Movie star John Wayne and filmmaker Howard Hawks collaborated on a couple of the most iconic movies in either of their careers. However, their interactions with one another didn’t end there. The pair shared some heartwarming moments during awards season that their fans continue to talk about. Wayne fans reminisced over how Hawks directed the actor during the Academy Awards.
John Wayne starred in 5 Howard Hawks movies
Wayne and Hawks largely remained within the Western film genre, as four of their five movies explored this form of storytelling. Similar to the collaboration between the actor and John Ford, a couple of these movies launched the star into stardom in a way that he didn’t initially anticipate.
He first considered himself a “real” actor after starring as Thomas Dunson in 1948’s Red River. From there, they worked on a disconnected Western trilogy that was primarily linked together by themes – Rio Bravo, El Dorado, and Rio Lobo. After Rio Bravo, they made Hatari! before making El Dorado. Many of Wayne’s critics doubted that he could act after playing so many similar roles, but Red River was the beginning of a new stage of his career that proved he had acting chops.
Howard Hawks endearingly directed John Wayne off the Oscars stage
Wayne appeared at the 1975 Oscars, where he presented Hawks with an Honorary Award for his tremendous contributions to cinema. This wonderful moment was shared on the official Oscars YouTube channel, as the actor introduced the director with an endearing speech.
“Hello,” Wayne started. “I’m here to give an Honorary Award to a motion picture director. Now, actors hate directors. They hate them because when actors have given their everything, directors want more. Boy, how they hate that. But, when they see themselves up there in scratchy old black-and-white, I go back that far, or glorious Technicolor and 20 feet high, better than they ever thought they could be. Doing things that they never thought they could do.”
Wayne continued: “They don’t hate the director. They love them. That’s how I feel about this man – Howard Hawks. If you think there’s anything between us, there certainly is. Four pictures. Red River, Rio Bravo, Hatari!, and El Dorado. I don’t think their only reason at the Academy Board of Governors voted him an Honorary Award. They’re just part of a list that reads like this … Now, he’s made a lot of actors jump, so it’s time we made him do the same. Tonight, he’s not the director. I am. Hawks, we’re ready to roll!”
After Hawks gave his speech, Wayne started to exit the wrong part of the stage. However, the director caught the error and waved him to the other side of the stage, and they left the stage together to thunderous applause.
Wayne fans loved this moment, especially after he said that he was the director tonight. Nevertheless, Hawks did what he did best – pointed Wayne in the right direction and made him look good. This brought movie lovers back to an age where the collaborations between these two produced such vibrant storytelling.
John Wayne made his final Oscars appearance in 1979
Presenting Hawks with the Honorary Award at the 1975 Oscars wasn’t the final time that Wayne appeared at the film industry’s biggest night of the year. He also returned for the 1979 Oscars, which would mark his final appearance.
There, Wayne gave a wonderful speech, comparing himself to the legacy of the Oscars in Hollywood. The crowd erupted into applause, but it would be his final public appearance, in general. He died the same year on June 11, 1979 from stomach cancer.