Vertigo star Kim Novak made quite an impression last night at the 86th Academy Awards when she appeared on stage with Best Actor winner Matthew McConaughey to present the award for Best Animated Feature.
Novak is best known for her role in the 1958 Hitchcock thriller alongside Jimmy Stewart. Over the years she has suffered major injuries from a horse riding incident and has fought and won the battle with breast cancer. But none of those incidents were cause for what viewers witnessed on Sunday evening.
The 81-year old visibly had trouble speaking and her face was unnaturally stiff, sparking jokes online about how much plastic surgery Novak has undergone.
And Kim Novak wins the Oscar for least animated face. #Oscars2014
— Jeff Yang (@originalspin) March 3, 2014
This is the second straight appearance by Kim Novak at the Academy Awards. Last year she appeared in the "In Memorium" section.
— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald) March 3, 2014
The 86th annual Academy Awards, presented by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Kim Novak's face presented by Play-Doh. #fb
— Andrew McRae (@RealAndrewMcRae) March 3, 2014
Of course, it didn’t help that the film that won Best Animated Feature was Frozen.
Frozen, best Animated Feature and Kim Novak's face #Oscars
— Justin Stangel (@Justin_Stangel) March 3, 2014
#TheOscars2014 Wait? Did Kim Novak win for Frozen or not?
— opie radio (@OpieRadio) March 3, 2014
However, while many chose to poke fun at the aging actress, others came to her defense.
Shameful, no standing ovation for Kim Novak, and a stream of cruel insipid jokes on Twitter about her age and appearance. #Oscars
— ronmartinez (@ronmartinez) March 3, 2014
Kim Novak deserves our respect & did just fine. Her co presenter was the gentleman she deserves.
— Suzanne Carrico (@carriconyc) March 3, 2014
This isn’t the first time Novak’s face has been the topic of conversation. The same buzz occurred after she appeared at the TCM Film Festival in Los Angeles last April.
“I didn’t want to do anything major,” Novak said last October, referring to the doctors suggestion to inject fat into her face to add fullness. “That was absolutely crazy when I think about it now. You spend all your time trying to get rid of fat. I love the hollow kind of cheekbone look.
“So why did I do it? I trusted somebody doing what I thought they knew how to do best. I should have known better, but what do you do? We do some stupid things in our lives.
“I mean you pay to look worse? You pay money for that?”
Over the years, the American actress has spoken of her regret about leaving Hollywood in the 1960s at the height of her fame.
“I don’t think I was ever cut out to have a Hollywood life,” Novak said. “Did I do the right thing, leaving? Did I walk out when I shouldn’t have? That’s when I get sad.”
Novak also has been very upfront about suffering from bipolar disorder.
“I’m bipolar … but there’s medicine you can take for this now,” Novak said in an interview with Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne. “I was not diagnosed until much later. I go through more of the depression than the mania part.”
Novak added that she suffered from the mental illness while making Vertigo, as well as Pal Joey and Picnic.
Novak has won two Golden Globe Awards. The last movie she appeared in was the 1991 mystery film, Liebestraum.
Nowadays, Novak paints in watercolor and oil and sculpts and designs stained glass. She donates proceeds of many of her exhibition sales to mental health philanthropies.
Image via Wikimedia Commons