Best Writing (Adapted) – 1962

Actual Nominations: To Kill A Mockingbird. David And Lisa. Lawrence Of Arabia. Lolita. The Miracle Worker.

Two titans of literature go up against a couple of curiosities and a pseudo-biography. The bane of high-school English students everywhere, To Kill A Mockingbird is Harper Lee’s only novel to date, and Horton Foote’s earnest adaptation condenses all of issues concerning prejudice and injustice without losing any of the power or sincerity. Dealing directly with controversial topics, both the film and the book are overwhelming successes. Lolita, on the other hand is a much more sordid affair, dealing with taboo and whilst still a success should be considered on a different level. Although Nabokov is credited with the screenplay, Kubrick and Harris had a greater hand in the adaptation. Unlike Mockingbird, Lolita the films is greatly changed from the book – mainly to avoid the wrath of the censors with most of the explicit stuff made subtext rather than clear and present. If anything this gives a more sinister undertone to the action. William Gibson worked closely with Arthur Penn on the adaptation of The Miracle Worker which is based on Helen Keller’s autobiography, but it is the performances rather than the words which give the film its power. Dealing with similar issues, Eleanor Perry’s adaptation of Rubin’s David And Lisa is fine if a little sugary. Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson’s take on the life of T.E.Lawrence pays the necessary liberties to bring a coherent, dramatic tale to the screen.

My Winner: To Kill A Mockingbird


My Nominations: Lawrence Of Arabia. Lolita. To Kill A Mockingbird. The 300 Spartans. The Day Of The Triffids. The Trial. The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm. Dr No.

Quite a few additions to the various official nominations which made it over to my list – with a mixture of history, science fiction and more literary giants making the grade. The 300 Spartans isn’t simply a nonsensical action film – the various writers merging chaos to create something stirring and topical (Cold War undertones), while David P Harmon, William Roberts, and Charles Beaumont’s screenplay does well with the gigantic task of bringing together the many Grimm’s fairytales to make a fine standalone story. Bernard Gordon changes many elements of Wyndam’s The Day Of The Triffid’s to again create something unique from the novel and while it is a much more simple tale, it creates enough drama to still be watchable today, while Maibum, Harwood, and Mather’s script for Dr No is much more faithful to the source material and set the standard for every Bond film to come, not to mention a host of imitators. My final choice has probably the most interesting adaptation – with Orson Welles giving his own twist on Kafka’s The Trial, bringing it up to date and playing around with certain details and plot points.

My Winner: Lolita

Best Art Direction- 1962

Actual Nominations: Once again we have separate awards for colour and black and white, but I’ll stick them together for my own awards

BW: To Kill a Mockingbird – Art Direction: Alexander Golitzen and Henry Bumstead; Set Decoration: Oliver Emert.       Period of Adjustment – Art Direction: George Davis and Edward Carfagno; Set Decoration: Henry Grace and Dick Pefferle.    The Longest Day – Art Direction: Ted Haworth, Leon Barsacq and Vincent Korda; Set Decoration: Gabriel Bechir.    The Pigeon That Took Rome – Art Direction: Hal Pereira and Roland Anderson; Set Decoration: Sam Comer and Frank R. McKelvy.       Days of Wine and Roses – Art Direction: Joseph C. Wright; Set Decoration: George James Hopkins

Actual Winner: To Kill A Mockingbird

My Winner:  The Longest Day.

Colour: Lawrence of Arabia – Art Direction: John Box and John Stoll; Set Decoration: Dario Simoni.            The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm – Art Direction: George Davis and Edward Carfagno; Set Decoration: Henry Grace and Dick Pefferle.               That Touch of Mink – Art Direction: Alexander Golitzen and Robert Clatworthy; Set Decoration: George Milo.       The Music Man – Art Direction: Paul Groesse; Set Decoration: George James Hopkins.         Mutiny on the Bounty – Art Direction and Set Decoration: Hugh Hunt

Actual Winner: Lawrence Of Arabia

My Winner:  The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm

My Nominations: Dr. No. Lawrence Of Arabia. Brothers Grimm. The Longest Day. Mutiny On The Bouny.

Bond films are known for their elaborate sets as well as luxurious locations and costumes which bring the world of high class espionage as globe trotting evil to life. Syd Cain, Freda Pearson, and of course, Ken Adam are largely responsible for the look of Bond films to come, setting the tone in the original and they deserve much credit.

My Winner: Dr. No.

Best Actor – 1962


Actual Nominations: Gregory PeckTo Kill a Mockingbird as Atticus Finch Burt LancasterBirdman of Alcatraz as Robert Stroud Jack LemmonDays of Wine and Roses as Joe Clay Marcello MastroianniDivorce, Italian Style as Ferdinando Cefalù Peter O’TooleLawrence of Arabia as T. E. Lawrence

This was a big year for leading male performances with at least two of the nominations remaining iconic to this day. Peter O’Toole commands the screen with his misty eyed Lawrence in a role which has seen him on British TV screens every Christmas, while Gregory Peck gives his career defining performance as judge, father, and all round good man Atticus Finch- a role which has ensured that he will haunt English Classrooms for years to come. Peck won the award this year and gets my vote too. Other A-listers missing out this year included a fiery drunk Lemmon (two Ms) , and a harmonious Burt Lancaster. Propping up the list is Marcello Mastroianni is the hit Italian comedy as an unhinged husband.

My Winner: Gregory Peck.

My Nominations: Gregory Peck. Burt Lancaster. Jack Lemmon. James Mason. Marlon Brando.

There isn’t too much difference in my choices except that I have added Brando for Mutiny On The Bounty and James Mason for Lolita.

My Winner: Marlon Brando