(Adam Higginbotham’s article appeared in the Telegraph, 4/17/12; via Pam Green—an old interview, but interesting.)
If there is a single point at which Vanessa Redgrave can be said to have been definitively prevented from becoming the world’s greatest living actress, it would be the night of April 3 1978, at the 50th Academy Awards in Los Angeles. Bounding up to the stage in a tent-like black velvet dress, Redgrave was handed the Best Supporting Actress Oscar – for her role as the anti-Nazi heroine in Julia– by John Travolta, and then took the microphone.
She was already a controversial choice for the award. An advocate for the cause of the Palestinians, Redgrave had recently produced and appeared in a documentary about Palestine, and the release of the film in the United States had been marked by protests by Jewish groups, including a firebombing of one cinema, and pickets at which the actress was burned in effigy. As she prepared to give her speech, sharpshooters were stationed on the roof of the theatre to guard against attempts on her life.