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WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? | Dir. Mike Nichols | 1966 | 131 min

Wexler was brought on to work on Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? rather late in the project, Harry Straddling had laid the ground work for the Photography but ultimately refused to film the picture in Black and White. Armed with his old hand-held camera, Wexler illuminated this adaptation of Edward Albee’s 1963 play. Using a mobile camera, carefully curated lighting, and his signature stacked lenses, he hurls is audience straight into the line of fire between Martha (Elizabeth Taylor) and George (Richard Burton), a married couple determined to gut one another while luring a young couple into their zero-sum game.

Rife with controversy, from the provocative content to the deeply political subtext, Albee’s play was a challenging and bold piece of work. Revolutionary for its time, Mike Nichol’s film adaptation overcame many obstacles and censorship barriers eventually winning 5 awards including best Cinematography at the 1967 Academy Award. Wexler’s acceptance speech was so essential and still so telling of his character, he said “I hope we can use our art for love and peace,” a sentiment that shines through every film he contributed to. READ MORE

Awards
ACADEMY AWARDS, USA 1967 - Won (Oscar, Best Actress in a Leading Role | Elizabeth Taylor, Best Actress in a Supporting Role | Sandy Dennis, Best Cinematography, Black-and-White | Haskell Wexler, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White | Richard Sylbert, George James Hopkins, Best Costume Design, Black-and-White | Irene Sharaff), Nominated - (Oscar, Best Picture | Ernest Lehman, Best Actor in a Leading Role | Richard Burton, Best Actor in a Supporting Role | George Segal, Best Director | Mike Nichols, Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium | Ernest Lehman, Best Sound | George Groves (Warner Bros. SSD), Best Film Editing | Sam O'Steen, Best Music, Original Music Score | Alex North)
GOLDEN GLOBES, USA 1967 - Nominated (Golden Globe, Best Motion Picture - Drama, Best Director | Mike Nichols, Best Actress - Drama | Elizabeth Taylor, Best Actor - Drama | Richard Burton, Best Supporting Actress | Sandy Dennis, Best Supporting Actor | George Segal, Best Screenplay | Ernest Lehman)
BAFTA AWARDS 1967 - Won (BAFTA Film Award, Best British Actress | Elizabeth Taylor, Best Film from any Source | Mike Nichols, Best British Actor | Richard Burton, For The Spy Who Came in from the Cold)
AMERICAN CINEMA EDITORS, USA 1967 - Nominated (Eddie, Best Edited Feature Film | Sam O'Steen)
BAMBI AWARDS 1968 - Won (Bambi, Best Actress - International | Elizabeth Taylor, Best Actor - International | Richard Burton)
DIRECTORS GUILD OF AMERICA, USA 1967 - Nominated (DGA Award, Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures | Mike Nichols)
GRAMMY AWARDS 1967 - Nominated (Grammy, Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Show | Alex North)
KANSAS CITY FILM CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS 1966 - Won (KCFCC Award, Best Film
Best Actress | Elizabeth Taylor)
LAUREL AWARDS 1967 - Won (Golden Laurel, Drama, Male Dramatic Performance | Richard Burton, Female Dramatic Performance | Elizabeth Taylor, Female Supporting Performance | Sandy Dennis), Nominated (Golden Laurel, Male Supporting Performance | George Segal)
NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW, USA 1967 - Won (NBR Award, Best Actress | Elizabeth Taylor), Top Ten Films
NATIONAL FILM PRESERVATION BOARD, USA 2013 - Won (National Film Registry)
National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA 1967 - Nominated (NSFC Award, Best Actor | Richard Burton. Tied with Max von Sydow for Hawaii (1966) in 2nd place, Best Film)
NEW YORK FILM CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS 1966 - Won (NYFCC Award, Best Actress | Elizabeth Taylor, Tied with Lynn Redgrave for Georgy Girl (1966).), Nominated (NYFCC Award, Best Actor | Richard Burton, Best Film)
ONLINE FILM & TELEVISION ASSOCIATION AWARDS 2013 - Won (OFTA Film Hall of Fame, Motion Picture)
WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA, USA 1967 - Won (WGA Award (Screen) , Best Written American Drama | Ernest Lehman)

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is the first selection in our SPOTLIGHT: WILLIS AND WEXLER series.