1975 May 2

Eighteen Years Late, Blacklisted Writer Receives His Oscar


On this day, Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo finally received the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for the 1956 film, The Brave One. The announced winner of the award at the Oscars ceremony on March 27, 1957 was “Robert Rich,” Trumbo’s pseudonym while he was blacklisted for his political views.

Trumbo was a member of the Hollywood Ten, who refused to answer questions about their political views before HUAC, were convicted of  contempt of Congress, and served time in prison as a result (October 28, 1947; January 9, 1948). They were immediately blacklisted from working in the film industry. The major studios announced the blacklist on December 3, 1947. Producer/director Otto Preminger broke the blacklist when he announced on January 20, 1960 that he was hiring Trumbo to write the script for Exodus.

Trumbo wrote the scripts for Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944), Spartacus (1960), and Exodus (1960). Director Otto Preminger helped break the blacklist by publicly hiring Trumbo to write the script for Exodus on January 20, 1960.

Read about the “Robert Rich” episode: Peter Brown and Jim Pinkston, Oscar Dearest (Ch. 12, “Little Red Oscar”) (1987)

See the 2015 film: Trumbo (2015)

See Trumbo’s HUAC Testimony: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFR4RIyekis

Learn more about Trumbo’s life and career: Bruce Cook, Dalton Trumbo (1977)

Read a first-hand account by a blacklisted screenwriter: Walter Bernstein, Inside Out: A Memoir of the Blacklist (1996)

Watch a 1972 speech by Dalton Trumbo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhAXSDpvqVU

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