Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hepburn: The Power of Four

As soon as I saw these four statuettes standing side by side, I knew who their owner was... Katharine Hepburn, of course. These four symbols of career triumph--though meaning seemingly little to Kate--are on display at the Smithsonian. Her first Oscar, won for 1933's Morning Glory, is located on the far right. It's constructed of tin-plated bronze, whereas begininng in 1945, the Oscar was made of Britannia, a (mostly) tin alloy. Like the beat-up looking Holy Grail in that Indiana Jones movie, that first award is the one that holds the most fascination and the fact that it's all timeworn drives home the realization that it's the real thing. It was thought lost in the September 1938 New England Hurricane, but was later found intact. This Oscar had...adventures.

Whether one agrees with the movies Kate won her Oscars for--and I could and will go on about it in the future--it's still a staggering sight to see those Academy Awards all lined in a row.


  1. When you think of the odds of winning these in any year let alone 4 in a lifetime it is a pretty amazing picture. The one role (not a win) that she was nominated for that always baffled me was Philadelphia Story. Was that really an Oscar nomination worthy role? I mean she was great in that movie but if you look at the other 4 performances, it really wasn't anything special. I dont know, maybe thast why Im not on the Oscar nomination committee!

  2. Hepburn herself--I believe it was her--once said that the right actors win Oscars for the wrong roles. I would've given her Best Actress in '40, even though I make a case for why Ginger Rogers won that year. In fact, it's the very first post on this blog. :)

    One of these days I have to do a year-by-year comparison of Kate's nominations like I did with Ginger's and Jimmy's wins in 1940.

  3. To me, Ginger's win is obvious. Its one of those "Oscar roles" and she REALLY REALLY deserved it (especially after being dissed for Primrose Path).

    Jimmy's win to me is a question mark. He was pretty much playing himself - or atleast the Jimmy Stewart stereotype. But I love him so he can have it. ;) Although his drunk scenes in TPS were brilliant. Okay have to do it.


  4. I'd love to hear the story of how the "Morning Glory" Oscar was rescued!

  5. I think they owed Oscars anyway to Kate, because she was so extraordinary popular. She was an icon.

    It seems Katharine Hepburn was an idol to many actresses during the 30s. In BROADWAY MELODY OF 1936 Eleanor Powell tries to show her abilities by quoting a scene from Kate, speaking a few lines about becoming a star like Sarah Bernhardt. I always considered this adaption ridiculous, but it seems this was the way many young women felt at that time.

    In the first scene of THE MAJOR & THE MINOR Ginger Rogers doesn't really sound like Ginger. She sounds pretty much like Kate while talking about self-respect and going back to Iowa. Maybe this was one of those reasons why Kate despised Ginger when they met 1937: Ginger wanted to develop as still quite young actress and maybe Kate wasn't ready to be imitated, or let me say exploited.

    Well, I guess Kate was exploited by many younger actresses. As for example Jean Arthur was downright copied by Mary Martin. A great, great problem for Jean.

    So I'm beginning to understand Kate much better.

  6. Clarissa: The Oscars are so often a "It's Your Time to be Recognized" coronation of sorts, regardless of who's deemed the "Best Actress" in the critical and public eye.

    P.S. Clarissa, I'm leaving Hollywood Dreamland to you in my will. I don't know of anyone more worthy! :D

  7. Dexter, please don't frighten me that way!

    What's the matter - you want to give up blogging? That would be tough on many people here - to me too. It would be an awful loss - a big gap in the classic movie blog community!

    Perhaps we should discuss this matter via e-mail. I would be happy if I could encourage you to go on ...

    * Maybe it's the catholic socialization that makes us a bit alike. :)

  8. No, I'm stayin' put. If I blogged for a living, I reckon I'd starve. This is all done for love of the '30s and '40s. If there are others who enjoy it, too--that's great.

  9. Sorry I didn't get your great complement. I was very confused. But okay, it was really a great big complement. So now I appreciate it.

    Thank you!

  10. Well, some awesome stuff being tossed around here... pretty cool how the 'development' of the Oscars is represented on Kate's mantle...
    Kate no doubt was awesome, even if you didn't care for her style... I actually do like her, overall... still think the funnist line in 'Stage Door' is when she walks on stage for rehearsal and says 'there are some men in the back playing with ropes...we need to do something about that'.(or words to that effect... it's funny, whatever the line!)
    Of course, it's pretty evident where I stand on all the Ginger vs. Kate stuff, but I sincerely think they 'pushed' each other to great things... Ginger wanted to be taken as a 'serious' actress, and Kate was obviously her biggest 'naysayer'... but when Ginger DID show she could hang with the big dawgs, it probably pushed Kate that much more... so it was a beneficial 'rivalry'...
    BTW... CS, you will also be a 'joint heir' with SG for 'post-Huey' Gingerology... so be prepared!
    Keep the cool stuff going, CK!!!


  11. Okay, I'll hire half a dozen secretaries ...
    Quite a choice for Gingerology's future ... SG and CS, what a charming team! Living on two different planets, but very-very charming ...

  12. LOVE LOVE LOVE Hepburn. I saw those Oscars and just knew lol. Someday I hope to see them in person. Thanks for posting about them!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.