A history of surprising — and sometimes puzzling — Academy Award wins

Published: Friday, Feb. 22 2013 4:55 p.m. MST

1956 — Yul Brynner beats a who’s-who of acclaimed actors Next » 2 of 7 « Prev
Having previously only appeared in a few TV shows and one B-movie, 1956 was a big year for Brynner.

The Russian-born actor managed to snag star-making roles as Rameses opposite Charlton Heston’s Moses in “The Ten Commandments” and as a love interest to Ingrid Bergman’s titular Russian aristocrat in “Anastasia.” But it was his iconic performance as King Mongkut of Siam in “The King and I” that won him an Oscar for Best Actor.

In retrospect, that might not seem all that surprising until one considers Brynner’s fellow nominees, which included Rock Hudson, Kirk Douglas, Sir Laurence Olivier and, posthumously, James Dean in his final screen performance.

No matter who the actor is, that’s some pretty stiff competition, making Brynner’s win all the more surprising.
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