Posted in film

Best Picture Oscar Winners 1990s-2010s

The Oscars. The longest award show there is. When you just want to go to bed but you have to wait up to find out what film won Best Picture. Each year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences holds an awards ceremony where they recognize excellence in cinema achievement.  A man named George Stanley originally sculpted the award that is officially known as the “Academy Award of Merit.” We simply call it the Oscar. 

The very first Academy Awards was held on May 16, 1929 at a private dinner that took place in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.  For that first ceremony, winners were announced in advance.  That event was not broadcast.  However, the event had so much public interest that the next year, the Academy allowed it to be broadcast over radio. During the second year of the awards, winners did not know ahead of time that they were receiving an award.   In 1941, the sealed envelope system was first used for announcing the winners.  In 1953 at the 25th Academy Awards, the event was first broadcast on television.  In 1966, the ceremony was broadcast in color for the first time.  History has been made in more recent times as well, Just last year in 2020 actually, history was made when the film Parasite became the first foreign-language film to win best picture. 

While movie fans everywhere dream about what it would be like to win an Oscar, there are several instances where actors have declined their awards.   At the 1971 awards ceremony, actor George C. Scott became the first actor to refuse his Academy Award when winning Best Actor for his role in the film Patton. He said that the politics surrounding such awards was “demeaning” and described the Oscar ceremony as “a two-hour meat parade”.  

In 1973, Marlon Brando won Best Actor for his role in The Godfather but he declined the award.  According to History.com “The Native American actress Sacheen Littlefeather attended the ceremony in Brando’s place, stating that the actor “very regretfully” could not accept the award, as he was protesting Hollywood’s portrayal of Native Americans in film.”

Katharine Hepburn won four Oscars in her career but never showed up to accept any of them. She has been quoted as saying “As for me, prizes are nothing. My prize is my work.”  Those are just a few people that turned down their award. 

In more recent years, some actors have boycotted the ceremony. In 2016 Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith refused to attend. Jada Pinkett Smith called for a boycott of the Academy Awards when she learned that the nominations, for the second year in a row featured no actors of color. Her husband “Will Smith vowed not to attend the Oscars in protest of a lack of diversity. For the second year in a row, all 20 acting nominees were white.  Spike Lee joined them in their boycott. 

One of the most cringe worthy moments at the Oscars happened at the 2017 ceremony when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway made a huge blunder accidentally announcing the wrong winner’s name for Best Picture.  They announced that the film La La Land won Best Picture when really it was supposed to be the film Moonlight.  I cringe when I re-watch a clip of the incident. How awful that the team from La La Land actually came on stage and started thanking people then had to go sit down.

In recent years, a lot of people have stopped watching the Oscars.  At the 2020 ceremony, viewership hit an all time low.  To give you an example, in 2004 when Billy Crystal hosted the event, viewership that night was 43.5 million.  In 2020 there was no host and viewership was 23.6 million. It will be interesting to see if people even tune in to this year’s event. 

In this episode of Trivia Rewind, I will give you ten trivia questions about movies that have won Best Picture Oscars from the 1990s to the 2010s.  After I ask you the ten questions, I’ll go back and review the questions and give you the answers plus some fun facts about each movie.  Stick around to the end because I’ll tell you about this year’s Oscar ceremony and how things may be a little different. 

Below, you will find the transcript for this episode. You can listen to Trivia Rewind on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts. Please tell a friend, leave a positive review and 5 star rating if you like Trivia Rewind. Thank you for listening and supporting Trivia Rewind! 

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Trivia Rewind Episode 38 –  Best Picture Oscar Winners

[00:00:00] Audio Clip: [00:00:00] And the Oscar goes to…

[00:00:19] Debi Jenkins: [00:00:19] This episode of Trivia Rewind is all about the Oscars, the longest award show there is. When you just want to go to bed, but you have to wait up to find out what the Best Picture winner is. I’m Debi Jenkins the host of Trivia Rewind. Let me first give you a little recap about this award.

[00:00:43] Each year the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences holds an award ceremony where they recognize excellence in cinema achievement. A man named George Stanley originally sculpted the award that is officially known as the [00:01:00] Academy Award of Merit. We simply call it the Oscar. The very first Academy Awards was held on May 16th, 1929 at a private dinner that took place in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

[00:01:17] For that first ceremony, winners were notified in advance and that event was not broadcast. However, the event had so much public interest that the next year, the Academy allowed it to be broadcast over radio. During the second year of the awards, winners did not know ahead of time that they were receiving an award.

[00:01:41] In 1941, the sealed envelope system was first used for announcing the winners. In 1953 at the 25th Academy Awards the event was first broadcast on television. In 1966, the ceremony was [00:02:00] broadcast in color for the first time. History has been made in more recent times as well. Just last year in 2020 actually, history was made when the film Parasite became the first foreign language film to win Best Picture.

[00:02:16] While movie fans everywhere dream what it would be like to win an Oscar, there are several instances where actors have declined their awards. At the 1971 award ceremony, actor George C. Scott became the first actor to refuse his Academy Award when winning Best Actor for his role in the film Patton. He said that the politics surrounding such awards was demeaning and described the Oscar ceremony as a two hour meat parade. In 1973, Marlon Brando won Best Actor for his role in The Godfather, but he declined the award. According to History.com, the Native American actress,  [00:03:00] Sacheen Littlefeather attended the ceremony in Brando’s place stating that the actor “very regretfully could not accept the award as he was protesting Hollywood’s portrayal of Native Americans in film.” Katherine Hepburn won four Oscars in her career but never showed up to accept any of them.

[00:03:22] She has been quoted as saying, “As for me, prizes are nothing. My prize is my work.” Those are just a few people that turned down their award. In more recent years, some actors have boycotted the ceremony. In 2016 Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith refused to attend. Jada Pinkett Smith called for a boycott of the Academy Awards when she learned that the nominations for the second year in a row featured no actors of color. Her husband Will Smith vowed not to attend the Oscars in protest of a [00:04:00] lack of diversity. For the second year in a row all 20 acting nominees were white. Spike Lee joined them in their boycott.

[00:04:09] One of the most cringe-worthy moments at the Oscars happened at the 1989 ceremony when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway made a huge blunder accidentally announcing the wrong winner’s name for Best Picture. They announced that the film La La Land won Best Picture when really it was supposed to be the film Moonlight. I cringe when I rewatch a clip of the incident. How awful that the team from La La Land actually came on stage and started thanking people then had to go sit down.

[00:04:42] If you want to relive that uncomfortable moment, I’ll post a link to it on TriviaRewind.com. In recent years, a lot of people have stopped watching the Oscars. At the 2020 ceremony viewership hit an all time low. To give you an example, in [00:05:00] 2004, when Billy Crystal hosted the event, viewership that night was 43.5 million. In 2020, there was no host and viewership was 23.6 million. It will be interesting to see if people even tune in to this year’s event.

[00:05:18] So now that I’ve given you a little bit of history on the Oscars, let’s get to the 10 trivia questions about movies that have won Best Picture Oscars from the 1990s to the 2010s. After I ask you the 10 questions, I’ll go back and review the questions and give you the answers plus some fun facts about each movie. Stick around to the end, because I’ll tell you about this year’s Oscar ceremony and how things may be a little different. Are you ready?

[00:05:48] Here’s question one. In what 1992 movie does Clint Eastwood play the character Will Munny, a once notorious outlaw?

[00:06:00] [00:06:00] Question two. What 2013 movie is about Solomon Northup, a free African-American man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery?

[00:06:13] Question three. In what 2008 film does Jeremy Renner play Sergeant First Class William James, the new team leader for a US Army Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit in the Iraq War?

[00:06:31] Question four. What 2003 film starts out with two friends fishing and one of the friends discovers a piece of jewelry in the river which causes the other friend to kill him in order to get it?

[00:06:48] Question five. In what movie from 2000 does Russell Crowe play a man that is forced into fighting and was called Maximus the Merciful at one point in the [00:07:00] film?

[00:07:01] Question six. In what 2001 American biographical drama does Russell Crowe’s character develop paranoid schizophrenia?

[00:07:14] Question seven. In what 1995 movie does Mel Gibson play a Scottish warrior set on helping the Scots win their freedom from England?

[00:07:26] Question eight. In the 1994 film Forrest Gump, in what state is the film set?

[00:07:37] Question nine. In the 1993 film Schindler’s List what actor plays Oskar Schindler?

[00:07:47] And question 10. In the 1991 movie Silence of the Lambs, Clarice Starling interviews Hannibal Lecter in hopes of catching a serial killer [00:08:00] by what name?

[00:08:02] Those were our 10 questions. Let’s go back review, get the answers and fun facts.

[00:08:08] Question one. In what 1992 movie does Clint Eastwood play the character Will Munny a once notorious outlaw? That movie was Unforgiven. The film not only starred Clint Eastwood, he was also the director and producer. Unforgiven was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won four. It won for Best Picture, Best Director for Clint Eastwood, Best Supporting Actor for Gene Hackman and Best Film Editing. At the time this was only the third time a western film had won the Best Picture Oscar. The two that came before it were the 1931 film Cimarron and the 1990 film Dances With Wolves. And amazingly enough, after starring in dozens of movies, [00:09:00] this was only the first time that Clint Eastwood had been nominated for an Oscar.

[00:09:05] Currently he is the oldest person to have ever won a Best Director Academy Award. Clint Eastwood is a man of many talents. Did you know that he is a pianist and a composer? The main theme song of Unforgiven, a song titled Claudia’s Theme, was composed by Clint Eastwood. In 2004, the Library of Congress added Unforgiven to their National Film Registry. According to their website, “Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year the Librarian of Congress names 25 culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant motion pictures to the registry.”

[00:09:50] In 2008, the film was ranked the Fourth Best American Western Film in The American Film Institute’s [00:10:00] AFI’s 10 top 10 list.

[00:10:03] Question two. What 2013 movie is about Solomon Northup, a free African-American man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery? That movie was 12 Years A Slave. British Nigerian actor Chiwetel Ejiofor had the role of Solomon Northup in this film. In a BBC interview he said, “When I read the script, I thought it was an extraordinary story but I did feel the weight and the responsibility of it. I didn’t want to be the guy that messed it up.” He was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance. His first film role was in 1997 in Steven Spielberg’s film Amistad.  A lot of this movie was filmed in New Orleans, Louisiana at four historical plantations. To prepare for his [00:11:00] role Chiwetel Ejiofor learned to play the violin and immersed himself in Louisiana plantation culture.

[00:11:08] The film received nine Academy Award nominations and went home winning three, one of which was Best Picture.

[00:11:16] Question three. In what 2008 film does Jeremy Renner play Sergeant First Class William James, the new team leader for a US Army Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit in The Iraq War? That film was The Hurt Locker.

[00:11:35] Have you ever wondered what the term hurt locker means? Well, according to dictionary.com “Hurt locker is a slang term for a place of deep pain and discomfort. To be put in the hurt locker signifies that something profoundly troubling or painful has happened to you. Hurt locker comes from US military slang. It first emerged during the [00:12:00] Vietnam War. The screenplay was written by Mark Boal, who was actually embedded as a journalist in 2004 with a US Army EOD team in Iraq. He won an Academy Award for Best Writing Original Screenplay. His screenplay was fictional but based on events he saw while in Iraq. The Hurt Locker was nominated for nine Academy Awards.

[00:12:23] It won six and one was for Best Director. The Hurt Locker was directed by Kathryn Bigelow and she made history with her Oscar win. It remains the only Best Picture winner to have been directed by a woman. Before winning the Best Director Oscar, prior to this only three other women had ever been nominated for a Best Director Academy Award.

[00:12:48] Question four. What 2003 film starts out with two friends fishing and one of the friends discovers a piece of jewelry in the river which causes the other friend to [00:13:00] kill him in order to get it? That film was Lord of the Rings Return of the King. This film was directed by Peter Jackson. In a BBC interview, he says “The Return of the King is definitely the most emotional of the three films. It’s my favorite one of the three.” Peter Jackson also revealed his favorite character in the interview. He says, “I love the Hobbit. I love Bilbo Baggins. I really relate well to Bilbo.” This film set some major records at the 76th Academy Awards. Lord of the Rings Return of the King was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won all the categories for which it was nominated. This film and two others hold the record for highest Academy Award totals.

[00:13:53] The other two films are Titanic and Ben Hur. Return of the King also holds the record [00:14:00] for the highest clean sweep at the Oscars.

[00:14:04] Question five. In what movie from 2000 does Russell Crowe play a man that is forced into fighting and was called Maximus the Merciful at one point in the film? That film was Gladiator. Gladiator was directed by Ridley Scott, known for films like Alien, Blade Runner and Black Hawk Down. However, Gladiator was probably his biggest commercial success at the time. It ended up being the second highest grossing film of 2000. Mission Impossible 2 took the number one spot that year. Money aside, Gladiator took home Hollywood’s big award by winning the Best Picture Oscar. In 2011, the ABC network aired a special called Best in Film, the Greatest Movies of Our Time. In the Best Action Film category Gladiator took the number five spot. At the [00:15:00] 73rd Academy Awards, Gladiator was nominated for 12 Oscars. It won five, one of which was for Best Picture.

[00:15:09] Question six. In what 2001 American biographical drama does Russell Crowe’s character develop paranoid schizophrenia? That film was A Beautiful Mind. The movie was based on the real life of American mathematician John Nash and his struggle with schizophrenia. Whenever a movie is made based on a book or a real person, there are people that aren’t happy with the results. Some said that A Beautiful Mind didn’t tell the whole truth about the John Nash story. A quote from an article in The Guardian titled A Beautiful Mind Hides Ugly Truths,

[00:15:50] it says “Nash’s mind and his life have been beautified according to Hollywood standards. The result is an effective piece of cinema but one [00:16:00] that has little faith in its audience’s intelligence.” With that being said, Ron Howard, the director has pointed out that they never set out to make a bio pic. The film was however, highly acclaimed and won many awards. This film was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won four. Russell Crowe was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in the film however Denzel Washington took home the Oscar instead for his role that year in Training Day. Not only did A Beautiful Mind win the Best Picture Oscar, Ron Howard won the Best Director Oscar. The film also won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar and actress Jennifer Connelly took home the Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

[00:16:46] About.com Movies interviewed director Ron Howard who offered a few interesting insights into the making of the movie. One was that his father Rance Howard had a role playing a schizophrenic who Nash [00:17:00] observes. Unfortunately for his father, Ron cut the scene out. However, in the DVD release you can find scenes that were cut from the theater release.

[00:17:11] Question seven. In what 1995 movie does Mel Gibson play a Scottish warrior set on helping the Scots win their freedom from England? That Epic film was Braveheart. Not only did Mel Gibson star in the film, he directed it as well. In the beginning, Gibson did not intend on acting in the movie, he wanted Brad Pitt to have the lead role. As we all know that didn’t happen. Supposedly budget discussions surrounding this film where no walk in the park. According to The Hollywood Reporter Paramount’s original offer for their share of the budget wouldn’t even cover the battle scenes.

[00:17:52] Plus Paramount was asking for a distribution fee of 25% of the movies theatrical revenue. Upon [00:18:00] hearing this, the article says, “Gibson was furious. He grabbed a large glass ash tray and threw it through the wall.” He was upset that he had turned down three movies and admitted that his reaction was a little over the top.

[00:18:15] In the end, everything worked out. Negotiations are just part of the movie business. Braveheart was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and ended up bringing home five. Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup and Best Sound Effects Editing.

[00:18:34] Question eight. In the 1994 film Forrest Gump, in what state is the film set? The film is set in the state of Alabama. Forrest hailed from Greenbow Alabama, a city that doesn’t even exist. We all love Tom Hanks as the lead in Forrest Gump but did you know that he wasn’t the first choice for the role? [00:19:00] Supposedly John Travolta was one person to have turned down the role. Instead, Travolta starred in Pulp Fiction.

[00:19:08] Tom Hanks’ daughter Emily and director Robert Zemeckis’ son Alexander both had small roles in this film. They were the mean kids on the bus that wouldn’t let Forrest sit by them. Tom Hanks’ brother Jim was a double for him in some of the running scenes.

[00:19:25] Forrest Gump was nominated for 13 Academy Awards and won six. Best Director, Best Picture, Best Actor for Hanks, Best Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published, Best Visual Effects and Best Film Editing. At the time, Forrest Gump was the fourth highest grossing film of all time. It was also director Robert Zemeckis’ highest grossing film to date.

[00:19:54] Question nine. In the 1993 film Schindler’s List, what [00:20:00] actor plays Oskar Schindler? That actor is Liam Neeson. Schindler’s List was directed by Steven Spielberg. Many actors came to Spielberg wanting to play Oskar Schindler but Spielberg’s first choice was always Liam Neeson. At one point Warren Beatty auditioned for the role. When asked about this in a Inside Film article, Steven Spielberg says, “I don’t think Warren would have ever really worked on the accent. I think Warren would have played it like Oskar Schindler through Warren Beatty but I don’t think Warren would have taken on the accent perhaps. Liam as you know is Irish but he took on the accent completely.”

[00:20:44] Much of the movie was filmed at the actual sites mentioned in the movie. In an article from Inside Film, Steven Spielberg says, “We had the interior and exterior of Schindler’s apartment and the interior and exterior of his offices at the factory. [00:21:00] We had the interior of SS headquarters and the interior and exterior of the prison. Most every place was authentic.” They were unable to shoot inside Auschwitz-Birkenau so they shot just outside the gate house.

[00:21:15] A lot of the crew was Polish, Croatian and Austrian. Inside Film asked Steven Spielberg what he thought were some of the more difficult scenes. Spielberg said, “The most difficult part was putting the women into the showers, turning off the lights on them. That was tough.” It was so difficult for some of the actresses that they had complete breakdowns while filming the scene.

[00:21:38] When the topic of actors dressing up as Nazis came up, Spielberg said, “Many of them would come up to me before a take and tell me how disgusting it felt to have the uniform on. They would confess to me that their parents were involved in the war, in the military, and often they would just say to me, thank you for letting me resolve my secrets by playing [00:22:00] in your movie.”

[00:22:01] Schindler’s List was nominated for 12 Academy Awards and won seven, one of which was Best Picture. Steven Spielberg won an Oscar for Best Director. Liam Neeson was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, but Tom Hanks won for his role in Philadelphia. On AFI’S 2007, 100 years, 100 movies, 10th anniversary edition, Schindler’s List ranked number eight.

[00:22:29] Question 10. In the 1991 movie Silence of the Lambs, Clarice Starling interviews Hannibal Lecter in hopes of catching a serial killer by what nickname? The name of that serial killer was Buffalo Bill. Silence of the Lambs was based on a novel by Thomas Harris. Did you know that this wasn’t the first movie to feature Hannibal Lecter?

[00:22:54] The 1986 film Manhunter was based on the novel Red Dragon by [00:23:00] Thomas Harris and it included Hannibal Lecter as well. Actress Jodie foster played Clarice Starling. The director of the film. Jonathan Demme was extremely hesitant to cast her at first. At the 2014 Austin Film Festival, Demme said that he wanted to cast Michelle Pfeiffer, Meg Ryan and Laura Dern as the young FBI agent. Eventually the role was offered to Jodie Foster. The director ended up liking Foster so much that they named their production company Strong Heart Productions after Jodie’s sense of character. Anthony Hopkins wasn’t the first person to be offered the Hannibal Lecter role. Sean Connery turned down the role before Anthony Hopkins was offered the part.

[00:23:46] In 1991, Silence of the Lambs was the fifth highest grossing film worldwide. At the 64th Academy Awards, Silence of the Lambs was nominated for seven awards and came home with [00:24:00] five, one of which was for Best Picture. The film won what is known as the Big Five Academy Awards meaning it won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay. At the time, this was only the third film in history to accomplish this. The other two films to hold this title are It Happened One Night and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.

[00:24:28] Well, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown things off in the movie business. This year the 93rd Academy Awards will be held on April 25th, later than in years past. There’s still a lot of talk about how this will happen because when the Academy chose that date, they had hoped that the pandemic would be past us and theaters would be back open and thriving. That just isn’t the case yet. So the question is, what movies will be eligible? There haven’t been that [00:25:00] many movies released to theaters over the past year. In any normal year, with a few exceptions, movies must open in theaters where they need to run for at least a week in both New York and Los Angeles in order to be eligible for the Oscars.

[00:25:16] The theaters in New York have been closed for the past year. Well, due to the closure of theaters during the pandemic, the Academy changed its rules this year. According to an article on Vox.com, “The Academy shifted its rules to allow films that premiered only on streaming services to qualify for Oscar nominations provided they had planned to open in theaters before the pandemic prevented them from doing so.”

[00:25:45] While it doesn’t feel like there were that many new movies in 2020, the Vox article says “At least eight to 10 new films were released in the US every week in 2020.” The last I heard, the Oscars will be [00:26:00] held in person and broadcast from a few different locations. It will be interesting to see how many people actually tune into the show this year. My guess is that the viewership numbers will plummet compared to years past.

[00:26:15] Well, that’s it for this week’s episode. You can find Trivia Rewind on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. All the links mentioned in this show can be found at triviarewind.com. Please subscribe and leave a positive review wherever you listen to podcasts. Thanks for listening and I’ll be back next time for more Trivia Rewind [00:27:00] .

Posted in film, tv

Betty White

Author Michael McWilliams said “If Lucille Ball is the Queen of Television, then its Princess is Betty White.” 

Betty White, everyone’s favorite leading lady, recently turned 99 years old. Just a few weeks ago, I watched a documentary on Netflix titled Betty White, First Lady of Television. It was a nice overview of Betty’s career and I did learn a few new things about her.  

Betty Marion White was born on January 17, 1922  in Oak Park, Illinois. She was an only child and admits that she was quite spoiled rotton.  In 1923 her family moved from Illinois to California.  She graduated from Beverly Hills High School in 1939.  In the documentary she discussed how every summer she and her parents would hike into the Sierra Nevada’s for 3 weeks. They were a family that loved animals and wildlife. 

Growing up, Betty idolized singer and actress Jeanette Macdonald who was famous during the 1930s and 1940s.  Just a few months after graduating from high school, Betty White did her first test for television where she sang a Jeanette Macdonald song. 

In the 1940s, Betty had some work in radio.  It all started when she played a young orphan in the 1930s radio drama Empire Builders.   She also had roles in other radio shows during that decade. In 1949, Al Jarvis, a radio DJ started a television talk show called Hollywood on Television.  He asked Betty to join him as part of the show, a show that was live and aired six days a week.  It’s hard to believe but the show was around five hours long each day and and a lot of improvisation took place. Betty would also sing on the show. It was a great opportunity for her to showcase her array of skills.  She started out making $50 a week for her work. In 1951 Al Jarvis left the show and film star Eddie Albert became Betty’s co-host.  Eddie Albert only stayed for six months and then Betty took on the hosting role alone in 1952. This makes Betty White the first female daytime television talk show host. 

That same year, Betty co-founded Bandy Productions along with writer George Tibbles and producer Don Fedderson.  They created the television comedy Life With Elizabeth where Betty had the lead role and won a Los Angeles Emmy Award for her role.  Up against Betty White for that Emmy was Zsa Zsa Gabor.  In a People magazine article, Betty White says, “Zsa Zsa Gabor was also nominated and was at my table. When they came around to our award, Zsa Zsa got her purse out and powdered her nose and put her lipstick on. I didn’t think there was a prayer. I was just interested in seeing how it came out, but they announced my name instead of Zsa Zsa’s. I was just in shock. I could not believe it. And I don’t think Zsa Zsa could either.”

In 1954, Betty hosted the Betty White show, a variety show with a live band and live commercials. In the documentary, she said this was before there was tape. Everything was live.  Imagine that coordination it must have taken to have a live show and no saying “we’ll edit that out later.” In the documentary they interviewed singer and tap dancer Arthur Duncan.  He was the first African-American regular on variety television programs.  Unfortunately, there was some controversy surrounding his appearances.  Viewers in the south did not like having a black man on their television sets and people wanted the show cancelled. Thankfully, Betty White said “I’m sorry. Live with it.” Arthur Duncan credits Betty White for getting him into television.

In the 1970s, Betty had a much loved role on The Mary Tyler Moore Show where she played Sue Ann Nivens, the Happy Homemaker. The Mary Tyler Moore show had already been on the air for a few years before Betty White joined the cast. Her first appearance was on episode one of season four.  For her role, Betty White won two Emmy Awards in the Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series category. The women that made up the show were Cloris Leachman, Valerie Harper, Mary Tyler Moore, Betty White, and Georgia Engel. Their final time all together on a television program was when Katie Couric interviewed them on her talk show Katie in 2013.  While on the show, the ladies all sang the Mary Tyler Moore Show theme song together. It was great to see them all together one last time.

Betty White always seems to be coming up with something new to keep her name in the spotlight. In 2010 she starred in a Super Bowl commercial that had everyone talking. That same year she made history when she became the oldest person to host Saturday Night Live. And she’s not done yet. Next week, Betty White’s Pet Set, a series created 50 years ago will make its debut on digital platforms and DVD on February 23, 2021.

Betty White definitely is the “Princess of Television.” I hope you will listen to this week’s Trivia Rewind episode about Betty White. How many people can say at 99 years old, they still have work in Hollywood!

Below, you will find the transcript for this episode. You can listen to Trivia Rewind on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts. Please tell a friend, leave a positive review and 5 star rating if you like Trivia Rewind. Thank you for listening and supporting Trivia Rewind! 

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Trivia Rewind Episode 37 – Betty White

[00:00:00] Debi Jenkins: [00:00:00] Hello Trivia Rewind  listeners, I’m Debi Jenkins, your host. In this episode of Trivia Rewind, I’ll be talking about everyone’s favorite leading lady, Betty White. She just turned 99 years old.  Author Michael McWilliams said, “If Lucille Ball is the queen of television, then its princess is Betty White.”

[00:00:36] Recently I watched a documentary on Netflix titled Betty White, First Lady of Television. It was a nice overview of Betty’s career and I did learn a few new things about her. Betty Marion White was born on January 17th, 1922 in Oak Park, Illinois. She was an only child and admits that she was quite spoiled rotten. In [00:01:00] 1923 her family moved to California. She graduated from Beverly Hills High School in 1939. In the documentary she discussed how every summer she and her parents would hike into the Sierra Nevada’s for three weeks. They were a family that loved animals and wildlife.

[00:01:20] Growing up Betty idolized singer and actress Jeanette MacDonald, who was famous during the 1930s and 1940s. Just a few months after graduating from high school, Betty White did her first test for television where she sang a Janette McDonald song. In the 1940s, Betty had some work in radio.  It all started when she played a young orphan in the 1930s radio drama, Empire Builders.  [RADIO DRAMA CLIP: Oh, how are you today hon? I’m a lot better, thank you.”] She also had roles in other radio shows during that decade.

[00:01:56] In 1949, Al Jarvis, a radio [00:02:00] DJ started a television talk show called Hollywood On Television. He asked Betty White to join him as part of the show. The show was live and aired six days a week. It’s hard to believe, but the show was around five hours long each day and a lot of improvisation took place. Betty would also sing on the show. It was a great opportunity for her to showcase her huge array of skills. She started out making $50 a week for her work. In 1951, Al Jarvis left the show and film star Eddie Albert became Betty’s co-host. He only stayed for six months and then Betty White took on the hosting role alone in 1952. This makes her the first female daytime television talk show host.

[00:02:51] That same year, Betty White co-founded Bandy Productions along with writer George Tibbles and producer Don Fetterson.  [00:03:00] They created the television comedy Life With Elizabeth where Betty had the lead role and won a Los Angeles Emmy Award for her role.

[00:03:09] [TV SHOW CLIP: “Betty White in Life With  Elizabeth, featuring Del Moore”]

[00:03:25] Up against Betty White for that Emmy was Zsa Zsa Gabor. In a People Magazine article, Betty White says, “Zsa Zsa Gabor was also nominated and was at my table. When they came around to our award, Zsa Zsa got her purse out and powdered her nose and put her lipstick on. I didn’t think there was a prayer. I was just interested in seeing how it came out, but they announced my name instead of Zsa Zsa’s. I was just in shock. I could not believe it. And I don’t think Zsa Zsa could either.”

[00:03:59] In [00:04:00] 1954, Betty hosted the Betty White Show, a variety show with a live band and live commercials. In the documentary she said this was before there was tape. Everything was live. In the documentary they interviewed singer and tap dancer Arthur Duncan. He was the first African-American regular on variety television programs. Unfortunately, there were some controversy. Viewers in the South did not like having a black man on their television sets and people wanted the show canceled. Well, Betty White said, “I’m sorry. Live with it.” He credits Betty White for getting him into television. It was now the end of the 1950s and Betty White’s career was off to a great start.

[00:04:47] In this week’s episode of Trivia Rewind, I will give you 10 trivia questions about Betty White. After I ask you the questions, I’ll go back and give you the answers and some [00:05:00] more fun facts about the princess of television. Stick around to the very end because I’ll tell you what Betty White’s newest projects are. Just because she’s 99 doesn’t mean she’s done with the entertainment business yet.

[00:05:15] So are you ready for question one? Here it is. On which game show did Betty White appear numerous times where she fell in love with her future husband, the host of the show?

[00:05:31] Question two. On The Mary Tyler Moore show, what was the name of Betty White’s character?

[00:05:40] Question three. From what 1980s game show did Betty White become the first woman to win a Daytime Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Game Show Host?

[00:05:56] Question four. On the TV series The [00:06:00] Golden Girls, what is the name of the character portrayed by Betty White?

[00:06:06] Question five. What is the name of the TV Land original sitcom where Betty White played the character Elka?

[00:06:17] Question six. During the 2010 Super Bowl, Betty White starred in a popular commercial whose slogan was “you’re not you when you’re hungry.” What product was the commercial advertising?

[00:06:34] Question seven. On May 8th, 2010, what popular show did Betty White host and at the same time become the oldest person to host that show?

[00:06:48] Question eight. In what 2019 animated movie did Betty White provide the voice for the character Bitey White?

[00:07:00] [00:06:59] Question nine. In what 2009 film starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds did Betty White appear in?

[00:07:11] And question 10. What is the name of the 2011 Hallmark Hall of Fame movie that Betty White appeared in with actress Jennifer Love Hewitt?

[00:07:24] Well, those were our 10 questions. Let’s go back and get the answers and fun facts.

[00:07:31] Question one. On which game show did Betty White appear numerous times where she fell in love with her future husband, the host of the show? That show was Password and the host was Allen Ludden. Betty White first appeared on Password in 1961 as a celebrity guest. In 2013 Password ranked number eight on TV Guide’s list of The 60 Greatest [00:08:00] Game Shows Ever.

[00:08:02] One thing I learned in the documentary about Betty White is that Betty loves word games. She’s a huge fan of playing the board game Scrabble. She also loves doing crossword puzzles. During her career she has appeared on a lot of game shows and is known to love games in general. Some have called her the first lady of game shows. In her book titled, “Here We Go Again. My Life in Television,” she wrote, “Mom and dad and I had always played games since as far back as I can remember. Some we made up as we went along – at the table, in the car, wherever – so playing on TV was a bonus. Where else can you spend a couple of hours playing games with nice people and get paid for it?”

[00:08:54] Question two. On The Mary Tyler Moore Show, what was the name of [00:09:00] Betty White’s character? Her character was Sue Ann Nivens, the Happy Homemaker. The Mary Tyler Moore Show had already been on the air for a few years before Betty joined the cast. Her first appearance was on episode one of season four. For her role, Betty won two Emmy Awards in the Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series category.

[00:09:25] The women that made up the show were Cloris Leachman, Valerie Harper, Mary Tyler Moore, Betty White and Georgia Engel. Their final time all together on a television program was when Katie Couric interviewed them on her talk show Katie in 2013. While on the show, the ladies all sang The Mary Tyler Moore Show theme song together. To find out more about that last appearance together, I’ll post a link to the story on triviarewind.com. In 2007, Time [00:10:00] Magazine put The Mary Tyler Moore Show on its list of The 17 Shows That Changed TV.

[00:10:07] Question three. From what 1980s game show did Betty White become the first woman to win a Daytime Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Game Show Host? Well, the name of that game show was Just Men. Just Men aired on NBC. The basic object of the game was for the contestants, two women, to correctly predict answers to questions asked previously to a panel of seven celebrity men. Each correct answer would earn the lady a key. In the bonus round, the winner could see if one of the keys started a car that they could win. The announcer of the show Steve Day said “It’s the most unusual show in daytime and talk.” [00:11:00] Unfortunately, the show didn’t make it long. After 13 weeks of being on the air, it was canceled. Betty White did however make history with her Daytime Emmy win.

[00:11:13] Question four. On the TV series The Golden Girls, what is the name of the character portrayed by Betty White? Well, she played the role of Rose. Betty almost didn’t play the role of Rose. She was supposedly cast to play the character Blanche who was a similar character to her Sue Ann Nivens role on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

[00:11:40] Actress Rue McClanahan was offered the role of Rose, a character similar to her role in Maude. In order not to be typecast, she and Rue McClanahan switched roles at the last minute. This hit show was nominated for 68 Emmy Awards and [00:12:00] won 11. On their 2013 list of The 60 Best Series of All Time, TV Guide ranked The Golden Girls number 54.

[00:12:12] Question five. What is the name of the TV Land original sitcom where Betty White played the character Elka? That show was Hot in Cleveland. Some people called the show a modern twist on The Golden Girls. Hot in Cleveland was TV Land’s first original series and it ran for six seasons.

[00:12:38] Originally Betty White agreed to do just one episode but ended up liking it so much that when they offered her a permanent role, she took it. She went on to appear in 128 episodes of the series. Betty White earned an Emmy nomination for her role on the show. In 2012, it won the People’s [00:13:00] Choice Award for Favorite Cable TV Comedy.

[00:13:04] Question six. During the 2010 Super Bowl, Betty White starred in a popular commercial whose slogan was “your not you when you’re hungry.” What product was the commercial advertising? Well, that highly popular commercial was for Snickers candy bars. I’m sure you remember this commercial. Betty White is playing football and gets tackled hard to the ground by one of the players.

[00:13:34] One of the players says, “Mike, you’re playing like Betty White out there.” After eating a bit of a Snickers bar, Betty White disappears and turns into the character Mike. This commercial was a huge hit during the Super Bowl. If you haven’t seen it, check out triviarewind.com where I will post a link so you can watch this commercial.  Way back in the 1940s Betty had her [00:14:00] debut in a radio commercial where she said the single word “Parkay” as in butter. This was on the radio show called The Great Gildersleeve.

[00:14:12] Question seven. On May 8th, 2010, what popular show did Betty White host and at the same time become the oldest person to host the show? She hosted Saturday Night Live and she was 88 years old when she hosted it. How this all came about was actually pretty amazing. A fan in Texas named David Matthews started a grassroots Facebook petition wanting Betty White to host SNL. Within a few months, several hundred thousand people signed the petition and this got the attention of the people at Saturday Night Live. Not long after that she was signed on to host the Mother’s Day weekend episode of Saturday Night Live.

[00:15:00] [00:14:59] In part of her opening monologue she said she didn’t know what Facebook was and she said, now that I do know what it is, I have to say, it sounds like a huge waste of time. She got a lot of laughs for that. This was such a loved episode that it even won her her seventh Emmy Award, where at the 2010 Primetime Emmy Awards, she took home an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.

[00:15:29] Question eight. In what 2019 animated movie did Betty White provide the voice for the character Bitey White? That movie was Toy Story 4.  In the film, Bitey White is a toy tiger teething ring and belonged to the character Bonnie when she was a baby. In an Entertainment Weekly article, it quotes Betty White saying, “I’m just lucky they asked me to be a part of it.” She was able to work with some [00:16:00] lifelong friends in this movie. Carol Burnett, Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner participated as one of Bonnie’s old baby toys as well. In the article Betty went on to say, “It’s a lovely group and they’re all friends of mine. It doesn’t get any better.” Playing a tiger was right up Betty White’s alley. Known to be an animal advocate, she said this about her Toy Story tiger role. “I’ve had the privilege of cuddling with lots of different animals and I’ll play with any animal” she says. “A current friend is a grizzly bear named Bam-Bam. So I’m delighted to be able to give a voice to a toy tiger.” Betty loves being an animal advocate.

[00:16:47] Question nine. In what 2009 film starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds did Betty White appear in? That movie was The [00:17:00] Proposal. In this romantic comedy, Betty White played the character Grandma Annie. The cast had a great working relationship. So much so that when asked who she’s starstruck by, other than Robert Redford, Betty White says Sandra Bullock. She’s quoted as saying, “Very close to the top of that one is Sandra Bullock. She’s the epitome of what a movie star should be. She’s not only gorgeous and talented, but she’s the most down to earth human being. I just can’t say enough about her.” At the 36th People’s Choice Awards, the film won the Favorite Comedy Movie Award.

[00:17:44] And question 10. What is the name of the 2011 Hallmark Hall of Fame movie that Betty White appeared in with actress Jennifer Love Hewitt? That movie was called The Lost Valentine. For her performance [00:18:00] in this movie, Betty received a nomination for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie.

[00:18:12] Speaking of Valentines, Betty White has been married three times. Betty’s first husband was Dick Barker, a United States Army Air Forces aircraft pilot who she met while volunteering with the American Women’s Voluntary Services. They were married in 1945 and moved to her new husband’s chicken farm in Ohio. A People Magazine article quotes her as saying, “It was a nightmare.” That marriage didn’t last long. Before the year was over they were divorced.

[00:18:45] Betty’s second husband was Hollywood talent agent Lane Allen. They were married in 1947. Lane Allen wanted her to become a housewife and give up her career. So as you can imagine, that marriage [00:19:00] didn’t last long either. They were divorced in 1949.

[00:19:04] Her final marriage was to Allen Ludden, the love of her life. They met in 1961 when she was a celebrity player on the game show Password. Sadly, Ludden’s first wife had recently died of cancer. Ludden had three children with his first wife. In the Betty White documentary she talks about how Allen proposed multiple times and she kept turning him down over and over again.

[00:19:31] When she turned down the diamond wedding ring he proposed with, Allen wore it around his neck on a chain. He would not give up. She said that on Easter of 1963, he sent her a bunny stuffed animal that had gold leaves with a ruby, diamond and sapphire earrings hanging from its ears. She finally accepted his proposal. She joked about how it wasn’t the jewelry that won her over. It was the stuffed bunny. In the documentary [00:20:00] she said how she felt bad that she wasted so much time saying no to his proposals because that was a year longer that they could have been together.

[00:20:08] The two were married in 1963 and in June of 1981, Allen Ludden died at the age of 63. He had been diagnosed with stomach cancer the year prior. In an interview with Larry King, she was asked if she would ever remarry and her answer was “Once you’ve had the best, who needs the rest.”

[00:20:32] So what does Betty White have going on right now at the young age of 99? According to PR Newswire, “Betty White’s Pet Set, a long unseen series created by and starring the sitcom legend will make its debut on digital platforms and DVD on February 23rd, 2021. [TV SHOW CLIP: Welcome to The Pet Set, starring Betty White.”] [00:21:00] This celebrates the 50th anniversary of this show. They quote Betty White sayin, “If I haven’t told you already, I will now. The Pet Set is one of my favorite shows. I’m thrilled it’s going to be seen again after all these years.” The show was executive produced by her late husband Allen Ludden. The show features celebrity guests and their pets. Betty is also working on a Christmas movie with the Lifetime Network where she plays the character called Santa Whisperer.

[00:21:34] Well, that is it for this week’s episode about Betty White. If you have Netflix check out the documentary about her. I’d love to hear what your favorite Betty White role is. Visit Trivia Rewind on Instagram and share with me there. Also don’t forget to visit triviarewind.com, where you can find the links mentioned in this episode.

[00:21:58] Thank you so much for [00:22:00] listening and I will be back next week with another new episode of Trivia Rewind.

Posted in film

Denzel Washington Movies

On this week’s episode of Trivia Rewind, the topic is Denzel Washington and ten of his movies. Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. was born on December 28, 1954 in Mount Vernon, New York. He was named after his father, Denzel Hayes Washington and his father was named after the doctor that delivered him, Dr. Denzel. 

Growing up, Denzel Washington has said that as a child, he was not allowed to watch movies. In a Hollywood Reporter article, he says “My father was a minister in the Church of God and Christ,” said Washington. “My mother was a singer in church, so we weren’t allowed to watch movies.” The actor was only allowed to watch certain Christian films. “King of Kings, Ten Commandments and that’s about it,” Washington added. “I never went to the movies as a child, ever.“

In a GQ article from 2012 Denzel says that his first job was as a paper boy around the age of 9 years old. When he was 11, he started working in a barbershop.  In the article he says, “Working in that barbershop, learning how to tell stories…I learned how to act.”   

There was another time in Denzel’s life that he will always remember and look back on. In a Parade Magazine article from 1999, Denzel Washington is quoted as saying “I’ve felt the hand of God on my life, no doubt about it. I remember sitting in my mother’s beauty parlor in Mount Vernon, N.Y., on March 27, 1975, and in the mirror I kept seeing this woman looking at me.” Washington was then 20, a student at Fordham University in the Bronx. “I was doing so bad in school, and this woman said, ‘Somebody give me a piece of stationery! I’m having a prophecy!’ I still have that piece of paper. ‘You’re going to speak to millions of people,’ she said to me. ‘You’re going to do great things!’ And I thought, ‘Yeah, right. When’s that going to start? On Monday? I’m flunking out of school. Later on, I asked my mother, ‘Who was that woman?’ She said, ‘It’s Ruth Green, one of the elder sisters in the church, who’s been known to have the gift of prophecy.’” He paused, then added, “That fall I started acting.”

Washington graduated from Fordham University in 1977 where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in drama and journalism. While in his junior year at Fordham, he played the leads in a few university productions. It was there that he developed a love for acting.  His first professional on-screen acting job was in 1977 when he starred in a TV movie called The Wilma Rudolph Story.  It was during the filming of this movie that he met his future wife, actress Pauletta Pearson. 

After graduating from Fordham University, he spent a year training at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, California.  After that, he moved to New York City and worked off-Broadway. In 1982, he was part of the cast to win a Distinguished Ensemble Performance Obie Award for his role in A Soldier’s Play. Then he headed back to California and had his breakout role as Dr. Phillip Chandler on the hit television series St. Elsewhere. That role lasted for 6 years.  His career only went up from there. 

In the Parade Magazine article, Denzel says “I’ve been fortunate as an actor,” he said. “I’ve made some interesting films, and I think some of the work I’ve done has touched people. Maybe it sounds corny, but I try to do things for goodness’ sake—to send a good message. I think we did that with Glory, with Philadelphia, and we do that with The Hurricane, a movie which says it sometimes takes suffering—unfortunately, even prison—for some people to realize that hate, hatred for yourself, for other people, will confine you, but love can set you free.”

In 1991, Denzel Washington was awarded an Honorary Doctorate degree from his alma mater, Fordham University. In 2007, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Morehouse College. And In 2011 he received an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

In 2016, the Golden Globe Awards honored him with the Cecil B. DeMille Award, an honorary Golden Globe Award bestowed by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment”

In November of 2020, Denzel Washington ranked number one on The New York Times’ prestigious “25 Greatest Actors of the 21st Century” list.  A touching moment can be seen in an Access Hollywood interview when Denzel is told what his son said about his father being named the number one actor on that New York Times list.  Denzel’s son said “”It’s about time….I think he is one of the greatest to ever do it, so it was a very proud moment for our entire family.”  When told this, Denzel teared up and said he was speechless. You can tell how important family is in the Washington household. 

What’s up next for Denzel? Recently, I was at the movie theater and saw a preview for his upcoming film called The Little Things where he stars alongside Oscar winners Rami Malek and Jared Leto. The movie will be released on January 29, 2021 in theaters and will temporarily stream on HBO Max.  And let me tell you, if you haven’t been to the movie theatre since the Covid-19 Pandemic hit, I can tell you that it was so great being back in a real theater seeing a movie. There’s nothing like movie theater surround sound. I look forward to  seeing Denzel’s new movie IN the theater. 

Now that I’ve given you a little background on this amazing actor, head on over to your favorite place to listen to podcasts where I’ll give you ten trivia questions about some of Denzel Washington’s movie roles?  After I give you the ten questions,  I’ll go back and review the questions and give you the answers plus some fun facts about each movie.  

On this episode, you’ll hear me mention a link to a few videos. Here’s the link where Oprah talks with Denzel and his wife Pauletta. I also mention a link where you can watch Denzel on Jimmy Kimmel where he talks about Pauletta and their first date.

Below, you will find the transcript for this episode. You can listen to Trivia Rewind on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Please tell a friend, leave a positive review and 5 star rating if you like Trivia Rewind. Thank you for listening and supporting Trivia Rewind! 

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Here is the transcript. Spoiler alert! Unless you’ve already listened to the episode, don’t look below because you’ll find the answers.

Trivia Rewind Episode 33 Denzel Washington

[00:00:00] Hey Trivia Rewind listeners. This is Debi Jenkins and I’m back with another new episode. This week, our topic is Denzel Washington. I’ll be talking about 10 of his movies. But first let’s talk a little bit about Denzel.  Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. was born on December 28th, 1954 in Mount Vernon, New York.

[00:00:36] He was named after his father, Denzel Hayes Washington and his father was named after the doctor that delivered him. Dr. Denzel.  Growing up, Denzel Washington has said that as a child, he was not allowed to watch movies. In a Hollywood Reporter article he says, “My father was a minister in the Church of God in Christ” said [00:01:00] Washington. “My mother was a singer in the church, so we weren’t allowed to watch movies.” The actor was only allowed to watch certain Christian films:  King of Kings,  Ten Commandments and that’s about it, Washington added. I never went to the movies as a child.”

[00:01:17] In a GQ article from 2012, Denzel says that his first job was as a paper boy around the age of nine years old. When he was 11, he started working in a barber shop. In the article he says, “Working in that barber shop, learning how to tell stories…I learned how to act.” There was another time in Denzel’s life that he will always remember and look back on.

[00:01:44] In a Parade Magazine article from 1999, Denzel Washington is quoted as saying,  “I’ve felt the hand of God on my life, no doubt about it. I remember sitting in my mother’s beauty parlor in Mount Vernon, New York on [00:02:00] March 27th, 1975 and in the mirror, I kept seeing this woman looking at me.” Washington was then 20, a student at Fordham University in the Bronx. “I was doing so bad in school  and this woman said, somebody give me a piece of stationary, I’m having a prophecy. I still have that piece of paper. You are going to speak to millions of people, she said to me, you are going to do great things. And I thought, yeah, right. When’s that going to start, on Monday? I’m flunking out of school. Later on, I asked my mother, who was that woman? She said it’s Ruth Green, one of the elder sisters in the church who’s been known to have the gift of prophecy.” He paused then added, “That fall. I started acting.”

[00:02:49] Denzel Washington graduated from Fordham University in 1977, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in drama and journalism. [00:03:00] While in his junior year at Fordham, he played the leads in a few university productions. It was there that he developed a love for acting. His first professional on-screen acting job was in 1977 when he starred in a TV movie called The Wilma Rudolph Story. It was during the filming of this movie that he met his future wife, actress Pauletta Pearson.

[00:03:26] After graduating from Fordham University, he spent a year training at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, California. After that he moved to New York City and worked off-Broadway.  In 1982 he was part of the cast to win a Distinguished Ensemble Performance Obie Award for his role in A Soldier’s Play. Well, then he headed back to California and had his breakout role as Dr. Phillip Chandler on the hit television series St.  [00:04:00] Elsewhere. That role lasted for six years. His career only went up from there.

[00:04:08] In the Parade Magazine article, Denzel says, “I’ve been fortunate as an actor.” He said “I’ve made some interesting films and I think some of the work I’ve done has touched people. Maybe it sounds corny, but I try to do things for goodness’ sake, to send a good message.  I think we did that with Glory, with Philadelphia and we do that with The Hurricane, a movie, which says it sometimes take suffering, unfortunately, even prison for some people to realize that hate, hatred for yourself, for other people will confine you, but love can set you free.”

[00:04:46] In 1991, Denzel Washington was awarded an honorary doctorate from his alma mater Fordham University.  In 2007, he received an honorary doctorate of humanities from Morehouse [00:05:00] College. And in 2011, he received an honorary doctor of arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2016, the Golden Globe Awards honored him with the Cecil B DeMille Award, an honorary Golden Globe Award bestowed by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.

[00:05:25] This past November of 2020 Denzel Washington ranked number one on the New York Times, prestigious “25 Greatest Actors of the 21st Century” list. A touching moment can be seen in an Access Hollywood interview when Denzel is told what his son said about his father being named the number one actor on that list. Denzel’s son said, “It’s about time. I think he is one of the greatest to ever do it. So it was a very proud moment for our entire family.” When told this, [00:06:00] Denzel teared up and said he was speechless. You can tell how important family is in the Washington household.

[00:06:07] So what’s up next for Denzel? Well, just a few nights ago, I was at the movie theater and saw a preview for his upcoming film called, The Little Things, where he stars alongside Oscar winners, Rami Malek and Jared Leto.  The movie will be released on January 29th in theaters and will temporarily stream on HBO Max as well. And let me tell you, if you haven’t been to the movie theater since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I can tell you that it was so great being back in a real theater seeing a movie. There’s nothing like movie theater surround sound.  I look forward to seeing Denzel’s new movie in the theater.

[00:06:50] Now that I’ve given you a little background on this amazing actor are you ready to get into the 10 trivia questions about some of his movie roles? [00:07:00] After I give you the 10 questions, I’ll go back and review the questions and give you the answers plus some fun facts about each movie. So are you ready?

[00:07:10] Here’s question one. In what 1995 film does Denzel Washington star alongside Gene Hackman as Lieutenant Commander Ron Hunter, Executive Officer of the USS Alabama?

[00:07:28] Question two. In the 1993 film The Pelican Brief, Denzel Washington’s character Gray Grantham does what for a living?

[00:07:42] Question three. In the 2014 film The Equalizer, what condition does Denzel Washington’s character suffer from?

[00:07:54] Question four. In the 2010 post-apocalyptic [00:08:00] western film, The Book of Eli, Denzel Washington’s character is in possession of what book?

[00:08:08] Question five. In the 2001 crime thriller Training Day, who kills Denzel Washington’s character Detective Sergeant Alonzo Harris?

[00:08:21] Question six. In what 2000 film does Denzel Washington play a high school football coach at a newly integrated high school?

[00:08:34] Question seven. In what 1987 film does Denzel Washington’s character play black activist Steve Biko?

[00:08:46] Question eight. In the 2016 film Fences, Denzel Washington’s character Troy Maxson is promoted in his job and gets to do what? In doing this job he becomes the [00:09:00] first African-American to do this in Pittsburgh.

[00:09:04] Question nine. In the 1989 film Glory starring Matthew Broderick and Denzel Washington, what reason does Denzel Washington’s character Private Trip give for going AWOL?

[00:09:21] And question 10. In what 1999 film does Denzel Washington play a former middleweight boxer who was wrongly convicted for a triple murder?

[00:09:35] Those were our 10 questions. Let’s go back, get the answers and fun facts.

[00:09:41] Question one. In what 1995 film does Denzel Washington star alongside Gene Hackman as Lieutenant Commander Ron Hunter, Executive Officer of the USS Alabama?  That movie was Crimson Tide. This film reunites the [00:10:00] production team from Top Gun. It was produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer and it was directed by Tony Scott. This film was produced without the assistance of the U.S. Navy. The production team was hoping for their involvement, but there were a few reasons the Navy didn’t want to be a part of it. One was that the Navy didn’t like that in the story, there was mutiny on the ship. They also didn’t want it suggested that the Navy could ever make a mistake about firing a nuclear weapon.

[00:10:31] So director Tony Scott had to get creative when shooting one particular scene for the movie. In order to get one of the shots he wanted for the film, Tony Scott and his crew waited at Pearl Harbor for a submarine to go out to sea. When one left port, they basically chased it with boats and helicopters to get the footage they needed for the film. Since they were in open water, there was no law against what they were doing. This shot was the only shot in the movie that [00:11:00] featured a real submarine. This scene is at the beginning of the film when you see the USS Alabama submerging.

[00:11:08] While the Navy wouldn’t help, Retired Navy Captain Skip Beard, former Commanding Officer of the Alabama Blue Crew was a technical advisor. In a Deseret News article from 1995 it says “Beard spent five months teaching Hackman, Washington, and the rest of the actors to salute, operate technical controls, and generally look like submariners.” He did admit that his Navy buddies would probably spot errors because if you were to make a real movie about submarining, people would walk out of the theater. A lot of liberties were taken with Navy regulations and realities. Another technical advisor was Captain Mal Wright, Retired Former Commanding Officer of the Alabama Gold Crew  and he worked with the screenwriter.

[00:11:58] The article also pointed out [00:12:00] that Tony Scott, the director of the film was surprised at the Navy’s lack of cooperation. His movie Top Gun was such a hit with the Navy that he thought he had his foot in the door, but I guess not. The ship in the movie, the USS Alabama was created on two Hollywood sound stages at Culver studios in Los Angeles.

[00:12:21] In a Morning Call article, Denzel Washington said that after doing the movie, he had a new found respect for America’s military. They quote him as saying, “One thing I learned from this film is that this is not a country to be messin’ with. We have the hardware. That’s why nobody, with the exception of terrorists, does.”

[00:12:42] Award-winning composer Hans Zimmer composed the score for the film. In 1996 it won a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards.

[00:13:00] [00:13:00] Question two. In the 1993 film The Pelican Brief, Denzel  Washington’s character Gray Grantham does what for a living? He is a reporter with the Washington Herald. The film was based on a 1992 novel by author John Grisham. Denzel Washington plays reporter Gray Grantham and Julia Roberts plays young law student Darby Shaw. Supposedly when John Grisham was writing the novel, he wrote the part of Darby Shaw with Julia Roberts in mind.

[00:13:36] They filmed some of this at George Washington’s Mount Vernon home, on the east lawn; they used it as a backdrop for one of the film scenes. According to Mountvernon.org, the producers made a sizable contribution to Mount Vernon for the privilege of filming on the estate.

[00:13:53] There have been some questions about why Denzel Washington didn’t kiss Julia Roberts in the movie. [00:14:00] This is addressed in a cheatsheet.com article. The issue was the interracial kiss. The article says, “Apparently Washington was worried about the way an interracial kiss would be received by movie goers. He had previously received criticism from black women during a test screening of 1989’s The Mighty Quinn – which included a love scene between him and Mimi Rogers  – and decided not to play into Hollywood’s beauty ideals, per Newsweek. Black women are not often seen as objects of desire on film” he said.  “They have always been my core audience.” Being that that quote was from so many years ago, I wonder how Denzel Washington would feel about it today? If he would say the same thing?

[00:14:46] Question three. In the 2014 film The Equalizer, what condition does Denzel Washington’s character suffer from?  His character Robert McCall suffers [00:15:00] from OCD, also known as obsessive compulsive disorder. This film was based on the 1980s television series The Equalizer. At one point, Russell Crowe was going to be part of the film and have the role of Robert McCall, but Denzel Washington ended up replacing him. According to Internet Movie Database, Denzel Washington’s earring holes were digitally edited out for close-ups. However, near the end of the movie, you can see the earring hole in his left ear lobe. If you watch the film, see if you can find that. Did you know that in The Equalizer, Denzel Washington’s character Robert McCall never carries a gun of his ow?. He may take guns from people in the movie, but he never carries his own.  In 2018, a sequel to The Equalizer came out. Equalizer 2 was the first sequel in Denzel Washington’s career.

[00:16:00] [00:16:00] Question four. In the 2010 post-apocalyptic western film The Book of Eli, Denzel Washington’s character is in possession of what book? He is carrying the last remaining copy of the Bible. The Book of Eli, directed by the Hughes brothers, is set in a post-apocalyptic America and was shot in New Mexico. In a collider.com  article Denzel Washington is asked about what it was like filming in New Mexico. And he is quoted as saying, “Well, I definitely know what a tumbleweed is now and I know what a windstorm is. But it was the right place I think for this film and the people there have been very nice to us.”  Denzel Washington performed all of his own stunts in this action packed film.

[00:16:51] We can thank his son for encouraging him to be in this movie. In a PalmBeachpost.com article it mentions that his son [00:17:00] John David Washington pushed for his dad to be in this movie. The film was written by screenwriter Gary Whitta. In a CBR.com article they discussed the religious undertones of the film.  The article says, “Unfortunately for Whitta, the studio continuously asked him to tone down the religious aspects of his script, to the point that he no longer felt comfortable with the film he was making and was ultimately replaced with a different writer. Thankfully, Denzel Washington, who was attracted to the project for those very elements, came to Whitta’s rescue and demanded that he be brought back aboard, allowing him to see the script through to the very final stage.”

[00:17:44] The article quotes Whitta as saying, “A lot of people, particularly people of faith contacted me and I got so many touching messages. Some people said I haven’t picked up my Bible in 10 years and this movie made me want to do that. Not to [00:18:00] sound grandiose, but I felt like if I never wrote anything else, I will have left behind something that people really really like and that means the world to me.”

[00:18:10] Denzel’s son, John David Washington was an Associate Producer for The Book of Eli and how he got the job is a pretty interesting story. An Esquire article says, “In between seasons, Washington accompanied his father to a meeting for the 2010 film The Book of Eli. Co-director Alan Hughes was struck by the young football player’s input and asked his father if he would mind if Washington joined the project. Denzel said he didn’t mind and Washington gave it a shot. It was a chance to get back onto a movie set and to remain safely behind the camera. While being the child of a star has its drawbacks an undeniable advantage is access. Getting onto that set was a first step into the business that most people could only dream of. But once he was there, he had to prove his worth.”

[00:19:00] [00:19:00] In addition to John David, Denzel Washington and his wife Pauletta have three other children. At the NAACP image awards, Denzel Washington won an Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture award for his role in The Book of Eli.

[00:19:17] Question five. In the 2001 crime thriller Training Day, who kills Denzel Washington’s character, Detective Sergeant Alonzo Harris?  Well, the Russians kill him. The director of Training Day was Antoine Fuqua. He insisted on shooting the movie on location as much as possible and in some of Los Angeles’s most dangerous neighborhoods. A Kingroom.com article says,” At first, the filmmakers were told they could not shoot in Imperial Court for safety reasons but the response from the community was so great, permission was granted. The people living there really wanted this, notes Joel Silver. [00:20:00] They told us, we need the attention and we need the work. We hired a lot of them and it was a great experience. Here we were in a place where you would normally be scared just to drive down the street and we were sitting around drinking coffee and feeling totally comfortable.

[00:20:15] The article went on to say Fuqua also cast  bit parts and extras right out of the neighborhoods where they were shooting. They quote, Fuqua as saying, “I met with gangs and cops and even went into crack houses and said, I want to shoot here. I wanted people who had real scars, real bullet holes who deal with the cops every day.”

[00:20:37] Denzel Washington won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in this film. At the NAACP Image Awards, he won for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture.

[00:20:48] Question six. In what 2000 film does Denzel Washington play a high school football coach at a newly integrated high school? That movie was [00:21:00] Remember the Titans. Remember the Titans is loosely based on a true story and is often ranked as one of the top football movies of all time. Supposedly Denzel Washington was a little hesitant to take the role, but thanks to his wife Pauletta he ended up taking it. A Washington post article also quotes director Boaz Yakin as saying, “Denzel walked onto that set and I was like, Oh, right. That’s what a movie star is. You literally feel the air bending around him. It’s really quite something to see.”

[00:21:33] There were a lot of people that thought that because Disney produced the movie, the racial relations aspect was way too toned down and not as true to life as it should be depicted.  A New York Magazine article said “The story is based on real incidents but the uplifting tone is laid on so thick that it’s difficult to believe a minute of it.” At the 2001 NAACP Image Awards Denzel Washington took home the [00:22:00] award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture and the film won the award for Outstanding Motion Picture.

[00:22:07] Question seven. In what 1987 film does Denzel Washington play black activist Steve Biko? Well, that movie is Cry Freedom. Cry Freedom was set in late 1970s South Africa. When Cry Freedom was being filmed, there was so much political turmoil in South Africa that they had to film parts of it in Zimbabwe instead. Kenya was another location they used to shoot the film. Some people called Cry Freedom a “white savior” movie. A Salon.com article from 2013 titled, “Oscar Loves a White Savior” lists 10 white savior films that have received major Hollywood award nominations and Cry Freedom was on the list.

[00:22:54] The article quotes movie critic Roger Ebert as saying, “The problem with this movie is similar [00:23:00] to the dilemma in South Africa: whites occupy the foreground and establish the terms of the discussion, while the 80% non-white majority remains a shadowy, half-seen presence in the background.”

[00:23:13] Denzel Washington earned his first ever Oscar nomination for this movie. He was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in the film. This movie earned him his first Golden Globe nomination as well. He won an NAACP Image Award in the category of  Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture. The National Board of Review listed Cry Freedom as one of the top 10 films of 1987.  It came in sixth out of 10 in their rankings. While speaking of South Africa, in 1995 Denzel and his wife Pauletta renewed their wedding vows in South Africa where Archbishop Desmond Tutu officiated. They once even had the late president of South [00:24:00] Africa, Nelson Mandela over to their house for dinner.

[00:24:03] Watch a clip of Oprah talking with Denzel and Pauletta. They talk about their trip to Africa and their wedding vow renewal. I’ll post the link on triviarewind.com. In the clip, Oprah jokes that she’d one day like to play Denzel’s wife in a movie. I will also post a clip of Denzel talking with Jimmy Kimmel about his and Pauletta’s very first date.

[00:24:28] Question eight.  In the 2016 film Fences, Denzel Washington’s character Troy Maxson is promoted in his job and gets to do what? In doing this job he becomes the first African-American to do this in Pittsburgh. He was the first to drive a garbage truck. Not only did Denzel Washington star in this film, he produced it and directed it.

[00:24:52] The movie is based on August Wilson’s book titled Fences. In a 2010 Broadway revival of this [00:25:00] play, Denzel Washington had the lead role in starred alongside Viola Davis. They both won Tony Awards for their work in the play. How fitting that both Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reprised their roles for this film. 

[00:25:14] In 1987, Paramount Pictures purchased the rights to turn Wilson’s book into a film. Wilson had one request, that Paramount hire a black director. In an Indywire.com article, Wilson talks about one point when a white director really wanted to direct the film. But he wasn’t black. The article quotes Wilson as saying, “I accept that he is a very fine film director, but he is not black. He is not a product of black America culture – a culture that was honed out of the black experience and fired in the kiln of slavery and survival and he does not share the sensibilities of black Americans.”  The film was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar as [00:26:00] well as Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Screenplay. Viola Davis was the only one to go home with an Oscar. The film and actors were nominated for numerous other awards as well.

[00:26:16] Question nine. In the 1989 film Glory starring Matthew Broderick and Denzel Washington, what reason does Denzel Washington’s character Private Trip give for going AWOL? Well, Trip left to find shoes because his men were being denied basic supplies like that. In the film Washington’s character is flogged for going AWOL. When his shirt is off and he’s being flogged, you can see that his back is covered in scars from his time as a slave.

[00:26:50] This scene inspired another actor, Michael B. Jordan for his Black Panther role. In an Entertainment Weekly article it mentions that Michael B. [00:27:00] Jordan was speaking at the 47th AFI Life Achievement Gala in honor of Denzel Washington and is quoted as saying, “I remember hearing stories about you and I heard stories that when you were huddled around the campfire in that film, you weren’t supposed to be shirtless, but you still had the scars put on your back so you could feel it, so you can know what your character’s been through” said Jordan. “I tell you right now tonight, brother, that’s the only reason why Killmonger, when I played that role, I had those scars, even when I wasn’t shirtless because of you. So I want to say thank you for that.”

[00:27:39] It’s been reported that Denzel did receive some real lashings to his back in the movie. Internet movie database says “Edward Zwick, the director of the film said that for the flogging scene, Denzel Washington was lashed at full contact with a special whip that would not cut his back, but still stung.” Denzel [00:28:00] Washington won a Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar for his role in this movie. He also won a Golden Globe for his role, as well as an NAACP Image Award.

[00:28:11] And question 10. In what 1999, filmed does Denzel Washington play a former middleweight boxer who was wrongly convicted for a triple murder? The name of this film was The Hurricane and Denzel plays the character, Reuben “The Hurricane” Carter. The film was based on a true story. In order to play the role Denzel lost 60 pounds and trained for over a year with a boxing coach. When Variety interviewed the real life Ruben “The Hurricane” Carter and they asked him what he thought about Denzel Washington portraying him they quote him as saying, “I didn’t know I was that good looking.”

[00:28:52] After the movie was released, many criticized it for its inaccuracies. Universal Pictures was one of the companies that was [00:29:00] sued over this. Joey Giardello, the real life opponent of Reuben “The Hurricane” Carter sued them for defamation of character because of the way that he was portrayed in the film. Denzel Washington was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor, and he won a Golden Globe award in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture Drama category and an NAACP award.

[00:29:24] Denzel Washington has such an amazing career and continues to inspire people on and off the screen. Not only is he an award-winning actor, he’s a man of faith. In a 2015 commencement speech at Dillard University in Louisiana, he told the audience,  “Put God first. Put God first in everything you do. Everything that you think you see in me, everything that I’ve accomplished, everything that you think I have, and I have a few things, everything that I have is by the grace of God. Understand that. [00:30:00] It’s a gift.”

[00:30:01] Denzel Washington also has close ties with the Boys and Girls Club of America where at one time he was the spokesman for the organization, a group that he grew up with while living in Mount Vernon.

[00:30:14] The entertainment business has become a family affair so keep your eyes open for what his four children are up to. They are making names for themselves in the industry as well. You can tell how proud their dad is when you watch him in interviews and the topic of his kids come up. They have a great role model to look up to.

[00:30:34] While I’ve only talked about 10 of Denzel’s movies in this episode, he has many more that have touched people worldwide. Movies like Malcolm X, Philadelphia, and American Gangster to name a few. He’s had quite the career. Do you have a favorite Denzel Washington movie? Come share about it on our Instagram page. You can also find Trivia Rewind on Twitter and Facebook.

[00:30:58] All the links can be found [00:31:00] triviarewind.com. Don’t forget to watch Denzel’s new movie in theaters or on HBO. Thanks for taking time to listen this week. I’ll be back next week with another new episode of Trivia Rewind. .