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!

Best Supporting Actress – 1966

Official Nominations: Sandy Dennis. Wendy Hiller. Jocelyne LeGarde. Vivan Marchant. Geraldine Page.

Sandy Dennis earned her only Oscar nomination and win as the meek, eventually volatile Honey in Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf. By 1966, Wendy Hiller already had 2 Oscar nominations and one win to her name and with A Man For All Seasons she narrowly missed out on a second win. Jocelyne LeGarde is the stand-out performer in Hawaii, but it was the only performance she would ever give – she was a native of Tahiti and had never acted in her life before she was asked to join the cast. Starring the likes of Richard Harris, Max Von Sydow, Julie Christie, and up and comers Bette Middler and Gene Hackman, LeGarde is the most memorbale actor in a strange movie – all the more strange as it was the highest grossing movie of they year and critically acclaimed at the time, yet no-one remembers it. Vivian Merchant would have a short but acclaimed career, the high point being her debut in Alfie where she earned her only Oscar nomination as Lily. Lastly, Geraldine Page picked up her yearly nomination, this time in You’re A Big Boy Now as Margery, but misses out again on the win.

My Winner: Sandy Denis.

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My Nominations: Sandy Dennis. Sarah Miles. Angie Dickinson. Sussanah Yorke. Millie Perkins.

Only Denis makes it to my odd list of choices – Sarah Miles only has a small, but memorable part in Blow-up, while Dickinson has a bit part as Brando’s loyal wife in The Chase. Sussanah Yorke gets my pick over Hiller for both A Man For All Seasons and Kaleidoscope, while Perkins is ghastly as The Woman in cult Western The Shooting.

My Winner: Millie Perkins.

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

1966 – Best Supporting Actor

Official Nominations: Walter Matthau. Mako. James Mason. George Segal. Robert Shaw.

This years nominations don’t hold many surprises, although the shock win of Walter Matthau for The Fortune Cookie may have raised a few eyebrows due it it being light fare. In his first collaboration with Jack Lemmon, Matthau is memorable as the slimy, money-grabbing Whiplash Willie. In a film (The Sand Pebbles) which attempts to portray the racism of the time and situation, Mako makes for a sympathetic and always likable character who befriends some of the US sailors at the cost of creating enemies elsewhere. Mason is, as always, dependable in a role (Georgy Girl) which required him to give his standard cold demeanor shtick and later become more obviously affectionate, while George Segal undergoes similar changes as Nick in Who’s Afraid Fo Virginia Woolf? Robert Shaw picks up the final nomination as Henry VIII in A Man For All Seasons in one of the definitive performances of the big chicken-thigh eater.

My Winner: Mako

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My Nominations: Mako. Robert Shaw. Lee Van Cleef. Eli Wallach.

Mako and Robert Shaw make it over to my nominations, and I add to that couple two men who went toe to toe with The Man With No Name in The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly.  Lee Van Cleef, a man who looks like a veteran of the Wild West through and through, gives a worn, sinister performance as Angel Eyes. The bad guy of the piece, Van Cleef tones down much of the charm which made previous villians so memorable, and accentuated the ruthless, murderous side. My win though goes to Wallach whose performance is largely grounded in comedy, but manages to make the audience both despise him and feel pathos. In a film where most of the performances are marked more by the silence and the internalised, Wallach’s Tuco provides the outlet for the emotion and absurdity of the events.

My Winner: Eli Wallach

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Who is your pick for the best Supporting Actor of 1966? Let us know in the comments section!

Best Actress – 1966

Official Nominations: Elizabeth Taylor. Anouk Aimee. Ida Kaminska. Lynn Redgrave. Vanessa Redgrave.

Like much of the latter half of the 60s, 1966 was an important year for Women, the major moment being the founding of the National Organization for women. In the Media and in the Arts, Women were blurring and breaking boundaries and crossing divides – Janis Joplin was the voice of a new generation while the likes of Nancy Sinatra and Cher were going toe to toe with The Beatles and The Stones. Many of the year’s highest grossing, well-received and most important movies featured actresses in defining performances and symbolizing the wind of change sweeping across the Western World and beyond.

Liz Taylor gives a Daniel Day Lewis turn by performing as Martha in Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? – the antithesis of every other role she had played until this point, piling on the pounds, and ultimately makes the film more energetic and enticing. Taylor earned her second Oscar with her performance, no doubt helped by the on and off-screen antics between her and Burton. Anouk Aimee was already well known to critics thanks to 8 1/2 and La Dolce Vita, but with A Man And A Woman she was able to take centre stage as the sympathetic widow and mother Anne. In a film where the beauty of the visuals threatens to overcome the story and the cast, Aimee holds her own. On an entirely different note, The Shop On Main Street sees Ida Kaminska as an old shop owner under threat from Aryanization during WW2. Her performance, coupled with the grim nature and resolution of the film were enough to get the film considerable notice in the US. The final two nominations go to the Redgrave sisters, Lynn and Vanessa for Georgy Girl and Morgan! respectively. The two British films share quite a few similarities, but the characters each play are near opposites with Lynn playing a naive, ‘pure’, imaginative young woman and Vanessa as a bored housewife seeking divorce. Both characters however are objects of extreme desire for the male characters, and hilarity ensues.

My Winner: Elizabeth Taylor.

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My Nominations: Elizabeth Taylor. Francoise Dorleac. Virginia McKenna. Anne Bancroft.

Only Taylor makes it over from the official list this year. Dorleac gives another forgotten, energetic performance in Cul-de-sac which was another stepping stone towards what should have been a greater level of stardom before her untimely death. Most people only remember Born Free for its song and visuals, but that is doing a disservice to McKenna’s performance as Joy Adamson. Finally, Anne Bancroft stirs up trouble at a Chinese Christian missionary as the newly arrived, anti-religion Doctor Cartwright, a role which she joyfully sinks her teeth into.

My Winner: Elizabeth Taylor.

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