Mark at the Movies
It's pre-Oscar night at SteynOnline. We're celebrating Hollywood's Silent Star, and a great night for British-ish film. But here, from the Daily Telegraph corner of the Steyn archives, is my look back at some of the great Oscar speeches of years gone by . . .
Best Actor, 44BC
Friends, Romans, countrymen, Bob and Harvey at Miramax, Herb, Stock, Regis, Mira, Max and everyone at CAA; Cimber, Legarius, Trebonius and everyone at SPQR; my fellow artists Cassius, Cinna, you're all honourable guys, this is for you, you should be up here! Et tu, Brute! and your body double, Lucillius; my business partners Octavius and Lepidus - thanks for being there for me, guys; Portia, Calpurnica, Fluvia, Octavia, Cleopatra - where are you, Cleo? There she is - the woman I'm proud to call my partner, whose joy and life-affirming compassion and commitment and compassionate affirmation enrich my life with every moment we're not separated by filming commitments; my gay high-school drama teacher Cicero, one of the most beautiful gay men whose compassion and vision and sexuality have lifted me on the majestic glow of his gayness; all you plebeians out there - hey, thanks for coming to see the picture; our costume designer Flavius, for his vision and compassion and those goatskin thongs - love it! all the crowd at Sardis; our editor Casca - I love you, man, despite that most unkindest cut of all; Cleo's sisters Arsinoe and Cleopatra VI; her brother and husband Ptolemy XIII; her younger brother and second husband Ptolemy XIV; Ptolemy's dad, Ptolemy XII; Ptolemy XII's wife and sister Cleopatra V; their daughter Berenice; Berenice's husband, Archelaus; Ptolemy XIII's eunuch Pothinus - I've worked with a lot of eunuchs, but you're the greatest, man! my children Cleopatra Selene, Alexander Helios, Ptolemy Philadelphus and Scout Rumer - don't wait up for me, kids! Cleo's maids Charmion and Iras; Kermit the asp...
[Band plays "Arrivederci, Roma". Cut to commercials]
ST FRANCIS OF ASSISI
Presenter, Best Adapted Screenplay, 1220
Before I get to the nominations, I want to say a few words about something important to every man, woman and child on this planet. Birds. They sow not, neither do they reap, and yet God feedeth them. Ever thought of it like that? God loveth them much, seeing that he hath bestowed on them so many benefits. And yet even as we speak, birds are being subjected to horrendous human rights abuses in England, where beaters are specifically targeting them. Makes you think, doesn't it? There are one billion people watching tonight and I wonder, if we all just sat cross-legged on the floor for a minute and chanted, something miraculous and really kind of groovy could happen and we could all send lovely telepathic thoughts to Henry III, who's probably watching right now, that he might respect the liberty of every bird to fly about everywhere in his own raiment. Spread your tiny wings and fly away, little bird. Stop the killing, King Henry, and the cock-fighting.
[Band plays theme from The Birds]
Presenter, Best Supported Actor, 1990
And the nominees are . . . Michael Heseltine for Tarzan Returns and Margaret Thatcher for The Lady Vanishes. And the Oscar goes to . . . John Major in Forrest Gump? Oh, my God, I don't believe it. You don't like me! You really don't like me!
[Band plays theme from Shaft]
Accepting on behalf of the Best Foreign Short winner, 1938
I have here a piece of paper from Herr Hitler, who's unable to be with us tonight due to a shooting commitment in Czechoslovakia. It says:
Meine Damen und Herren, I thank all the Hollywood Jew propagandists for giving me this award, which I accept on behalf of the Sudeten Germans, who are groaning under the shackles of Versailles. I want also to thank all of you who are wearing the red Sudeten Awareness ribbons, but 100 fools do not make one wise man and it will be through the power of my will alone that the German nation will be united and rise as one to shake the world! Thank you and goodnight.
You know what this means, don't you? Peace for our time. Go home and get a nice quiet sleep.
[Band plays "All You Need Is Love"]
Best Director, 1863
Four score and seven years ago, my movie went into development at Paramount. I'd like to thank the brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, but there's way too many to mention. And, let's face it, the world will little note nor long remember them. But I gotta tell you, is this a great night or what? Who says you can't fool all the people all of the time? I'm the king of the world!!
But, to be serious for a minute, I'd like us all - all one billion of us - to bow our heads in prayer and pause for a few moments to remember these honoured dead from whom we take increased devotion to that cause.
Okay, that's enough, people! What a night! I'm the greatest!! Now let's paaaaaaarty!!!
[Band plays "Another Op'nin', Another Show]"
Host of the record-breaking six-and-a-half-hour 1653 Academy Awards
Ladies and gentlemen, you have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go! Thank you! God bless! I love you!
[Band plays "Hooray For Hollywood!" Roll credits]
from The Daily Telegraph, March 24th 2001
from The Daily Telegraph, March 1, 2014
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John Barry was a versatile musician of prodigious talent who in a half-century career worked in pop music, film and theatre. But, if he'd never done anything else, he'd have a claim on posterity as the man who singlehandedly created the instantly recognizable sound of big-screen spy music.
He was born 80 years ago - on November 3rd 1933, in Yorkshire, where his dad owned the local cinema. To mark what would have been his 80th birthday, here's an encore presentation of Mark's audio salute to John, and the man he musicalized for a quarter-century, the only spy with his own song catalogue, James Bond.
To mark the release of Skyfall, our James Bond celebration continues with a look at 007 on the printed page, and his creator, Ian Fleming.
The SteynOnline Friday Feature, our weekly movie column, is on hiatus for a while, but keep an eye on our bookstore for a forthcoming anthology of Mark's movie writing. In the meantime, here's an essay on the 1990s mini-revival of the defining genre of the 1970s, which you can find in the book Mark Steyn From Head To Toe: IF ANY SCENE sums up the disaster-movie genre it's Shelley Winters swimming underwater through a flooded corridor in The Poseidon Adventure, her cheeks puffed out like a ...
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