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

4. Guess Who's Coming To Dinner Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Being the late 1960's, any Oscar lineup for Best Picture would be incomplete without some "issue" film that liberals could pat themselves on the back for nominating, proving once again how Hollywood is always "a step ahead" of most of the nation in terms of moral superiority (which George Clooney, I'm sure very reluctantly, had to point out during his Oscar acceptance speech in 2006). In this case, the crusade that Hollywood threw it's support behind was the Civil Rights Movement, and specifically in this film, taking up the flag for interracial marriage. As much as I usually dislike "soapbox" films (another frequent problem of films in the 1950's), 1967 was such a groovy year (to get into the parlance of the times) that even something as purely issue driven and reliant on a concept as Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is much better than it has any right being. I guess that's 1967 for you, just too damn cool to settle for the stereo-typical. Somewhat miraculously, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner manages to transcend it's contrived concept, on-the-nose dialogue, character manipulation, and it's all-around pompous, patronizing attitude. It manages do to this solely based on the film's primary strength: an amazing display of acting prowess by a brilliant, experienced cast (with the exception Katherine Houghton, who got the job simply by being Katherine Hepburn's niece). Katherine Hepburn, Sidney Poitier, and especially Spencer Tracy in his last role (he died just days after the completion of filming), all knock their roles out of the ballpark, somehow managing to create something real and compelling out of a concept that reeks of the inauthentic and convoluted. As I've said to others before, and will continual to say until I find a better example, no film owes more to it's actors than Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (Stanley Kramer should have denoted his earnings from the film to the actor's charity of choice), because thanks to its thespians, a film built purely on good intentions actually turned out to be a piece of compelling cinema in its own right.

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.

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