It was the grand time of period films set in old England with political and religious overtones: A Man for All Seasons won four Golden Globes out of five nominations: Best Picture – Drama, Best Director (Fred Zinnemann), Best Actor – Drama (Paul Scofield) and Best Screenplay by Robert Bolt, who adapted his own theater play. Supporting Actor nominee Robert Shaw was the only “loser” at the Globes that year (Richard Attenborough won, forThe Sand Pebbles). The Golden Globes Award Ceremony was held on February 15, 1967 at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.
Scofield plays the title role of Sir Thomas More, philosopher and enlightened man in 16th Century England, who refuses to condescend to cruel and scheming King Henry VIII (played by Robert Shaw), who wants to divorce his wife to marry Ann Boleyn (Vanessa Redgrave). The King has the support of Cardinal Wolsey (played by Orson Welles) and starts a mortal battle of wits with More. The sumptuous productions, the photography and the writing were first class, as most of the critics noted. Zinnemann had insisted on Scofield for the role of Thomas More, winning his battle with the producers who originally wanted Sir Laurence Olivier.
An early version of Robert Bolt’s play A Man For All Seasons had been written for BBC Radio in 1954 and produced in 1957 as a one-hour live television version starring Bernard Hepton. Reworked for the stage by Bolt after his success with The Flowering Cherry, the play was first performed in London, opening at the Globe Theater (now Gielgud Theater) on July 1, 1960. It was later brought to Broadway, enjoying a critical and commercially successful run of over a year before it was made into the Golden Globe and Oscar-winning film.
The Golden Globe Awards that year were dominated by the Brits: Scofield celebrated along with his pals Richard Burton (nominated in the same category for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), Vanessa Redgrave (herself nominated that year for Morgan!) and her sister Lynn Redgrave (winner as Best Actress - Comedy for Georgy Girl), and Elizabeth Taylor (nominated for Virginia Woolf). The 24th Golden Globe Awards are still remembered as the “British Sweep”.