THE VERDICT – Best Motion Picture: 1968

I didn’t expect the ranking to be this way. # 1 was easy to pick. And so is # 2. I really had problems with # 3 and # 4. # 5 is a sure one.

 
You can just click on the titles for their profiles.

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5. Rachel, Rachel

It’s a stylish and creative movie with strong performances that fall into ridicule. Most of the scenes involving its attempt to go into a psychological level goes campy because  it’s overdirected and overstylish film.

Best Scene: The tense breakdown of Rachel in the prayer meeting
Best Performance: Joanne Woodward as Rachel Cameron

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4. Romeo and Juliet

It’s a beautifully rendered Shakespearean romance. It captured the atmosphere of the period and the tragedy, the production design is impressive, and the lovers are believable. And yet, it have problems connecting to the viewers. It’s an isolating film where you may be lost.

 
Best Scene: Final moments in the tomb
Best Performance: Pat Heywood as The Nurse

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3. Oliver!

It’s an immature production. On one hand, it annoys me a lot that it forced me to ask if I’m watching just a stupid movie. On the other hand, it’s a movie with somewhat engaging characters, grandiose musical numbers, and a thrilling climax. However, the good parts outweighed the bad parts.

 
Best Scene: The “Who Will Buy?” musical sequence
Best Performance: Shani Wallis as Nancy

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2. Funny Girl

It’s a one-woman show. It has several problems: the problematic pacing, the useless supporting characters, the dull second half. Considering all of these, I can’t hate it just because of the powerful tour-de-force by the ever talented Barbra Streisand. And several songs will just stick in your mind.

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Best Scene: The “My Man” musical number
Best Performance: Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice

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1. The Lion in Winter

It’s a superb film. Sure, it sometimes goes overboard, but it has sharp direction, impressive production design, and a great screenplay. And on top of those, we have the fiery battle of wits between Peter O’ Toole and Katharine Hepburn that is sure to be remembered.

4

Best Scene: The talk of the couple about the next king in the dinner
Best Performance: Katharine Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitaine

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It’s really hard to rate the middle three, since it’s all about comparison. And I didn’t expect this year to be this…. weak.

So, here’s my personal ballot. Take note that I haven’t seen a lot yet. Here it is:

2001: A Space Odyssey
Funny Girl
The Lion in Winter
Oliver!
Romeo and Juliet

I can’t see Oliver! getting a landslide vote. Here’s how I thought it appeared in the counting:

1. Oliver!

(small margin)

2. The Lion in Winter

3. Funny Girl (they wouldn’t mind it even w/o Best Director)

4. Romeo and Juliet

(big margin)

5. Rachel, Rachel (honestly, over 2001: A Space Odyssey?)

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What’s you pick? Do you agree with the Academy, or with me, or you have a different choice?

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Note: I already have a year in mind for the next year. But I am
really willing to hear suggestions for the next year.
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13 thoughts on “THE VERDICT – Best Motion Picture: 1968

  1. I agree the Lion in Winter is the best choice. I would include Once Upon a time in the West for my own nominees that is one of my favorite films of all time.

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    • I myself didn’t know who will win when I started this year. I was thinking of Funny Girl or Oliver! But The Lion in Winter is the movie that is closest to perfection.

      What do you think of The Lion in Winter, Joe?

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  2. I haven’t seen Oliver!, nor Romeo and Juliet, but The Lion in Winter does look like the moral winner of 1968…

    However, I don’t think Oliver! won by such a small margin. Let’s not forget it also had the Best Director win, despite Anthony Harvey winning the DGA (all I’m writing is out of memory, so sorry if any facts prove wrong). If you have the Best Director, BP comes naturally most often. Could you imagine Oliver! winning Best Director and NOT Best Picture? I hardly see Oliver! as an art film who would prove more efficient to the elitist crowd of Directors and not to the general voters.

    anyway, i’m thinking too much and writing redundantly 🙂

    Lion was the obvious runner-up. Rachel was last, for sure.
    I actually think Romeo was 3rd in line, judging by chance of winning, but it’s a tough call. My reasoning: already 2 Oscars in the bag, a Best Director nomination, good Golden Globe wins and Shakespeare, which proved efficient 21 years before.

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    • I just said a small margin because it mostly is the competitor that mostly threatened Oliver! to win, though I know that Carol Reed’s chances and the movie’s chances really built up because he’s overdue.

      Anyway, I haven’t reading a lot of history yet. But it looks like it’s the real competitor because the others are, well, lousy in terms of chances of winning.

      The place of Funny Girl and Romeo and Juliet are really changeable since both of them has the chance to get the middle spot. But yeah, maybe Romeo and Juliet got 3rd because it’s reasonable with the best director nom and previous wins from award giving bodies.

      But Funny Girl did have the chance because of Barbra. I just remembered the win of Driving Miss Daisy. It’s without Best director nom, but it won.

      So, there is at least 2% of Funny Girl really getting it. Anyway, the nominations for the two awards are done with different sets of people: only directors can nominate in director award, unlike best picture.

      In the end, Rachel Rachel is simply a filler that they placed because they weren’t ready to honor such daring film such as 2001: A Space Odyssey.

      Anyway, thanks for visiting! Love reading your posts daily.

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  3. even considering how daring 1960s and 70s audiences were, 2001 would’ve been quite the shocker in the BP line-up, especially considering older, traditional Academy voters. same with Rosemary’s Baby 😛

    giving a quick look at that year’s nominees, I suspect The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and maybe even The Producers probably also made a Top 10, so they were battling a 5th spot in the BP line-up

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  4. I took my mom to see Rachel, Rachel when it came out. She was visiting from Phoenix and we went to a little theater in Lexington, Mass. Seemed like the perfect movie to take your mother to… until the scene where the lonely Woodward consoles herself in bed at night, under the covers. Extremely embarrassing!

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    • Well, that just proves that this film is really weird. I don’t consider this to be a film good to be watched by parents and children because the topic is quite uncomfortable and it touches on a sensitive parent/child relationship thing.

      But it’s really nice to read some stories of people and their movie watching experience of this little peculiar film.

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  5. As far as the Oscars’ frontrunners were concerned 1968 was basically the same as 1964.
    The Lion in Winter was technically a sequel to Becket which likewise had Peter O’Toole portaying King Henry II.
    Funny Girl was 1968’s My Fair Lady. Both featured lead actresses that were desirable at the time. Barbara Striesand and Audrey Hepburn were considered gorgeous in the same way people today consider Jennifer Lawrence drop dead gorgeous.
    Oliver! is in some perspective in terms of family appeal Mary Poppins without magical nannies and dancing penguins. People forgave Dick Van Dyke for his crap accent as Bert so theoretically we could forgive Harry Secombe’s pantomimesque bellowing as Mr Bumble. Ron Moody’s charlatanesque strict father performance as Fagin mirrored David Tomlinson’s hacked strict father performance as George Banks.

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