1958 is a troublesome year for me. I feel like all the Best Picture nominees are strong number twos with no real #1 to vote for. I mean, there is, but nothing here really feels like an adequate Best Picture winner. Gigi won Best Picture, but that feels a bit like a cop out. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, albeit very theatrical, was a better choice. And so was The Defiant Ones, which probably would have been the best choice for the year. (Auntie Mame and Separate Tables were way too theatrical to vote for.)
Best Actor was David Niven for Separate Tables, which, was one of those in-house decisions. He was a very respected actor and probably would have won one of these someday anyway. Though he was very much a supporting character in his film (15 minutes of screen time), and the performance wasn’t really that great. So I think someone else (namely Paul Newman, Tony Curtis or Sidney Poitier) should have won. Wendy Hiller also won Best Supporting Actress for the film, which is a good decision, since she was a veteran and deserved an Oscar (and the category sucked). Best Actress was Susan Hayward for I Want to Live! (talked about here). I understand this decision, because Hayward was gonna win an Oscar eventually, but I don’t like it. Hayward should have won in 1958 and someone more deserving should have won here, like Deborah Kerr or Elizabeth Taylor. Best Supporting Actor was Burl Ives for The Big Country, which is a great decision, since he was also in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and would have won for that performance too.
Which brings us to this category. As much as I don’t like Gigi as a Best Picture winner, I love this decision. Since Vincente Minnelli is one of the great directors of all time. He’d earned this three times over by this point.
BEST DIRECTOR – 1958
An the nominees were…
Richard Brooks, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Stanley Kramer, The Defiant Ones
Vincente Minnelli, Gigi
Mark Robson, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness
Robert Wise, I Want to Live! (more…)