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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

"You are cordially invited to George and Martha's for an evening of fun and games." Thus read the ad copy for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, which in 1966 went farther than any previous big-studio film in its use of profanity and sexual implication. George (Richard Burton) is an alcoholic college professor; Martha (Oscar-winner Elizabeth Taylor) is his virago of a wife. George and Martha know just how to push each other's buttons, with George having a special advantage: he need only mention the couple's son to send Martha into orbit. This evening, the couple's guests are Nick (George Segal), a junior professor, and Honey (Sandy Dennis), Nick's child-like wife. After an evening of sadistic (and sometimes perversely hilarious) "fun and games," the truth about George and Martha's son comes to light. First staged on Broadway in 1962 with Uta Hagen and Arthur Hill, Edward Albee's play was adapted for the screen by Ernest Lehman, who managed to retain virtually all of Albee's scatological epithets (this was the first American film to feature the expletive "goddamn"). Lehman opened up the play by staging one of George's speeches in the backyard, and by relocating the film's second act to a roadside inn (he also added four lines--"all bad," according to Albee). Thanks to the box-office clout of stars Taylor and Burton, not to mention the titilation factor of hearing all those naughty words on the big screen, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf was a hit, and it won 5 Oscars, including awards for Taylor and Dennis, though it lost Best Picture to A Man for All Seasons. First-time director Mike Nichols lost the Oscar, but this movie gave him a perfect transition from his stage work and established him as a hot young Hollywood director, leading to his acclaimed (and Oscar-winning) work on his next movie, The Graduate. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:March 12, 1967

Awards

Awarded by
Nominee
Category
Year
Status
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Alex North Best Original Score 1966 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Ernest Lehman Best Screenplay 1966 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Ernest Lehman Best Adapted Screenplay 1966 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Ernest Lehman Best Picture 1966 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Haskell Wexler Best Black and White Cinematography 1966 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Irene Sharaff Best Black and White Costume Design 1966 Winner
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Mike Nichols Best Film - Any Source 1966 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Mike Nichols Best Director 1966 Nominee
Directors Guild of America Mike Nichols Best Director 1966 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Mike Nichols Best Director 1966 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Richard Sylbert Best Black and White Art Direction 1966 Winner
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Richard Burton Best British Actor 1966 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Richard Burton Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama 1966 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Richard Burton Best Actor 1966 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Sandy Dennis Best Supporting Actress 1966 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Sandy Dennis Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1966 Nominee
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Elizabeth Taylor Best British Actress 1966 Winner
National Board of Review Elizabeth Taylor Best Actress 1966 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Elizabeth Taylor Best Actress 1966 Winner
New York Film Critics Circle Elizabeth Taylor Best Actress 1966 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Elizabeth Taylor Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama 1966 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association George Segal Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1966 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences George Segal Best Supporting Actor 1966 Nominee

Crew

Mike Nichols
Director
Ernest Lehman
Producer
Ernest Lehman
Screenwriter
Edward Albee
Play Author
Haskell Wexler
Cinematographer
Harry Stradling
Cinematographer
Alex North
Composer (Music Score)
Richard Sylbert
Production Designer
Irene Sharaff
Costume Designer
Gordon Bau
Makeup
Ron Berkeley
Makeup
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