Magazine article American Cinematographer

The 46th Annual Academy Awards Presentation

Magazine article American Cinematographer

The 46th Annual Academy Awards Presentation

Article excerpt

* On the night of April 2, 1974, an estimated 76,000,000 television viewers throughout the United States gathered expectantly in front of their receivers to watch the telecast, over the NBC Television Network, of Hollywood's Big Night-that night on which the artists and artisans of the motion picture industry gather annually to honor their own. * In addition to its beaming to the millions in America, the 46th ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS PRESENTATION was made available live or on a delayed broadcast basis in 17 locales outside the continental United States. The ceremonies, which took place in the plush Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Los Angeles Music Center, were carried live by Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and St. Thomas. Delayed-basis telecasts were seen in Colombia, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, New Zealand, Spain, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Peru. Also, the show was transmitted to United States servicemen stationed in foreign lands via Armed Forces Television Stations.

As always, it was a gala occasion. The great, near-great and would-be great of Hollywood turned out in all their finery to honor their peers in the industry. As they walked down the red carpet toward the classic auditorium, thousands of fans, many of whom had been waiting in the bleachers since dawn, cheered and applauded their favorites of the silver screen.

The lavishly staged Awards Presentation program lasted more than three hours (the longest ever) and was highlighted by ambitious musical production numbers, film clips from pictures and the extra-curricular performance of a "streaker", who enlivened that portion of the program considerably and managed to unnerve the usually unflappable Elizabeth Taylor.

Outside the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, star-struck fans had been gathering since dawn and the 3,000 bleacher seats were filled hours before the event, with several hundred more people thronging the sidewalk across the street. The usually glamorous aspect of the scene outside the auditorium (due mainly to the lighting that is used) was absent this year because Daylight Saving Time, necessitated by the energy crisis, resulted in most of the preliminary festivities taking place in daylight.

Still, the sidewalk show had its funny moments, thanks to two ladies of the screen who are noted for talents other than their acting ability. Linda Lovelace, she of the deep throat, caused the greatest furor when she rode up in a horse-drawn carriage and emerged clad from top to toe in virginal white lace. Running her a close second for fan hysteria was Edy Williams in a leopard-skin bikini, leading a Great Dane.

Inside the auditorium, the show, produced by Jack Haley, Jr. and directed by Marty Pasetta, led off with an original musical extravaganza, "The Oscar", choreographed by Ron Field and starring Liza Minnelli.

The four hosts for the show were Burt Reynolds (who was very funny). Diana Ross, David Niven (oozing charm from every pore) and John Huston.

Film figured prominently in the staging. There were clips from the work of those nominated for acting honors and a very funny and nostalgic montage of Oscar winners of the past picking up their awards.

The highlight of the evening was the appearance on stage of that elusive Great Lady of the screen, Katharine Hepburn. She had never before appeared at an Academy Awards Presentation, though nominated many times and the winner of three Oscars as "Best Actress". Her charming speech in presenting the coveted Irving Thalberg Award to producer Lawrence Weingarten brought the audience to its feet in a loud and heartfelt ovation.

The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, voted by the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and presented to an industry member "whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry", is named after the late Jean Hersholt-actor, humanitarian and past president of the Academy. …

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