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Plot, Details & Awards

The Nun's Story

Not Yet Rated In Theaters 11/20/2006 , 152min.
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Plot & Details

Audrey Hepburn stars in The Nun's Story as Sister Luke, postulant of a Belgian order of nuns. Though frequently disillusioned in her efforts to spread good will -- at one point she is nearly killed by a mental patient (Colleen Dewhurst) -- Sister Luke perseveres. Sent as a nurse to the Belgian Congo, an assignment she'd been hoping for, Sister Luke is disappointed to learn that she will not be ministering to the natives but to European patients. Through the example of no-nonsense chief surgeon Peter Finch, the nun sheds her idealism and becomes a diligent worker -- so much so that she contracts tuberculosis. Upon the outbreak of World War II, Sister Luke tries to honor the edicts of her order and not take sides, but this becomes impossible when her father (Dean Jagger) is killed by the Nazis. Realizing that she cannot remain true to her vows, Sister Luke leaves the order and returns to "civilian" life. The Nun's Story ends with a long, silent sequence in which Sister Luke divests herself of her religious robes, dons street garb, and walks out to an uncertain future. There is no background music: director Fred Zinnemann decided that "triumphant" music would indicate that Sister Luke's decision was the right one, while "tragic" music would suggest that she is doing wrong. Rather than make an editorial comment, the director decided against music, allowing the audience members to fill in the blanks themselves. The Nun's Story is based on the book by Kathryn Hulme, whose depiction of convent life was a lot harsher and more judgmental than anything seen in the film.

Awards

Academy Awards

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1959 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Editing Walter Thompson Nominated
1959 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Picture Henry Blanke Nominated
1959 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Actress Audrey Hepburn Nominated
1959 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Color Cinematography Franz Planer Nominated
1959 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Drama or Comedy Score Franz Waxman Nominated
1959 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Adapted Screenplay Robert Anderson Nominated
1959 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Sound George Groves Nominated
1959 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Director Fred Zinnemann Nominated

British Academy of Film and Television Arts

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1959 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best British Actress Audrey Hepburn Won
1959 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best British Film Fred Zinnemann Nominated

Golden Globes

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1959 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Picture - Drama Nominated
1959 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Director Fred Zinnemann Nominated
1959 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Motion Picture Promoting International Understanding Nominated
1959 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Edith Evans Nominated
1959 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama Audrey Hepburn Nominated
1959 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Special Achievement Fred Zinnemann Won

British Academy of Film and Television Arts

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1959 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best British Actress Audrey Hepburn Won
1959 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best British Film Fred Zinnemann Nominated

Directors Guild of America

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1959 Directors Guild of America Best Director Fred Zinnemann Nominated

National Board of Review

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1959 National Board of Review Best Picture Won
1959 National Board of Review Best Director Fred Zinnemann Won
1959 National Board of Review Best Supporting Actress Edith Evans Won

New York Film Critics Circle

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1959 New York Film Critics Circle Best Actress Audrey Hepburn Won
1959 New York Film Critics Circle Best Director Fred Zinnemann Won

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