Sunday, February 26, 2017

Lest we forget: 4th Academy Award for Best Actor went to...

...Lionel Barrymore for his role as lawyer Stephen Ashe in A Free Soul, 1931. Mr. B did not expect to win,  did not write anything down,  and attended in a rented (possibly borrowed) tuxedo. George Arliss handed it to him after reflecting that Oscar did not seem to be a particularly sharp knife. Mr. B said he muttered something appropriate and sat back in his chair, dinnerware in front of him,  thoughtful.

Brother Jack said the only person seemingly not upset it took so long for Lionel's talent to be officially honored was Lionel himself.  Mr B was 53 when he received the then-very new award. Some years later,  sister Ethel joined him in winning, they becoming the only brother/sister Oscar winners to this day.

Jack, alas,  was never even nominated,  though certainly several roles were deserving. The only "award" he received was a eponymous one from Valentino.

Marie Dressler, whom Lionel would costar with in her final film,  also was recognized that night,  to her immense joy.  She would die shortly after finishing Christopher Bean with Lionel,  who recalled their wins in 1931 as extra special because he could share it with her.

Congratulations to the winners,  new and old!  

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