The folly of youth!
When Goldie Hawn won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1970, for the 1969 comedy “Cactus Flower,” the 24-year-old was so sure she wouldn’t win she didn’t even go to the ceremony. What’s more, she didn’t even bother watching it on television. She had no idea she won until she got a phone call in the middle of the night. (This all sounds like it’s coming from another planet, doesn’t it?)
At the time, she was filming “There’s A Girl In My Soup,” opposite Peter Sellers in London, but to fly back for the big night would not have been unheard of, even at a time when “Awards Season” was not yet quite the thing it is today.
But here’s where it gets weirder. According to a recent interview with Variety, Hawn had never even seen the moment from the telecast where her name was called. She didn’t even know it was Fred Astaire who read out the winner until recently, when Jimmy Kimmel had her watch it when the two of them were together en route to a party.
“Fred Astaire?! He’s my idol,” she said. “And I didn’t know he was the one that announced my name. I got emotional when I finally saw it.”
Hawn beat out Catherine Burns for “Last Summer,” Dyan Cannon for “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice” (who was probably the expected winner), Sylvia Miles for “Midnight Cowboy,” and Susannah York for “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” Raquel Welch, with flowing auburn hair and a dress equally striking, accepted the trophy on her behalf.
But never mind all that—watch this clip primarily for Catherine Burns’s eye-roll when Astaire reads her name. Incredible.
“Cactus Flower,” is an of-the-era generation gap comedy, in which Walter Matthau falls in love with Hawn, but has to cover his tracks after telling her he is already married. (A switcheroo, you see.) He drags Ingrid Bergman into his scheme, and hijinks ensue. Hawn wears mini-skirts and boots and does her ditsy blonde schtick. It’s good fun. The picture was written by I.A.L. Diamond, best known for being Billy Wilder’s second writing partner. (The two collaborated from 1957 on, so that includes “Some Like It Hot, “The Apartment,” “One, Two, Three,” “The Fortune Cookie,” “Avanti!” and other classics.) The director was Gene Saks, known for bringing many of Neil Simon’s works to the stage and the original production of “Enter Laughing” and “Mame.” For the big screen, he directed the adaptations of “Barefoot in the Park” and “The Odd Couple,” and made acting appearances—indeed he gets the best line in Woody Allen’s “Deconstructing Harry.”
Goldie does have some regrets about missing the big night.
“I never got dressed up. I never got to pick up the award,” she said. “I regret it. It’s something that I look back on now and think, ‘It would have been so great to be able to have done that.’”
Be that as it may, she, Diane Keaton, and Bette Midler did join forces in 1997 for one of the most memorable Oscar moments.
PREDICT the 2023 Oscar winners through March 12
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