With his Latest Book, TCM's Dave Karger Talks with 50 Oscar Winners

Steve Duffy READ TIME: 8 MIN.

Actress Jane Fonda speaks onstage during the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 7th annual Governors Awards at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on November 14, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty
Source: Getty Images

EDGE: Did you have a favorite question that you asked each winner?

Dave Karger: One question that seemed to get a lot of interesting answers was, "What does the win mean to you?" The way I phrased the question to all of them was, "What did it mean to you at the time, and what does it mean to you now?" For some, they said basically the same: It meant that they had the respect of their peers. That's how they felt at the time, and that's how they feel now. Many others have had a changing relationship with it, where they couldn't appreciate it at the time but now they appreciate it years later. Rita Moreno felt awkward about displaying her Oscar for many years. It wasn't until she met her current husband, that he encouraged her to take it out of a cardboard box and put it up on a shelf. For me, it was interesting to hear people's different responses to the meaning of the win for them.

EDGE: Who are some of your favorite Oscar winners from the 1940s and 50s that you would have loved to interview?

Dave Karger: Hattie McDaniel, who won the Oscar in 1940 for "Gone with the Wind." She won Best Supporting Actress and was not allowed to sit in the ballroom with all the other people. I would've loved to have heard that story from her firsthand, and how that made her feel at the time. Then, of course, Audrey Hepburn – I would've loved to have interviewed her for her 1953 Oscar win.

1954: Belgian-born actor Audrey Hepburn (1929 - 1993) is surrounded by reporters as she holds the Best Actress Oscar she won for her role in director William Wyler's film, 'Roman Holiday,' at the Academy Awards ceremony in New York City. (P
Source: Getty Images

EDGE: What are your Oscar predictions for this year?

Dave Karger: I think "Oppenheimer" is going to sweep, and I expect it to win seven or eight Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, and best supporting actor for Robert Downey Jr. I do think "The Holdovers" is going to do very well for original screenplay, and a win for both Da'Vine Joy Randolph and Paul Giamatti.

EDGE: If you won an Oscar, where do you think you would keep it?

Dave Karger: I'm sitting in my house here in Palm Springs, and I have these great bookshelves that are on either side of our fireplace, where an award I won about nine years ago sits. I won The Press Award from the Publicist Guild, and I have a little trophy that I very proudly keep on display, so if I won an Oscar, I would place it right next to that.

EDGE: Tell us about my new favorite TCM franchise, TCM Musical Matinee.

Dave Karger: Well, along with movies, music is also a passion of mine. Before I was a movie fan, I was a music freak and had a little Mickey Mouse record player that I sat next to for hours when I was a kid. I had some pretty advanced musical taste for a four-year-old. I was listening to artists like Paul Simon and Joe Jackson. Also, "Angel of the Morning" by Juice Newton was in heavy rotation when I was about seven years old. When I discovered movie musicals, it was my eureka moment of music and movies together in one thing.

When I started the conversation with TCM about having my own weekly franchise, like Eddie Muller has Noir Alley, Alicia Malone has TCM Imports, and Jacqueline Stewart has Silent Sunday Nights, that's what we came up with, this idea of something musical, because it allowed me to tap into these two loves of mine. While on the recent TCM cruise, I got to put on a little show where I sat at the piano for an hour and played some classic music themes and told some stories about the music and the films that are important to me. Any time I can combine those two loves, it's really exciting. People seem to like the Musical Matinee, too, which is great. A lot of people on the cruise stopped me to say how much they really liked it, and to hear that from you, as well, really does mean a lot.

You can catch Dave Karger's hosting duties on Turner Classic Movies.

You can find his latest book, "50 Oscar Nights," at bookstores or online outlets such as Amazon.com. Click here for the Amazon link.

by Steve Duffy

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