“It’s a Tie!”

When Ingrid Bergman opened the envelope to announce the winner of the Best Actress Oscar for the year 1968 she said, “The winner is…it’s a tie.

Hello everybody, Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your Classic Movie guys here to muse once again about quirks in the Academy Awards process.

The winners 43 years ago were Katherine Hepburn of “Lion in Winter” and Barbra Streisand (above right) for “Funny Girl.”

It was the third win for Hepburn.  She had just won the previous year for “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” her last film with her lover and soul mate, Spencer Tracy.

“Lion” director Anthony Harvey accepted for Hepburn. For her part, Streisand stared  at her Oscar, and muttered her now famous line, “Hello, gorgeous.”

Price Waterhouse, the accounting firm entrusted with the vote count, declared they had had many, many recounts and that — yes, once and for all — it was definitely, positively,  a virtual tie.  In previous years The Academy of Arts and Science rules had said that when a runner up  was within 1 or 2 votes it should be declared a tie.

In fact, the Academy never actually reveals the number of votes a candidate receives. And according to Academy history there was only one other instance of a tie in a major acting category.

Back in 1932, when the votes were tabulated at the banquet which presented the Oscars, Norma Shearer announced that Frederick March (above left) had won for “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” beating out Alfred Lunt for ”The Guardsman” and Wallace Beery for “The Champ.”

March accepted the Award graciously, praising make-up artist Wally Westmore.

After the Best Actress and Best Picture Awards were presented and everyone thought it was over, Academy president Conrad Nagel took the podium and shocked everyone by calling Wally Beery up to the platform.

The voting committee had re-tabulated the results, and since Beery was only one vote shy of March’s total, Academy rules declared it a tie.

We wonder if March’s photo above was snapped after Nagel’s announcement.  We wouldn’t blame him if he needed some alcoholic fortification (although upon close inspection he is working in character with lab equipment rather than wine crystal.)

Where was Ingrid Bergman when she was needed?

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