A screening of Bell, Book and Candle (1958) was held at the historic Grauman’s Egyptian theatre as part of the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival. This was a real treat because actress Kim Novak was in attendance. When the event started, Robert Osborne introduced Novak by plugging her art website KimNovakArtist.com as well as praising her for being “a terrific lady” and for giving him one of the best interviews he’s ever done as part of the 2012 Live from the TCM Festival. He explained that Novak doesn’t like to do interviews but was so open and honest in the hour-long interview they did in 2012 and he admires her for that.Novak came out and was applauded by a packed house. When she settled down I could tell that she was trying to veer the conversation into a particular direction. She started by saying that it was really important for an actor to be open and that it wasn’t easy to come back to the festival. Novak wanted to address the “elephant in the room” which was her recent appearance at the Academy Awards. There was a backlash and a flurry of negative reactions online and on TV. Novak had been really looking forward to attending the Oscars because it had been a while she she had attended. It had also been a while since her last public appearance which was at the TCM festival in 2012. It wasn’t easy for Novak to go back to the Academy. She still harbors some negative feelings. Novak never won an Academy Award and she felt it was partly her fault because she left Hollywood so early in her career.
Novak was very open about being bipolar and being aware of what was said about her. After she left the Oscars, she read many of the negative comments and it sent her into a deep sadness. However, Novak came to the realization that she was being bullied and that no one should have to take that sort of abuse. Novak was also hurt by the bullying of Liza Minnelli who was also in attendance at the Oscars. (There was some negativity shown towards Sidney Poitier too and all of this made me see red). Robert Osborne chimed in and revealed that this was the first year he didn’t watch the entire Academy Awards ceremony. He was so put off by Ellen DeGeneres’ joke about Liza Minnelli that he just stopped watching. He points out that they were cruel enough to have a camera ready to capture Minnelli’s reaction when the joke was made.
In the below video, Novak discusses how she felt after attending the Oscars and why she seemed groggy during her appearance.
Novak received a lot of love from the audience that night. We cheered her on and I even got a bit teary eyed. I’ve always had a conflicted view of Kim Novak. I adore her as an actress but have not been happy about certain things she’s said or done in the past. But I was rooting for her that night. I don’t think she deserved the Oscar night bullying and I was proud of her for standing up for herself.
There was no discussion of Bell, Book and Candle besides Novak saying that it is one of her favorite films. I was a little disappointed by this but was happy that Novak got a platform along with a supportive audience to open up about what happened to her at the Oscars. I really hope this experience was cathartic for her.