Oscars 2003

Oh, What a Night!

UPDATED 04/07/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 04/07/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT

Christopher Reeve
"Appearing at the Oscars was an overwhelming moment. I was injured in May of 1995 and spent the rest of that year learning to adjust to my new life. When the curtain went up and I saw so many colleagues rise and give me a standing ovation, that was one of the absolute highlights of my life. Here I'm with my wife, Dana, and my very dear friends [Susan Sarandon is at left]. What people didn't know was that giving me a hug or a strong squeeze on my shoulder would cause my body to react involuntarily since I was so fragile."
at the Governors Ball, 1996

Michelle Phillips
"Jack Nicholson was a fun date. This was early in his career, when he was a star but not yet a megastar. He was very charming arm candy for me that night. Jack never wanted to look like the penguin in the tuxedo. He was always a bit edgy in the way he dressed, and he kind of started that hip men's style of dressing where you didn't just wear a white shirt with a little black bow tie. He would not conform to something like that. We had a good time [with Leigh Taylor-Young and Ryan O'Neal, right], lots of fun, lots of drinking, but I did go home alone!

"The story I remember from this night is all about jewelry. I borrowed a set of huge diamond earrings from a jeweler in Beverly Hills, and I was very uncomfortable the entire evening because they were clip-ons, and I worried that they would fall off. I kept looking in the mirror throughout the night, making sure they were there, and fortunately they were. We're talking about earrings that must have been worth about $50,000.

"At the end of the evening Jack dropped me off at my house, and when I got into the bathroom I screamed bloody murder! My earrings were gone and I was hysterical. The next day I called the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, I called the limo company, I checked outside in my driveway—nothing. I was just about to call the jeweler when my gardener, who was mowing outside, saw this thing flying up into the air. I ran out, and there were my earrings! Saved by the mower!"
at the Oscar Ball, 1971

Daisy Fuentes
"I threw on an Alexander McQueen dress and a fur throw that I had in my closet and found myself sitting with Tim Allen, Pamela Anderson and Jim Carrey. I know Tim because he is a neighbor, and I had met Pamela—who is very cool—at a music awards show. Jim Carrey I met that night and he was a very nice guy. He wasn't making Jim Carrey faces or anything."
at the Vanity Fair party, 1999

Patty Duke
I was 16 when I won an Oscar for The Miracle Worker, and during the swirl of the party afterward, I heard this voice congratulating me. It was a voice that came from well beyond the toes, with a pair of lungs that sounded like bellows. It was Bette Davis. Now, the part of me that was brought up to have perfect manners certainly said the appropriate things to her, like 'Thank you' and 'Lovely to meet you,' but the part of me that was real was internally going, 'Oh my God, wait till I tell my mother!'

Bette Davis was nominated for Whatever Happened to Baby Jane that year, and that film scared the you-know-what out of me! When I met her that night she was nice, but her stature was intimidating. I remember sitting at her knee, trying not to look too stupid while I stared at those eyes I'd seen in so many films. And you know what? She really did have Bette Davis eyes!

"But that night was full of mixed feelings for me. Certainly I was thrilled to be on this exalted plane with these famous actors, but the downside was that the people I came with—the Rosses, who were my managers at the time—told me I couldn't bring my mother. I guess the Rosses, who did bring their Chihuahua that night in a black bag, thought my mother would be an embarrassment, wouldn't look right, and God forbid if somebody spoke to her and she opened her mouth. I did call my mother during the party. Her one question was 'Did the dog go?' "
at the Governors Ball, 1963

Suzanne Somers
"Last year I was on the air on the Home Shopping Network in St. Petersburg, Fla., until 5 p.m. and then flew back to Los Angeles at about 7:30, which didn't leave much time to pull it together. I had a hairdresser waiting for me at the door, and I slapped on some fresh makeup and a Badgley Mischka and jumped into the limo. But when you get out of that car, what a rush! Most people stand at the party, but I usually find myself a perch where I can sit a little higher and can talk with people walking by, and where I can also look over the room. I sat next to Tobey Maguire, and he was very kind and watched my purse for me a lot of the evening when I went off to talk to people. Tobey was very, very sweet, and Nicole Kidman is quiet and beautiful, and I just loved staring at her from head to toe. As for that hand on my knee, that's my husband, Alan. He's never far away."
at the Vanity Fair party, 2002

Debbie Reynolds
"I didn't know Sidney Poitier, but I was so thrilled he won Best Actor that year for Lilies of the Field. My date was Sydney Guilaroff, the MGM hairdresser. He was like a father to me, and he always escorted those of us that didn't have a date. What I remember most from this party is how much I loved my dress. Helen Rose did this outfit for me. It's pale green, and the coat is lined with the same beading as the dress. The whole thing weighed over 55 lbs. We had to pay for those dresses back then. The $7,000 cost was steep."
at the Governors Ball, 1964

Andrea Bocelli
"I spent the entire night seated at the table with Celine [they sang together at the ceremony] and her husband and my brother Alberto. I chatted with people like Robert De Niro and Mariah Carey. But it was also almost as if we were alone, because we stayed at our table."
at the Governors Ball, 1999

Halle Berry
"The crowning night of my career is a big blur for me. It started the minute they said my name at the Oscars. I remember sitting in the auditorium and watching clips of Sissy and Renée and Nicole and thinking, 'Halle, you're nuts to think you could ever win,' and then I heard my name and the blur began! But I do remember running into Sissy Spacek that night at the parties. I had always thought she would win the Oscar, and rightfully so. I would have been happy if she had won, truly, because I loved her work so much in In the Bedroom. So when this picture was taken, I was telling her how wonderful I thought her work was, and then she hugged me and told me how much she liked Monster's Ball. Basically we were having a lovefest and Sissy was letting me know it was okay that I had won the Oscar. What I found out after being nominated last year is that the Oscars are not the cutthroat competition the press or Internet make it out to be. When I was nominated, I found out that you really have great admiration for each other and each other's work, and that the person who could win out of the five was so deserving you couldn't even be mad if she did win."
at the Elton John AIDS Foundation In STYLE party, 2002

Diane Von Furstenberg
"This photo [taken at a table with her husband, Barry Diller, and humorist Fran Lebowitz] I remember well. I had removed my earrings and they were lying on the table. Barry grabbed them and just put them on. All of a sudden a photographer came over to take our picture, and Barry quickly put his hands over his ears!"
at the Vanity Fair party, 2001

Julie Christie
"Even though I'm showing the Oscar [she won Best Actress for Darling] in this photo, it's something I would never do back at home. In fact, the Oscar is boxed away in storage. Putting out an award would be showing off, and that's just not something I choose to do. What I remember about that night is that I made a dreadful speech, and I'm afraid I made a bit of a weep when I won. I was just embarrassed to be in front of those people, and when I'm terribly embarrassed, I tend to cry. The Academy Awards aren't as big a thing in England as they are in the United States, but when there were two Brits nominated—Julie Andrews [for The Sound of Music] and myself—they made that a big thing. They tried to make it a catfight between the two of us, but I spent Christmas at Julie's house singing Christmas carols. That's how much of a catfight it was!

"I had complete ignorance about the Oscars when I went to them. I probably didn't even know that the Oscar was gold. I did dress in gold, though, wearing this wonderful palazzo trouser outfit with an art nouveau turquoise buckle on it. Dirk Bogarde [her Darling costar] was someone I loved very much, and he gave me a bracelet of gold and pearls to wear that night. I went to the Oscars with my boyfriend Don Bessant [seated to her left], who was very into music, and we wanted to go to jazz clubs and hear music while I was in Los Angeles. We didn't hear jazz that night, but we did go off to hear the Four Tops not long after this photo was taken. It was nice to be by ourselves."
at the Governors Ball, 1966

Wolfgang Puck
"Oscar parties for me are all about food. I used to do Swifty Lazar's Oscar party at Spago. He invited only about 130 people, and if you didn't get invited, you'd better make sure you were out of town! On this night I remember Madonna and Michael Jackson coming in together. He was quiet and very sweet, and they sat together for a while."
at Swifty Lazar's Oscar party at Spago, 1991

Cloris Leachman
"I had been working so much, I didn't even have milk in the house. I remember my 8-year-old son Morgan saying 'Bring back a loaf of bread!' as I went off to the Oscars. The party was quite an occasion, and there I was in my Galanos dress. Ben Johnson [left] was warm and dear. [Johnson and Leachman won Best Supporting Actor and Actress awards for The Last Picture Show]. I didn't really know Gene Hackman then, but he had won that night [for The French Connection], and like so many people, we wanted to say hello to Charlie Chaplin, who had returned to the United States to receive a special award after years of being away. He was full of smiles, but I think he was a little bit out of it by then. It was quite a night, but even though I came home with an Oscar, I'm afraid I didn't come home with that loaf of bread!"
at the Governors Ball, 1972

Marcia Gay Harden
"I was at the Oscars with my parents and my husband, Thaddaeus, while my sister Stephanie and her husband were at the Night of a Thousand Stars benefit. We hooked up again at the Sony party, and this is the exact second I had gotten out of the limo after coming from the Governors Ball. My sister just ran up to greet me and we started screaming together. Here we are, holding on for dear life to my Oscar [for Best Supporting Actress for Pollock]. When my husband and I got back to our hotel close to 5 a.m., we pulled out the champagne. What a sweet night!"
—2001

Blythe Danner
"I was very, very proud of Gwyneth, not so much because she won an award [Best Actress for Shakespeare in Love] but because of the way she handled her success, It was a bit of a roller coaster for me because I got very anxious when she broke down onstage. My husband had been going through a lot of illness, which added to that, but as you can see in the photo, it really was a joyful night. I couldn't help but get carried away with the fun of it all."
at the Governors Ball, 1999

Paul Sorvino
"People kept coming up to me saying things like 'How great for you' and 'How great for your daughter.' When Mira [with Paul and mom Lorraine] got up to receive an Oscar [Best Supporting Actress for Mighty Aphrodite], it was one of the greatest moments of my life. We went together, and as we were riding there, Mira said she didn't expect to win and she hadn't prepared anything to say. So when she said, 'When you give me this award, you honor my father,' it just floored me."
at the Governors Ball, 1996

Robert Evans
"This photo was taken at the Vanity Fair party—the spirit is there from the 5 o'clock beginning until 2 in the morning, when it closes—after Ali McGraw and Ryan O'Neal had presented at the Oscars. It was great being with them again. Thirty years earlier we were all there for Love Story, which was nominated for seven Oscars. So when Ali came into the room this night, I remember grabbing her and saying 'Ain't it as great today as it was the night we were up for the Oscars?'

"Ali and I have been divorced for 30 years now, but we've remained such close friends that we actually gave ourselves a 25th-year anniversary party to celebrate how well we get along together. I loved Ali then, and I love her now. I actually think I've improved from the Robert Evans of 25 years ago. I'm wiser now, more appreciative and not quite as cavalier, taking things for granted. I appreciate the good things in life much more than I did then, and I have more fun. As for Ali, well, she looks more beautiful than ever. She has more style by mistake than any girl I know has on purpose. She can put herself together for $100 better than those so-called stars who put themselves together for $100,000. You can buy fashion, but you can't buy style, just like you can learn how to dance, but you can't learn rhythm."
2002

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