1959 – 1964
Ben-Hur won more awards than any movie before it. It was also the most expensive film costing $15 million, (compare that to today’s budgets).
Ben-Hur was actually a re-make of a silent film. Besides winning Best Picture it copped the Best Actor Award for Charlton Heston who had been ignored for his Moses in the Ten Commandments. It also won Best Supporting Actor (Hugh Griffith), Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Sound, Best Musical Score, Best Film Editing, Best Special Effects, and Best Costume Design
It won over Anatomy of a Murder , The Diary of Anne Frank, The Nun’s Story, and Room at the Top. Many would claim this was not a particularly strong array.
Charlton Heston beat Jack Lemmon in Some Like It Hot, Paul Muni in The Last Angry Man, James Stewart in Anatomy of a Murder and Laurence Harvey in Room at Top
The Best Actress award went to Simone Signoret over Audrey Hepburn, Katharine Hepburn Elizabeth Taylor and Doris Day
Hugh Griffiths beat George C. Scott, Arthur O’Connell, Robert Vaughn and Ed Wynn
The two stars of Imitation of Life Juanita Moore and Susan Kohner (who played mother and daughter) were nominated as was Thelma Ritter but the Award was won by Shelley Winters
An Honorary Oscar went to Buster Keaton.
As usual some strange things happened; Francois Truffaut’s The 400 Blows received a nomination for writing but not in the Foreign film category. Ingmar Bergman’s Wild Strawberries received only one nomination for Best Writing. Unbelievably, both films lost their sole nominations to Pillow Talk.
Ben-Hur so overwhelmed the Academy many other films to be ignored including Hitchcock’s North By Northwest with Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint and James Mason.
Some Like It Hot received no recognition from the Academy for Tony Curtis’ performance, nor Joe E. Brown nor Marilyn Monroe.
The Best Picture Award went to The Apartment . Many believe it was a consolation for having ignored Some Like It Hot.
Other Best Picture nominees in 1960 were The Alamo, Elmer Gantry , Sons and Lovers, The Sundowners, not a particularly strong array again.
Burt Lancaster won the Best Actor Award for the title role in Elmer Gantry over Jack Lemmon in The Apartment, Laurence Olivier in The Entertainer, Spencer Tracy in Inherit the Wind and Trevor Howard in Sons and Lovers
The Best Actress was won by Elizabeth Taylor in Butterfield 8. This was considered a sympathy vote as she had lost in the previous years, and almost died of pneumonia.
She defeated Deborah Kerr in The Sundowners, Greer Garson in Sunrise at Campobello Melina Mercouri in Never on Sunday and Shirley MacLaine in The Apartment
These last two gave sterling performances and one of them ought have won.
Peter Ustinov won the Best Supporting Actor in Spartacus beating Peter Falk, Jack Kruschen, Sal Mineo in Exodus, Chill Wills in The Alamo.
The Best Supporting Actress award went to Shirley Jones in Elmer Gantry. over Janet Leigh in Psycho, Glynis Johns in The Sundowners, Shirley Knight in The Dark at the Top of the Stairs and Mary Ure in Sons and Lovers
The Honorary Oscar award was awarded to a gravely-ill Gary Cooper,
Psycho Won Nothing. Let me Repeat; Psycho, yes that movie Won N O T H I N G. Janet Leigh was nominated, but lost. The Alamo was nominated instead of Hitchcock’s masterpiece.
Anthony Perkins was N O T nominated for Psycho.
Jean Simmons, who stared in Spartacus, was not nominated.
Exodus was not nominated, nor was Paul Newman’s brilliant performance.
The Best Picture was no surprise, West Side Story was ‘all that.’ It beat out Fanny , The Guns of Navarone, The Hustler and Judgment At Nuremberg.
Although Paul Newman might have given the best performance of his career he lost to Maximilian Schell in Judgement at Nuremberg who beat Spence Tracy, Charles Boyer, and Stuart Whitman.
The Best Actress award went to Sophia Loren in Two Women over Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s Geraldine Page in Summer and Smoke and Natalie Wood in Splendor in the Grass and Piper Laurie in the Hustler.
The two Best Supporting Actor and Actress awards went to two West Side Story co-stars: Rita Moreno and George Chakiris.
This was an upset as it was expected that Montgomery Clift and Judy Garland would have won in their respective categories.:
Breakfast at Tiffany’s was NOT nominated for Best Picture nor was Splendor in the Grass.
Sidney Poitier was ignored in A Raisin in the Sun, which was Un nominated in all categories. Let me repeat that, A Rasin in the Sun was Un Nominated in all categories. Vivien Leigh was un-nominated for The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone. The last film of legends Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable, The Misfits, received no nominations.
Lawrence of Arabia won Best Picture. Many felt it was a long, overdone production and might have won on dazzle not substance. It beat The Longest Day , The Music Man, Mutiny on the Bounty and To Kill a Mockingbird.
Best Actor was the sentimental favorite Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird who won over Peter O’Toole,. Marcello Mastroianni , Burt Lancaster and Jack Lemmon
Best Actress went to Anne Bancroft in The Miracle Worker over Bette Davis in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Lee Remick , Katharine Hepburn and Geraldine Page
The Best Supporting Actor award was denied to front-runner Omar Sharif. The surprise upset winner was Ed Begley in Sweet Bird of Youth over Victor Buono, Telly Savalas and Terence Stamp in Billy Budd.
Patty Duke won Best Supporting Actress Oscar for The Miracle Worker over Shirley Knight Angela Lansbury , Thelma Ritter
Jules and Jim, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Manchurian Candidate were not nominaed as Best Picture. Nor was The Miracle Worker.
Lolita was entirely neglected and Joan Crawford, playing opposite Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? was not nominated.
Robert Preston’s was not nominated in the Best Actor category despite the fact he carried The Music Man.
Robert Duvall was ignored in To Kill a Mockingbird. Frank Sinatra in The Manchurian Candidate, possibly his best performance was ignored along with, Buddy Ebsen in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Rosalind Russell as Natalie Wood’s Mama Rose Hovick in Gypsy.
Gypsy was also ignored.
Tom Jones took best picture. This is because the field this year was extremely weak. Firstly there was Cleopatra a poor movie but with enough scandal for two or three others. There was, America, America, How the West Was Won and Lilies of the Field
The Best Actor winner was Sidney Poitier (with his second nomination and first and only Oscar win in Lilies of the Field. His Oscar was the first major Oscar won by an African-American actor beating out Albert Finney in Tom Jones, Rex Harrison in Cleopatra Richard Harris in This Sporting Life and Paul Newman in Hud
The Best Actress winner was Patricia Neal for Hud although many felt it was a ’sympathy’ Award. She won over Leslie Caron, Shirley MacLaine in Irma La Douce, Rachel Roberts and and Natalie Wood in Love with the Proper Stranger
The winner in the Best Supporting Actor category was Melvyn Douglas over Nick Adams Bobby Darin, John Huston and Hugh Griffith
The Best Supporting Actress winner was Margaret Rutherford in The V.I.P.’s. over Lilia Skala for Lilies of the Field, and Dame Edith Evans , Diane Cilento and Joyce Redman for Tom Jones.
The Great Escape was virtually ignored. Steve McQueen was NOT nominated for best actor.
The First James Bond Movie, Dr. No was completely ignored as was Sean Connery.
Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds was ignored, as was Bye Bye Birdie
The Best Picture winner in 1964 was My Fair Lady, which was in competition with Mary Poppins. Also rans were Beckett, Dr. Strangelove, and Zorba, The Greek.
Dr. Strangelove did not win.
The winner of the Best Actor award was Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady over Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton in Beckett, Anthony Quinn in Zorba the Greek and Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove.
Many felt this award was kind of a sop to Harrison for considering the other performances, his was nothing special.
Julie Andrews won the Best Actress award in Mary Poppins. Although she had played Eliza Doolittle on Stage, she had NOT be cast in the movie. She beat Anne Bancroft in The Pumpkin Eater, Sophia Loren in Marriage Italian Style, Debbie Reynolds in The Unsinkable Molly Brown and Kim Stanley
The Best Supporting Actor award went to Peter Ustinov in Topkapi over John Gielgud in Becket, Edmond O’Brien in Seven Days in May, Lee Tracy.
The Best Supporting Actress winner was Lila Kedrova for Zorba the Greek over Dame Edith Evans, Grayson Hall, Agnes Moorehead
From Russia With Love was ignored, although one of the best in the James Bond series. Sean Connery was not nominated.
Probably the most shocking was that A Hard Day’s Night, the first movie staring the Beatles was not nominated. Nor were any of the Beatle’s songs. This included,“And I Love Her”, “Can’t Buy Me Love”, “I Should Have Known Better”, “Tell Me Why”, “This Boy” and “A Hard Day’s Night“, records which sold in the millions.
Although Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying… received five nominations three of its best performances were un-nominated: Sterling Hayden, George C. Scott and Slim Pickens
Night of the Iguana was not nominated as Best Picture.
Wilfrid Brambell as Paul McCartney’s “clean old man” grandfather in A Hard Day’s Night, and Peter Sellers as inept Inspector Jacques Clouseau in the first of Blake Edwards’ highly successful series The Pink Panther were totally ignored.
As usual, when we think of this six year period, it is the movies that didn’t win which have lasted the longest, the performances that went ignored which remain with us.