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Should Have Won an Oscar: Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)



If a Blake Edwards movie ever deserved a Best Picture nod, the divine Breakfast at Tiffany’s was it. Edwards’ typically over-the-top kookiness (The Party, The Pink Panther, Victor/Victoria) tiff’s was largely under control here–not to mention that he had the incandescent Audrey Hepburn on the other side of the lens. Not half bad.

Based on a Truman Capote story, Tiffany’s positions Hepburn as a poverty-level aristocrat, swingin’ her way through the Greenwich Village demimonde. An inspiration to generations of deadbeat Bohemians, she makes do with next to nothing, while sometimes doing things she’s not proud of.

Putting the best face on things, she spends mornings at the famous jewelers, reflecting on the bright possibilities. She’s literally on the outside looking in. Sometimes, when you’re trying to live in the moment, the past comes up and bites you in the ass.

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Maybe that’s what happened to Hepburn here. Audiences were so used to her playing a classy dame they didn’t want her sullied. Or perhaps voters felt Hepburn’s Holly Golightly seemed like an unrepentant high-class prostitute. Remember, it wasn’t till the swingin’ ’70s, when Jane Fonda won for Klute, that nominating hookers was considered Academy cool.

Misery loves company, however, and Blake and Audrey could take solace in the fact that John Huston’s masterly The Misfits–the last film for Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable, and nearly the end for Montgomery Clift–was also snubbed that year.

Nominees: Fanny, The Guns of Navarone, The Hustler, Judgment at Nuremberg
Winner: West Side Story