I finally saw this movie a few months ago after being a fan of Sidney Poitier since I was a little girl. I have no idea what took me so long. It is a marvelous film and Poitier gives such a stirring performance. Though he was already on his way to being a huge star in his own right, this film cemented him in the history of cinema and paved the way for countless others while it was at it. It was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning one: Best B&W Cinematography, Best Supporting Actress Lilia Skala, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor Sidney Poitier (won) and Best Picture. It was up against America, America, Cleopatra, How The West Was Won and winner Tom Jones.
I know there is at least one book on this subject and I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but thanks to TCM showing several movies from that year, I have to agree completely. What I mean by Cinema, is Hollywood and American Cinema, because a lot of how it changed was based on things French New Wave directors had already been doing for almost ten years.
One way to see this change is by looking at the five films that were nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars that year. Four of the films are harbingers of the new Hollywood. One is old guard and because of that in addition I want to talk about another film that, although nominated for four Oscars, was not up for Best Picture.
The five films up for Best Picture were Bonnie & Clyde, Doctor Dolittle, The Graduate, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner and In The Heat of the Night. The film sixth film I’m going to discuss is In Cold Blood.
With all this talk about Kathryn Bigelow being only the 4th woman to be nominated for Best Director and the first woman to win at the DGA, I think we’ve forgotten that Lee Daniels has been making history, too. I watched an interview with him today on KTLA, wherein he said he sobbed when he heard he was nominated for the DGA. Apparently, he is the first black man to be up for the honor. He’s also only the second black man to be nominated for Best Director (John Singleton was up for the honor for 1991′s Boyz n the Hood). He is also only the third black producer up for the Best Picture award (this year, there are two black nominees, the only previous nominee was Quincy Jones for The Color Purple in 1985) Also, this is the first time a film directed by a black man has been nominated for Best Picture.