powder room
and we'll be on our way.
Wait up for me, boys.
Tonight I'm bringing you home a baby brother.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presents
its 35th annual achievement awards.
These people, like most of us, are movie fans.
They've come from all over the country,
here to the Pacific Auditorium in Santa Monica, California,
to get a glimpse of their favourite movie actors,
as the most famous faces in the world
arrive to attend Oscar's coming out party.
Look, there's Jack Lord of Stoney Burke.
Eva Marie Saint.
There's little Patty Duke.
There's Lee Remick with husband Bill Colleran.
There's Bob Stack and Mrs Stack.
And Gregory Peck, a nominee for his work this year
as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird.
And there's Miss Bette Davis,
nominated tonight for her performance
in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Miss de Havilland, is it true you flew out
from Paris to present the award for Best Picture?
I will present that award, but I travelled here
to be with my dear friend, Bette.
I'm here to see her be the first actress to win three Oscars.
She's the greatest.
And the industry owes her this.
What do you say to that, Miss Davis?
I'm not ashamed to admit I want this.
There's screen legend Joan Crawford.
She'll be presenting the Oscar tonight for Best Director.
Miss Crawford, Miss Crawford.
Your Baby Jane co-star, Bette Davis,
is nominated for Best Actress tonight.
Who did you vote for?
Set the cold cuts right there
on that table.
Get that vodka open for the guests.
-What about the centrepiece?
-Just move it.
Stan, how lovely to see you.
How are Judy and the children?
Miss Crawford, I'm sorry, but you cannot
turn the green room into your own private party.
It's against Academy bylaws.
Have a lovely evening.
Mamacita, touch up.
Now, the nominees for Best Achievement
in Art Direction for a Colour Production are...
Oh, Jesus Christ, this night.
What a fool, to care about anything this much
or want anything this much.
Hey, Bette, sit down.
..Meredith Willson's Music Man...
Look at me.
..Art direction by Paul Groesse...
Take a breath.
You are going to win.
The crown is yours.
And so is the record.
What did I ever do to deserve you?
When we were young,
you were one of the first to make me feel
I was more than a pretty face.
You showed me how to fight.
And, boy, did you fight for me at the beginning of my career.
And now here you are,
fighting for me at the end of mine.
Oh, don't be so maudlin.
Here we are at the top of Mount Olympus,
and all you want to do is jump off.
This is supposed to be a celebration.
Well, then, where's the booze?
I think Frank must've drunk it all.
Come on, then. Let's go to the green room
and get ourselves some proper swamp water.
You don't want to go there.
an Oscar winner at 17.
The only way to go is down.
So, then, you are the youngest Academy Award winner
in history, is that right?
That's what they tell me.
-What's your pup's name?
She's my good luck charm.
Well, I'll say.
You know, dear,
it isn't ladylike
to bring a pet to the Academy Awards.
is France for Sundays and Cybele.
Miss Crawford? Your category is next.
Best Director? You're presenting?
Oh, yes. Thank you.
Right this way.
How much longer till my category?
About ten minutes.
The nominees for Best Achievement in Directing are:
Frank Perry for David and Lisa,
Pietro Germi for Divorce Italian Style,
David Lean for Lawrence of Arabia,
Arthur Penn for The Miracle Worker,
and Robert Mulligan for To Kill a Mockingbird.
Lawrence of Arabia.
God bless you.
This limey is deeply touched and greatly honoured.
Excuse me, Miss Crawford, where should I go?
Cue Mr Sinatra.
Here is the magnificently versatile Miss Bette Davis...
Hello, how are you?
The nominees for Best Story and Screenplay...
Ben, nice to see you.
..written directly for the Screen
are story and screenplay by Ennio De Concini...
..Stanley Shapiro and Nate Monaster
for That Touch of Mink.
Story and screenplay by Ingmar Bergman
for Through a Glass Darkly.
The envelope, please.
You're right in there.
-The winner is...
-Mr Lean, over here. Congratulations.
..those three difficult Italian names,
Divorce Italian Style.
The next award will be for the Best Actress.
And I am pleased to announce that, this year,
in addition to the Oscar, the winning actress
will also receive three glorious days
at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas.
To make the presentation is last year's winner for this,
his provocative performance in Judgment at Nuremberg,
ladies and gentlemen, Mr Maximilian Schell.
The nominees for Best Performance by an Actress are...
Anne Bancroft in The Miracle Worker,
Bette Davis in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane,
Katherine Hepburn, Long Day's Journey into Night,
Geraldine Page for Sweet Bird of Youth...
and Lee Remick for Days of Wine and Roses.
And the winner is...
for The Miracle Worker.
Accepting for Anne Bancroft...
-Miss Joan Crawford.
Miss Bancroft said, "Here's my little speech, dear Joan."
Quote: "There are three reasons why I deserve this award:
"Arthur Penn, Bill Gibson, and Fred Coe."
Miss Crawford. Beautiful, beautiful, that's great.
Fantastic. One more over here, Miss Crawford.
Beautiful, that's great. One more...
Oh, your hair looks great.
would you mind a picture with the other winners?
Of course not, dear.
Mr Peck. Mr Peck, over here.
Ladies and gentlemen of the press,
I can't believe it.
I just cannot believe it.
I'm in utter shock.
Double-fisting it, Bette?
No, John, these are not both for me.
This one is mine, and this one is to throw
in Crawford's face the next time I see her.
Could have made history.
Coulda, woulda, shoulda.
You still can.
In what part? In what picture?!
I just thought for a moment...
that I was back in the game.