William Wyler

This month, I focused on Family. I reviewed a family of roses, a book in a series about a family, and a movie about feuding families.

This month alone, I reviewed four of William Wyler’s films. You can see those reviews by following the links below.

Respected Hollywood director William Wyler was known for forcing actors through many takes so the actor could get to that last take where the spectacular would happen. Of the 31 actors he directed in Oscar-nominated performances, thirteen of them won the Oscars.

In 1935, he directed The Good Fairy, which starred Margaret Sullavan who was married to him at the time. In 1938, he directed Bette Davis in Jezebel. Bette Davis and Fay Bainter won Oscars for their performances. In 1939, he directed Wuthering Heights, starring Laurence Olivier as the frustrated hero Heathcliff. The Best Cinematography Oscar was the only Academy Award Wuthering Heights won, despite being nominated in eight categories.

In 1941, he directed The Little Foxes, starring Bette Davis, but none of the nine Oscar nominations received the winner’s statuette. In 1942, he directed Greer Garson in the classic WWII film, Mrs. Miniver. Her Oscar was just one of the six awarded for the work in that film. In 1949, he directed Olivia de Havilland in The Heiress. That picture won four Oscars including Olivia de Havilland’s for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

In 1953, he directed Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday. Three of the ten Oscar nominations, won their category. In 1958, he directed Gregory Peck in his role as the hero James McKay in The Big Country, with Burl Ives as the patriarch of one of the feuding families. Burl Ives was the only one to receive an Oscar for work on that film.

In the 45 years he directed movies, he was nominated twelve times for Best Director. He won the Oscar for his work on only three of those movies: Mrs. Miniver (1942), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), and Ben-Hur (1959).

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