Why Lauren Bacall Said Winning Her Oscar Was "One of the Worst" Days of Her Life
“I’m ready to throw it out the window. I hate it now," the star said of her award in 2011.
Winning an Academy Award is the ultimate dream of many actors, but after the honor came her way, Lauren Bacall said it was "one of the worst" days of her life. She was awarded an honorary Oscar in 2009, and while she wasn't upset that she was chosen to receive the award, she did have some regrets about the moment she accepted it.
In 2011, three years before her death, Bacall told Vanity Fair why she didn't even like to look at her award, to the point that she was "ready to throw it out the window." Read on to see why the legendary star carried so much regret about the night she got it.
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Bacall received her Oscar in 2009.
Bacall had a lengthy and celebrated career in Hollywood, spanning from the 1940s to the 2010s. The actor died in 2014 at the age of 89. Some of her most beloved movies, including To Have and Have Not, Key Largo, and The Big Sleep, co-starred her first husband, Humphrey Bogart.
In the years she was working, Bacall was nominated for an Academy Award only once—in 1997 for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Mirror Has Two Faces. But in 2009, she was awarded an Oscar in honor of her overall contribution to film at the Governors Awards.
She had regrets about her speech.
In her interview with Vanity Fair, Bacall explained that she was upset about her acceptance speech for the Oscar, because she focused on her marriage to Bogart at the expense of her second husband, Jason Robards, and their son, Sam Robards.
"My three children were sitting out there, and I never talked about Jason, and I never mentioned Sam, my youngest child," Bacall said in the interview. "I had a lot I should have said about Jason, and Sam was sitting right there. I think that's about as bad a thing as I've ever done. I just kind of went blank. And I knew it, and I tried to get back on, and I couldn't, because they had all of the film cuts planned, and so they were right into the next thing. I think it scarred my son terribly, and there's no excuse for that, especially in view that I so adore him."
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It marred the whole experience for her.
Bacall explained that regret over her speech made her not even want to look at her Oscar.
"It's hidden in my bedroom," she told Vanity Fair. "I'm ready to throw it out the window. I hate it now. Every time I look at it, I remember that day, and I think it was probably the worst thing I have ever done. What should have been one of the best days in my life is one of the worst."
She was cut off by the orchestra.
During her speech, Bacall spoke about Bogart as she recalled her early career. "He was not only a wonderful actor, but he was an extraordinary man," she said of the actor. "And he gave me a life and he changed my life."
"The fact is that I had the great good fortune of not only being shown the way by Bogie and having two wonderful children, who are right here—Steve and Leslie [Bogart], right here with me—but also being able to work with some of the best leading men in this business," she added.
Bacall did not mention Jason, to whom she was married from 1961 to 1969, or Sam, who, like his parents, is also an actor. At the end of the speech, Bacall attempted to say something else into the microphone, but music was already playing, and presenter Anjelica Huston escorted her off the stage.
She counted it as "the worst thing" she'd ever done.
Also in the Vanity Fair interview, Bacall talked about coping with the missteps she had made in her life, including that fateful Oscars night.
"I think there are certain things you have to face about yourself," the star said. "I've made a lot of mistakes in my life. Sometimes you think: I'm the Queen of the May—I can do anything. The great thing about life is—the terrible thing about life is—that everything is mixed up. All the things that you thought were one way suddenly turn out to be another way. You might say that my honorary Oscar was a high point in my life, but it actually represents to me the worst thing I've ever done. So it's very weird. But nobody's perfect, as Joe E. Brown [the actor who has the last word in Some Like It Hot] said. Right?"