Rex Reed once co-starred with MAE WEST. Here's an excerpt from his column on the rise and fall of Oscar.
• • Rex Reed writes: Call me yesterday’s child, but after the thrill of Doris Day arm in arm with Clark Gable, or Mae West’s carnal gibes at Rock Hudson on a raunchy duet of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” that almost knocked the show off the air in 1958, the sight of Charlie Kaufman and a coven of assorted Desperate Housewives just doesn’t quite make it.
• • I still think Judy Garland should have won for the achievement of a lifetime in A Star Is Born (1954), instead of dreary Grace Kelly. I remain unconvinced that Judy Holliday should have won in 1951 for Born Yesterday over Bette Davis in All About Eve.
• • How can a sane mind explain how The Greatest Show on Earth beat out The Bad and the Beautiful in 1953? Orson Welles never really won anything; neither did Alfred Hitchcock. James Dean changed the face of movie acting forever, but Oscar gave him the middle finger twice — posthumously, too. Kim Stanley, my favorite actress of all time, wasn’t even nominated for The Goddess.
• • Already disheartened, I pretty much stopped covering the Oscars on a regular basis after Titanic swept the awards in 1998, and for no logical reason, a silly, spastic fop named Roberto Benigni beat Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan the following year. When it comes to grousing, I’m just scratching the surface. It all reminds me of what Hunter Thompson once said about the music business: “A dark, plastic hallway where pimps and thieves run free, and good men die like dogs. … There is also a negative side.”
• • The winds of change have now reached gale force, but here we go again. The songs have been a joke since real songwriters stopped writing them. The last great song with any legs written for the screen was “New York, New York” in 1977. It wasn’t even nominated. In the old days you got musical numbers by Kern, Berlin, and the Gershwins. Now you get X-rated rap about pimps. Aware of the negative impact this trash has provoked, the Academy this year is limiting the category to three songs instead of five, and the performance time to one chorus each. No cigar, but it’s a start. . . .
— — Excerpt: — —
• • Article: "Oscar and Me"
• • Byline: Rex Reed
• • Published in: The New York Observer
• • Published on: 17 February 2009
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• • Critic Rex Reed was born on 2 October 1938 in Fort Worth, Texas to Jimmie M. Reed and Jewell Smith.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •