Two Oscar winners declared, “This is the best awards show I’ve ever been to.”
Those two—known for playing Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Frau Blucher in Young Frankenstein—were attending the 16th annual International Press Academy awards show held at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Sunday night—where domestic and foreign entertainment journalists hand out awards for excellence in movies, TV, games and DVDs.
The show ended up with heckling from the audience—including the correct pronunciations of nominees as they were being read out—some personal confessions, and some Hollywood secrets revealed.
Cloris Leachman (Frau Blucher) made snoring sounds during the video tribute for director Peter Bogdanovich, who directed her Academy Award winning role for The Last Picture Show. Her co-star Timothy Bottoms gave her a long deep kiss on stage and he said, “I learned that from you in the movie.” Then, when reading the tribute, Leachman stopped and said, “Can we read this a little faster? I’m getting hungry.”
Later, Louise Fletcher (Nurse Ratched) took the stage and declared, “This is the best awards show I’ve ever been to. It’s crazy!”
This lesser-known awards show is made up of more than 100 journalists and is usually not a predictor of Oscar or Emmy wins, but the show is turning into a bit of a wild party, like the Golden Globes of a decade ago.
Mitzi Gaynor, who was presented the Mary Pickford Award for artistic contribution to the entertainment industry, pointed to her nose and confessed, “A nose like this could not be made by God.”
Gaynor also confessed that she went to an audition and said she was 18 (“I was really 20”) and met Mary Pickford. “She told me she saw me in Golden Girls and … and said ‘You have a long career ahead of you’ … and now I’m getting this award named after her,” Gaynor said breaking down in tears.
In a retrospective video clip, Gaynor’s role in South Pacific was featured and Leachman shouted, “Mitzi, I did South Pacific on Broadway and I saw you in the movie. I was better!”
Carl Reiner said one of the deciding factors for him to come to the awards was that it was only two blocks away from his house in Beverly Hills. He said, “This is a little bit crazy. They are giving out free champagne, but then I went to the bar and asked for a beer instead and they said, ‘That’ll be eight bucks!’” (Seinfeld producer George Shapiro paid $10 for the beer.)
When Reiner was surprised with a Lifetime Achievement Award, he said, “I am 89. I’ll be 90 in March and not many things surprise me, but his one surprised me.”
He said he recently finished his memoirs, I Remember Me only a week ago, but now said, “I have to add this event tonight and how I was so surprised about getting his honor.”
Big winners of the night in the competitive categories were for the movie Drive, with Ryan Gosling and Albert Brooks honored for acting, a win for sound editing/mixing and Nicolas Winding Refn winning for directing.
George Clooney’s The Descendants won Best Movie, Viola Davis won Best Actress for The Help and The Adventures of TinTin: The Secret of the Unicorn won best Animated Feature.
The night also included some serious moments. The Humanitarian Award went to Tim Hetherington, the journalist who attended the IPA awards last year and won for Best Documentary for Restrepo. He was killed by a bomb in Libya this year. Singer Connie Stevens and Sgt. Aron Hijar, who was in the film, paid tribute to Hetherington.
“Tim made us feel good about what we were doing over there,” Hijar said about the place in Afghanistan known as the most dangerous place on Earth. “He died doing what he loved to do.”
Fletcher introduced Douglas Trumbull for the Nikola Tesla Award for visionary achievement in filmmaking. Trumbull worked on special effects for The Wizard of Oz, Blade Runner, Back to the Future, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Trek: The Movie.
“Working with him on Brainstorm was the best time of my life, and I was having a heart attack in that,” quipped Fletcher.
Brainstorm was also the movie that Natalie Wood was filming when she fell off a boat and drowned, and Trumbull had to figure out how to finish the movie without her. Now, with the investigation into her death opening up again, he said, “The situation with Natalie Wood was bad bad. It was a bad time for me and all involved, and I got this movie finished against all odds.” He talked about the “vipers in Hollywood” and one of the “worst experiences any director would ever have to go through.”
Television honors went to Jason Isaacs for Case Histories for Best Actor in a Miniseries or Made for TV Movie, Kate Winslet for Mildred Pierce, Vanessa Williams for Desperate Housewives, American Horror Story for best Genre TV, Justified for Best Drama and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia for Best Comedy.
Isaacs, known for playing Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies and starring on TV in Awake, spoke more honestly than he would have at either the Academy or Emmy awards, saying, "I was up against actors whose jockstraps I'm unworthy of filling" and then said, "I apologize to everyone I've ever worked with and ever met, especially my lovely wife Emma, who had to deal with me being away so much."
Ryan Hurst from Sons of Anarchy was there for a tie for Best Supporting Actor with Peter Dinklage for Game of Thrones.
Leachman accepted the award for Martha Plimpton, her co-star in Raising Hope for Best Actress in a TV Comedy, and said, “She would hate to know that I’m picking this up for her… she doesn’t like me. I bug her on the set too much.”
Looking at the award, Leachman added, “An Oscar is heavier. Anyway, I’m accepting this. Finder’s keepers!”
Studio City Patch editor Mike Szymanski is the vice president of the International Press Academy.