The 41st Academy Awards will always be seen as something of an embarrassment. Given the leaps and bounds which the film industry made the previous year, and with the Academy recognizing those, the awards for the best films of 1968 contain numerous shocking snubs. A number of films which failed to garner a single nomination have gone on to garner critical and commercial acclaim, while a number of Official Winners have faded into obscurity. I’m not saying that is always a fault, but when you compare some of the winners against some of those which were not covered, there’s a clear gulf in quality. It’s almost as if the Academy were horrified by this new wave of youngsters with their drinkin’ and a swearin’ and a whorin’ and a killin’ and decided they needed a more wholesome, tradition ceremony, with a set of happy smiling faces picking up awards for happy crappy films. Luckily, those filmmakers were still pushing boundaries in film, story-telling, and taste, and thankfully, we time-bending folks at the Spac-Hole can set things right by showing you the true nominees and winners of the year.
Aside from my ramblings, actual controversy took place when a skit by Johnny Carson and Buddy Hackett which (correctly) guessed a number of the winners aired before the ceremony, leading many to believe there was a hoax or security breach. Nowadays such guesses are commonplace among reviewers, critics, and bloggers, but it caused a stir at the time. Elsewhere there were other antics which hinted at the bloated and cheating nature of the awards, with Cliff Robertson dubiously winning the award for Best Actor, and Katherine Hepburn sharing the Best Actress win with Barbara Streisand.
Oliver! was the hit of the night, winning the most awards (including Best Picture) and garnering the most nominations. Martha Raye, John Chambers, and Onna White picked up Special Awards, Aretha Franklin and Frank Sinatra were among the performers, while Ingrid Bergman, Bob Hope, Tony Curtis, and… The Pink Panther… were a few of those burdened with presenting duties. Stay tuned over the next few weeks to see who my band of winners will be – SPOILER ALERT – there are going to be wholesale differences from the official winners. Let us know in the comments what you thought of the 41st Academy awards.