Archives On The Air 213: The Accidental Oscar Nominee—The Edward Bernds Papers

Aug 13, 2020

Edward Bernds was a prolific Hollywood writer and director known for campy comedies and science fiction films.

He has the distinction of receiving an Oscar nomination by mistake. In 1956 he and Elwood Ullman were nominated as screenwriters for High Society, a big-budget musical comedy starring Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Bing Crosby.

Bernds and Ullman did make a film in 1955 titled High Society, but it was a low-budget feature with slapstick comedy team The Bowery Boys.

The two men said they were nominated by mistake, but the Academy's rules didn't allow for a replacement. So, they graciously withdrew their nomination saying it resulted from voter confusion. Their nomination is one of the biggest gaffes in Oscar history.

Learn more in Edward Bernd's papers at UW's American Heritage Center.