Oscar History: Academy Award Winning Movies and Actors of 1961

A look at Oscar winners and nominees, behind the scenes on the decisions for best picture, actor, etc for 1961, West Side Story gets top honors.

1961

Best Picture

NOMINEES: Fanny, The Guns of Navarone, The Hustler, Judgment at Nuremberg, West Side Story

THE WINNER: West Side Story (Mirisch--United Artists)

DIRECTORS: Robert Wise, Jerome Robbins

PLAYERS: Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno, George Chakiris

Best Actor

NOMINEES: Charles Boyer (Fanny); Paul Newman (The Hustler); Maximilian Schell (Judgment at Nuremberg); Spencer Tracy (Judgment at Nuremberg); Stuart Whitman (The Mark)

THE WINNER: Maximilian Schell

Best Actress

NOMINEES: Audrey Hepburn (Breakfast at Tiffany's); Piper Laurie (The Hustler); Sophia Loren (Two Women); Geraldine Page (Summer and Smoke); Natalie Wood (Splendor in the Grass)

THE WINNER: Sophia Loren

Behind the Oscar

Lots of 1sts this year. The 1st time that a regular Oscar was given to an actress in a foreign-language picture (Sophia Loren for Two Women), the 1st double Oscar (2 directors for West Side Story--Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise), and George C. Scott became the 1st actor to decline an award in advance. After his nomination for best supporting actor in The Hustler, Scott asked that his name be removed from the polling. It wasn't, and he didn't win, but the future would tell a different tale.

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