Oscar Politics: My Fair Lady

The stylishly elegant “My Fair Lady,” which was nominated for the largest number (twelve) of awards and won eight, was selected in 1964, a year that saw the decline of the classic musical and the rise of a new kind of musical, beginning with Richard Lester's Beatles movie, “A Hard Day's Night” and “Help.”

George Cukor, who won the Best Director Oscar at his fifth nomination, directed an opulent production in a grand manner, with fabulous costumes designed by Cecil Beaton. With the conspicuous omission of Audrey Hepburn in the lead role, its three British players, Rex Harrison, Stanley Holloway (as Alfred P. Doolittle), and Gladys Cooper (as Mrs. Higgins) were nominated, and Harrison deservedly won.

“My Fair Lady” won over another musical, “Mary Poppins,” the first of few Walt Disney productions”Beauty and the Beast” and “The Sixth Sense” are the other two–ever to be nominated for the Best Picture, although “My Fair Lady” was much less commercially successful than the Disney picture.