Did They Get it Right? – Best Actor – Oscars 1969

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Richard Burton (Anne of the Thousand Days)
Dustin Hoffman (Midnight Cowboy)
Peter O’Toole (Goodbye, Mr. Chips)
Jon Voight (Midnight Cowboy)
John Wayne (True Grit)

Biggest Snub:

Willaim Holden – The Wild Bunch

My Overall Thoughts:

This was quite a powerful year with 5 stellar performances and any of them would have been quite deserving of winning the award but Wayne was slightly better than the rest.

My Rankings:

Acting Performances

5. Dustin Hoffman 
4. Jon Voight 
3. Richard Burton 
2. Peter O’Toole 
1. John Wayne


4. Midnight CowboyStoryline is a bit unbelievable and didn’t age well, but the great acting here somewhat makes up for it. A pretty mediocre Best Picture Winner IMHO.
3. Anne of the Thousand DaysBurton and Bujold are great here as the King and future Queen. We can really believe their characters. The dialogue is great and in some ways quite risque for its time. The movie is a bit overlong and might have been helped if it has been cut down a bit.
2. Goodbye, Mr. ChipsThis is quite a good remake of the classic 1939 film with the same title starring Robert Donat.  The biggest problem here is the attempt to make the story a musical because that takes away so much from the seriousness and poignancy of such a storyline. O’Toole is amazing here (as usual) and was very deserving of an Oscar nomination for this role.  They do a wonderful describing the kind of life a teacher in a school like this lives and how important students can be for the teacher just as teachers are for molding young minds.
1. True GritGreat story told so well. Wayne is amazing as the lead character despite not really deserving the Oscar for Lead actor for this role. The themes dealing with revenge, repentance and of course the quest for true justice no matter the cost rings so true here. Liked the relationship between Wayne’s gritty Marshall and Darby’s seemingly innocent young girl especially because of the way it evolves over the course of the film. 

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Most Definitely!  All 5 of these performances were great, but Wayne does an exceptional job of taking on a gritty cowboy that is better than most of his other cowboy performances.

Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!

One thought on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Actor – Oscars 1969

  1. Don’t disagree with Wayne’s win (it could be construed as a career win – but he WAS perfect as Rooster Cogburn, so it was deserved – in some heavy competition), but disagree with a few of your other comments. “Midnight Cowboy” was far from “pretty mediocre”. It was a fairly intense and hard hitting film dealing with rape, prostitution, homelessness etc. It was released with an X-rating at the time – and is the only BP winner ever rated X (it has since been re-rated as an R). Voight and Hoffman were both excellent – and in all likelihood, canceled one another out. I agree that O’Toole was charming as Mr. Chips (as was Petula Clark as his wife. Very good acting from her as well – but no nomination). Burton was magnificent as Henry VIII opposite an equally feisty, head strong and ultimately heart-breaking Genevieve Bujold as the titular Anne (and I would have voted for HER as Best Actress) But Wayne won the day playing both for and against “type” as the eye patch wearing self proclaimed “fat man” who could still jump a 3 pole fence. It was a shame, timing wise, that Burton would lose for the 6th time in a role he was meant to play (and would never win in his career. No late in life “save” by the Academy like they did with Wayne and Henry Fonda). As to your “snub” – I love the “Bunch”, but the acting, like the violence is all over the top. Holden wasn’t snubbed IMO. Maybe Newman in Butch Cassidy. Or Steve McQueen who was charming, low key and excellent in The Reivers.


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