Actual Nominations: George Cukor. Peter Glenville. Robert Stevenson. Stanley Kubrick. Michael Cacoyannis.
This year’s nominees were mostly from adaptations of books or plays with original material being left by the wayside. That being said, the adaptations on display here are seen as the definitive versions and much of that fact is largely down to the directing talent. Picking up the official win this year was George Cukor for My Fair Lady which, for better or worse, os one of those films you’ll know something about even if you’ve never seen it, whether it be the plot, the cast, or the songs. A veteran of Hollywood this is his most successful musical, and thanks to his experience with comedy and drama he deftly handles the humorous aspects of the films while ensuring that it isn’t just pointless giggle chow. Peter Glenville gets his only Oscar nomination for Becket- having directed much of the cast for the stage production this wasn’t a huge leap for him. Robert Stevenson spent much of his career as Disney’s go-to-guy for film directing, but with Mary Poppins he became immortal. Possibly due to his experience on Disney movies he ensures that Poppins is a bright, vibrant, energetic film which never offends ar fails to delight children, but I just candle handle all that singing, dancing, and smiling. Kubrick gets another well-earned nomination for Dr. Strangelove where he hones his satirical venom just enough whilst keeping the tone and presentation fairly light in contrast with his later tackling of similar subjects. He gets credit for arguably making this the only original work in the category. Michael Cacoyannis closes the nominations with his well observed and loved Zorba The Greek, his most renowned work.
My Winner: Stanley Kubrick.
This is an easy choice for me as not only did Kubrick largely come up with the idea for the film and work on the screenplay himself, his touch can be seen in every frame. There remains a relevance and power to the film in these, some would say, pre-apocalyptic days we find ourselves in, and every day we see stories of absurdity from ever media outlet based on war and power. With so much of our lives and choices beyond our personal control and either lying in the hands of other mere, fallible mortals, or the fried, efficient, but humanity-free and equally fallible computers. It is known now as it was then, but hopefully the right lessons preached in this little film may have been heeded by the right people. Few films are more than just entertainment – this is one of the few.
My Nominations: Stanley Kubrick. Sergio Leone. Guy Hamilton. Jean Luc Godard. Cy Endfield. Bryan Forbes.
Only Kubrick makes it over from the official nominations. Joining him though is a host of talent from all over the globe. Sergio Leone gets a well deserved mention for Fistful Of Dollars while Guy Hamilton steps into the Bond hot seat and gives what many see as the definitive Bond film with Goldfinger. Bryan Forbes’ Seance On A Wet Afternoon did get nods in other categories, but it is the atmosphere which he creates which gives the film its lasting impact, while Cy Endfield packs as much heroism, action, and patriotism into a pre-Michael Bay film as you could wish for with Zulu. Godard gets a nod this year for Band Of Outsiders, one of the smoothest crime capers there is, but one with so much more than just plans of robbery.
My Winner: Stanley Kubrick