It was the festival’s famous film blamed for derailing Faye Dunaway’s brilliant career… but now the Academy Awards have finally decided to celebrate it, 42 years later.
Oscar bosses have raised eyebrows by sharing a tribute to the star for her 83rd birthday using only clips from her infamous 1981 film Mommie Dearest.
Fans of the actress have even accused the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of mocking Dunaway with its choice of the over-the-top Joan Crawford biopic, which she dislikes and forbids interviewers from mentioning it.
One wrote below: “She’s going to hate this so much, thank you.”
Oscar bosses surprised Faye Dunaway with a birthday tribute that included clips from her 1981 film Mommie Dearest, which Academy bosses rejected for the awards and which the 83-year-old actress is known to dislike. Dunaway appears in one of the Joan Crawford biopic’s many memorable scenes, where she berates her adopted daughter Christina for using wire hangers.
Also included in the tribute was this scene, beloved by camp fans everywhere, where Dunaway’s Crawford yells ‘Tina, bring me the axe!’ at her adopted daughter as she cut down a tree in anger after being fired from MGM
Dunaway won an Oscar in 1977 for her role as a ratings-obsessed television executive on Network, but no clips from that film were used in the controversial birthday tribute.
Commenters on the tribute post were quick to point out the unusual choice of film.
Another said: “How epic that the academy posted this on his birthday… best gift ever.”
A third said: “This movie ruined her career and she hates it so much lol.”
And a fourth wrote: “I have a feeling whoever uploaded this is going to get a very nasty voicemail.”
That was a reference to an angry voicemail left by Dunaway for a journalist who had once asked her too many questions about Mommie Dearest, rather than her other films.
The Oscar tribute included all of the film’s most memorable scenes, including this infamous confrontation between Joan Crawford and the bosses of Pepsi, on whose board of directors she was.
Dunaway (left) played the role of Joan opposite Mara Hobel (right), who played the role of Christina Crawford, dividing critics and leaving audiences howling with laughter.
The film was inspired by a memoir written by Joan Crawford’s adopted daughter Christina, pictured in 2019, who accused her mother of abusing her.
The Oscars Instagram tribute features many of the best clips from the film, including Dunaway yelling ‘No wire hangers!’ before punching his adopted daughter Christina, played by Mara Hobel, after finding the offending items in a closet.
Also present and correct was the moment in which Dunaway shouts ‘Tina, bring me the axe’, while a crazed Joan destroys her rose garden after the head of MGM Studios told her she was ‘box office poison’ and dropped her.
Dunaway’s Joan was also seen yelling ‘Don’t fuck with me guys, this isn’t my first time at the rodeo’ at members of Pepsi’s board of directors when its members tried to throw her out of her seat.
Mommie Dearest was based on a tell-all book published by Joan’s adopted daughter Christina a year after her mother’s death in 1977, where she accused the Hollywood icon of being an abusive mother. Christina wrote the book after being disinherited by Joan.
The decision to celebrate Mommie Dearest is strange, given that the Academy completely rejected the film’s nominations after its 1981 release.
It ended up sweeping the Golden Raspberry Awards for Worst Picture, and Dunaway was named Worst Actress there.
Christina and Joan appear together. Mother and daughter are said to have endured a troubled relationship, with Joan disinheriting her daughter after her death from cancer in 1977.
Dunaway won a best actress Oscar for her role as a ratings-obsessed television executive in 1976’s Network, but none of the footage from that film was used.
She was also nominated for best actress for Bonnie and Clyde in 1968 and Chinatown in 1975, but clips from those films were also mysteriously absent.
Dunaway played the role of Mommie Dearest, probably believing the heartbreaking theme would earn her a fourth Oscar nomination.
The big-budget film featured stunning sets and incredible costumes by legendary designer Irene Sharaff, who also worked on the original film West Side Story, Meet Me in St Louis, Cleopatra and An American in Paris.
Dunaway was also applauded for her incredible physical transformation, in which she used makeup and muscle contortions on her face to achieve an uncanny resemblance to Crawford.
But their high hopes were shattered after the film’s release, and audiences dissolved into laughter at its turbocharged and cheesy scenes.
The film quickly became a cult hit and remains very popular among the gay community.
Critics were divided over Dunaway’s performance, with both the New York Times and the New Yorker praising her portrayal of Crawford.
However, Variety’s review was scathing, with its critic saying: ‘Dunaway doesn’t chew scenery. Dunaway carefully starts in every corner of the set in every scene and swallows it whole, his co-stars and all.
The actress is said to have been deeply shaken by the Mommie Dearest debacle and moved to England with her photographer husband Terry Richardson and son Liam for much of the 1980s.
The couple separated in 1987 and Dunaway returned to the United States.
Dunaway’s career never again reached the dizzying heights of her box office hits of the 1960s and 1970s, although Mommie Dearest has since been reappraised by many critics who have praised the film and the actress’s astonishing performance.
She discussed the film in a 1995 episode of Inside the Actors Studio, saying: She was never modulated as a director, I’m sorry to say she became camp.
In 2008, a guardian The interviewer said that he had been prohibited from mentioning Mommie Dearest during an interview with Dunaway.
Dunaway appears in one of her most famous roles, as notorious bank robber Bonnie Parker in the 1967 smash hit Bonnie and Clyde.
Dunaway appears in the photo from the 2017 Oscars, where she and Warren Beatty mistakenly named La La Land the winner of best picture, instead of Moonlight.
She later ended the furious conversation after he questioned her about claims she had thrown a glass of urine at director Roman Polanski while filming Chinatown.
And in 2016, the actress told People that she blamed the film for damaging her career.
She said: “I think it turned my career in a direction where people would inevitably have the wrong impression of me.”
Dunaway also claimed that her fierce portrayal of Crawford tarnished the public’s perception of her.
The actress has been accused of being difficult and was fired from a Broadway-bound play in 2019 after allegedly creating a “hostile” and “dangerous” work environment.
Dunaway had another big brush with Oscar fame: when she and her Bonnie and Clyde co-star Warren Beatty mistakenly announced that La La Land had won best picture in 2017, instead of the rightful winner, Moonlight.
But unlike the strained relationship between Joan and Christina Crawford, Dunaway’s son Liam is definitely one of her fans.
She shared the Mommie Dearest Academy tribute clip on her Instagram page on Saturday, writing: @theacademy showing some love.