Sixty years ago, Dimitri Tiomkin made a memorable acceptance speech on one of the earliest televised Academy Awards ceremonies, broadcast live on March 30, 1955.
“Tiomkin Tops Hope” proclaimed the trade publication Variety the following day. Tiomkin “hit the laugh high of the evening when he commented that he’d been working in Hollywood for 25 years and wanted to thank the people who had helped him—Brahms, Bach, Beethoven, Richard Strauss and Johann Strauss, et al.”
In their report, Variety paraphrased the speech—this in the days before streaming, DVRs, and even VCRs—as many others have done since. Until recently the exact words spoken by Tiomkin that night were often repeated incorrectly, incompletely, or out of context.
The Acceptance Speech database at oscars.org contains official transcripts of speeches by Academy Award winners, brought to you by the arts organization that hands out the Oscar® statuettes each year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
After receiving the award for Music Score for The High and the Mighty from presenter Bing Crosby at the RKO Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, here are the words spoken 60 years ago on live television by Tiomkin.
Lady and gentlemen, because I working in this town for twenty-five years, I like to make some kind of appreciation to very important factor what make me successful to lots of my colleagues in this town. I’d like to thank…(see the entire transcript here…)
© Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Of the composers named, it’s interesting that the names of the Russians (Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov) and Americans (George Gershwin, Jerome Kern) are often omitted from modern days accounts.
WATCH (Tiomkin appears at 1:45): Bing Crosby Reunites with Bob Hope: 1955 Oscars
“Telecast of Oscar Parade Award-Worthy Performance,” and “Oscar Parade Panoply,” Variety, March 31, 1955