Heaven Can Wait movie poster

The Warren Beatty comedy was a remake of 1939’s Here Comes Mr. Jordan, which won an Academy Award for best story and screenplay that year. It borrowed its title from an elegant Ernst Lubitsch movie, his first for Darryl F. Zanuck and Twentieth Century Fox. 

Beatty at the time was the hottest star in Hollywood. After Bonnie and Clyde whatever Warren wanted, Warren got, including the infatuation of all his costars. Julie Christie was his girl at the time and she was cast opposite him. Beatty tried to interest Mike Nichols and others in directing the movie but they knew Warren too well. Eventually, he shared directing credit with his writing buddy Buck Henry. Beatty also tried to interest Cary Grant to play the angel but he too resisted, and the part went to James Mason.

The Hollywood Foreign Press loved the movie and it won three Globes, for Best Musical or Comedy and Best Actor, and Dyan Cannon won Best Supporting Actress. Even though the film had a stellar cast besides Christie and Mason (Jack Warden, and Charles Grodin) none of them were nominated. It ended up making $81 million and was the biggest moneymaker of the year.

The Golden Globes ceremony was not televised that year, which allowed Oliver Stone to make an impassioned acceptance speech for the legalization of marijuana.

The other nominees for musical and comedy that year were California Suite, Foul Play, Movie Movie, and the lone musical Grease. In the acting field, the other nominees were Alan Alda for Same Time Next Year, Gary Busey for The Buddy Holly Story, Chevy Chase for Foul Play, George C. Scott for Movie Movie, and John Travolta for Grease. Ellen Burstyn for Same Time Next Year and Maggie Smith for California Suite tied for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical. Smith later won the Oscar as Best Supporting Actress. Other nominees were Jacqueline Bisset for Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe, Goldie Hawn for Foul Play and Olivia Newton-John for Grease.

The best song was “Last Dance” from Thank God It’s Friday. Other nominees were “Grease” and “You’re the One That I Love” from Grease, “The Last Time I Felt Like This” from Same Time Next Year, and “Ready to Take a Chance Again” from Foul Play. All were nominated for the Oscar as well and “Last Dance” was also the winner.