Oscar Speeches: Holliday, Judy–Born Yesterday

At Oscar Awards time, Born Yesterday was nominated for the top awards (best picture, actress, director).

Cukor was relieved to be in New York during the Oscar race, planning to return after the “Academy dirt” was safely over. He couldn’t do again the big `clown laugh’ scene, with tears in his eyes, when he wouldn’t get the award for the fourth time–he was just too old for that.

Cukor listened to the Oscar ceremonies on the radio in a New York club, with two of the female nominees, Holliday and Gloria Swanson. Upon winning, the first thing Holliday wanted to do was to call her mother, but the press monopolized all the telephones. Cukor tried to get her a booth, but a reporter elbowed his way ahead of them. Cukor motioned that it was the actress who wished to call, but the reporter ignored them. With the rain pouring outside, he put his coat on Holliday’s shoulders and took her to a Chinese restaurant to make the call. Listening to her enthusiastic call, Cukor felt proud like her mother.

“Since I know that you’d be embarrassed if I told you how wonderful you are,” Judy Holliday wrote Cukor after the Oscars, “how I love every minute of working with you, and how I just plain love you, I won’t tell you.”

For his part, Cukor sent her a cable from the Oliviers (Laurence and Vivien Leigh) in London, who praised the movie and Holliday’s performance.