Sidney Poitier – In the Heat of the Night
My Overall Thoughts:
This is a year where there were 5 very powerful performances nominated, but the era of the 60’s and the ideas of openly discussing racial issues took precedence here. Not all of these films translate well enough after 50 years, but at the time, they all dealt with very relevant issues.
4. Warren Beatty
3. Paul Newman
2. Rod Steiger
1. Spencer Tracy
5. The Graduate – This film is more iconic for a few of its scenes and its music but still isn’t as amazing as some claim. Cast is great with Hoffman, Bancroft and Ross all giving career defining performances. The music is amazing and the Simon & Garfunkel songs have always been associated with this film (and vice versa). There are some really great scenes in this film, but something just seems off in the way that the story is told. Nichols won Best Director for this film, but the film failed to win any of the other 6 nominations.
4. In the Heat of the Night – Mediocre best picture, mediocre murder mystery but the themes make it worth watching.
3. Bonnie and Clyde – The thing that makes this film so great is the chemistry between the two leads played by Beatty and Dunaway. The way that the plot is presented works really well because we see how things can slowly escalate in situations like this until they get completely out of hand. The supporting cast is just as good as the leads and its great seeing how Hackman, Parsons and Pollard each hold their own against the two powerhouse actors they are paired with. All 5 of them got Oscar nominations for their roles, but only Parsons walked away with gold that year.
2. Cool Hand Luke – Newman is great in this role because he feels like one of us and perseveres through every difficulty he is tasked with just solely on will. This helps him accomplish two goals; He gains respect from his fellow prisoners and drives the guards mad that he cannot be broken. Loved Kennedy in this because he seems like one of the hardest prisoners and grows to admire Luke so much that he becomes not only his friend but his follower and supporter in everything he does. Has its slow points and the theme is not an upbeat one but Newman’s Luke helps us thru with his perspective on life.
1. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner – Excellent movie, great acting, great dialogue and story with a very true message that even stands the test of time up through modern times.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yes and No! In 1967, Steiger’s performance and the film in general were way ahead of their time, but the story doesn’t age well enough which gives us a mediocre murder mystery. Tracy was superb in his final role and that film also deals with race relations and is still a relevant story 50+ years after it was made.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!