Who’ll win Oscars this year? All Hollywood is speculating! (12-25-43)

The Pittsburgh Press (December 26, 1943)

Who’ll win Oscars this year? All Hollywood is speculating!

Newcomer rates good chance to get one; Garson, Ginger leaders in the race
By Erskine Johnson

Hollywood, California – (Dec. 25)
BEHIND THE SCREEN: Film studios are rolling the publicity drums again in Hollywood’s annual deluge in pre-Academy Award propaganda. Somebody should award private Oscars to hard-working press agents who will spend the next two months trying to corner the votes with all the adjectives in the book. It’s a little early to stick out our necks and predict the winners, but we are willing to take a chance on the leading contenders for the best performances of the year.

For the best feminine acting job, it looks like a four-way race between film newcomer Jennifer Jones for The Song of Bernadette, Ingrid Bergman’s Maria in For Whom the Bell Tolls, Greer Garson for Madame Curie and Ginger Rogers’ Tender Comrade. Greer’s Oscar last year for Mrs. Miniver will be against her, although her performance in Curie is equally as good. Jennifer Jones is the dark horse to watch.

Mickey Rooney, Walter Pidgeon and Gary Cooper will battle it out for the best male performance. If Pidgeon’s Pierre Curie in Madama Curie doesn’t ring the ball loud enough, the press agents will remind you that he almost won last year for Mrs. Miniver. “So, let’s give it to him this year,” will be the basis of Pidge’s campaign. Rooney, meanwhile, is a strong nominee for The Human Comedy, in which he gave the best performance of his life. Cooper’s Robert Jordan in For Whom the Bell Tolls left a lot of people cold, but he’ll be nominated because of the picture’s importance.

Show stopper

On a recent personal appearance in San Francisco, Eleanor Powell stopped the show at every performance with a dance number she’s never done on the screen. She calls it her goulash number – “everything I can do.” She’s tried several times without success to include it in a movie. Studio officials always threw it out, Eleanor said, “because it always topped the finale.” Someday she hopes to bring the routine to the screen as the finale of a picture. The title will be “Goulash.”

The nicest review Pat O’Brien has received on his portrayal of the late Maj. Frank Cavanaugh in the Iron Major was written by the major’s two sons, Phil and Bill. They wrote Pat: “You made us think of Dad.”

Makeup expert Max Factor Jr. has long insisted that no woman can be completely glamorous unless she has an appealing voice. He picks the tones of Ingrid Bergman, Claudette Colbert, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Greer Garson, Rita Hayworth, Hedy Lamarr, Michele Morgan, Merle Oberon and Lana Turner as Hollywood’s ten best in this appeal department.

Ten years ago, a young unknown named Paulette Goddard was given her first call to act in a movie. Thrilled, she arose early, dressed

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Carole Landis hereafter will think before she speaks. When director Bill Seiter finally okayed her scene aboard a camel in Foul Jills in a Jeep, sore-muscled Carole said:

To think I wanted to be in a circus when I was a kid.

Seiter said:

That’s good. That line should be in the script. We’ll reshoot the scene.

Fan letter to Evelyn Keyes from a soldier she danced with at the Hollywood Canteen:

I am deeply, insanely and passionately in love with you. By the way, can you get me the addresses of Betty Grable, Lana Turner, Hedy Lamarr and Rita Hayworth?

Here and there

Marlene Dietrich and Ronald Colman, costarred in Metro’s Kismet, are speaking to each other only when the script demands. Colman is burning over all the publicity Marlene has been getting.

And Hollywood ironies. It took studio workmen three days to build a replica of a section of the Kaiser shipyards for a scene in Paramount’s I Love a Soldier. Kaiser could probably have knocked it out himself in three hours.

Producer Harry Sherman will neatly sidestep threatened legal action by Tom Mix’s two ex-wives over the famous cowboy’s film biography. There will be no mention of Mix’s marriages, or romances, in the picture… Bob Crosby is now rated among the ten best amateur golf players of the nation. Sometimes, he never beats brother Bing.

Jane Wyatt has turned down her fourth New York play offer in as many weeks. She prefers pictures to the stage… Aside the comedian Jack Douglas: That live pig you sent us is being fattened up on a friend’s ranch. Thanks for a very hammy Christmas present… Smiley Burnette is celebrating his eighth anniversary as western character Frog Millhouse.


Frieda Inescort met a rude actress at a party the other night. Her escort apologized:

You must forgive my companion’s behavior. She’s herself tonight.

Reviving song hits of yesteryear has become a vogue in Hollywood, Casablanca revived “As Time Goes By,” and now you’ll be humming “I’ll Get By” again. Irene Dunne sings it twice in producer Everett Riskin’s A Guy Named Joe.

Plenty of potatoes

Things are getting tough in Hollywood department: Unable to obtain enough ice cream for soda fountain sequences in You Can’t Ration Love, Paramount prop men were forced to whip up a huge pot of mashed potatoes. The substitution was perfect for the camera but a headache for extra girls playing coeds who had to eat dishes of the stuff before the scene was completed.

Paul Henreid is getting laughs at the Hollywood Canteen without saying a word. Walks out on the stage, puts two cigarettes in his mouth, lights them, takes a deep drag, and walks off the stage.

Week after she married a soldier, Lt. Robert Olsen, Fox starlet Gail Robbins was cast in a new movie. The film’s title: I Married a Soldier.

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