1959 is a checkpoint year for the Academy. That’s what I call it as of right now. Checkpoint seems the optimal word. Think of it this way. You’re playing a video game, going through all these parts of the level, some easy, some difficult, and then you get to the checkpoint, and you get that rest. You don’t need to think, and you know you’re safe for the moment. That’s what this is. No matter how you feel about most years, what wins Best Picture, no one can argue with Ben-Hur. No one. It’s a checkpoint. The unquestionable winner, and then we move on and continue complaining.
Aside from Best Picture, Ben-Hur also wins Best Actor for Charlton Heston (talked about here) and Best Director for William Wyler (talked about here). You can’t really argue with either, though I’d have gone another way on Best Actor. Then Best Actress was Simone Signoret for Room at the Top (talked about here), which is one of the worst decisions of all time in that category. I really hate it. And Best Supporting Actress was Shelley Winters for The Diary of Anne Frank (talked about here), which I don’t like as a decision, because I feel there were two better performances that split votes, leading to the current result.
But, in all, you can’t argue with most of 1959. Three of the six decisions are unquestionably okay. Two are, even though they don’t really matter, and only Best Actress is the terrible decision. That’s a checkpoint. You hit the checkpoint, and you’re mostly safe for the moment and get a breather. And there’s like a 15% chance you might randomly die.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – 1959
And the nominees were…
Hugh Griffith, Ben-Hur
Arthur O’Connell, Anatomy of a Murder
George C. Scott, Anatomy of a Murder
Robert Vaughn, The Young Philadelphians
Ed Wynn, The Diary of Anne Frank (more…)