Best Art Direction: 1964

Once again this year the category was split into BW and colour awards:

Actual Nominations: BW: Zorba The Greek. Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte. Seven Days In May. The Americanization Of Emily. The Night Of The Iguana. Colour: My Fair Lady. Becket. Mary Poppins. The Unsinkable Molly Brown. What A Way To Go.

This year highlighted that the split category was becoming redundant, especially with fewer BW films being released and when seeing them alongside so many colourful extravaganzas it takes something truly special to stand out. Having said that, both categories feature accomplished work with Zorba and My Fair Lady picking up the respective wins. Seven Days In May proved that you didn’t have to be a musical or big budget epic to get noticed in this category while Americanization is an odd movie and choice. Hush Hush and Iguana round up the BW nominations with well crafted pieces.

My Winner: Mary Poppins. (William H Tuntke, Carroll Clark)

My Nominations: Mary Poppins. The Unsinkable Molly Brown. My Fair Lady. Dr Strangelove. Seance On A Wet Afternoon. Red Desert.

I’ve added 3 colour films to the nominations. Peter Murton gives Dr. Strangelove a farcical clinical feel where everywhere seems to clean against the lunatic plot while Ray Simm lends a suitably bleak feel to Seance. My winner though is Red Desert, where the melding of ideas between Antonioni, Piero Poletto, and the rest of the production crew give the director’s first colour film a look of post war shock- greys stilted against shocking reds.

My Winner: Red Desert (Piero Poletto)


Let us know in the comments which film of 1964 you felt had the best Art Direction!

Best Cinematography: 1964

Actual Nominations: BW: Zorba The Greek. Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte. The Americanization Of Emily. Night Of The Iguana. Fate Is The Hunter. Colour: My Fair Lady. Becket. Mary Poppins. Cheyenne Autumn. The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

The category was split into BW and color again this year with epics, musicals, and historical dramas featuring heavily. Zorba The Greek picked up the official BW win this year, with My Fair Lady picking up the color counterpart. Fate Is The Hunter is the odd one out here, a film based around the aftermath of a plane crash which has the odd inventive flashback. Rounding up the BW nominations are the more recognizable Hush Hush, The Americanization Of Emily,  and Night Of The Iguana. Once again the color category is more interesting as new techniques arrived making films even brighter, costumes and scenery more vibrant, and bringing characters and stories bursting to life. Narrowly missing out on the win is Mary Poppins, a film famous for its sights as well as it’s sounds. Becket and Molly Brown follow with a large scope, while Cheyenne Autumn is an undeservedly forgotten John Ford epic.

My Winner: BW: Night Of The Iguana (Gabriel Figueroa) Colour: Cheyenne Autumn (William H. Clothier)

My Nominations: Dr Strangelove. The Fall Of The Roman Empire. A Fistful Of Dollars. Onibaba. Zulu

A completely different list for me this time, mostly focussing on colour. Zulu’s wide shots offer breathtaking views of a deadly landscape and serve to compare the scale of the wilderness, ‘the enemy’, and the stronghold. A Fistful Of Dollars welcomes several Leone standards, with thanks to Massimo Dallamano and Federico G. Larraya, showcasing a much more seedy, yet typically sweaty Western world. Roman Empire gives a more traditional tour de force, while Onibaba and Dr Strangelove provide cold, chilling, almost stilted visuals

My Winner: A Fistful Of Dollars (Massimo Dallamano and Federico G Larraya)

Who is your winner for Best Cinematography of 1964? Let us know in the comments section!

Best Sound: 1964

Actual Nominations: Goldfinger. The Lively Set. My Fair Lady. Father Goose, Becket. Mary Poppins. The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

Again I’ve merged the two sound categories together, editing and mixing. Mary Poppins and Goldfinger stand out this year with Norman Wanstall getting my vote for the Bond film due to the outstanding melding of music and effects to create a cohesive score. The sounds used in many of the special effects are memorable too.

My Winner: Goldfinger.

My Nominations: Goldfinger. Dr Strangelove. The Fall Of The Roman Empire. A Hard Day’s Night.

My Winner: Goldfinger

Best Writing (Adapted): 1964

Actual Nominations: Becket. Zorba The Greek. Dr. Strangelove. Mary Poppins. My Fair Lady.

This year saw the usual mix of adapted plays and musicals, with Becket picking up the official win. My choice goes to Kubrick, George, and Southern’s loose adaptation of Peter George’s own Red Alert. Kubrick deftly turns the story into a black comedy and adds in a heavier satirical element, as well as completely re-writing the ending.

My Winner: Dr. Strangelove.

My Nominations: Dr. Strangelove. Goldfinger. The Killers. Zulu. The Outrage.

Only Kubrick’s satire makes it over to my personal list this year, joining an unexpected foursome. Richard Maibum returned yet again to adapt another Ian Fleming novel, this time crafting the script which many others would use as a template over the following decades. With rewrites and additions by Oscar winner Paul Dehn, the script is peppered with iconic one liners and scenes. Based on Kurosawa’s classic Rashomon, which was in turn based on earlier Japanese short stories, Michael Kanin gives a grandiose, yet filthy air to Ritt’s The Outrage, while Gene L Coon’s take on Hemmingway’s short story was so violent for a Teleplay that it was released to great success on the big screen instead. My final nomination is for Cy Enfield and John Prebble, for their rip-roaring script Zulu, based on a previous media article Prebble had written. With plenty of innocent inaccuracies, and some completely fabricated stuff to present both a tale of high adventure for Britannia, and a basis for heavy historical criticism, Zulu  is a story which always provokes debate.

My Winner: Dr. Strangelove.

Which film from 1964 do you think has the best adapted screenplay? Let us know in the comments.

Best Writing (Original): 1964

I missed my usual Oscar post yesterday, so adding two today – yippee!

Actual Nominations: Father Goose. A Hard Day’s Night. The Organizer. That Man From Rio. One Potato Two Potato.

From these nominations you would be forgiven for thinking it was a slow year- a dreary romantic comedy as winner? A film based on an album, a spoof of James Bond? The Organizer is a fine Italian film but doesn’t have a remarkable script, while One Potato Two Potato attempts an emotional drama on race relations, but now looks naive. That Man From Rio looks beautiful and gets most of its plus points from attempting a rip-roaring French Bond film. My win though is A Hard Day’s Night as it sparkles with humour, surrealism, and self knowing, and like The Beatles themselves, is brimming with creativity and innovation.

My Winner: A Hard Day’s Night

My Nominations: A Hard Day’s Night. A Fistful Of Dollars. The Fall Of The Roman Empire. Band Of Outsiders. The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg.

Only one film makes it to my list from the officials, and most of my picks this year are foreign productions. Fistful takes many of the cliches of the genre and twists them into a new bunch, while The Fall is noted for much more intelligence than one would usually expect to see in a film of its type. Band and Umbrella feature many innovative techniques with the former relying on an air of cool and the latter on its unexpected sung dialogue.

My Winner: A Hard Day’s Night

Which film of 1964 do you think had the best original writing? Let us know in the comments!

Best Animated Film: 1964

No award this year, and a severe shortage of animated releases mean that I only have 1 nomination and 1 winner. Thankfully though it is a decent film, although being a musical it is a bit of an annyoying departure from the hit TV series. There is nothing overly exciting here but it’s still enjoyable 200 years later.

My Winner: Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear!

Best Foreign Film: 1964

Actual Nominations: Yesterday, Today, And Tomorrow, Raven’s End, Umbrella’s Of Cherbourg, Sallah Shabati, Woman In The Dunes.

This was an odd year for Foreign Films in that many more famous names were left off the list in favour of the lessor known or up and coming Directors of the world. Official Winner, De Sica’s Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow is an interesting trio of comedy tales but it is the duo of stars- Loren and Mastroianni who really shine in vastly differing roles over the course of the film. Raven’s End is Bo Wilderberg’s often powerful coming-of-age Drama which gets credit for being both bleak and hopeful depending on whether you sympathize with some of the selfish charatcer involved or not. The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg is a successful and ambitious French musical known mainly for the strong compositions by Michel Legrand which would later become hits. Strangely these songs were not nominated for this year’s Oscars, but next year’s, in a bizarre Spac World-esque twist. Sallah Shabati is an engaging Israeli satire about immigration and introduced Topol to the world, while The Woman In The Dunes is a startling feast for both eyes and brain. A benchmark in Asian Avant-Garde, it is still compulsive viewing today.

My Winner: The Woman In The Dunes

My Nominations: The Woman In The Dunes. Band Of Outsiders. Before The Revolution. A Fistful Of Dollars. Marriage, Italian Style. Onibaba. Red Desert. Kwaidan.

My nominations are largely different in this category this time around with Italy and France giving some of their greatest exports.  Band Of Outsiders is possibly Godard’s most accessible film yet retains many innovative moments while Marriage, Italian Style (which receives official nominations for the next two years) sees this year’s official winning director making one of his best comedies. Onibaba becomes one of the most influential Asian horror films of all time, surpassed possibly only by Kwaidan (until the emergence of J Horror in the 90s), while A Fistful Of Dollars is an obvious classic. Bertolucci’s little known Before The Revolution is technically superb and gives insight into a bleak and confusing series of relationships, while Antonioni’s equally little known Red Desert offers grim, beautiful visuals and small story swamped by change and implied incidents.

My Winner: A Fistful Of Dollars.


Best Director: 1964

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


Best Supporting Actress: 1964

Actual Nominations: Dame Edith Evans. Agnes Moorehead. Gladys Cooper. Grayson Hall. Lila Kedrova.

A fairly terrible year this with a bunch of ye olde stage actresses of high renown, mostly known for playing the snooty, the haughty, the high brow. The list of names even read like the cast of characters from a 19th Century Play. So out of 5 similar enough roles and performances, I have picked my winner as the actress who turns her role off its centre in Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte  – it’s just enough off centre to make it more of a re-examination than a straight portrayal.

My Winner: Agnes Moorehead.

My Nominations: Agnes Moorehead. Jitsuko Yoshimura. Deborah Kerr.

A fairly rotten year for supporting actress with only Jitsuko Yoshimora as The Daughter from Onibaba and Kerr from Night Of The Iguana setting the world alight, while Moorehead is the only crossover.

My Winner: Agnes Moorehead.

Do you agree with my brazen statement that this was a crappy year for Supporting Actresses? Let us know in the comments who your picks are!

Best Actress: 1964

Actual Nominations: Julie Andrews. Anne Bancroft. Sophia Loren. Debbie Reynolds. Kim Stanley.

This was quite a controversial year for the Best Actress category, primarily due to the Audrey Hepburn snub. Hepburn missed out on the nomination after it was revealed that she had not performed the singing in My Fair Lady (actually done by Marni Nixon) and as she had replaced the more favourable stage actress Julie Andrews. To add insult to injury, Andrews was the official winner this year as Mary Poppins. An obvious winner, it is one of her most memorable roles and to her credit she does bring exuberance to the character and makes her more appealing than the original book version, but much of the success is of course down to the writing, the one-liners, and the music. The film itself is so twee that it just isn’t my thing. Loren stars as the deceitful, clever prostitute Filomena in Marriage- Italian Style and is as sultry and colourful as you would expect while Reynolds is funny and spirited as Molly Brown in an uninspired musical. Bancroft is inspired as the complex Jo in an often difficult, ambitious, and ambiguous Pinter penned film which seems ripe for a cultural re-examination. My win however goes to Kim Stanley for another British film- Seance On A Wet Afternoon. A modern twist on Lady Macbeth, with her own desires primarily of importance, her character is both wicked and tragic, and Stanley portrays both sides without flaw whilst commanding her household and the screen in a domineering fashion.

My Winner: Kim Stanley.

My Nominations: Audrey Hepburn. Julie Andrews. Anne Bancroft. Kim Stanley. Sophia Loren. Honor Blackman. Nobuko Otowa. Tippi Hedren.

Making it over from the official nominations are Andrews, Bancroft, Stanley, and Loren who are all worthy nominees and winners. I’ve added a few newbies to the nominations- Tippi Hedren as the steely, mysterious Marnie, Honor Blackman as one of the first Bond Girls who was more than just a damsel in distress (and because any character called Pussy Galore deserves, nay, necessitates attention). Nobuko Otawa for her chilling performance as the murderous woman in Onibaba, and finally, putting right what once went wrong, Audrey Hepburn for her film stealing performance in My Fair Lady which alone makes watching the film for a non-musical fan bearable.

My Winner: Audrey Hepburn

Did I miss you pick for the Best Actress of 1964? Let us know in the comments!