Sunday, January 13, 2008

33rd Academy Awards

The 33rd Academy Awards, honoring the best in film for 1960, were held on April 17, 1961 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. They were hosted by Bob Hope.

The Apartment is a 1960 film produced and directed by Billy Wilder, and starring Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, and Fred MacMurray. It was Wilder's follow up to the enormously popular Some Like It Hot and was an equal commercial and critical hit, grossing $25 million dollars at the box office, and winning the Academy Award for Best Picture and a second award for Directing went to Billy Wilder. This was also the film that Marilyn Monroe wanted to be in. She had previously starred with Lemmon in Some Like It Hot. Jack Lemmon plays C. C. Baxter, a lonely office drone for an insurance company in New York City. Four different company managers take turns commandeering his apartment, which is situated West 67th Street on the Upper West Side, for their various extramarital liaisons. Unhappy with the situation, but unwilling to challenge them directly, he juggles their conflicting demands while hoping to catch the eye of fetching elevator operator Miss Fran Kubelik played by MacLaine. Meanwhile the neighbors, a medical doctor and his wife, assume Baxter is a "good time Charlie" who gets a different woman drunk every night. Baxter accepts their criticism rather than reveal the truth. The film appears at #93 on the influential American Film Institute list of Top 100 Films, as well as at #20 on their list of 100 Laughs and at #62 on their 100 Passions list. In 2007, the film rose on the AFI's Top 100 list to #80. In 1994, The Apartment was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

The Virgin Spring (JungfrukÀllan) is a 1960 Swedish film directed by Ingmar Bergman. Set in medieval Sweden, it is a revenge tale about a father's merciless response to the murder of his daughter. According to the film introduction, the story is based on a 13th century Swedish ballad that was adapted by screenwriter Ulla Isaksson. It won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for that year.

The Best Actor award went to Burt Lancaster for Elmer Gantry. Though initially unenthusiastic about acting, he returned from service, auditioned for a Broadway play and was offered a role. Though the play was not successful, Lancaster's performance drew the attention of a Hollywood agent who had him cast in the 1946 motion picture The Killers. The tall, muscular actor won significant acclaim and appeared in two more films the following year. Subsequently, he played in a variety of movies, especially in dramas, thrillers, and military and adventure films. In 1953, he played one of his most famous roles with Deborah Kerr in From Here to Eternity. The American Film Institute acknowledged the iconic status of the scene from that film in which he and Deborah Kerr make love on a Hawaii beach amidst the crashing waves. The organization named it one of "AFI's top 100 Most Romantic Films" of all time. In most of his roles, whether in drama, circus, western or other genres, the self-taught actor was successful; he evolved into a solid and versatile performer and eventually a star. His work was recognized in 1960 when he won the Academy Award for Best Actor, a Golden Globe Award, and the New York Film Critics Award for his performance in Elmer Gantry. Lancaster made several films over the decades with Kirk Douglas, including I Walk Alone (1948), Gunfight at the OK Corral (1957), The Devil's Disciple (1959), Seven Days in May (1964), and Tough Guys (1986), which fixed the notion of the pair as something of a team in the public's imagination. Douglas was always second-billed under Lancaster in these films but, with the exception of I Walk Alone, in which Douglas played a villain, their roles were usually more or less the same size. As famous for his prickly, temperamental personality as much as he was for his willingness and skills at taking on different characterizations, Lancaster vigorously guarded his private life. He was married three times and had five children. His first spouse, from 1935 to 1946, was June Ernst, whom he divorced. His second marriage was with Norma Anderson from 1946 to 1969 and also ended in divorce, reportedly because Norma couldn't tolerate his "ladies' man" behaviour. He was romantically involved with Deborah Kerr during the filming of From Here to Eternity in 1953. From Norma, he had Billy (who became a screenwriter), James, Susan, Joanna and Sighle (pronounced Sheila). His third wife was Susan Martin, whom he married in September 1990. As Lancaster aged, heart trouble brought on by a lifetime of smoking increasingly hindered him from working as intensely as his passion and determination demanded. He nearly died during a routine gall bladder operation in January 1980. Following two minor heart attacks he had to undergo an emergency quadruple heart bypass in 1983, after which he was in frail health. He died in 1994 aged 80.

Elizabeth Taylor won the Best Actress Award for BUtterfield8. Known for her acting skills and beauty, as well as her Hollywood lifestyle including many marriages, she is considered one of the great actresses of Hollywood’s golden years, as well as a larger-than-life celebrity. The American Film Institute named Taylor seventh among the Greatest Female Stars of All Time. Taylor appeared in her first motion picture at the age of nine for Universal. They let her contract drop, and she was signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Her first movie with that studio was Lassie Come Home (1943), which drew favorable attention. That movie starred child star Roddy McDowall, with whom Elizabeth would share a lifelong friendship. After a few more movies, the second on loan-out to 20th Century Fox, she appeared in her first leading role and achieved child star status playing Velvet Brown, a young girl who trains a horse to win the Grand National in Clarence Brown's movie National Velvet (1944) with Mickey Rooney. National Velvet was a big hit, grossing over US$4 million at the box-office, and she was signed to a long-term contract. She attended school on the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lot and received a diploma from University High School in Los Angeles on January 26, 1950, the same year she was first married at age 18. Elizabeth Taylor won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performances in BUtterfield 8 (1960), which co-starred then husband Eddie Fisher, and again for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), which co-starred then-husband Richard Burton and the Supporting Actress Oscar-winner, Sandy Dennis. Taylor was nominated for Raintree County (1957) with Montgomery Clift, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) with Paul Newman, and Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) with Clift, Katharine Hepburn and Mercedes McCambridge. In 1963, she became the highest paid movie star up until that time when she accepted US$1 million to play the title role in the lavish production of Cleopatra for 20th Century Fox. It was during the filming of that movie that she worked for the first time with future husband Richard Burton, who played Mark Antony. Movie magazines, the forerunners of today's tabloids, had a field day when Taylor and Burton began an affair during filming; both stars were married to other people at the time. Taylor has been married eight times to seven husbands: Conrad "Nicky" Hilton (May 6, 1950 - January 29, 1951) (divorced) Michael Wilding (February 21, 1952 - January 26, 1957) (divorced) Michael Todd (February 2, 1957 - March 22, 1958) (widowed) Eddie Fisher (May 12, 1959 - March 6, 1964) (divorced) Richard Burton (March 15, 1964 - June 26, 1974) (divorced) (again) (October 10, 1975 - July 29, 1976) (divorced) John Warner (December 4, 1976 - November 7, 1982) (divorced) Larry Fortensky (October 6, 1991 - October 31, 1996) (divorced). Taylor and Wilding had two sons, Michael Howard Wilding and Christopher Edward Wilding. She and Todd had one daughter, Elizabeth Frances Todd, called "Liza,". And in 1964, she and Fisher started adoption proceedings for a daughter, whom Burton later adopted, Maria Burton. She and Burton also had a son of their own, actor Jack Stephen Burton, who is credited as Steve Burton. (b. June 28, 1970). She became a grandmother on August 25, 1971 at age 39.

The Best Supporting Actor award went to Peter Ustinov. Following military service as a private soldier during World War II, during which he had made propaganda films, starting with One of Our Aircraft is Missing (1942), with actors such as David Niven whom he also served as batman, he began to branch out into writing. His first major success was with The Love of Four Colonels in 1951. He starred alongside Humphrey Bogart and Aldo Ray in We're No Angels (1955). His career as a dramatist continued alongside his acting career, his best-known play being Romanoff and Juliet (1956). His film roles include Roman emperor Nero in Quo Vadis? (1951), Captain Vere in Billy Budd (1962), Lentulus Batiatus in Spartacus (1960), an old man surviving a totalitarian future in Logan's Run (1976), and in a half dozen films as Hercule Poirot, a part he first played in Death on the Nile (1978). Ustinov voiced the well-known anthropomorphic lion Prince John of the 1973 Disney animated movie Robin Hood. He also worked on several films as writer and occasionally director, including The Way Ahead (1944), School for Secrets (1946), Hot Millions (1968) and Memed, My Hawk (1984). He won Oscars for Best Supporting Actor for his roles in Spartacus (1960) and Topkapi (1964). He died on 28 March 2004, due to heart failure in a clinic in Genolier, near his home in Bursins, Vaud, Switzerland. He was so well regarded as a goodwill ambassador that UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy spoke at his funeral and represented United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Shirley Jones won that year for Best Supporting Actress. She is perhaps best known for her role as "Shirley Partridge," the widowed single mother of five children, in the television series The Partridge Family, co-starring her real-life stepson, David Cassidy. Before The Partridge Family, Jones had already achieved fame as a singer and actress. She starred in many films, including the highly successful musicals Oklahoma!, Carousel, April Love and The Music Man, in which she often embodied or represented wholesome beauty and kindness of character. In a rare "naughty girl" role, she won an Oscar for her role in Elmer Gantry as a prostitute corrupted by Burt Lancaster, who then takes revenge upon him.She married actor Jack Cassidy on August 5, 1956, with whom she had three sons, Shaun, Patrick, and Ryan. David Cassidy, Jack's only child from his first marriage to actress Evelyn Ward, became her stepson. Divorcing Cassidy in 1974, she later married comic/actor Marty Ingels on November 13, 1977. Despite drastically different personalities and several separations (she filed, then withdrew, a divorce petition in 2002), they remain married.

"Never On Sunday" is a popular song. The music was written by Manos Hadjidakis, with original Greek lyrics also by Manos Hadjidakis. The original Greek title translates as 'The Children of Piraeus'and that is the title commonly used in Greece. The original Greek lyrics do not make any mention of Sunday anywhere in the song. The English lyrics written by Billy Towne were written especially to match the title of the film. The song was published in 1960, and introduced in the movie of the same name. It won the Oscar for Best Original Song. A number of recorded versions have been made including one by Nana Mouskouri using the original Greek lyrics.

Honorary Award
Gary Cooper- For his many memorable screen performances and the international recognition he, as an individual, has gained for the motion picture industry. Gary Cooper could not attend the awards ceremony. James Stewart accepted the award on his behalf.
Stan Laurel- For his creative pioneering in the field of cinema comedy.

Juvenile Award
Pollyanna (1960) - Hayley Mills- For the most outstanding juvenile performance during 1960.

Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award
Sol Lesser

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