Acad honors Trumbo for ‘Roman Holiday’

It took 40 years, but the late writer Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted during the McCarthy era, was finally awarded a posthumous Academy Award for the film “Roman Holiday.”

Trumbo’s widow, Cleo, received the Oscar, which was awarded for the film’s screen story, Monday night before a special screening of the film at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

Trumbo, one of the blacklisted Hollywood Ten, enlisted friend and fellow screenwriter Ian McClellan Hunter to act as a front for him as the credited writer of “Roman Holiday.” The film won three Academy Awards, including one for best motion picture story.

Last year, the Writers Guild officially changed the film’s credits to reflect its true authorship and the Academy’s Board of Governors voted to amend its records and present the Oscar to Trumbo’s widow. Trumbo died in 1976.

“Tonight we will be attempting to right history by presenting the Oscar that Mr. Trumbo won in 1953,” Academy president Robert Rehme told the overflow crowd, which included “Roman Holiday” co-star Eddie Albert and director Tim Hunter, son of writer Ian Hunter.

“During his lifetime, he was never able to publicly claim that honor,” Rehme said, “but it is our hope that here and now, one more dark chapter in American history can begin to be closed.”

Rehme’s comments were echoed by Academy Governor Fay Kanin, who said, “Not many will quarrel with the judgment that in his day he was the most prolific and successful screenwriter in Hollywood. He was a consummate storyteller, an impeccable craftsman, an uncompromising yet compassionate observer of his fellow man with an almost old-fashioned fidelity to principle. Telling his story encourages us to be vigilant in recognizing and fighting against repression and injustice in our troubled times.”

After being presented her husband’s Oscar, an emotional Cleo Trumbo said, “I want to express appreciation to the people who pushed for the credits to be restored.”

Of the era of blacklisting, she said, “Earning a living was a precarious business back then. It was a time of fear and nobody was exempt.”

This was the second Academy Award for Trumbo. He won a motion picture story Oscar under his own name in 1975 for the 1956 film “The Brave One,” which he wrote under the pen name Robert Rich.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon

    Film Review: 'A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon'

    No asteroids are hurtling toward Earth in “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon,” though a flying frozen pizza does softly slice the top off an elderly shopper’s hairdo: That’s roughly the level of quirky peril we’re talking about in the latest outing from Aardman Animations, and as usual, the British stop-motion masters cheerfully prove that [...]

  • Slam

    Film Review: ‘Slam’

    The disappearance of a fearless female Palestinian-Australian slam poet triggers suspense and powerful social and political commentary in “Slam,” an outstanding slow-burn thriller by expat Indian filmmaker Partho Sen-Gupta (“Sunrise”). Starring Palestinian actor Adam Bakri (“Omar,” “Official Secrets”) as the missing woman’s conflicted brother, and leading Aussie performer Rachael Blake as a troubled cop, Opening [...]

  • Igo Kantor

    Igo Kantor, Producer and Post-Production Executive, Dies at 89

    Igo Kantor, whose Hollywood career took him from Howard Hughes’ projection room to supervising post-production on “Easy Rider” and producing B-movies like “Kingdom of the Spiders” and “Mutant,” died Oct. 15. He was 89. Kantor, who was born in Vienna and raised in Lisbon, met “Dillinger” director Max Nosseck on the ship to New York. [...]

  • The Lion King

    Average Movie Ticket Price Falls 4% in Third Quarter of 2019

    Average ticket prices for the third quarter have dropped 4% to $8.93, down from Q2’s $9.26, the National Association of Theatre Owners announced today. However, compared with the third quarter of 2018, ticket price has risen 1.1% from $8.83. The summer box office is down 2.13% from 2018, though the third quarter box office is [...]

  • Tilda Swinton to Preside Over The

    Tilda Swinton to Preside Over Marrakech Film Festival

    Tilda Swinton, the iconoclastic British actress and producer, is set to preside over the 18th edition of the Marrakech International Film Festival, succeeding to American director James Gray. Swinton, who won an Oscar and a BAFTA award for best supporting actress for “Michael Clayton,” has been leading an eclectic acting career. She has collaborated with [...]

  • The King Netflix

    Middleburg Film Festival Brings Hollywood to Virginia

    For the last seven years, audiences have flocked to the Middleburg Film Festival. Running October 17th – 21st, and situated in the wine-country hills of historic Middleburg, Virg., the festival usually highlights some of the year’s buzziest titles, and 2019 is no exception. “We’re a smaller festival with fewer overall screenings than other events, so we [...]

  • Kelly McCormick and David Leitch'Fast &

    'Wheelman' Director to Helm 'Versus' From David Leitch, Kelly McCormick (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Wheelman” director Jeremy Rush is in negotiations to helm the action movie “Versus,” with Kelly McCormick and David Leitch producing. Rush will direct the Universal movie from a script penned by “Three Musketeers” scribe Alex Litvak and “American Assassin” writer Mike Finch. Plot details are being kept under wraps, though it will follow the genre [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content