Showing posts with label Oscars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Oscars. Show all posts

Saturday, February 25, 2017

11 Things About Vivien Leigh & the Oscars

Vivien Leigh took home two Best Actress Oscars; one in 1940 and one in 1952. Here's a list of 11 things about Vivien Leigh and the Oscars.

1. Vivien Leigh, a British actress, won both Oscars for her portrayal of Southern women. She earned her first Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind. She earned her second Oscar as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Vivien as Scarlett in Gone With the Wind
2. Vivien won both of her Oscars during leap years, 1940 and 1952.

3. She was the first British actress to win an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Vivien and Oscar, 1940
4. Vivien knew in advance that she had won for her portrayal of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind. The names of the winners were released the day before the ceremony to the newspapers. The LA Times ran the winners' names the day of the ceremony, instead of the day after.

5. According to Laurence Olivier's son, Tarquin, Olivier experienced a little bit of jealousy over her win and his loss (for Best Actor for Wuthering Heights):  On their way home, he grabbed her Oscar and 'It was all I could do to restrain myself from hitting her with it. I was insane with jealousy.' (1)

Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier
 6. Vivien wasn't able to attend the 1952 Academy Awards. She was appearing onstage in New York, as Cleopatra, in dual plays. She heard her name announced as the winner, via the radio, in her dressing room at the Ziegfield Theater.

Vivien dressed as Cleopatra, March 1952
7. Greer Garson accepted the Best Actress Award, for A Streetcar Named Desire, on Vivien's behalf, at the 1952 award ceremony. Greer: It's an honor and a thrill to accept this for you, Vivien. I hope you're listening in New York We're all very excited about it. God bless you and congratulations. I know she'd want to thank you if she were here herself. (2)


Bette Davis, George Sanders, Karl Malden (Best Supporting Actor), Greer Garson and Humphrey Bogart (Best Actor)
Vivien's co-star in A Streetcar Named Desire, Kim Hunter, also didn't attend the ceremony. Bette Davis accepted on her behalf.

8. Harry Cohn presented Vivien's Oscar to her later that year in London.

Vivien Leigh and Harry Cohn
9. In March 1953, Vivien arrived in Hollywood, from Sri Lanka, to continue filming Elephant Walk. While there, she planned on attending the 1953 Oscars and was scheduled to present the Best Actor Oscar. Her chosen dress for the evening was a stunning, ivory satin gown. Unfortunately, she wasn't able to attend due to a mental illness breakdown and had to return to London for treatment.

10. While Vivien was recovering from her breakdown and Olivier was in Italy, making a movie, thieves broke into their London home, Durham Cottage. They stole her Oscar for A Streetcar Named Desire, along with silverware and clothing.

Vivien as Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire
11. In 1993, Vivien's daughter, Suzanne Farrington, sold some of her mother's things at a Sotheby's auction. One of the items placed on the block, was the Oscar Vivien had won for Gone With the Wind. The high bidder paid $510,000 for the statuette, which was the highest amount paid for an Oscar, at that time.


1. My Father Laurence Olivier by Tarquin Olivier, page 86
2. 1952 Oscars' video of Greer Garson accepting award

Friday, February 12, 2016

Fashion Friday #9: The 12th Annual Academy Awards

The 12th Annual Academy Awards were held on February 29th, 1940. A who's who of Hollywood gathered together to watch their peers receive recognition for their work in 1939. Bob Hope played Master of Ceremonies for the night, which saw Gone With the Wind sweep the awards.

Vivien Leigh arrived for the ceremony with David Selznick, Laurence Olivier, Olivia de Havilland and Jock Whitney. Both Vivien and Olivia chose to wear ermine coats over their Oscar dresses: Vivien went with a floor length coat, while Olivia chose to wear a shorter, cropped version.


Beneath her fur coat, Vivien wore a stunning, floor-length gown by Irene. Irene Lentz was a fashion designer, whose salon was located inside the Bullocks-Wilshire department store. In addition to designing costumes for the movies, Irene also designed for private customers, which included many of Hollywood's top stars such as Carole Lombard, Marlene Dietrich, Claudette Colbert and Loretta Young.


In the fall of 1939, Irene held a fashion show for one of her collections. The gown Vivien chose for the Oscars was listed as item number fourteen with the simple description of red poppy evening gown. The green printed chiffon dress featured the aforementioned red poppies with hints of yellow, gray and blue mixed into the gown's color palette. Vivien won the Best Actress Oscar for her role of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind.


Vivien's chiffon gown featured spaghetti straps, side cut-outs and a low-cut bodice. Her topaz pendant, set in yellow gold, hung from a slender chain around her neck, drawing attention to the deep V of the dress. Vivien chose costume jewelry to complete her look, a bracelet and large ring, to match the tone set by the pendant.


Olivia de Havilland, a nominee for Best Supporting Actress, wore a cropped ermine jacket over her floor-length evening gown. Unfortunately, as with the Atlanta and Hollywood Gone With the Wind premieres, I wasn't able to find a full length image of Olivia in her gown.


Laurence Olivier gives her a helping hand as she makes her way up the stairs and we can see the bottom half of her dress. Olivia's gown featured alternating bands of black lace and black taffeta, from her bow-topped bodice to the bottom of her wide skirt.


Hattie McDaniel arrived wearing a short fur jacket over her gown, which she highlighted with a gorgeous corsage of gardenias. She chose to wear a blue crepe gown for the night's festivities, which featured a long-sleeved, cropped jacket over her shirred bodice, with a cummerbund setting off the long skirt. Gardenias and a headband adorned her hair as she took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.




Joan Bennett arrived in a white crepe evening gown on the arm of her new husband, Walter Wanger, a nominee for Outstanding Production for the movie, Stagecoach. Joan's long-sleeved gown featured a plunging neckline, which she highlighted with an emerald brooch set within a circle of diamonds and a pearl necklace. One of the biggest fashion trends of 1940, for ladies, were turbans. Joan embraced this latest fad by elegantly swathing her hair in white crepe, which matched her dress.


Though Bette Davis had already heard she wasn't going to be the night's winner for Best Actress for Dark Victory, she still showed up dressed to kill. Her escort for the night was her cousin, Johnny Favour.




Bette's black, sheer net dress came with long-sleeves and a floor-length, full skirt. Her fitted bodice featured multi-colored sequins in a very decorative motif. Her dress may have been designed by Orry-Kelly,  the fashion designer for Warner Brothers.


Hedy Lamarr arrived with her husband, Gene Markey, in a long, black wool, evening cape, gorgeously studded with sequins across the shoulders, achieving a capelet effect.



The above studio portrait gives us a close-up of Hedy in her black cape, showing off the beaded design. Beneath the cape, Hedy wore a pinkish colored, long-sleeved satin gown with a fitted bodice. The dress featured a design of black velvet applique and front buttons.


Judy Garland took home a special Oscar for her outstanding performance as a screen juvenile during the past year and received a miniature statuette. I love the clasps on her fur jacket.


She wore a short-sleeved dress of blue chiffon, with a long skirt ribbed with bands of matching blue lace. She completed her look with elbow-length gloves and a corsage. Judy performed what many people think of today as her feature song, Over the Rainbow, from The Wizard of Oz.


Norma Shearer's strapless gown was designed by Balenciaga, which according to one source, had been specifically made for her while on a trip to Paris. The princess cut dress of blue satin featured an embroidered design from top to bottom and a corseted waist. Norma's jewelry consisted of a diamond necklace and several diamond bracelets on her left wrist. Her date for the evening was the handsome George Raft.


What's fun to note is that this is the same evening dress she wore just two months earlier to the Hollywood premiere of Gone With the Wind. Go, Norma! I can't imagine any of today's actresses wearing the same dress to two high profile events within months of each other.

Norma Shearer and George Raft at the GWTW premiere.

Thanks for joining me for today's Fashion Friday post!