Official Nominations: Fred Zinnemann. Michaelagelo Antonioni. Richard Brooks. Claude Lelouch. Mike Nichols.
A wide array of directors this year, most of whom were foreigners who were to find new fame in the US. No stranger to The Oscars, Zinnemann had his most successful yeay since making From Here To Eternity in 1953, and this year he picked up the win for A Man For All Seasons. Antonioni broke through to the mainstream with Blowup. Claude Lelouche also burst onto the mainstream scene with his most famous film A Man And A Woman which garnered a host of nominations and awards. Since leaving MGM, Brooks had continued his commercial and critical successes with the likes of Elmer Gantry and Lord Jim, and hit another winner this year with The Professionals. After years as a respected and sought after theatre director, Mike Nichols made his first feature film to astounding success, and the first of many critical hits.
My Winner: Michael Antonioni.
My Nominations: Fred Zinnemann. Michaelagelo Antonioni. Rene Clement. Sergio Leone. Francois Truffaut. Monte Hellman.
A mostly foreign roster for me this year, adding Truffaut for Farenheit 451, Clement for the massive Is Paris Burning?, and of course Leone for The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. Though each of these films was groundbreaking in their own way, Leone’s film was a landmark stepping stone for action movies and almost acted as the death-bell for the traditional Western. Gritty was in, and his handling of characters and story soon seeped into every other genre. While not the most obviously groundbreaking film made this year, it is easily one of the most entertaining, and that is largely down to Leone’s handling of the pace, plot, and action. Monte Hellman helms an entirely different sort of Western with The Shooting, one packed with mystery, strangeness, and atypical characters.
My Winner: Sergio Leone
Who is your pick for Best Director of 1966? Let us know in the comments!