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1970 flashback: George C. Scott slaps Oscar

February 23, 2011 | 12:57 pm

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Just as U.S. Army Gen. George S. Patton famously slapped a soldier during World War II, the ornery star who portrayed him in the 1970 film gave Oscar a good wallop when the star was nominated for lead actor. 

"The ceremonies are a two-hour meat parade, a public display with contrived suspense for economic reasons," George C. Scott harrumphed to the press, denouncing the awards as "offensive, barbarous and innately corrupt."

On awards night, Scott was 3,000 miles away -– out in New York City, where he watched a hockey game on TV and went to bed. He missed seeing "Patton" win seven Academy Awards, including best picture and, of course, lead actor.

Mysteriously, two years later, Scott suddenly had a change of heart. He let it be known that he would not refuse an Oscar nomination for his directorial debut in "Rage." He didn't receive one. A decade later, in 1982, he purchased a few last-minute tickets to the ceremony. Variety columnist Army Archerd caught him sneaking in and hollered after him as Scott trotted down the red carpet: "Your Oscar is waiting for you at the academy! Wilshire and Lampeer!"

-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: "Patton" (20th Century Fox)

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