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365 Days of Oscar: More for Liz, None for Dick

Fifty-seven years ago today, the 39th Academy Awards, honoring the best in film for 1966, were held at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica, California. Bob Hope hosted.

In a rare occurrence during the period with five Best Picture nominees, only two were nominated for Best Director this year: Fred Zinnemann for A Man for All Seasons (the winner) and Mike Nichols for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. The latter was the second film in Oscars history to be nominated in every eligible category (after Cimarron in 1931), as well as the first of three to date to receive acting nominations for the entire credited cast. Every Best Picture nominee was nominated for Best Actor as well, the only time in the era of five Best Picture nominees that each nominated film received a nomination in a single acting category.

For the second time in Oscars history, two siblings were nominated in the same category: Lynn and Vanessa Redgrave, both nominated for Best Actress for their performances in Georgy Girl and Morgan!, respectively. This had previously occurred in 1941, when sisters Joan Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland were each nominated for Best Actress. Elizabeth Taylor  won, though. She was informed of her having won the Best Actress award in London, but was so frustrated by Richard Burton’s loss of the Best Actor award that she refused to hold a press conference for two weeks.

Six films won multiple Oscars this year: A Man for All Seasons, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Grand Prix, Fantastic Voyage, A Man and a Woman, and Born Free. This record that was later tied in 2010, 2012, and 2017, and surpassed in 2020/21, when seven films won at least two Oscars.

This article is part of a special year-long series of anecdotes, reflections and thoughts about the Academy Awards.