Sympathy Vote

In 1960, in a blatant case of sympathy voting, the Academy overlooked performances by Deborah Kerr, Shirley MacLaine, and Melina Mercouri and gave the best actress Oscar to Elizabeth Taylor (her fourth consecutive nomination) for her performance as a disillusioned call girl in Butterfield 8. She attended the ceremony just weeks after being described as gravely ill with pneumonia, and her Dior gown revealed a new tracheotomy scar at her throat.

Ironically, Taylor admitted that she had made the film only to fulfill a contractual obligation to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and had never even seen the finished product. "I lost," MacLaine later lamented, "to a tracheotomy!"

[Nonetheless, Taylor's win was met with loud applause and, after a heartfelt acceptance speech, she disappeared into a ladies' room backstage and fainted.]

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