×

Oscar honors O’Toole for his trade

Actor graceful in acceptance of honorary award

Related
 
Main Story: ‘Chicago’ shimmies to best pic
 

Winners
 

High notes for ‘Pianist’ & Polanski
 
 

Wins cap wild ride for Miramax
 

‘Chicago’ likely to reap all that B.O.

 

Oscar honors O’Toole for his trade

 

Army Archerd

 

Silence before the Oscars

 

Scream play goes to protests

 

Backstage notes

 

‘Night Before’ party hearty after all

 

Review

 

Arrivals

Until the Iraqi war broke out, Peter O’Toole provided the biggest guessing game of this Oscar season: Would he show up to receive his honorary statue for lifetime achievement?

He did come, and delivered a graceful and grateful thank-you to the Academy that had long honored him with nominations and adulation, but never with an Oscar.

“Always a bridesmaid, never a bride, my foot,” said a regal if subdued O’Toole, brandishing the award. “I have my very own now, and I’m as delighted as I am honored, and I am honored.” Backstage, he said receiving the award was “exhilarating and charming.”

But until the ceremony began there were still questions about whether he indeed would turn up. After the Academy announced its plans, O’Toole sent a letter to prexy Frank Pierson, pleading that the Acad not give him the honorary award just yet, in the hope that at 70, he might still win one the hard way. Though “enchanted” by the offer, he wrote that because he was “still in the game and might win the lovely bugger outright, would the Academy please defer the honor until I am 80?”

It was the sort of slightly mad punctuation to a sterling career that perfectly fit O’Toole’s storied but never simple career, one spent playing dreamers, schemers, drunks, madmen and other rarefied sorts. And he still has a chance, given his latest role, as Priam in next year’s swords-and-sandals epic “Troy.”

Born in Ireland and reared in the north English industrial town of Leeds, O’Toole was already a busy stage performer in England when he burst onto the bigscreen as the title character in 1962’s “Lawrence of Arabia.” His charismatic, intense perf scored the first of his seven Oscar nominations, all for best actor. Other noms came for playing Henry II in both “Becket” and “The Lion in Winter”; a Mephistophelean director (“The Stunt Man”); a love-besotted but timid teacher (“Goodbye, Mr. Chips”); a dissolute actor (“My Favorite Year”); and a mad nobleman (“The Ruling Class”).

On Oscar night, he ladled kudos on actors young and old, and “the United States and the loves and friendships” he has had here over the past 50 years.

“And now,” he said, “at this last, you’ve given me this delightful shock.”

(Jill Feiwell contributed to this report.)

More Film

  • Naomi Watts Thriller 'The Wolf Hour'

    Naomi Watts Thriller 'The Wolf Hour' Picked Up for U.S. by Brainstorm Media

    “The Wolf Hour,” a psychological thriller starring Naomi Watts and Jennifer Ehle, has been picked up for North America by Brainstorm Media. HanWay Films has also closed sales for a host of European and Asian territories. Directed by Alistair Banks Griffin, “The Wolf Hour” features Oscar-nominated Watts as June, a former countercultural celebrity who lives [...]

  • A Star Is Born

    'A Star Is Born' Soundtrack Surpasses Global Sales of 6 Million

    Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s onscreen chemistry continues to be felt on the official soundtrack to “A Star is Born,” which just surpassed 6 million albums sold globally and has been certified double platinum in the U.S. Released by Interscope Records in 2018, the album debuted atop the charts and remains the highest-selling album of [...]

  • monty-python-are-fifty-in-2019

    Previously Unreleased Monty Python Audio to Get Airing for Troupe's 50th Anniversary

    Michael Palin will exec-produce series of radio specials containing never-before-released audio from Monty Python as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations for the iconic comedy troupe. They will play on the BBC in the U.K. and then go out in the U.S. Palin and his fellow Pythons – John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry [...]

  • The Eight Hundred (The 800)

    Huayi Brothers' Stock Falls 8% After 'The Eight Hundred' Cancellation

    Huayi Brothers’ stock fell by more than 8% on Wednesday, the day after the veteran Chinese studio announced that its new war epic, “The Eight Hundred,” will not hit Chinese theaters as scheduled next week. Shares dropped from RMB5.48 to RMB5.02 overnight after Huayi said Tuesday that its summer blockbuster’s theatrical debut would be indefinitely [...]

  • Chinese actor Xu Zheng holds his

    Golden Horse Organizers Set Clashing Date With China's Golden Rooster Awards

    The prestigious Golden Horse Awards announced Wednesday that it will hold its annual ceremony in Taiwan on the same day this year as China’s Communist-backed Golden Rooster Awards – which virtually assures that no major mainland Chinese talent will attend the event known as Asia’s Oscars on November 23. Hong Kong director Johnnie To will [...]

  • Berlin Film Festival Placeholder Berlinale

    Key Berlin Film Festival Venue Set to Close - or Is It?

    The announcement that German exhibitor CineStar would close its multiplex at Berlin’s famed Sony Center in Potsdamer Platz has thrown the cinema’s participation as a key venue for the Berlin Film Festival into doubt. Whether it actually shutters, however, remains to be seen. British-based Vue International is awaiting approval from German antitrust officials on its [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content