• Golden Globe Awards

1968: A Hard Look in the Mirror

Mile markers and anniversaries are always a good time to showcase what makes an organization special. And 1968, the 25th Golden Globes celebration, was a year that showed the world how good the Hollywood Foreign Press Association could be at tuning into the zeitgeist.
Taking place on February 12, at the Coconut Grove at the Ambassador Hotel, the awards ceremony accurately represented the tumult, duality, and complexity of the previous year in the United States, when Hollywood and the country were forced to look at themselves in new ways. Race uprisings of 1967 tore through over 150 cities, and the Supreme Court both appointed Thurgood Marshall and, in Loving v. Virginia, unanimously struck down laws banning interracial marriage. The “Summer of Love” also brought counterculture to the mainstream, as the Vietnam War furthered ideological divides.

Fittingly, In the Heat of the Night platformed a Black protagonist navigating the incredulous world of Southern “justice” in the 1960s. The Black actor was Sidney Poitier, nominated for a Golden Globe for his trailblazing portrayal of astute homicide detective Virgil Tibbs, thrust into a murder investigation against his will. His casually racist partner, small-town Mississippi police chief Gillespie, was played by Rod Steiger, who won the Golden Globe for Best Actor – Drama for the role. Nominated for seven Golden Globes overall, the pointed film additionally won Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Screenplay at the ceremony — besting another film in which Poitier also starred, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, which was also nominated in each of those categories.

Bonnie and Clydeand In Cold Blood were also nominated, as chaos and antiheroes were increasingly popular during this difficult period of self-reflection.

And then there was the talent juggernaut that was The Graduate, for which Dustin Hoffman was awarded New Star of the Year – Male (and his costar Katharine Ross was awarded New Star of the Year – Female Anne Bancroft also won Best Actress – Comedy or Musical for her role as the ubiquitous Mrs. Robinson in the film, and Mike Nichols walked away with Best Director. The movie’s wins could easily be seen as reflective of the country coming to terms with its own loss of innocence and any illusions of purity.
Oh, and as for the special category of “World Film Favorites,” stars Julie Andrews and Paul Newman took top honors. You may have heard of them.