I call 1969 the year that 1967 took effect. This was the kind of film that Hollywood transitioned to after they broke away from tradition. This is what the 70s were all about, films like Midnight Cowboy, which won Best Picture and Best Director for John Schlesinger (talked about here). Personally, I’d have went with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, but I understand the choice of Midnight Cowboy, which is why I don’t have a problem with it.
Best Actress this year was Maggie Smith for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. This was a sticky category for me, so rather than try to explain it, I’ll just say you can read about it here. Best Supporting Actor was Gig Young for They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? which, as I said here, was a good decision in a weak category. And Best Supporting Actress was Goldie Hawn for Cactus Flower, which I’ve yet to make up my mind on. I’ll probably be okay with it, though. It’s really just a matter of me voting for her or another nominee.
And then there’s this category. I have to tell you — thank god there’s an easy winner here, because otherwise this could have been tough. I say easy because — there are only a handful of actors in the course of Hollywood who have developed circumstances where, if they were nominated for an Oscar, any time after they’ve reached this status — they’re an automatic win every time. And those people were Humphrey Bogart, post-1950 (won 1951), Henry Fonda post-1960 (won 1981), and John Wayne. I’m sure there are more, but, these people — no matter what they win for, their stature is so strong that they, themselves transcend their performances. That’s why this was a great decision.
BEST ACTOR – 1969
And the nominees were…
Richard Burton, Anne of the Thousand Days
Dustin Hoffman, Midnight Cowboy
Peter O’Toole, Goodbye, Mr. Chips
Jon Voight, Midnight Cowboy
John Wayne, True Grit (more…)