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Growing up in the 1950s, Francis Ford Coppola remembers sitting on the floor of his parents’ bedroom (where the family kept the TV) so they could watch the Academy Awards. “It was very exciting,” he recalls of the much more informal telecast. “It was like you really were with those people — Audrey Hepburn and Gary Cooper — and it wasn’t a big production. It was a more intimate family gathering — which it should be because it’s an award given by your peers and your colleagues. It was very touching.”
Times have changed, and Coppola says there are far too many awards-based telecasts. “The trouble is that award shows just grew and now there isn’t just this wonderful award show — they copied it. The Oscars are surrounded by award shows, and there are even award shows for award shows,” said the film- and winemaker during a special virtual event put on by Wine.com that featured him in conversation with granddaughter Gia Coppola, Francis Ford Coppola Winery CEO and chief winemaker Corey Beck, and Wine.com’s Gwendolyn Osborn. “It’s taken some of the magic away from [the Oscars]. I don’t know many awards shows there are now, it must be over 20 or 30 and so, something is lost. But there’s always a soft spot in your heart for the Oscars because it was the first and it was something that we as children loved to see with our families. What can I say? Too much of a good thing is not a good thing.”
Had this been any other year, Coppola would have supplied cases of wine to the Academy for its post-show Governors Ball. But even though the large-scale gathering didn’t happen because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the winery still produced a line of limited-edition wines for the 93rd Academy Awards including a chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon. Coppola says the striking gold bottles were designed to look like actual awards. “My idea was to have a bottle that would be sitting on the table and that the people could just grab it and pretend they won an Oscar,” he says. The conversation, which also features Gia Coppola talking about how she ended up in the wine business while also introducing her new red blend, can be seen below.
A version of this story first appeared in the April 28 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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