Harry Nilsson’s cover of Everybody’s Talkin’ which was used to great effect
in 1969 Best Picture winner Midnight Cowboy.
I like looking back at Oscar history much better than sifting through the leavings of the current race. Regardless of what you think of the choices that were or were not made, the winners, losers and ignorees offer a snapshot of a time and place in movie history whereas trying to predict who is an Oscar front runner in the current year is just so much hot air.
1969 for me was an especially interesting year. Midnight Cowboy won for both best picture and best director in a year where the hardly memorable Anne of the Thousand Days actually received the most nominations (10). As Sasha says at the start, it’s probably the boldest choice Oscar has ever made and it’s emblematic of the revolution both Hollywood and the country was going through at that moment.
At the same time, the Hollywood old guard felt the need to cling to the past by giving John Wayne what amounts to a career achievement Oscar for his performance in True Grit. I wanted to embed Mr. Wayne’s nice acceptance speech above, but the jerk who posted it disabled embedding. You can see it here. Anyway, as I said in the podcast, I like Mr. Wayne and think he gave a number of genuinely terrific performances in his long career, but Rooster Cogburn is not one of them. Jon Voigt and Dustin Hoffman both acted circles around him that year, and if you’re going to give out career achievement Oscars, what about Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton who were both nominated that year and have never won?
Enough from me. Listen below. This is our 9th episode and if you’ve missed any you can catch up at iTunes.
Joining me as always for hosting duties are Sasha Stone and Ryan Adams of Awards Daily.
Correction: I misspoke during the podcast attributing Everybody’s Talkin’ to Harry Nilsson. While that’s Harry singing of course, the song was actually written by Fred Neil. Nilsson had been asked to write a song for the film, but John Schlesinger decided in the end he liked this one better.
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