Best Film Nominees (1968)

Films of 1967 nominated for Best Picture. Back then, five films are nominated. Four really good films were nominated, the fifth is a mystery.

Here are other studio and foreign films from 1967:

In Like Flint

Hombre

Barefoot in the Park

You Only Live Twice

The Dirty Dozen

Up the Down Staircase

The Flim-Flam Man

Point Blank

The Jungle Book

Camelot

Wait Until Dark

Hour of the Gun

In Cold Blood

Belle de Jour

Far From the Madding Crowd

The Firemen’s Ball

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Night of their Generals

The President’s Analyst

Reflections in a Golden Eye

The Taming of the Shrew

Thoroughly Modern Millie

Two For the Road

The Producers

The War Wagon

Waterhole No. 3

The Way West

Welcome to Hard Times

Cool Hand Luke

Of the nominated films, the odd one in the group was Doctor Doolittle, a hugely expensive bomb that nearly bankrupted its studio. It is a mystery how this film was nominated. Yes, it had a ton of hype, a big concept and studio push, hoping to ignite some business.  Looking at the list above, there are several more deserving films including Cool Hand Luke.

The other four nominated films were: In the Night of the Night, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Bonnie and Clyde, and The Graduate.

In the Heat of the Night was selected as Best Picture; the film was nominated for seven awards and receiving five.  Is is the best film? It certainly is a significant film and a fine piece of filmmaking. I have no argument for the selection.  The script was daring and both a character study and a mystery.  The performances, especially by Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger are fabulous. Steiger deserved his Best Actor Oscar.  The supporting case with Lee Grant, Warren Oates and other others turn in searing performances.  The film was produced by veteran Walter Mirisch, no stranger to nominated films, and directed by young filmmaker Norman Jewison.  Of the nominated films, Jewison had less of a directing style than the other directors.  Jewison would never had a definitive style, he just directed quality films.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner was Stanley Kramer’s talking picture.  Where as he also took on the subject of race, it was a talky, sudsy melodrama.  Yes, Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn turn in fine performances, and Poitier is fine in a supporting role, but the viewer is exhausted by the speeches.  The film is more of a stage play, and Tracy is up for the role, his last, although you wonder if he has enough left in the tank for this long film.

Bonnie and Clyde was Warren Beatty’s first producing job.  Director Arthur Penn can be credited with the surreal slow motion violence that Sam Peckinpah would become famous.  Penn’s direction is gritty, but helped along by cinematographer Burnett Guffey (who won an Oscar) who gives the film an almost romantic glow.  Editor DeDe Allen shapes the action sequences to make them hard-hitting.  Beatty as Clyde and Faye Dunaway as Bonnie make attractive folk heroes of these Depression-era bank robbers. Rounding out the superb cast were Estelle Parsons, Gene Hackman and Michael J Pollard. The film’s violence was considered shockingly graphic at the time, and still packs a wallop more than 50 years later.

The Graduate was a film like no other.  Director Mike Nichols won the Best Director Oscar, well-deserved, in this stylish and trend-setting comedy/social commentary.  The included Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, Katharine Ross, William Daniels, Buck Henry, Norman Fell and Murray Hamilton. Henry co-wrote the screenplay, giving it the humor and social edge.  Simon and Garfunkel provided the groovy music.  Of all the nominated films, this has more of a time-stamp on it, and it was intended.  The film eviscerates everything it aims at, leaving you laughing and a bit uneasy at the end.  This could easily have been the Best Picture, it is that good.  Doris Day as Mrs. Robinson?  She was reportedly considered but her husband declined without showing her the script.

The films of 1967 drew a line in the filmmaking sand. What you saw in 1968 was light years away from the 1966 films.  The difference was the adult nature and rapier humor of those films released in 1967.  Race, graphic violence and frank adult relationships became more honest and realistic in 1967.

Films would get even more adventurous in 1968, exploring outer space and the inner mind:

2001: A Space Oydessy

Bullitt

The Boston Strangler

Charly

The Green Berets

I Love You Alice B. Toklas

Night of the Living Dead

Once Upon a Time in the West

Planet of the Apes

Rosemary’s Baby

Targets

Monterey Pop


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