24 year-old Marilyn Monroe presented the Oscar for Best Sound Recording at the 23rd Academy Awards telecast, which happened at the RKO Pantages theatre on 3.29.51. She had scored with noteworthy supporting performances in 1950’s The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve, but her big career breakout was two years away. She was generally regarded as a possibly interesting actress, but probably not much more than a sexy flash in the pan.
Notice how intimidated she seems at the podium — eyes down, not a hint of personality or casual humor, read the copy and get off. And poor Thomas T. Moulton, who accepted the Oscar on behalf of All About Eve, didn’t even get to say thank you at center stage. The camera doesn’t even get to see his face. Monroe walks over and hands him the Oscar at stage left, and they’re both gone before you know what’s happened.