Sitting here in this room, I can see a beautiful bridge — the George Washington Bridge — spanning the Hudson River. It is a great, majestic piece of work. But who was its builder? What’s the fellow’s name? I’ll bet one person out of ten thousand couldn’t tell me. Yet who in Hollywood has ever done anything to match it?
Just so we all know: Othmar Hermann Ammann designed the George Washington Bridge and was the chief engineer during its construction. Ammann also did New York’s Triborough, Bronx-Whitestone, Throgs Neck, and Verrazano-Narrows bridges, and was a consulting engineer on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
Wyler’s Oscar nominations
Dodsworth — 1936 (Directing, Best Picture)
Dead End — 1937 (Best Picture)
Jezebel — 1938 (Best Picture)
Wuthering Heights — 1939 (Directing, Best Picture)
The Letter — 1940 (Directing, Best Picture)
The Little Foxes — 1941 (Directing, Best Picture)
Mrs. Miniver — 1942 (Directing, Best Picture)
The Best Years of Our Lives — 1946 (Directing, Best Picture)
The Heiress — 1949 (Directing, Best Picture)
Detective Story — 1951 (Directing)
Roman Holiday — 1953 (Directing, Best Picture)
Friendly Persuasion — 1956 (Directing, Best Picture)
Ben-Hur — 1959 (Directing, Best Picture)
The Collector — 1965 (Directing)
Funny Girl — 1968 (Best Picture)
Best Picture nominations and awards actually go to the producers, but that’s basically a sop to their egos. And just for the record, Wyler won the Oscar three times out of the 12 directing nominations. In all, his pictures won 38 Oscars on 127 nominations (half in best picture, directing and acting categories), which is roughly twice what any other director’s pictures have earned.