1961 was a good year for motion pictures. Films like 101 Dalmatians, West Side Story, The Guns of Navarone, Splendor in the Grass, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Parent Trap, Judgment at Nuremberg, The Children’s Hour, The Hustler, One, Two Three, A Raisin in the Sun, and Yojimbo will do that to a year.
West Side Story wins Best Picture in a perfectly acceptable choice. It’s a wonderful film, and deserved to win, even though I personally like The Hustler more. But even so, it’s still a great choice. Plus, the other three nominees for Best Picture were Guns of the Navarone, Judgment at Nuremberg and Fanny, so, really it was a good year all around. Robert Wise wins Best Director (with Jerome Robbins) for West Side Story, which is also a great decision. Best Actor goes to Maximilian Schell for Judgment at Nuremberg in a terrible decision. Not because he was bad, but because — Paul Newman was Fast Eddie Felson. He was so good in the role they gave him an Oscar for it when he reprised it 25 years after this. Best Actress went to Sophia Loren for Two Women, a decision I don’t agree with and will talk about pretty soon. And Best Supporting Actor went to George Charkiris for West Side Story, which I’m mostly okay with, even though I’d have gone another way. In all though, aside from some decisions I don’t like (to varying degrees), 1961 is a very good year.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – 1961
And the nominees were…
Fay Bainter, The Children’s Hour
Judy Garland, Judgement at Nuremberg
Lotte Lenya, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone
Una Merkel, Summer and Smoke
Rita Moreno, West Side Story (more…)