The 40th Academy Awards, or perhaps more accurately 1967, represents a true turning point in movie history. Looking at the list of films, the directors, and the performers it seems like the first truly modern year from the perspective of my generation. Many of the greatest actors and actresses of my lifetime began making an impact from this point, and mainstream films were becoming more radical and daring with their plots. Traditional musicals, westerns, war films and costume dramas were on the wain, while gritty pieces featuring graphic violence, depictions of sex and sexuality, and all manner of trappings of the burgeoning youth culture were taking hold. The Doors released their debut album, anti-Vietnam protests were breaking out, Elvis married Priscilla, and The Summer of Love spread love and sweaty smells all around the world; The world was changing and movies were going hand in hand with the changes, even if The Academy was a little slow to catch on.
On to the Awards themselves, the ceremony was postponed due to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, again highlighting the massive cultural changes which the US was undergoing. Highlighting yet another change, the cinematography, art direction, and costume design awards were finally merged into single awards rather than focussing on both Black and White and Colour movies. Bonnie And Clyde and Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner each received 10 nominations, while In The Heat Of The Night earned five wins, including Best Picture. Honourary Oscars were awarded to Alfred Hitchcock, Gregory Peck, and Arthur Freed, while awards were presented by the likes of Julie Andrews, Rod Steiger, Audrey Hepburn, Dustin Hoffman, and Eva Marie Saint. Performers included Louis Armstrong, Sammy Davis Jr, and Angela Landsbury.
This will be an interesting year as many of the winners and nominees I agree with, while there were still some alarming omissions. I suspect Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner and In The Heat Of The Night will feature less in my nominations and wins, with a few surprises popping up!