Ah, 1969. The year, as I like to call it, 1967 took effect. Sure, the film landscape changed in 1967 with Bonnie and Clyde and all that, but the Academy was pretty much business as usual until now. This was their first real embrace of the new type of filmmaking that was taking over the industry. I’m still amazed it happened.
Midnight Cowboy, outside of Best Picture, won Best Director for John Schlesinger (talked about here). He’d had one of those coming for a few years, so it’s nice to see a perfect scenario for him to win one. Best Actor was John Wayne for True Grit (talked about here), which — John Wayne was one of four actors who could have won an Oscar at any point and it would have been okay, no matter who he beat. The other three were Humphrey Bogart, Henry Fonda, and after a certain period, Paul Newman. They transcend the awards. So him winning was automatically a good decision (even though it’s a shame about Richard Burton). Best Actress was Maggie Smith for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (talked about here), which is nice. Maggie is awesome. I’d have gone another way, but the decision was fine. Best Supporting Actor was Gig Young for They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (talked about here), which, in a weak category, it was the best decision. And Best Supporting Actress was Goldie Hawn for Cactus Flower (talked about here). I like the decision, but man, was Catherine Burns amazing in Last Summer.
1969 is a hugely successful year. All the decisions are terrific. And a great year, of course, starts with a great Best Picture winner.
BEST PICTURE – 1969
And the nominees were…
Anne of the Thousand Days (Universal)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (20th Century Fox)
Hello, Dolly! (20th Century Fox)
Midnight Cowboy (United Artists)
Z (Cinema V) (more…)