Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1966

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Michelangelo Antonioni (Blow-Up)
Richard Brooks (The Professionals)
Claude Lelouch (A Man and a Woman)
Mike Nichols (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?)
Fred Zinnemann (A Man for All Seasons)

Biggest Snub:

Richard Lester – A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

My Overall Thoughts:

This is another year with 5 great nominees, but there was a clear winner the whole way through.

My Rankings:


5. Richard Brooks
4. Michelangelo Antonioni
3. Mike Nichols
2. Claude Lelouch
1. Fred Zinnemann


5. Blow-UpVery interesting idea about how even a mistaken snapshot could cause intrigue and fear. Like other films in this kind of genre, the use of a standard artistic profession shows how life can be seen differently when looking carefully and in more detail. The story itself unfortunately deviates a bit too much from the main thriller aspect as they want to show us the extravagant and free lifestyle of a gifted photographer who lives in a world of his own until he realizes that his work has put himself in grave danger.
4. The ProfessionalsGreat premise. Loved the way that this in some ways feels like a fantasy adventure because of the way it is presented to us. Cast is superb with Palance somewhat unrecognizable as the villain. Really enjoyed how both Lancaster and Marvin feel miscast here but still come off great. Like all great Westerns, we get a realistic feel the whole way through and never know which of the heroes or villains will make it in the end because there are no real rules. The pacing is a bit iffy and it’s too bad it didn’t move more smoothly.
3. A Man and a WomanGreat film that manages to get the whole aspect of moving on after a marriage right. There are definitely regrets that the characters can feel yet they also both want to try and find a way to move forward despite the strong memories that constantly are in their minds. Trintignant and Aimee have great chemistry together and we can easily see how they are people who can have a great relationship if only they are able to find a way to move forward past their former marriages. Lelouch was deservingly nominated for an Oscar for directing this film because he finds a great way for us to care so much about the characters as we get to see their pasts, their present and potential future.
2. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?Such a great film because it manages to develop all four of the leads so well in such a short period of time. The audience easily gets pulled into the story and we constantly want to know more and more about the characters who are so interesting and devastating to watch at the same time. Written extremely realistically and gripping from start to finish even though it is entirely carried by its dialogue. Won 5 of its 13 Oscar nominations that year.
1. A Man for All SeasonsGreat performance by Scofield that carries the whole movie.  The characteristics and personality of this man are so powerful that it reverberates throughout. Definitely deserving of its various Oscar wins including Picture, Director and Actor.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Absolutely!!  Zinnemann does an amazing job with this film and despite the other nominees also being quite deserving, his work was still the best of the lot.

Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!

One thought on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1966

  1. Man For All Seasons was exactly the kind of costume drama epic that the Oscars loved back in the 60s – so no surprise that it won.Virginia Woolf sizzled – with all 4 of its cast members being nominated and two winning (I always thought that Burton should’ve won for this as well).It’s seering intimacy stood in sharp contrast to the epic feel of MFAS. I also loved The Professionals which has one of my favorite closing lines of all time – when Lancaster is called a bastard for double crossing the man who hired him to bring back his “kidnapped” wife – his reply: “True. But in my case, a mistake of birth. You sir, are a self-made man”.


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