This is one of the more infamous categories in Academy history. It’s widely regarded that the only reason Elizabeth Taylor won here was because she was going through a serious health scare at the time (not uncommon for her, sadly) and had a tracheotomy done. And the Academy, fearing that she’d die, gave this to her as sort of a tribute in case she’d never have the chance to win one again. It’s possible she’d have won anyway, but when even Shirley MacLaine publicly talks shit about the decision (everyone else does too), I think we can safely say that’s why she won. I felt we needed to get that out of the way now. It’s pretty open and shut, how this category should have gone.
As for the rest of the year, The Apartment wins Best Picture, a decision I love, Billy Wilder wins Best Director, a decision I like because I love the film, but don’t like based on who he beat (Hitchcock for Psycho. I talked about it here). Burt Lancaster wins his well-deserved Best Actor award for Elmer Gantry, and Shirley Jones also wins Best Supporting Actress for the film (which, is kind of okay, but, I’d have went with Janet Leigh here. But that’s just me). And Peter Ustinov wins Best Supporting Actor for Spartacus, which, considering he’s one of the premier character actors of all time (and was also in The Sundowners this year), this was without a doubt a great decision.
As for this category, it was always going to come down to Shirley MacLaine and Elizabeth Taylor. They were clearly the two best. Liz’s performance may have been a bit — much — maybe, for a win, but, she was good, so her winning isn’t that terrible a decision. And since Shirley MacLaine eventually got her Oscar, this isn’t as bad a decision as it could have been. So, ultimately, things worked out. But I think we can all agree that Shirley MacLaine should have won here. But, still, isn’t Liz just gorgeous in her movie?
BEST ACTRESS – 1960
And the nominees were…
Greer Garson, Sunrise at Campobello
Deborah Kerr, The Sundowners
Shirley MacLaine, The Apartment
Melina Mercouri, Never on Sunday
Elizabeth Taylor, BUtterfield 8 (more…)