1969 is the year 1967 really took effect. You see, 1967 is generally marked as the year where the Academy — and Hollywood in general — finally turned that corner and embraced more modern films. Bonnie and Clyde is the landmark film here. The depiction of violence was unheard of and was the start of those wonderful 70s films I (and a lot of people, I’d imagine) fetishize so much. But really, when you look at the Oscars — nothing really changed for two years. In the Heat of the Night wins in 1967, which, sure, it’s a look at racism, but, looking at the other four nominees that year, it was the second weakest choice in the bunch. Then 1968 was just a weak year in general (it was kind of like Hollywood releasing the excess water in the pipes while getting the good stuff ready for 1969), and then 1969, they finally went modern.
Midnight Cowboy wins Best Picture, Which was really the turning point for the next decade. Personally, I’d have picked Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, but I can see why they went the way they did. Midnight Cowboy was written by a formerly blacklisted writer, and it was a kind of rejection of the old ways. I understand. John Schlesinger wins Best Director for the film, which makes sense. Best Actor was John Wayne for True Grit, perhaps the most acceptable career achievement Oscar ever. Best Actress was Maggie Smith for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, which I talked about here. And Best Supporting Actress was Goldie Hawn for Cactus Flower.
In all, I’d consider 1969 a very good year. My preferences lean the other way for the major two awards, but, hey, it’s not like they made a bad decision. So, in all — a good year. A forbearer of (mostly) great things to come.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – 1969
And the nominees were…
Rupert Crosse, The Reivers
Elliott Gould, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
Jack Nicholson, Easy Rider
Anthony Quayle, Anne of the Thousand Days
Gig Young, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (more…)