Oscar Speeches: Loren, Sophia–Two Women

In 1961, When Sophia Loren heard that she had been nominated for “Two Women,” she ecstatically announced that she would attend the Hollywood ceremonies: “I felt that just being nominated was an honor in itself and a rare one at that for an Italian-speaking actress in an Italian film.”

But then, upon reflection, Loren changed her mind, as she recalled: “My competition was formidable (Audrey Hepburn, Piper Laurie, Geraldine Page, and Natalie Wood). Besides, the plain fact was that in its long history, an Oscar had never been given to an actor or actress in a foreign-language film.”

Loren determined: “I could not bear the ordeal of sitting in plain view of millions of viewers while my fate was being judged. If I lost, I might faint from disappointment; If I won, I would also very likely faint with joy. Instead of spreading my fainting all over the world, I decided it was better that I faint at home.”

Loren had no real expectations of winning. But, as she recalled, “hope being the eternal rogue that it is, on the night of the Awards, I was too nervous to sleep.” Photographer Pier Luigi came to Loren’s Rome apartment to keep the vigil with her.

At three oclock in the morning, Loren “tried to go to bed, but my eyes would not close and my heart would not stop pounding, so I went back to the living room to talk to Pier.” There was no coverage then of the Awards on Italian television or radio.

By six o’clock, Loren knew that the ceremony was over; she was sure she had not won. However, at 6:45 she was awakened by Cary Grant’s pleasant voice over the telephone, conveying to her the good news. “I didn’t faint,” Loren observed, “but I went rather giddy. It was incontestably the greatest thrill of my life.”

“Before I made ‘Two Women,'” Loren said succinctly, “I had been a performer. Afterward, I was an actress.” Loren had been a box-office star in Italy and America, but her Oscar assumed a special meaning.

Loren is aware that “some actors have deprecated the value and purpose of the Academy Award, but I’m certainly not one of them. But as far as I’m concerned, if you are a professional actor who has pride in his work, the judgment of your peers should be important to you.”

Loren treasures each and every award she has ever received, and her Oscar is “in a place of honor.”