Movies Nominated The Graduate for Best Picture Films in 1967 Academy Awards

In the 1967 Academy Awards, motifs of love and race take the stage. Each of the nominated best picture films, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. In the Heat of the Night, The Graduate and Bonnie and Clyde all attempt to enrapture those watching with life messages and philosophies or using the tragedy of doomed lovers. The Graduate is the only picture among the three to substantially connect to its audience through superior writing, characters, and screenplay The writer and producer of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Rose and Kramer respectively, make too many sacrifices attempting to convey the films already forced message. Sidney Poitier portrays an African-American without flaw, and since members of the audience do in fact have flaws. it is difficult to relate to the trials and tribulations of such a man. Furthermore, Spencer Tracy‘s monologue at the end of the film is obscenely shallow, again alienating the audience from this oversimplified conflict.

In The Graduate, however, no philosophical life messages can be obtained from taking the film at face value. The lack of an explicit message leaves the unraveling of the film to the audience, personalizing the experience and ultimately yielding a closer connection to the movie. Kramer and Rose take out the human elements of the conflict in order to communicate its message, causing more harm than good. Sidney Poitier’s character in In the Heat of the Night, Virgil Tibbs, is too artificial for the audience to sympathize with or care for. Identical to his role as John Prentice, a utopian flawless black man, he leaves no room for an emotional connection between him and audience members, the essential ingredient in giving a film any second thought. If Tibbs had perhaps made a mistake in the investigation, or was racist himself, it would have added a whole new dimension to the film, making it more interesting and human.

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On the other hand, every character in the Graduate has an array of strengths and flaws that give them depth and similarities with the audience, ultimately allowing them to be liked or disliked, hated or loved. Although Sidney Poitier plays his character flawlessly, his typecast role of a perfect man holds no common ground with the imperfect men and women watching, and have difficulty relating to him the time, then rushed into their perilous adventure. A battle for hearts and minds. The Graduate clearly deserves the Academy Award for best picture. Sidney Poitier’s shallow typecast characters poorly represent the racial conflicts of the real world, and Bonnie and Clyde’s hasty composition of several genres of movie restrict it from providing an emotional experience. The Graduate’s superior writing, characters and screenplay accurately draws the audience into its unique and captivating story.

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Movies Nominated The Graduate for Best Picture Films in 1967 Academy Awards. (2023, May 18). Retrieved from