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Places In The Heart

Places In The Heart(1984)

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teaser Places In The Heart (1984)

"You like me. You really like me." That's what most people remember about Sally Field's Best Actress acceptance speech for the film Places in the Heart (1984). While it's not far off, at least in spirit, from what Field said on the night of March 25, 1985 in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the line is actually a misquote. Like some other famous film lines, Casablanca's "play it again Sam," for example, what the audience thought it heard has replaced the original quote in our collective Hollywood memories.

The Places in the Heart award was actually Field's second Oscar® win. Her first Best Actress statuette came in 1979 for her role as mill worker/activist Norma Rae. Despite her success, Field apparently thought the first award was a fluke.

Field began her acting career in 1965 as TV's Gidget and a few years later appeared as The Flying Nun. But her perky image was confining and Field was eager to shed it, taking on roles like a junkie in the TV movie Maybe I'll Come Home In the Spring (1976) and taking it off for a nude scene in the feature film Stay Hungry (1975). At the same time, a TV career could also be limiting and many stars found it impossible to jump from the small screen to the big screen. But in 1976, Sally Field's television career came to a climax with an Emmy for her unforgettable portrayal of a mentally disturbed woman with sixteen personalities in Sybil. After that, Field spent most of her time on the big screen, beginning with her role in Smokey and the Bandit (1977), which co-stared off screen love interest Burt Reynolds.

A mix of movies followed, from Absence of Malice (1981) to Smokey and the Bandit II (1980). Nonetheless, Field was still unsure that she'd shaken her TV image. But in 1984, when casting Places in the Heart, writer/director Robert Benton had no doubts about Field's ability. Benton had based the film on his own Depression era childhood in Texas and thought Sally would be perfect as his widowed heroine. He defended her early work. "If Sally hadn't been so good in Gidget or the The Flying Nun, do you think anyone would remember her in those roles?"

In the end, Benton was right. Places in the Heart was nominated for seven Academy Awards®, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor for John Malkovich and Best Supporting Actress for Lindsay. And it won two awards - Best Original Screenplay for Benton and, of course, Best Actress for Field.

On award night, emotions got the better of Field who shook her head in disbelief upon hearing her name announced. She thanked Benton and the cast, then for the first time seemed to believe she deserved her success. "The first time I didn't feel it," she said in her acceptance speech. "But this time I feel it and I can't deny the fact you like me. Right now, you like me."

Director/Screenwriter: Robert Benton
Producer: Arlene Donovan
Cinematographer: Nestor Almendros
Composer: John Kander, Howard Shore
Editor: Carol Littleton
Production Designer: Gene Callahan
Art Director: Sydney Z. Litwack
Executive Producer: Michael Hausman
Set Designer: Derek R. Hill, Lee Poll
Costume Designer: Mary Malin, Ann Roth
Cast: Sally Field (Edna Spalding), Lindsay Crouse (Margaret Lomax), Ed Harris (Wayne Lomax), Amy Madigan (Viola Kelsey), John Malkovich (Mr. Will), Danny Glover (Moze).
C-113m. Letterboxed.

by Stephanie Thames

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