Oscars 1967: If We Picked The Winners (Best Picture)

5. Doctor Dolittle

doctor_dolittle_1967 In a year with such an abundance of great films, there is no excuse for why something as dreadful as Doctor Dolittle managed to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, and this just isn't hindsight talking either. When the nominees were announced at the time, there was a huge outcry over Doctor Dolittle receiving a Best Picture nomination. The film was an absolute critical and commercial flop, pretty much ending the career of leading man Rex Harrison, and the casual observer was befuddled as to how such a universally derided film could receive praise from one of the most prestigious film bodies in the world. Insiders, while maybe dismayed, were not so flummoxed as to how the film managed to steal the nomination from a number of more worthy nominees. All they had to do, as is almost always the case, is follow the money.The studio behind the film, 20th Century Fox, held elaborate promotional parties for members of the Academy in hopes that their efforts would be reciprocated with Oscar nominations. Their efforts proved not to be in vain (dispelling the notion that only the Hollywood Foreign Press is open for bribes). In fairness towards the film in my own analysis, I should point out that it has been many years since I have seen the film, but my response was strong enough that I know it is not an experience that I wish to repeat. Doctor Dolittle, loosely based on novels by Hugh Lofting about a veterinarian who talks with animals, was an attempt by the studio to cash in on the recent musical successes of My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music, but while those films were adaptations of musicals that had already successfully debuted on stage, Doctor Dolittle was a haphazard attempt to duplicate those films and their monetary success. The result of this executive/committee made film is a paint-by-numbers affair that is exactly how it appears, a poor attempt to recreate something without any original voice or author. In other words, a complete and utter mess. The film has a score of 6.0 on IMDb, which is the lowest score I can recall seeing for a film nominated for Best Picture. The only thing from the film that has managed to partially stand the test of time, is the incredibly schmaltzy song "Talk with the Animals". When that's all you have to show for yourself, you don't have much to be proud of.
Contributor
Contributor

A film fanatic at a very young age, starting with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movies and gradually moving up to more sophisticated fare, at around the age of ten he became inexplicably obsessed with all things Oscar. With the incredibly trivial power of being able to chronologically name every Best Picture winner from memory, his lifelong goal is to see every Oscar nominated film, in every major category, in the history of the Academy Awards.

Discussion