On this day, April 10, 1967, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” and “A Man for All Seasons” squared off, toe to toe, to determine who was to come out the victor at the 39th Annual Academy Awards. Bob Hope was the host/referee. The Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Los Angeles was the arena.
With 13 nominations, “Virginia Woolf” came loaded for for the fight; her opponent, “A Man for All Seasons”, the underdog, had 8 nominations.
At first it was blow for blow, “Virginia Woolf” winning Best Costume Design/Black-and-White (Irene Sharaff) and “Seasons” winning the award in the Color category (Joan Bridge and Elizabeth Haffenden); “Virginia Woolf” winning in the Black-and-White division (Haskell Wexler); “Seasons” winning Best Cinematography/Color (Ted Moore).
Then “Virgina Woolf” won for Best Art Direction/Set Decoration, Black-and-White (George James Hopkins, Richard Sylbert) while “Seasons” took the Oscar for Best Writing/Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Robert Bolt). They were tied.
Best Supporting Actress: “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” (Sandy Dennis), but Best Supporting Actor (a surprise call) went to Walter Matthau in “The Fortune Cookie”.
“Virginia Woolf”, ahead by one.
In the category of Best Music/Song Oscar The fight was still on. This category went to “Born Free” (John Barry-music, Don Black-lyrics) from the movie of the same title. Neither “Seasons” nor “Virginia Woolf” was nominated in that category.
It was time for the Academy Award for Best Actress. The Oscar goes to Elizabeth Taylor for “Who’s Afraid of Virginnia Woolf”. The 1966 movie about bad marriages and booze was now two ahead. Would the drama about Thomas More garner a Best Actor Oscar for Paul Scofield? Yes!
Two awards left … Would it be Mike Nichols, director of “Virginia Woolf” or Fred Zinnemann. Fred Zinnemann wins for “Seasons” and the two are tied.
The final decision was down to the judges. The envelope holding the title of the Best Picture of 1966 revealed. The overall winner was… “A Man for All Seasons”, Fred Zinnemann, producer.