Screen siren Lauren Bacall gets lifetime Oscar

Sun Nov 15, 2009 1:58pm EST
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By Catherine Bremer

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hollywood veterans turned out in force to see Lauren Bacall, grand dame of film noir, receive an honorary Oscar at the motion picture academy's Governors Awards on Saturday night, away from TV cameras.

Bacall, 85, starred in more than 30 films but never won an Oscar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, coming closest with a nomination for "The Mirror Has Two Faces".

The screen siren earned movie immortality with her husky voice, sultry gaze and curt retorts in films like "Dark Passage," and her 1944 debut opposite Humphrey Bogart in "To Have and Have Not" launched one of the most electric on- and off-screen pairings in cinema history.

She shouted out a whoop on stage when receiving the lifetime achievement Oscar and thrust it above her head.

"I can't believe it -- a man at last," Bacall, who was married to Bogart from 1945 until his death from cancer in 1957, joked to the audience. "The thought that when I get home I'm going to have a two-legged man in my room is so exciting."

Bacall clearly relished the chance to charm an audience that included Jack Nicholson, Peter Fonda and Warren Beatty with the same drawling, teasing voice she used with Bogart.

"He gave me a life and he changed my life," she said of the Hollywood legend.

Saturday's ceremony marked the first time the academy has given its Governors Awards at a ceremony separate from the gala Oscars, which will take place in March 2010.   Continued...