This is the year everything changed. After a decade of the crumbling of the studio system, studios not knowing how to handle the changing times, the failures of this big-budget roadshow musicals, the rampant runaway production going on — something snapped. For a few years, these smaller, grittier, counter-culture films were starting to pop up. But this year is where one of them finally broke through into the mainstream: Bonnie and Clyde. Not to mention, you see a huge influx of socially conscious films among the nominees this year. Dealing with race and violence and sex — topics that were completely taboo less than a decade earlier. 1967 is the most socially important year in the history of cinema. No other year holds a candle to it in terms of social importance.
The year is also wonderfully spread out. They managed to get every major film an award. In the Heat of the Night wins Best Picture and Best Actor for Rod Steiger (talked about here). Steiger was pretty due by this point, so that was nice (even though I’d say Spencer Tracy and Paul Newman gave better performances. Not to mention an un-nominated and horribly snubbed Sidney Poitier). Best Actress was Katharine Hepburn for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (talked about here), a solid choice. Best Supporting Actor was George Kennedy for Cool Hand Luke (talked about here), which is so awesome I don’t even want to talk about it lest I somehow jinx it 45 years after the fact. Best Supporting Actress was Estelle Parsons for Bonnie and Clyde (talked about here), which — wow. If you’ve seen the performance, you know. And Best Director was Mike Nichols for The Graduate (talked about here), which he deserved, between this and not winning for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? the year before this. So, overall, they did a great job of awarding all the great films from the year.
However — and I’ve said this a lot — I can’t help but feel this Best Picture decision is a cop out decision.
BEST PICTURE – 1967
And the nominees were…
Bonnie and Clyde (Warner Bros., Seven Arts)
Doctor Dolittle (20th Century Fox)
The Graduate (Embassy)
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (Columbia)
In the Heat of the Night (United Artists) (more…)