Best Costume Design – 1966

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Official Nominations: BW: Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? The Gospel According To Matthew. Mr Buddwing. Mandragola. Morgan! Colour: A Man For All Seasons. Gambit. Hawaii. Juliet Of The Spirits. The Oscar.

My Winner: BW: The Gospel According To Matthew. Colour: A Man For All Seasons.

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My Nominations: The Gospel According To Matthew. A Man For All Seasons. Hawaii. The Bible. Blowup. Prince Of Darkness. Farenheit 451. The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. The Wild Angels.

My Winner: A Man For All Seasons.

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Which film do you think had the Best Costume Design of 1966? Let us know in the comments!

Best Music (Scoring): 1966

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Official Nominations: Original: Born Free. The Bible. Hawaii. The Sand Pebbles. Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf. Treatment: A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. The Gospel According To St. Matthew. Return Of The Seven. The Singing Nun. Stop The World I Want To Get Off.

Two obvious winners for me this year with both my picks having memorable lead themes and plenty of finely tuned incidental pieces. Return Of The Seven does of course borrow heavily from The Magnificent Seven, but it’s still so much stronger than anything else on the list that it gets the win.

My Winner: Born Free. Return Of The Seven.

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My Nominations: Born Free. Return Of The Seven. The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. Blow-Up. The Sand Pebbles. Dracula: Prince Of Darkness.  Fahrenheit 451.

I borrow three from the official nominations, and add the steamy and restrained soundtrack by James Bernard which gives a gravitas and emotional content to your typical Hammer fare. Also added is Herbie Hancock’s immortal soundtrack to Blow-Up with an infusion of guitar psychedelia and jazz freak outs, and Bernard Hermann’s mysterious and ominous ode to the future for Farenheit 451. My win of course has to be The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. It’s unfortunately rare that movie soundtracks enter the public consciousness and have a lasting cultural significance, but that is exactly what Ennio Morricone gives us (and not for the first or last time). The soundtrack is easily one of the finest ever written, with the title track, with The Ecstasy Of Gold, The Story Of A Soldier, all being classic themes.

My Winner: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

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What is your choice for the Best Score of 1966? Let us know in the comments (of course it’s going to be Morricone though…)

Best Original Song – 1966

Official Nominations: Born Free. Alfie. Georgy Girl. My Wishing Doll – Hawaii. A Time For Love – An American Dream.

There is one obvious winner here, a song which everyone knows, regardless of whether or not you have seen the movie. John Barry and Don Black’s Born Free, sung with gusty by crooner Matt Munro is both timeless, and a symbol of many 60s ideals. It is synonymous with images of sprawling vistas, African grasslands, mothers and cubs, and of course, freedom. Bacharach’s Alfie has performed by every sing of all time, so take your pick between the Cher and Cilla versions. I much prefer the Susannah Hoffs version – What’s It All About, Austin? – Hoffs really transforms it into a monster, but the basis of a great song was built here in the 60s. Tom Springfield and Jim Dale’s Georgy Girl evokes similar images of the decade and is light, cheery nonsense. It’s instantly catchy and perfromed with pinache by the Seekers. However, it’s impossible to hear it now without changing the lyrics to ‘Hey there, blimpy boy’. So this is a rarity – three great songs so far, WTF is going on Oscars? Berstein and David’s Wishing Doll has an odd mixture of Western tones with the Hawaiian feel needed for the movie, another song with strong melodies, but a much more mournful song when compared to the rapture of the previous three. The final entry is Johnny Mandel’s A Time For Love – a misplaced song in an unfairly maligned film. It’s a soppy enough song which tries to fit the dreary, lurid atmosphere of the movie, but comes off as a fairly standard ballad. It’s ok as a standalone, but it doesn’t work for the movie.

My Winner: Born Free.

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My Nominations: Born Free. Alfie. Georgy Girl. Follow Me Boys.

The only addition to my list is the title song from the Disney Scout movie, a jolly little ditty which was almost adopted by the USA Scouts as their signature tune. It does feel like a song which should be sung while marching and although it’s very simple it has a pleasant innocence.

My Winner: Born Free

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Which movie song of 1966 do you think deserves the Best Song crown? Let us know in the comments!

Best Art Direction – 1966

Official Nominations: BW: Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? The Fortune Cookie. The Gospal According To St Matthew. Is Paris Burning? Mr Buddwing. Colour: Fantastic Voyage. Gambit. Juliet Of The Spirits. The Oscar. The Sand Pebbles.

My Winner: BW: Is Paris Burning? Colour: Fantastic Voyage

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My Nominations: The Bible. Born Free. Blowup.Farenheit 451. The Good The bad And The Ugly. Is Paris Burning? A Man For All Seasons. Fantastic Voyage.

My Winner: Fantastic Voyage

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Who is your pick for winner of the Best Art Direction Of 1966? Let us know in the comments!

Best Writing – Adapted – 1966

Official Nominations: A Man For All Seasons. Alfie. The Professionals. The Russians Are Coming. Who’s Afraid Of Virgina Woolf?

The usual assortment of stage adaptations take the lead this year, with Who’s Afraid Of Virgina Woolf? deservedly picking up the win. The ridiculously popular A Man For All Seasons is a fairly straight adaptation, as is Bill Naughton’s own Alfie. The Professionals is a more loose retelling of Frank O’Rourke’s novel, as is The Russians Are Coming.

My Winner:  Who’s Afraid Of Virgina Woolf?

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My Nominations: Who’s Afraid Of Virgina Woolf? Born Free. The Sword Of Doom. Hunger. Farenheit 451.

Only two of the official nominations make it over to my choices, and I add a trio of foreign hits to the list. Henning Carlsen and Peter Seeberg adapt Kunt Hamsun’s Hunger in an equally stark and unflinhing depiction of the desperation we suffer when fighting through poverty and hunger. Truffault’s take on Bradbury’s dystopian future may not be as powerful and imaginative as the novel and makes several noteworthy changes, but it admirably translates much of the paranoia and tyranny from the pages to the screen. Originally planned as a trilogy (leading to much confusion at the film’s end) Shinobu Hashimoto’s adaption of ‘the longest novel ever’ is a triumph due to condensing so much into a single work. Obviously there was more to be said, but the planned future films never happened. The script twists much of what audiences usually encountered in Jideigeki films by making the protagonist an antagonist, and watching his descent into insanity.

My Winner: Who’s Afraid Of Virgina Woolf?

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What is your pick for the Best Adapted Screenplay of 1966? Let us know in the comments!

Best Writing – Original – 1966

Official Nominations: A Man And A Woman. Blow Up. The Fortune Cookie. Khartoum. The Naked Prey.

A rare winner from France this year, with Claude Lelouch and Pierre Uytterhoeven’s A Man And A Woman earning the victory. Although the film is more revered for its visuals and soundtrack, the script still resonates universally today. Antonioni and Guerra’s script for Blow Up (with English translation by Edward Bond) is the near perfect story for Counter-culture audiences with both the story itself and the impact it had highlighting the rapid, necessary changes the world was going through, and the widest generational gap there has arguably ever been. Billy Wilder’s (along with I.A.L Diamond) Fortune Cookie proves that even though the world was changing, there was still room for the upstarts of previous decades while Robert Ardrey’s script for Khartoum is a fine, fairly plain, old school affairwhich doesn’t do much to re-invent the historical epic. The Naked Prey is an excellent underrated film, packed with action and suspense (though with questionable Imperialism) and its script by Clint Johnson and Don Peters has sparse dialogue, instead letting the escape, chase, and violence lead the plot. An unusual, but deserving nomination.

My Winner: Blow Up

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My Nominations: A Man And A Woman. Blow Up. The Naked Prey. The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. How To Steal A Million. The Shooting.

Adding to the trio of Official Nominations come Leone’s The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly, a film whose most famous lines are still quotable today, Carole Eastman’s existential The Shooting, and Harry Kurnitz and George Bradshaw’s quick witted How To Steal A Million.

My Winner: Blow Up

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What is your choice for the best Original Screenplay of 1966? Let us know in the comments below!

Best Cinematography – 1966

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Official Nominations: BW: Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? The Fortune Cookie. Georgy Girl. Is Paris Burning? Seconds. Colour: A Man For All Seasons. Fantastic Voyage. Hawaii. The Professionals. The Sand Pebbles.

Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? and A Man For All Seasons picked up the wins this year, increasing their impressive respective tallies. Arguably strange choices in both places, particularly as Is Paris Burning? and Seconds have much more impressive and innovative work. On the colour side the winner is an expected and fine choice, but each of the other nominees could arguably be a better choice.

My Winner: BW: Seconds. Colour: Fantastic Voyage

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My Nominations: The Bible In The Beginning. The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. The Plague Of The Zombies. Is Paris Burning? Seconds. Fantastic Voyage. Hawaii. The Sand Pebbles.

Only five films from the official nominations make it over to my list, and to those I add an epic and two genre classics. Giuseppe Rotunno would gain fame later with a nomination for All That Jazz, but his sweeping shots of the approach to The Ark and the generally lavish shots in The Bible: In The Beginning deserve more recognition. Similarly, The Plague Of The Zombies leaves a lsasting impression on the viewer thanks to Arthur Grant’s bleak, atmospheric shots of a claustrophobic English village. The undisputed winner, and yet another shocking omission by The Academy, must be Tonino Delli Colli’s work on The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Taking all the tropes of the famous US Westerns of previous decades, and continuing on the path laid out by Dallamano on the previous Dollars movies, the film remains uncompromisingly vast and beautiful today. Horizons stretch out endlessly, specks in the distance draw the eye just as much as the full screen withered faces of the cast – how much of this is actually down to Leone is up for debate. Either way, it’s a clean winner.

My Winner: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly.

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What is your pick for the Best Cinematography of 1966? Let us know in the comments!

 

Best Foreign Film – 1966

Official Nominations: A Man And A Woman. The Battle Of Algiers. Loves Of A Blonde. Pharoah. Three

It’s another stellar war for World Cinema in the 60s, with at least three all-time classics in the official nominations and with Europe taking all the positions. A Man And A Woman was the official winner, Claude Lelouche’s tender romance drama captivating audiences with its acting and imagery. On the complete flip-side, Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle Of Algiers  is grimy, gritty, but shot in an equally stunning style, using locals rather than trained actors and shot in a modern-documentary style, portraying conflict as bloodying the hands of all who take part. Milos Foreman’s Loves Of A Blonde is significant as the Director’s first film, but stands on its own as an interesting, frank take on aimless love and crumbling society. The two remaining nominees are of a lesser pedigree, but interesting nonetheless – Aleksandar Petrovic’s Three is a peculiarly affecting look at death in three forms, while Jerzy Kawalerowicz’s Pharoah is a decent mini epic on the life of Ramses XIII.

My Winner: The  Battle Of Algiers

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My Nominations: The  Battle Of Algiers. A Man And A Woman. Blow Up. Farenheit 451. The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. Masculine-Feminine. Persona. The Sword Of Doom. Is Paris Burning?

As I mentioned earlier, this was a magnificent year for world cinema, and many greats were ‘snubbed’ – England/Italy’s Blow Up, France’s Farenheit 451, Is Paris Burning, and Masculine-Feminine, Sweden’s Persona, and Japan’s The Sword Of Doom veer between classic and cult gem. Towering above them all is The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. I’ve spoken about a few of these already in the Best Picture category, so moving on to Godard’s Masculine-Feminine – it is another seminal piece of 60s French Cinema, famous for its explicit nature, unusual structure, and pop-culture dedication. Is Paris Burning is arguably France’s greatest WWII epic, with a terrific ensemble cast and gorgeous black and white cinematography. Keeping with B and W of course is Bergman, and with Persona he crafts another controversial piece – largely a series of monologues and conversation between two women, interjected with dreamlike imagery. Finally, Kihachi Okamoto’s The Sword Of Doom is one of the more brutal Jidaigeki films whose protagonist is wholly unlikable, selfish, yet engaging as we follow him from one murderous encounter to the next.

My Winner: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

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What is your choice as the Best Foreign Film of 1966? Remember, under my rules this doesn’t have to be a film which is not in the English Language, but simply a film made outside of the US. Let us know in the comments!

Best Director – 1966

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.

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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

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Who is your pick for Best Director of 1966? Let us know in the comments!