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Chris Hicks: What were 'classic' Oscar-winners 50 years ago?

Published: Thursday, Nov. 29 2012 7:31 p.m. MST

Best-actor nominees were Burt Lancaster, “Birdman of Alcatraz”; Jack Lemmon, “Days of Wine and Roses”; Marcello Mastroianni, “Divorce, Italian Style”; Peter O’Toole, “Lawrence of Arabia”; and Gregory Peck, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Best actress: Anne Bancroft, “The Miracle Worker”; Bette Davis, “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?”; Katharine Hepburn, “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”; Geraldine Page, “Sweet Bird of Youth”; and Lee Remick, “Days of Wine and Roses.”

Best supporting actor: Ed Begley, “Sweet Bird of Youth”; Victor Buono, “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane”; Telly Savalas, “Birdman of Alcratraz”; Omar Sharif, “Lawrence of Arabia”; and Terence Stamp, “Billy Budd.”

Best supporting actress: Mary Badham, “To Kill a Mockingbird”; Patty Duke, “The Miracle Worker”; Shirley Knight, “Sweet Bird of Youth”; Angela Lansbury, “The Manchurian Candidate”; and Thelma Ritter, “Birdman of Alcatraz.”

Best original screenplay: Ingmar Bergman, “Through a Glass Darkly”; Ennio de Concini, Alfredo Giannetti and Pietro Germi, “Divorce, Italian Style”; Charles Kaufman and Wolfgang Reinhardt, “Freud”; Alan Robbe-Grillet, “Last Year at Marienbad”; and Stanley Shapiro and Nate Monaster, “That Touch of Mink.”

Best adapted screenplay: Robert Bolt, “Lawrence of Arabia”; William Gibson, “The Miracle Worker”; Horton Foote, “To Kill a Mockingbird”; Vladimir Nabokov, “Lolita”; and Eleanor Perry, “David and Lisa.”

Other films to surface in the technical awards categories included “Billy Rose’s Jumbo,” “Bon Voyage!” “Gigot,” “Gypsy,” “Hatari!” “My Geisha,” “Period of Adjustment,” “Phaedra,” “The Pigeon That Took Rome,” “Taras Bulba,” “Tender Is the Night,” “Two for the Seesaw,” “Walk on the Wild Side,” “The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm” and “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.”

And these well-regarded 1962 films remain popular 50 years later — but none received a single Oscar nomination: “Advise & Consent,” “Cape Fear,” “Dr. No,” “Experiment in Terror,” “Hell Is for Heroes,” “Lonely Are the Brave,” “Ride the High Country” and “Requiem for a Heavyweight.”

But let’s not lose sight of the original questions.

First, which of these many films besides “Lawrence of Arabia” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” are inarguable classics? Well, that’s really subjective, isn’t it?

I would add to the list “The Music Man,” “Days of Wine and Roses,” “The Miracle Worker,” “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane,” “Birdman of Alcatraz,” “The Manchurian Candidate,” “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” “Cape Fear,” “Lonely Are the Brave” and “Ride the High Country.”

Those are the films I’d call real classics, but there are many others listed above that I have also enjoyed revisiting over the years. I’d say that makes 1962 a great year for motion pictures. (I’m not sure I can come up with a sturdy top 10 for this year.)

And how did you do picking the 1962 Oscar winners? Here they are:

Best Picture: “Lawrence of Arabia”

Best Director: David Lean.

Best Actor: Gregory Peck.

Best Actress: Anne Bancroft.

Best Supporting Actor: Ed Begley.

Best Supporting Actress: Patty Duke.

Best Original Screenplay: Ennio de Concini, Alfredo Giannetti and Pietro Germi.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Horton Foote.

E-MAIL: hicks@desnews.com

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