The Ingrid Pitt Column: so what about the Oscars?

Ingrid's film plays at the Barbican, and then she settles down to consider and review the Oscars...

Ingrid Pitt

Forget Hollywood and the glitz, glamour and vulgarity of the Oscars. Where you had to be last weekend was The Barbican in London. It was the opening of the Amicus Horror Season and to get the show kick-started they had chosen The House That Dripped Blood as the film to get the pulses racing and the blood pumping.

Just to give the evening that added injection they had rolled out the red carpet to welcome the director, Peter Duffell and me to do the waving and microphone sobbing bit before the press and general masses. (To be exact: there were four from the press, the ‘red carpet was metaphoric and the masses numbered about 200. But who’s counting?)

All the posters and advertisements were dominated by my picture, as Carla, in the film and even the screen in the theatre was filled with the same picture. How could I be expected to be restrained and lady-like in those circumstances? So when it came to my bit in the spotlight I spent it mauling Peter and telling him how much I loved him. Not a word about the film. Peter, when he recovered, managed to bring some dignity to the proceedings and I found out that it was he who had vetoed the role I wanted in the film and insisted I played Carla. For which I will be forever grateful.

Just to add to the glamour of the evening I had what might be described as an event shortly before the ceremony. The previous evening I had leg of lamb for dinner with a very fetching red currant sauce. There was still the bone in the fridge when I felt hungry at about 1pm on the day. I made a cup of tea, grabbed the bone and sat in front of the TV to enjoy myself. The enjoyment didn’t last long. As I was gnawing at the last shreds of meat I felt a sharp pain followed by the discovery that I had lost a front tooth. I couldn’t believe it. I rushed to the phone and called my dentist, told her what had happened and begged her to do something about it. Put another tooth in, any tooth, anybody’s tooth. Maybe cement the old one back in place? She was adamant – nothing could be done before the opening ceremony that evening.

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I spent the rest of the afternoon in front of the mirror practicing talking without showing my teeth. I got quite good at it. When I arrived at the Barbican and met the PR rep, Sarah, I was expert at keeping my lip zipped. She invited me to take tea and biscuits before meeting the press. Still my lip was firmly in place. A couple of press guys arrived and that was the last I thought of zipping the lip until I was in the car going home four hours later. For the first time in my life I hope there are no photographs published.

Emma Watson, the organiser, was on hand to make sure everything ran smoothly and the boss man Robert took us, Peter, me and entourage, to dinner and we shared a meal. Have you ever tried eating and talking with a front tooth missing? The show was over by the time I had sprayed the surroundings and I spent some more time signing autographs and chatting before heading west in the car.

Then I remembered my resolution to keep my lip zipped. Too late! But it had been a great evening and everyone was very complimentary about my efforts in the film.

I spent Sunday bemoaning the loss of my tooth. It had been with me for as long as I could remember and it felt like I had lost an old friend. I comforted myself with the idea that I would be able to see the other, lesser, affair of the weekend, the Oscars.

For some reason I had it in my head that the ceremony was to be shown on BBC2 at 10 pm. I had an early dinner and a couple of hours in bed and was ready and primed by ten. Unfortunately, the BBC wasn’t. I scanned through the hundreds of other channels in the forlorn hope that I might have got the channel wrong. Zilch! By the process of elimination and looking at the weekend schedules I was able to deduce that I had got it completely wrong and ten was the time that the red carpet was to be rolled out in Hollywood.

My not watching made absolutely no difference to the awards. Practically everything I thought would win lost. The remarkable exception was Kate Winslet who managed to pick up the trophy without a nervous breakdown. I’ve been backing Kate from the start and I am thinking of inviting her to my fan club reunion in November so that she can appreciate what I have done for her.

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My fav film, Defiance, about a gang of Jews fighting a guerrilla war against the Nazis, got nerra a mention. My boy, Brad, did a marvellous job in The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button and, for all the efforts of living his life in reverse, was marginalised and Mickey Rourke was dumped for Sean Penn for his performance in Milk – which I hated. Rourke being blown out didn’t bother me, I remember his undiminished support for the IRA.

And then there wasn’t Clint Eastwood? The first time I met Clint was in the bar of the hotel where I was staying in Saltzberg. I was sitting demurely at a table sipping a Rioja when he sauntered in, ordered a drink, looked at me and said, “I guess you’d be Heidi.” I agreed that I would and he told me that he was going to the Bare Awards that evening and would I like to go with him. For one moment I thought he was going to a nudist party. He put me straight on that. Bear Awards! But I couldn’t go with him. I had just arrived and was due on set in the morning and still had work to do on my costume. Always regretted that decision.

Since then I have been an ardent Eastwood fan and have loved every movie he’s made. I haven’t seen Gran Torino, yet, but I read in both Variety and Hollywood Reporter that it does the business and the general consensus of opinion seemed to be that it was Oscar-worthy. So who pulled the plug?

What about Slumdog Millionaire? All I can say is; why didn’t I vote for it? Not my fault, Guv. Well only a little. When the voting for the BAFTAS was underway the Slumdog DVD arrived late. I was already dropping behind with the films sent me and hadn’t seen it at the voting time. I watched it next day and must admit I loved it. It has stirred up some controversy. The usual suspects are twittering on about the ethics of exploiting a bunch of deprived kids and showing poverty that shouldn’t be seen in this PC, Health and Safety (I wanted to write Efficiency for some reason) obsessed world.

I can’t see it. It goes along with fox hunting and bull fighting. I would rather be a fox with a chance of outrunning the hounds than being gassed in a hole with no way out. What better death could a bull have than getting a chance to stick a horn in some prancing tormentor when the alternative is dying dismally in some dank, blood-scented abattoir.

How does that equate with the Slumdog kids? It gives them the chance that the gassed fox and the poleaxed bull doesn’t get to fight a way to a meaningful life. OK, so the fox and bull die either way. But there is a chance to do something brilliant and exciting before signing off.

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Read Ingrid’s column every Tuesday at Den Of Geek. Last week’s is here.