1969 Academy Awards®
Winners and History
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Academy Awards History (By Decade):
Introduction, 1927/8-39, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s
Academy Awards Summaries
Winners Charts:
"Best Picture" Oscar®, "Best Director" Oscar®, "Best Actor" Oscar®, "Best Supporting Actor" Oscar®,
"Best Actress" Oscar®, "Best Supporting Actress" Oscar®, "Best Screenplay/Writer" Oscar®

The winner is listed first, in CAPITAL letters.
Best Picture


Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Hello, Dolly! (1969)

Z (1969, Fr./Algeria)

JOHN WAYNE in "True Grit", Richard Burton in "Anne of the Thousand Days", Dustin Hoffman in "Midnight Cowboy", Peter O'Toole in "Goodbye, Mr. Chips", Jon Voight in "Midnight Cowboy"
MAGGIE SMITH in "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie", Genevieve Bujold in "Anne of the Thousand Days", Jane Fonda in "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?", Liza Minnelli in "The Sterile Cuckoo", Jean Simmons in "The Happy Ending"
Supporting Actor:
GIG YOUNG in "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?", Rupert Crosse in "The Reivers", Elliott Gould in "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice", Jack Nicholson in "Easy Rider", Anthony Quayle in "Anne of the Thousand Days"
Supporting Actress:
GOLDIE HAWN in "Cactus Flower", Catherine Burns in "Last Summer", Dyan Cannon in "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice", Sylvia Miles in "Midnight Cowboy", Susannah York in "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?"
JOHN SCHLESINGER for "Midnight Cowboy", Costa-Gavras for "Z", George Roy Hill for "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", Arthur Penn for "Alice's Restaurant", Sydney Pollack for "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?"

Although unlikely, it was interesting that nominations and awards were won by various kinds of 'Westerns' this year:

It was also noteworthy that two major competitors this year, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Midnight Cowboy, were quintessential buddy films - although one reflected the dark side, while the other was light-hearted.

In the late 1960's, it was significant that the Academy Awards honored British film-maker John Schlesinger's seamy, hard-hitting film (with Nilsson singing "Everybody's Talkin'" on the enhanced music track) Midnight Cowboy as the Best Picture. It captured the graphic, lonely alienation of the hustler's world of New York's Times Square, and told a tale of a strange friendship between a would-be Texan stud (Jon Voight) and a sickly drifter (Dustin Hoffman).

The film was daring, scandalous, and shocking with its X-certificate for language and sex (not signifying pornography but an adults-only subject with no one under 16 admitted). [This was remarkable since the previous year's Oscar winner for Best Picture was the light-hearted musical Oliver! (1968).] It was the first and only X-rated Best Picture winner in Academy history (although it was re-rated in the next decade with an R rating.) Both lead actors were nominated for Best Actor - and both lost to John Wayne for True Grit.

From its seven nominations, the film won three awards (Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay by Waldo Salt), but was unable to win any of its three acting nominations. [Waldo Salt won the film's third Oscar for his witty screenplay that was adapted from James Leo Herlihy's novel.]

The other films in the same category covered a wide range of subjects:

The Best Director award went to British director John Schlesinger for Midnight Cowboy. Four years earlier, Schlesinger's Darling was also sexually permissive, with Julie Christie awarded Best Actress in the film as a hip model.

Other high-impact films with Best Director nominations included:

The two co-stars of the Best Picture winner Midnight Cowboy were fellow nominees for Best Actor:

The other two defeated Best Actor nominees were:

Sixty-two year-old John Wayne's 'sentimental' win of the Best Actor Oscar in 1969 (as a different kind of cowboy from the one in the Best Picture of the year) has generally been considered as a belated, long-overdue 'career' Oscar award or 'sentimental favorite' award. He was nominated (this was his second acting nomination, after being nominated as Best Actor for Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)) and finally won for his 139th film, Henry Hathaway's True Grit, in a self-parodying role as the one-eyed (eye-patched), mean-tempered, hard-drinking, old US marshal named Rooster Cogburn who helps a young girl (Kim Darby) and a Texas ranger avenge the murder of the girl's father. [The film was remade in 2010 with Jeff Bridges in the starring role.]

[Six years later, Wayne reprised his character in the title role of the sequel Rooster Cogburn (1975). Wayne would eventually appear in 151 films in his career. And he had performed in some of the best films and roles ever created - without nominations and/or Oscars:

But Wayne's only previous acting nomination was for his role in the war film The Sands of Iwo Jima (1949). The Alamo (1960), in which Wayne served as producer, director, and actor - as Davy Crockett - received a Best Film nomination.]

British thespian Maggie Smith's Best Actress Award was won for the Ronald Neame-directed adaptation of Muriel Spark's novel/play, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie in which she portrayed the title role of a 1930s elitist, spinsterish, but inspirational, free-thinking, and eccentric teacher at the conservative Edinburgh school for girls. [The win was her second nomination - her first was for her role in Othello (1965).]

Smith's dark-horse win defeated two other favorites and first-time nominees:

Gig Young (with his third career nomination - and sole Oscar win) won the Best Supporting Actor award for his role as "Yowsir"-yelling Rocky - the uncaring, dissipated, ruthless emcee/Master of ceremonies of the tragic dance marathons for desperate couples in They Shoot Horses, Don't They? [Young had already been nominated twice before for Come Fill the Cup (1951) and Teacher's Pet (1958).]

Other Best Supporting Actor nominees included:

The Best Supporting Actress award was presented to Goldie Hawn (with her first nomination - and sole Oscar win) for her role as Toni Simmons - the infatuated mistress/girlfriend (of dentist Walter Matthau) in director Gene Saks' Cactus Flower (the film's sole nomination).

[The role was Hawn's first major screen role (and second film) following star appearances as a giggly and dumb, body-painted, bikini-clad, go-go blonde on late 60's TV's Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. With her win, she became the first actress to win a Best Supporting Oscar while simultaneously starring in a TV-sitcom.]

Her fellow Best Supporting Actress nominees included:

Debonair leading man Cary Grant was presented with this year's Special Honorary Oscar award, for "his unique mastery of the art of screen acting with the respect and affection of his colleagues." Grant had only been nominated twice (and never won an Oscar) in his entire career, uncharacteristically for dramas, as Best Actor for Penny Serenade (1941) and for None But the Lonely Heart (1944), but he was best-known for his screwball comedies, including Topper (1937), The Awful Truth (1937), Holiday (1938), Bringing Up Baby (1938), His Girl Friday (1940), The Philadelphia Story (1940), and My Favorite Wife (1940), for other Hitchcock collaborations, including Suspicion (1941), Notorious (1946), To Catch a Thief (1955), and North by Northwest (1959), and for the romantic melodrama An Affair to Remember (1957).

Oscar Snubs and Omissions:

Two westerns were entirely neglected by the Academy in 1969 for Best Picture and Best Director:

Although Easy Rider received two nominations (that both lost), Best Adapted Screenplay (Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Terry Southern) and Best Supporting Actor (Jack Nicholson), it should also have been nominated for Best Picture for its influential role and landmark place in cinematic history.

And Haskell Wexler's semi-documentary political film Medium Cool lacked nominations in all categories. Although Sydney Pollack's They Shoot Horses, Don't They? received a remarkable nine nominations, one of them wasn't Best Picture. It became the first (and only) film to receive the most nominations ever (9) without being nominated for Best Picture.

Neither Paul Newman nor Robert Redford (in their first teaming together) received Best Actor nominations as the title characters in the box-office success, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Shirley Knight and James Caan were both ignored for their performances in Francis Ford Coppola's The Rain People: Knight as Natalie Ravenna - an on-the-road pregnant housewife, and Caan as brain-damaged ex-football player 'Killer' Jimmie Kilgannon. And ex-model Ali McGraw was unnominated for her role as Jewish princess Brenda in Goodbye, Columbus (with only one nomination - Best Adapted Screenplay).

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