Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1964


Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

George Cukor (My Fair Lady)
Peter Glenville (Becket)
Mihalis Kakogiannis (Zorba the Greek)

Stanley Kubrick (Dr. Strangelove)

Robert Stevenson (Mary Poppins)

Biggest Snub:

John Frankenheimer  Seven Days in May

My Overall Thoughts:

This was yet another year with a great list of deserving nominees, yet one film was a shoe-in based on the early awards and nothing could top it.

My Rankings:

Directing

5. Zorba the Greek
4. Becket
3. Mary Poppins
2. My Fair Lady
1. Dr. Strangelove

Movies

5. Zorba the GreekThis is in the end a story of friendship between two mismatched men who are complete opposites. Quinn and Bates have great chemistry together and it’s easy to see how they can find things in common throughout the course of the film. The different ways that the two men look at situations make for interesting discussions between them throughout the film. The music and Zorba’s dance have become iconic staples ever since this film was made and it was nice to finally see (and hear) what it was all about.
4. My Fair Lady  – Not the best Best Picture, but entertaining never the less. Hepburn is superb in the title role and the analogy of the story works extremely well.
3. Dr. StrangeloveWas probably not as funny to watch during the height of the cold war, but now it’s hilarious. Sellers is spectacular in the 3 roles and Scott and Sterling do excellent jobs playing Army Generals with a bit of problems. Pickens steals the show tho as a bomber commander. Kubrick really knew how to get things going in the Cold War era and most of this seems very plausible for that time frame. The satire works extremely well and despite many scenes supposedly dealing with serious matters, it’s so hard no to laugh at the absurdity of it all.
2. BecketAmazing story that shows how friendship and integrity can be put to the test when one wishes to fulfill one’s duty. Burton and O’Toole are perfect as the two main leads. Amazing dialogue helps keep this interesting the whole way through. I’m surprised that this film didn’t win more awards because it is done so well.
1. Mary PoppinsExcellent movie that deservingly has been a known children’s (and adult) classic for 50 years.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yes and No!  There is no doubt that MFL is presented spectacularly and I can agree that it is deserving of such a win but KUbrick’s work on DS is so much better yet the Academy never quite understood him and his work.

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

One thought on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1964

  1. Seven Days in May WAS terrific – but how about Richard Lester for “A Hard Day’s Night”? He took the hottest commodity on the planet – The Beatles – and made a ferociously entertaining film/musical – that was probably the template for MTV decades later. As for the rest – ZORBA is spectacular. Humorous, loving and dramatic. Becket is a superb costume drama featuring 2 iconic performances by Burton and O’Toole – both nominated – who probably canceled each other out – and neither ever won an Oscar. You’re wrong that the Academy never “understood” Kubrick and his work. He just never won. There’s a difference. By your theory – they never “understood” Hitchcock either. And I’m not a My Fair Lady fan – too long – Harrison is a stiff. I enjoyed Mary Poppins as a kid – but all I remember was the early show being sold out and we literally had to wait in the theater lobby for 2 and 1/2 hours, listening at the door, for the sold out show to end so we could see the next one.Of the nominees, I would’ve gone with Glenville for Becket or Michael Cacoyannis (you didn’t even get his name right!) for Zorba, with Kubrick 2nd.

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