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The 40th Academy Awards - 1968
Academy Awards Ceremonies
It's a great time of year when the Academy Awards role around. Everyone anticipates which movies will win and hopes for their favorites to get the Oscar. Do you vote ahead of time to see how close you come to all the right answers? Of course the main thrill comes from Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Actress. (We need to remember the Awards are for the previous year.)
The 40th Academy Awards Ceremony was postponed due to the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Governor's Ball was cancelled.
Due to the popularity and regular use of color in the movies this year awards for black-and-white and color achievements were no longer separate.
Did you know The Beatles released their album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967? It was a very eventful year and those of us who were around remember much, if not all of it. Elvis married Priscilla, Pink Floyd released their debut album, Thurgood Marshall was confirmed as the first African-American Supreme Court justice, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award was awarded to Gregory Peck, and so much more.
And the 40th Academy Awards are presented to...
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In the Heat of the Night
The Best Picture Award went to In the Heat of the Night. It also received Best Actor (Rod Steiger), Best Screenplay (Stirling Silliphant), Best Sound, and Best Film Editing. The movie is based on a novel about a black Philadelphia detective (Sidney Poitier) who goes to a small Mississippi town and winds up involved in a murder investigation. This town's Police Chief Bill Gillespie (Rod Steiger) is racist like the rest of the town.
These two men working on a murder case is more than difficult for both of them. The Southern Police Chief is what we would expect during this time period; racist, ignorant, and no concern for the rights of others. Ironically Tibbs (the detective) is asked to stay by Gillespie (the police chief), to help solve the murder, the murder which he was originally suspected of committing. Tibbs is well dressed, intelligent, and an excellent homicide detective.
Rotten Tomatoes calls this movie "Tense, funny, and thought-provoking all at once,..." Filmsite Movie Review says, "The film, with a non-white actor in a lead acting role, was so controversial that it couldn't be filmed in the Deep South, so the sets were recreated in various small towns in two states: Sparta, Freeburg, and Belleville, Illinois, and Dyersburg, Tennessee." Remember, racial issues were on the forefront in the sixties.
The most famous conversation from this movie is:
Gillespie: Well, you're pretty sure of yourself, ain't you, Virgil. Virgil, that's a funny name for a nigger boy to come from Philadelphia. What do they call you up there?
Virgil: They call me Mister Tibbs.
If you haven't seen this movie, put it on your list, it will certainly give you a taste of the south during the sixties as well as the opportunity to see the excellent performances by Steiger and Poitier.
Bonnie and Clyde
This movie received Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress (Estelle Parsons) and Best Cinematography (Burnett Guffey). It was also nominated for:
- Best Picture – Warren Beatty
- Best Director – Arthur Penn
- Best Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen) – David Newman and Robert Benton
- Best Actor in a Leading Role – Warren Beatty
- Best Actress in a Leading Role – Faye Dunaway
- Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Gene Hackman
- Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Michael J. Pollard
- Best Costume Design – Theadora Van Runkle
I have to admit this is was one of my favorite movies back then. I couldn't wait till the movie came to our area so I could see it. Of course Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were romanticized. They were certainly more blood thirsty and cruel then depicted in the movie though the movie does show their escalating violence as they go from robbing banks to robbing trains.
Gene Wilder made his first movie appearance in this movie.
Rotten Tomatoes says of this movie, "It also caused major controversy by redefining violence in cinema and casting its criminal protagonists as sympathetic anti-heroes."
If you haven't seen this, add it to your Academy Award movies to see.
The Real Bonnie Parker
Cool Hand Luke
Best Supporting Actor went to George Kennedy for his role in this movie. Everyone, well almost everyone, loves a prison movie.
In this movie, Luke is a prisoner in a Florida prison camp. No matter what happens Luke intends to be his own man and not follow the rules. He was arrested for breaking parking meters one night when he was drunk. Hardly the crime you think would get you sent to a chain gang.
He wins the other prisoners over from his boxing match with the prison's leader, even though he doesn't win the match, his "cool hand" at cards, and eating fifty hard boiled eggs in one hour. However, it isn't all fun and games. Luke's determination to escape begins after he receives a letter telling him his mother has died. After one escape he is beaten and returned to the prison. Another punishment is digging a grave sized hole, filling it in then he is beaten by the guards.
Critic Robert Ebert rated this film four out of four stars and I think you will too. Luke has become a film hero, don't miss Paul Newman's performance as Luke. Did you recognize Ralph Waite among the prisoners? How about a friend of mine, J.D. Cannon?
I won't tell you anymore in case you haven't seen it. I will however tell you one of this movie's famous lines, "What we've got here is a failure to communicate".
Movies Nominated for Academy Awards (Non Winners)
Bonnie and Clyde
Warren Beatty - Bonnie and Clyde
Anne Bancroft - The Graduate
Dustin Hoffman - The Graduate
Faye Dunaway - Bonnie and Clyde
Paul Newman - Cool Hand Luke
Edith Evans - The Whisperers
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
Spencer Tracy - Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
Audrey Hepburn - Wait Until Dark
Movies Not Nominated for Academy Awards in 1967
There were many other fine films released in 1967 that weren't nominated. Perhaps you've seen and/or like some of them:
- The Dirty Dozen
- Casino Royale
- You Only Live Twice
- To Sir With Love
- In Cold Blood
- Thoroughly Modern Millie
- The Valley of the Dolls
- Far From the Madding Crowd
That is certainly not all the movies but as you can see this was a good year for some good movies.
How many of the movies listed here have you seen?
Hollywood presents us with a plethora of movies each year. It is up to us to choose which we want to see and whether or not we should see. I hope this helps you go back to 1967 and choose a few movies you haven't yet seen.
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