Director: Robert Stevenson Cast: Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson, Glynis Johns, Hermione Baddeley, Reta Shaw, Karen Dotrice, Matthew Garber, Elsa Lanchester, Arthur Treacher, Reginald Owen, Ed Wynn, Jane Darwell, Arthur Malet
Academy Awards: Best Actress in a Leading Role (Julie Andrews); Best Film Editing; Best Special Visual Effects; Best Original Song (Richard M. Sherman & Robert B. Sherman for the song “Chim Chim Cher-ee”); Best Substantially Original Score (Richard M. Sherman & Robert B. Sherman)
Also Nominated For: Best Picture; Best Director (Robert Stevenson); Best Adapted Screenplay (Bill Walsh & Don DaGradi); Best Cinematography, Colour; Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Colour; Best Costume Design, Colour; Best Sound; Best Scoring of Music, Adaptation or Treatment
I First Saw In: c. 1993
Synopsis: A magic nanny comes to work for a cold banker’s unhappy family.
Did You Know? Julie Andrews was initially hesitant to take the role of Mary Poppins, as she was hoping that Jack L. Warner would ask her to play Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady.
Quotables: MARY POPPINS: Close your mouth please, Michael. We are not a codfish.
And now a Word from the Guise:
It’s funny how often family movies were nominated for big-category Oscars in the earlier days of the Academy Awards, and how rarely they are nominated for anything beyond Song and Animated Feature today. Pretty much the only recipe for a guaranteed Oscar nomination nowadays is one with sex, murder, and drug addiction. Since 1990, only 6 out of the 150 nominees for Best Picture have been family films (Beauty and the Beast, Babe, Finding Neverland, Up, Toy Story 3, and Hugo), and none of them won the coveted title. In fact, the last family film to win Best Picture was Oliver! in 1968.
However Mary Poppins didn’t win Best Picture in 1964. Instead, the Academy opted for another family musical, My Fair Lady. Personally, I’m partial to the former over the latter, as I find Rex Harrison’s turn as Henry Higgins to be lacklustre yet simultaneously obnoxious. But more on that when my marathon takes me to My Fair Lady.
With wonderful performances by the incomparable Dame Julie Andrews and the devilishly attractive Dick Van Dyke, and its near-perfect juxtaposition of live-action and animation, Mary Poppins is a family classic that stands the test of time.
Oscar Madness Ranking – ??? out of 233