Oscar: Best Actress–Andrews, Julie in Mary Poppins (1964)

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Julie Andrews received the 1964 Best Actress Oscar for the Disney musical “Mary Poppins.” It was her first nomination, and she competed against Anne Bancroft in “The Pumpkin Eater,” Sophia Loren in “Marriage, Italian Style,” Debbie Reynolds in “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” and Kim Stanley in “Seance on a Wet Afternoon.”

The first Disney film ever to be nominated for the Best Picture, “Mary Poppins” received 13 nominations, thus setting a record for musicals. “My Fair Lady (12 nominations) is the runner up, surpassing the previous record-holder among musicals, “West Side Story” (11).

The story of an English nursemaid (Julie Andrews) with magical powers, who provides two London children with a whole series of magical adventures, appealed to a family oriented audience. Andrews won Best Actress for this film, as well as a compensation for not being cast in the screen version of “My Fair Lady,” a role she had originated on stage.

The year of 1964 was good for comedies and satires. Michael Cacoyannis’s “Zorba the Greek,” based on Nikos Kazantzakis’s popular novel, which gave Anthony Quinn his best-known role, a garrulous force of virility and vitality, was nominated for Best Picture, as well as Stanley Kubrick’s much ahead of its time black satire, Dr. Strangelove, which was nominated in four categories, losing each one of them.