America, America (1963) C
Warner (Athena Enterprises)
Shot in black and white, Kazan's semi-autobiographical drama concerns the escape of a Greek youth, living in turn-of the century-Turkey, to America, the land of opportunity. Kazan's script, based on his uncle's immigration experience was too episodic, and the film also suffered from an uncharismatic performance by Stathis Giallelis in the leads role.
A box-office flop (one of the few in the helmer's long and distinguished career), “America, America” discouraged Kazan from pursuing his initial goal and make two more chapters of the saga.
Surprisingly, the two outstanding production values, Haskell Wexler's moody lensing and Manos Hadjidakis' score, were not nominated for Oscars. Both cinematographer and composer continued to do distinguished work in other films, for which they received the Academy's recognition.
Oscar Nominations: 4
Picture, produced by Elia Kazan
Director: Elia Kazan
Story and Screenplay (Original): Elia Kazan
Art Direction-Set Decoration (b/w): Gene Callahan
Oscar Awards: 1
Art Direction-Set Decoration
In 1963, the Best Picture contest was rather weak, which explains why Kazan's dull movie was nominated for the top award and why Tony Richardson's “Tom Jones” won. The other three nominees were: Joseph Mankiewicz's “Cleopatra,” the all-star anthology “How the West Was Won,” and modest b/w “Lilies of the Field,” for which Sidney Poitier won the Best Actor, thus becoming the first black to win the lead Oscar.
related article 1: Oscar History: Best Directors Winners by Year and Film (1929-present).
related article 2: On the Waterfront (1954).
related article 3: Gentleman’s Agreement (1947).
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