Who's Afraid of Henry VIII? vs. A Film for All Seasons: Director Mike Nichols and producer-screenwriter Ernest Lehman's 1966 adaptation of Edward Albee's play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? remains one of the best motion pictures of the 1960s. In fact, this intelligent, harrowing, exuberantly acted, marriage-is-hell free-for-all was the one that was robbed at the Oscars. As usual, the conservative Academy members opted for the more placid – and more conventional – choice: A Man for All Seasons, Fred Zinnemann and screenwriter Robert Bolt's adaptation of Bolt's play about Sir Thomas More.
The 1966 Best Picture nominee Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? will be screened as the next feature in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' "Great To Be Nominated" series. Director Mike Nichols' debut film will be shown on Monday, June 12, at 7:30 p.m. in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Oscar-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler will participate in a discussion following the screening.
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? offers a glimpse into the marriage of a New England professor and his wife, whose weaknesses are exposed as they play host to a younger academic couple. The film earned 13 Oscar® nominations, including nominations in all of the acting categories and took home five Academy Awards®. Elizabeth Taylor as Martha and Sandy Dennis as Honey earned Oscars® for Actress and Actress in a Supporting Role, respectively. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? also earned Oscars for Black-and-White Art Direction (Art Direction: Richard Sylbert; Set Decoration: George James Hopkins), Black-and-White Cinematography (Wexler) and Black-and-White Costume Design (Irene Sharaff). Other nominations for the film include Best Picture (Ernest Lehman, producer), Actor (Richard Burton), Actor in a Supporting Role (George Segal), Directing (Mike Nichols), Film Editing (Sam O'Steen), Original Music Score (Alex North), Sound (Warner Bros. Studio Sound Department, George R. Groves, sound director) and Writing — Screenplay based on material from another medium (Ernest Lehman).
Passes for "Great To Be Nominated" are still available at a cost of $30 for film buffs wishing to see the rest of the series. A $5 discount is available for those who wish to renew their passes from Parts One and/or Two of the series. Inclusive of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? there are 12 screening dates remaining in Part Three.
The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call (310) 247-3600.
Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, Sandy Dennis Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? photo: © Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.