1960 gave us many great movies and a slew of great performances by male actors. Spencer Tracy was nominated for a 7th time with his portrayal as a “Clarence Darrow-style” trial lawyer named Henry Drummond opposite prosecutor Matthew Harrison Brady (unnominated Fredric March as Biblical literalistic William Jennings Bryan) in director Stanley Kramer’s fictionalized dramatization of the 1925 Tennessee Scopes Trial, Inherit the Wind.
Lawrence Olivier, one of the greatest actors of all time, gave us an award winning performance as seedy vaudevillian performer in The Entertainer, his sixth nomination.
Trevor Howard, a powerful character actor became a leading star in Sons & Lovers as an alcoholic coal-mining father Walter Morel. This would be his first and only nomination.
Jack Lemmon gave what some call his greatest film performance ever as lonely, ambitious and young New York insurance clerk C. C. Baxter who loans out his Manhattan apartment for romantic trysts for his company’s executive supervisors while falling in love with the elevator girl (Shirley MacLaine).
But it would be the powerful and brilliant performance of Burt Lancaster, as the starring role of the bible thumping preacher with skeletons in closet and life in the moving Elmer Gantry.
Some of the other nominations in 1960 were questionable, but in the Best Actor category each one was deserved.