(PCM) Many can recall that back in 1992/1993 rumors circulated that after Marisa Tomei won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the film “My Cousin Vinny” that actor Jack Palance had read the wrong name off the secret envelope because he couldn’t see the correct one.
This rumor turned out to be false, as Tomei won her Oscar fair and square, but to this day, many believe that the award should have gone to either Judy Davis or Vanessa Redgrave that year. The Hollywood Reporter even ran a special feature titled “And the loser is: Bad oscar rumor” which read:
A rumor is currently making the rounds in Manhattan, fanned by no less than the former son-in-law of a distinguished Academy Award winner, to wit that last year Marisa Tomei received her Oscar statue by error, with a resultant scandal about it soon to be exposed, much to the shame of the Academy. (All of this quite erroneous, I hasten to add, but do read on.) According to the rumor, it happened because Oscar presenter Jack Palance hadn’t been able to read the name written in the secret envelope when he was on stage announcing 1992’s best supporting actress winner. Instead of asking for help, so sayeth the tale, Palance arbitrarily called out Tomei’s name instead of the actual winner. (Since the story is bunk, there’s no need to reveal the name of the lady who was/is being bandied as the “real” winner of that specific prize.) It makes for provocative gossip, all right, but it didn’t happen. And for a good reason: When the Oscar ceremonies first went public on television back in 1953, Academy officials were aware of the possibility that one day some presenter might make such an error, either accidentally or for some mischievous purpose. So ever since then, at each and every Academy ceremony — including last night’s event, and the preceding year’s — two members of the accounting firm of Price-Waterhouse, the company that has tabulated the final Oscar ballots since 1935, are present in the wings during each Oscar cast. In the event a presenter should err in naming the correct winner in any category, said P-W official has been instructed to immediately go to the podium and announce that a mistake had been made. So Marisa, stand assured that Oscar is adamantly yours, no matter what rumor may sayeth to the contrary.
It was said that the rumor about Tomei not really winning the Oscar began after she made a few enemies within the industry and they are the ones that stirred up the drama. At the time Tomei’s publicist Gina Rugolo is even quoted referring to the drama by saying, “it’s not even worth commenting on”.
Tomei went on to address the controversy herself when she appeared on Saturday Night Live in October of 1994. During her opening monologue she jokingly said:
Before we start, I wanted to say something, just wanted to clear the air. There’s this crazy rumor, some of you may have heard it, some of you may have not, that when I won the Academy Award for My Cousin Vinny, that I didn’t really win the Oscar, that because Jack Palance accidentally read the wrong name off the teleprompter. But that’s just absolutely not true! I won the Academy Award, fair and square, and I was just the happiest I’d ever been, since, um, since I was named Ms. Teenage America, thank you, back in 1987, the year it was hosted by Jack Palance. Or three years later when I stepped up on stage to receive—though I didn’t think I was eligible for it—the Heisman Trophy from Jack Palance. Anyway, the only award I ever felt slightly guilty about was when I was 16 and I was named Employee of the Month at Roy Rogers restaurant by the assistant manager, Jack Palance. Anyhow, that’s out of the way…
See, folks, there you have it! Once and for all! Marisa Tomei definitely won her Oscar fair and square and much deserved we might add!