Oscar: Winters, Shelley in A Place in the Sun

It is especially hard to accept failure for those nominees who are expecting to win the award. Shelley Winters was sure she would win at her first nomination, “A Place in the Sun,” in 1951.

On Oscar Night, as she described, “I was a wreck,” and the show seemed “interminable.” When Ronald Colman opened the envelope, Winters was sure he announced her name and was almost on the steps leading to the stage, when her beau, famous Italian actor Vittorio Gassman, tackled her. She remembered that, “as we lay on the floor of the aisle, I thought he’d gone insane.” Gassman whispered, “Shelley, it’s Vivien Leigh” (“A Streetcar Named Desire”). They then managed to crawl back to their seats “as inconspicuously as possible.”  Nonetheless, Winters could not believe it, “the rest of the evening I felt as if Ronald Colman had betrayed me. He could at least have said my name and swallowed the card, if he were any kind of English gentleman.”
 
Later, Shelley and Vittorio they went to the Governor’s Ball, but she didn’t remember anything about it.  As she recorded: “I just knew that the gold statuette was not on my table.” Winters continued to believe for years day that Vivien Leigh had “taken my Oscar.”
 
The Oscar serves as a metaphor for glamour and success, as well. Shelley Winters recalls that upon being introduced to Mrs. Roosevelt and Mrs. Stevenson, who congratulated her and Vittorio Gassman for their films, Vittorio behaved “as if we oth has just won Oscars.”  
 
Winters held that there were “very definite rules” for stars of how behave in public appearances in Hollywood’s parties and opening nights: “You must always look beautiful and gloriously happy, and you must be photographed with someone more important than yourself, like people who have won Oscars.”