Stanley Donen, a former Broadway hoofer who rose to become one of the most distinguished directors of Hollywood musicals, was honored Mar. 23 with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Academy Awards presentation.
Born in the South and making his mark on Broadway as a dancer in the chorus of the original Pal Joey, Donen came to Hollywood with Joey star Gene Kelly. Kelly kept dancing, but Donen moved behind the camera, directing Kelly in Singin' in the Rain, On the Town and Anchors Aweigh. Other Donen screen adaptations of Broadway musicals included Damn Yankees and Funny Face. Original Hollywood musical projects included Fred Astaire's Royal Wedding and the high-spirited Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
As part of his acceptance speech Monday night, Donen surprised the audience and won a standing ovation for doing a tap turn to "Heaven."
Otherwise, Broadway folk came up empty-handed at the 70th annual Oscars. Among those nominees who did not win were David Mamet, Dame Judi Dench, Philip Glass, Anthony Hopkins, Woody Allen, Alan Menken and Ahrens & Flaherty.
However, the pep rally organized by the cast of crew of the Broadway musical Titanic on behalf of the same-named film appears to have been successful: the epic about the sinking of the luxury liner won 11 Oscars, including Best Picture. -- By Robert Viagas