Mike’s Top Ten of 1967
There’s a whole lot to say about 1967. For starters, can you believe this is the first year so far that every single top ten film is in color? Get used to it, because there’s only like ten more black-and-white films total in the top ten for the next 35 years.
Other than that — I’ve been hinting to it for about six years now, but this is the year when the dam burst and the studio system as we knew it came to an end. Gone were the highly controlled, artificial, sound stage, cookie-cutter movies and in were the gritty, realistic films that dealt with subject matter never before seen, frankly discussing politics and race and sex and using violence and language and all these experimental techniques. This year changed cinema forever.
It’s also, I feel, one of those years where just about everyone has most of the same top films. At least half this list is gonna be uniform among everyone because these are some of the best films ever made and everyone loves them.
The other thing of note is that it’s really not as deep a year as the others, I think because of the amount of change going on at the time, as Hollywood was moving to smaller, more independent type material and away from the big budget stuff. So you’re left without a lot of those middle class gems that most of the other years are full of. (more…)
The Oscar Quest: Best Picture – 1967
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…)
The Oscar Quest: Best Actor – 1967
I love 1967, but I don’t necessarily love all the choices they made, Oscar-wise. At least in the sense of what people see. And what do people see when they look at 1967? In the Heat of the Night wins Best Picture. Which I feel is a bad choice, among a field of nominees that includes Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.
Fortunately, though, the rest of the year is spread out pretty well. Katharine Hepburn wins Best Actress for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (talked about here), George Kennedy wins Best Supporting Actor for Cool Hand Luke (talked about here), Estelle Parsons wins Best Supporting Actress for Bonnie and Clyde (talked about here), and Mike Nichols wins Best Director for The Graduate (talked about here). Nice way of spreading the wealth. Still, though, I’m not sure it makes up for the fact that the figurehead decision for the year is weak.
And then this category — a lot of people might have problems with it. And I understand that. But actually this is a very solid decision, and one that’s backed up by history (a bit). It also helps to lessen (slightly) the blow of the film winning Best Picture. So I’m actually okay with it (which I didn’t think would be the case).
BEST ACTOR – 1967
And the nominees were…
Warren Beatty, Bonnie and Clyde
Dustin Hoffman, The Graduate
Paul Newman, Cool Hand Luke
Rod Steiger, In the Heat of the Night
Spencer Tracy, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (more…)
The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actress – 1967
1967. The landmark year. Hollywood breaks from classical tradition. But not so you’d really notice it, the Oscars seemingly try to mask that change by picking the most watered down version of it. Of the five Best Picture choices, here’s the order in which they’d have been good choices for the year that was 1967: Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, In the Heat of the Night, Doctor Dolittle. Dolittle of course would have been a complete rejection of the situation, and that wasn’t gonna happen. And some people might put In the Heat of the Night third (but I don’t). But still — it was not an ideal choice.
I think that’s evident in the fact that Mike Nichols won Best Director for The Graduate (talked about here). Even bad Best Picture choices also won Best Director (King’s Speech, anyone?). Though they did do a good job of spreading the wealth. Best Actor was Rod Steiger for In the Heat of the Night. I wouldn’t have voted for it, but it’s an acceptable decision, since he’d earned one of these from ’65 for The Pawnbroker. Best Actress was Katharine Hepburn for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (talked about here), which, while I wouldn’t have voted for it, isn’t that bad, since all the other potential winners had, or later won, Oscars. Best Supporting Actor was George Kennedy for Cool Hand Luke (talked about here), which I love dearly.
Then there’s this category. Holy shit, was this a great decision. This is also one of the strongest Best Supporting Actress categories of all time.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – 1967
And the nominees were…
Carol Channing, Thoroughly Modern Millie
Mildred Natwick, Barefoot in the Park
Estelle Parsons, Bonnie and Clyde
Beah Richards, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
Katharine Ross, The Graudate (more…)
The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1967
What a let down 1967 is. Here’s a year where Hollywood made a break from tradition. The films were modern, realistic, gritty, violent, sexual — all the things classical Hollywood wasn’t. And then they chose In the Heat of the Night as Best Picture, which is like — music people will think up more examples of this than I can — when a new style of music is up and coming, like grunge or punk or something, and there are all those underground bands that really drive the movement forward, and are the backbone of it, and then the most corporate, watered down version of that movement becomes huge and has all the hits and is labeled as having started it. That’s what this is like to me. Here’s a category with three different films that perfectly capture what 1967 was about. And In the Heat of the Night wins Best Picture. Why not just fucking pick Doctor Dolittle and be done with it? Seriously. Fortunately, the other three choices did well elsewhere.
Best Actor this year was Rod Steiger for In the Heat of the Night, which I understand. Wouldn’t vote for it, but I understand. He was due. Totally cool with that. Best Supporting Actor was George Kennedy for Cool Hand Luke (talked about here), which I love. Best Supporting Actress was Estelle Parsons for Bonnie and Clyde, which I also love. And Best Director was Mike Nichols for The Graduate (talked about here). So essentially you have Hollywood spreading the wealth, but giving the top prize to the most controlled entity of the bunch. Terrible.
And then there’s this category. Most people would agree that the best choice was not made. However, on the other hand, you can’t really be too upset at the decision, because all of the principals contending for a vote all had (or later won) Oscars. So, while we’d all vote differently, it’s not that bad. And that’s good. One less thing.
BEST ACTRESS – 1967
And the nominees were…
Anne Bancroft, The Graduate
Faye Dunaway, Bonnie and Clyde
Edith Evans, The Whisperers
Audrey Hepburn, Wait Until Dark
Katharine Hepburn, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (more…)
The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor – 1967
1967 is a landmark year made corporate, in my mind. In a year with Bonnie and Clyde and The Graduate, and even Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, truly landmark films that mark the big break from classical Hollywood tradition, they go with In the Heat of the Night for Best Picture, which feels like the Hollywood version of one of those films. That’s just my own personal opinion on the matter.
Rod Steiger also won Best Actor for the film, which is cool. I wouldn’t necessarily vote for him, but he was good enough to win for The Pawnbroker, and this I look at as kind of a makeup Oscar. Best Actress was Katharine Hepburn for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, which is fine. I don’t think she beat anyone else who needed to win. Sure, I’d have voted differently, but it’s not that bad, because her competition also won Oscars. Best Supporting Actress was Estelle Parsons for Bonnie and Clyde, which was a fantastic decision. She was incredible. And Best Director (talked about here) was Mike Nichols for The Graduate. Fantastic decision.
The Best Picture decision does actually feel softened by the fact that the wealth was spread around very well, but still, that’s the one that gets remembered. And then there’s this category, which silently adds another great and classic film to the shared wealth. And I fucking love that.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – 1967
And the nominees were…
John Cassavetes, The Dirty Dozen
Gene Hackman, Bonnie and Clyde
Cecil Kellaway, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
George Kennedy, Cool Hand Luke
Michael J. Pollard, Bonnie and Clyde (more…)
The Oscar Quest: Best Director – 1967
1967 was a landmark Oscar year. It’s the year Oscar went from the big-budget musicals of the 60s to the “modern” era. That is, the early 60s was sort of the last gasp of studio power. The studios went down in the early 50s once the Paramount Decision was passed, had to divest of all their theaters. Then all the independent films started popping up in drive-ins and stuff. And TV was around now, too. Then, once the 60s started, Hollywood realized they couldn’t just keep pumping out the same product, because the kids went to all these drive-in movies to see all the low-budget monster flicks and exploitation flicks and stuff.
So they — don’t worry, I’m telling you this for a reason. You’ll notice a parallel in a second — doubled down and decided, “Let’s just maks everything bigger.” And you got these mega budget films like Cleopatra and How the West Was Won, just, huge budgets, grand epic films, because, television is sapping audiences and the kids are going to drive-ins, where they aren’t regulated by adult supervision and could do what all kids want to do when they go to the movie, talk, fuck around and make out with each other (actually watching the films isn’t exactly the primary goal). So, they said, “We’ll differentiate the product,” we’ll make our films so big they’re worth a trip to the theater. And then you had these huge fucking musicals of the 60s like My Fair Lady, Sound of Music, Doctor Dolittle and Hello, Dolly! — not to mention the huge budgeted comedies of the decade, like It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. These were films that cost shitloads to make and were expected to make shitloads more to cover costs. And then, people quickly became inured to films like this, because — let’s face it, they’re all variations on a theme. And then 1967 came, and that’s when everything changed. (more…)