American Masters


Rita Moreno gives one of the shortest Oscars speeches ever

"Latinos were sticking their heads out the window, screaming 'She did it, she did it!'" Rita Moreno fondly remembers the historic moment she received the Academy Award for Best Actress for "West Side Story."

AIRED: October 05, 2021 | 0:02:25

- Having to examine yourself

and finding value in yourself is the only way to

become a whole person.

It's the only way.

And I think that the only way is therapy.

- And I think she chooses the road less traveled,

and I think it's why she's got all these awards.

- Show you what it's like in Hollywood

on Oscar night.

The stars arriving

and the general feeling of excitement

that is here on this biggest of all nights for the motion


- The car came to pick me up first.

And then we went and we picked up Rita

and she said,

I'm practicing my loser's face. (laughs)

- We made all kinds of sour grapes speeches

in the big limousine that Goldwyn Studios had

hired for us on the way to the theater,

because we were so sure we wouldn't win.

And we made up all these hilarious speeches.

"I didn't want it anyway."

And "it's a lousy movie" and all that kind of stuff.

- Natalie Wood, making her entrance.

- On Oscar night,

my friend told me who lived in the Hispanic ghetto

or the Barrio.

She said all the windows were open because it was very,

very hot.

And you could hear the Oscars on all the television sets

and when Rock Hudson came on

and said the nominees for best

featured actress...

- Judy Garland in Judgment at Nuremberg.

- The place went stone quiet.

- And Rita Moreno in West Side Story.

May I have the envelope please?

Rita Moreno in West Side Story.


- And when he called my name out,

the place went crazy.

Latinos were sticking their heads out the window screaming,

"She did it, she did it!"

- All I remember thinking was,

I mustn't run to the stage.

I must have dignity.

And it was so hard not to just run up there

and grab it out of the arms of Rock Hudson,

who was the fellow who gave it to me.

- I can't believe it!

(audience laughs)

Good Lord!

I leave you with that.

(audience laughs)

(audience applause)


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