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A Nanny Takes the Highest Prize

The year was 1964 and an incredible number of spectacular movies came out that year. It would take forever to mention them all and it would make no sense whatsoever to do that. This is an introduction to the 37th Academy Awards which took place on April 5, 1965, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in California and let me tell you the choices for nominees must have been tough to come up with. If you are wondering why well let me tell you about some of the movies that came out the previous year.

The two top movies were “My Fair Lady” a fantastic musical starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison and “Mary Poppins” starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke which was also a musical appealing mostly to children but enchanted people of all ages. Now, these two movies were as different as they could be one from the other. However, they did have music in common.  There was also “Zorba the Greek” and the song and music that made everyone want to do a Greek dance “Never on a Sunday” which was later sung by many different artists.

With such diversity and so many delightful songs and great music, the choice had to be hard. There are also some issues concerning this year in movies that I have a hard time coming to terms with. Julie Andrews had played the leading role of Eliza Doolittle from “My Fair Lady” onstage. When it came to making the movie she was replaced by Audrey Hepburn who couldn’t sing like Andrews could and Hepburn’s voice was dubbed in the musical. As a result of which this fine actress was not nominated for Best Actress while Andrews was for her role.

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Now suppose Andrews had been offered the part of Eliza Doolittle and had accepted it. Who would have played Mary Poppins?  I certainly cannot see Hepburn as the flying nanny. As it turned out Andrews was hoping to be Eliza Doolittle and when she didn’t receive the call, she took the role of Mary Poppins and wound up with an Oscar. Meanwhile, Eliza Doolittle wound up handing the Oscar to Professor Henry Higgins. Confusing, isn’t it?

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And the winners were:

Best Picture: My Fair Lady

Best Actor: Rex Harrison (“My Fair Lady”)

Best Actress: Julie Andrews (“Mary Poppins”)

Supporting Actor: Peter Ustinov (“Tokapi”)

Supporting Actress: Lila Kedrova (“Zorba the Greek”)

Director: George Cukor (“My Fair Lady”)

Song: “Chim Chim Cher-ee” (“Mary Poppins”)

There you have it the delightful, beautiful and magical nanny won top honors. I wonder if Julie Andrews would have won the Oscar for Best Actress if she had starred in “My Fair Lady”.

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