Best Picture – 1968

Official Nominations: Oliver! Funny Girl. The Lion In Winter. Rachel Rachel. Romeo And Juliet.

1968 is a let down after such a groundbreaking year in ’67. Considering 2001: A Space Odyssey was not even nominated we can safely assume that the panel was either drunk or had been replaced by singing jellyfish. We have fallen back on the old familiar face of musicals and costume dramas, and although these are some of the best, that is like picking a favourite episode of Tellytubbies. The irony is that aside from the failed nominations, 1968 is one of the great years for groundbreaking movies.

Great performances, nifty sets, and some annoying brain drilling songs stop Oliver! from being a complete bare-ass towel slap. Much of Dickens’s darker stuff was removed as these sorts of musicals are largely aimed at children and idiots, and the film is at least 40 minutes too long. At least much of it looks grim, although then again being a homeless orphan surrounded by rapists and murderers has never looked so appealing.

Funny Face is another musical, this time starring Barbara Streisand and as such should never be spoken of again. The Lion In Winter is an Anthony Harvey directed costume drama featuring a strong cast and some ‘wonderful’ sets and costumes. The actors quickly chew these to pieces though and the film is forgotten. Paul Newman’s Rachel, Rachel is the only film worth speaking about at length here, although it isn’t really worth speaking about. It features strong female characters in a variety of situations and has some fine performances. Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet is probably the best version of the story, bright, tragic, with a decent score and even some nudity thrown in. This is overall an extremely poor year for nominations and I’m struggling to pick a winner. Just to annoy as many people as possible though, I’ll go for Rachel, Rachel. It has no singing.

My Winner: Rachel, Rachel.

Rachel-rachel-foto-con-olson

My Nominations: 2001- A Space Odyssey. Bullitt. Night Of The Living Dead. Once Upon A Time In The West. Planet Of The Apes. The Producers. Rosemary’s Baby.

For the first time (I think) my list of Nominations does not feature any from the Official List, and each one of them is infinitely stronger, more important, and more entertaining than those actually selected. It is a mystery still why a number of these movies were not nominated and their absence must go down as some of the biggest snubs in Oscar history. 2001 is frequently cited as the greatest sci-fi movie of all time, one of the most influential films ever made, and is rarely far from the top of any fan or critic’s best overall movie. Similarly, Once Upon A Time In The West is regarded as one of the finest Westerns ever made, Rosemary’s Baby is a landmark in horror, and The Producers remains an endearing satire. From a purely entertainment perspective, Planet of The Apes is hard to beat – a great adventure led by a strong cast and ideas and closed with one of cinema’s most shocking twists, while Bullitt is another Steve McQueen vehicle featuring memorable performances, music, and car chases. If I’m choosing with my heart though, there can only be one winner this year for me, and that is George A Romero’s Night Of The Living Dead. Made on a shoestring with a bunch of amateurs and friends, more than any other horror film of its generation pulled the genre from the old world into the new – nothing is black or white, the main character can die, and sometimes the good guys don’t win. It is as powerful and haunting a horror movie as you will ever see and certain moments will live with you till you’re in the grave. AND BEYOND!

My Winner: Night Of The Living Dead.

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2 thoughts on “Best Picture – 1968

  1. John Charet July 21, 2016 / 4:26 am

    Great post 🙂 You are so right, 1968 had a bunch of great films that the committee more than unfairly overlooked. Your choice of Night of the Living Dead for Best Picture is a fascinating one and while I would have picked 2001: A Space Odyssey to win the prize, I personally love all the choices and feel that all of your choices deserve to win. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    • carlosnightman July 21, 2016 / 7:54 am

      2001 is probably the better and more important film, but I love NOTLD much more.

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