Singing Oscar’s praises

The following quotes from Oscar winners are in response to a question about what winning the award meant to them, either personally or from a career standpoint.


Best song, “Born Free” (with lyrics by Don Black); best score, “Born Free” (1966); best original score for a nonmusical, “The Lion in Winter” (1968); best original score, “Out of Africa” (1985); best original score, “Dances With Wolves” (1990)

“I have had the good fortune to be nominated seven times and be the only Englishman to have won five times – which in my book beats the hell out of receiving a knighthood.”


Best original music score, “Thoroughly Modern Millie” (1967)

“The moment was a great thrill. I really felt that I was being honored for a body of work. Before ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie,’ I had been nominated for ‘The Man With the Golden Arm,’ ‘The Magnificent Seven,’ ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ and had done some other scores that people seemed to like.

“I feel that my colleagues gave me the Oscar for all that I had done up to that point. It felt really good. I’m keenly aware that in our business-slash-art, that is the highest honor a co-worker can give you. I was very honored by that.”


Best original score, “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962); best original score, “Doctor Zhivago” (1965); best original score, “A Passage to India” (1984)

“I was in Paris, listening to the radio, and got news of my nomination for ‘Lawrence of Arabia.’ I asked Sam Spiegel to pay for my trip to the Oscars. He said, ‘Oh, Maurice, it’s for Americans. You don’t have a chance.’ Then I learn that he tells the same thing to Omar Sharif and others. He knew that I had a good chance of winning, but this way he could collect them himself. I had to get my Oscar from Sam Spiegel’s office in London. The customs official didn’t want me to take it to France. He said that they had to confiscate gold. Well of course, it’s gold-plated, not solid gold. So he scratched it to see. So my first Oscar is scarred.

“I was very excited to be there on Oscar night for ‘Doctor Zhivago.’ An old man with white hair in front of me turned and said, ‘My name is Alfred Newman. You are going to win, because my daughter says that nothing can beat ‘Doctor Zhivago.’ I was very, very touched by that – he was such a great composer and was so charming and nice in that moment.

“The last time, it was the year of ‘Amadeus.’ And I went up to accept for ‘A Passage to India,’ and ‘Amadeus’ had already won several awards, so I told them, ‘Fortunately, Mozart wasn’t eligible this year.’ ”


Best original score, “The Lion King” (1994)

“Winning reminds you how nervous and humble one can feel receiving this award in front of your peers, who are equally as talented, if not more so, as you. It’s hard to tell yourself it doesn’t matter if you win, until you’re up there. When you win, it’s an amazing thrill.

“When the fire was raging in Malibu, I asked my wife, Suzanne, to grab all the scores and the Oscar and leave everything else.”

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