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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Movie Poster
Plot, Details & Awards

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Not Yet Rated In Theaters 06/22/1966 , 150min.
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Plot & Details

"You are cordially invited to George and Martha's for an evening of fun and games." Thus read the ad copy for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, which in 1966 went farther than any previous big-studio film in its use of profanity and sexual implication. George (Richard Burton) is an alcoholic college professor; Martha (Oscar-winner Elizabeth Taylor) is his virago of a wife. George and Martha know just how to push each other's buttons, with George having a special advantage: he need only mention the couple's son to send Martha into orbit. This evening, the couple's guests are Nick (George Segal), a junior professor, and Honey (Sandy Dennis), Nick's child-like wife. After an evening of sadistic (and sometimes perversely hilarious) "fun and games," the truth about George and Martha's son comes to light. First staged on Broadway in 1962 with Uta Hagen and Arthur Hill, Edward Albee's play was adapted for the screen by Ernest Lehman, who managed to retain virtually all of Albee's scatological epithets (this was the first American film to feature the expletive "goddamn"). Lehman opened up the play by staging one of George's speeches in the backyard, and by relocating the film's second act to a roadside inn (he also added four lines--"all bad," according to Albee). Thanks to the box-office clout of stars Taylor and Burton, not to mention the titilation factor of hearing all those naughty words on the big screen, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf was a hit, and it won 5 Oscars, including awards for Taylor and Dennis, though it lost Best Picture to A Man for All Seasons. First-time director Mike Nichols lost the Oscar, but this movie gave him a perfect transition from his stage work and established him as a hot young Hollywood director, leading to his acclaimed (and Oscar-winning) work on his next movie, The Graduate.

Awards

Academy Awards

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1966 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Actor Richard Burton Nominated
1966 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Black and White Art Direction Richard Sylbert Won
1966 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Black and White Cinematography Haskell Wexler Won
1966 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Supporting Actor George Segal Nominated
1966 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Original Score Alex North Nominated
1966 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Director Mike Nichols Nominated
1966 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Actress Elizabeth Taylor Won
1966 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Black and White Art Direction George James Hopkins Won
1966 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Black and White Costume Design Irene Sharaff Won
1966 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Picture Ernest Lehman Nominated
1966 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Adapted Screenplay Ernest Lehman Nominated
1966 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Supporting Actress Sandy Dennis Won
1966 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Sound George Groves Nominated
1966 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Editing Sam O'Steen Nominated

British Academy of Film and Television Arts

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1966 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best British Actor Richard Burton Won
1966 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best Film - Any Source Mike Nichols Won
1966 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best British Actress Elizabeth Taylor Won

Golden Globes

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1966 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Director Mike Nichols Nominated
1966 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Picture - Drama Nominated
1966 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama Elizabeth Taylor Nominated
1966 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Screenplay Ernest Lehman Nominated
1966 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Sandy Dennis Nominated
1966 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture George Segal Nominated
1966 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama Richard Burton Nominated

British Academy of Film and Television Arts

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1966 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best British Actor Richard Burton Won
1966 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best Film - Any Source Mike Nichols Won
1966 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best British Actress Elizabeth Taylor Won

Directors Guild of America

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1966 Directors Guild of America Best Director Mike Nichols Nominated

National Board of Review

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1966 National Board of Review Best Actress Elizabeth Taylor Won
1966 National Board of Review Best Picture Nominated

New York Film Critics Circle

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1966 New York Film Critics Circle Best Actress Elizabeth Taylor Won

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