Barbara Walters Says Goodbye to Her Oscar Special


For many the Oscars and Barbara Walters go together like Tom Selleck and moustaches. The Barbara Walters Oscar Specials are as much a part of the big night as the office pool and poking fun at bad fashion choices on the red carpet. “When we first started this special, I don’t think any of us knew exactly how much of an Oscar Night staple it would become,” said Walters.

Since March 31, 1981 Baba has interrogated bold face names in a highly rated hour leading up to the ceremony. A master of personality journalism, her questions can be blunt (“Do you think you deserve to win the Academy Award?”) or inappropriate (asking Barbra Streisand why she never got a nose job) or downright silly (“If you were a tree, what kind of a tree would you be?”) but no matter what, it’s a glitzy warm-up to the main event. But now, after almost three decades Walters has decided to put an end to this Oscar tradition.

“I think I’m sick of them,” she said. “I felt… I had interviewed the greatest stars and [it] wasn’t so special anymore.”

The final Barbara Walters Oscar Special will include interviews with Sandra Bullock and Mo’Nique (who talks about her open marriage and why she never shaves her legs) and a retrospective of favorite moments from past specials.

While that highlight reel likely won’t include her Teenage Mutant Turtle interview (must have been a slow year) or her chat with Warren Beatty, which she called her worst ever, you might expect to see:

• A couple of dance numbers. That’s right. Last year Hugh Jackman gave Baba Wawa a lap dance (that ended, happily, in a hug) and in 1992 Al Pacino taught her how to do the tango on camera.
• Her “priceless” interview with Bette Davis. Among the many legends she sat down with–including Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren–she cites her chat with Bette Davis as one of the most poignant. Shot just weeks after Davis suffered a stroke, their wide ranging conversation made headlines when Walters asked, “Bette Davis, do you like sex?”

• Her “if you were a tree” interview with Katharine Hepburn, which, despite the mockery that followed, is cited as her best interview.

• And of course, no Barbara Walters retrospective would be complete without the Montage of Tears ©, a tribute to her ability to get interviewees to cry on cue. Entertainment Weekly called her specials “an hour of screaming, crying, and pain” because of her uncanny gift of turning stars like Patrick Swayze into human sprinklers. She became so well known for it that Brad Paisley had a hit with a song that included the line, “I’ll get to cry to Barbara Walters when things don’t go my way.”

Walters is done with the Oscars, but will continue to do her other annual special, The 10 Most Fascinating People and The View. “You’re not going to get rid of me,” she says.

richardcrouse.jpgRichard Crouse In Toronto listen to Moore in the Morning on NewsTalk 1010 every Tuesday and Friday morning at 8:40 for the latest DVD and movie reviews and… Tune in again on Saturdays at noon Richard Crouse At the Movies!