1968 Oscars 40th Academy Awards

1968 Oscars 40th Academy Awards

Winners Announced: April 10, 1968
Held at: Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Santa Monica, California
Host: Bob Hope
Eligibility Year: 1967

Cinematic Highlights and Achievements

  • In the Heat of the Night Stands Out: The film grabbed five Oscars, including Best Picture. Sidney Poitier’s performance was highly praised, though he didn’t win an award that evening.
  • Katharine Hepburn’s Historic Win: The legendary actress snagged her second Best Actress award for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, but didn’t attend the ceremony.
  • Cool Hand Luke’s Iconic Score: The film took home the Best Original Score, adding to its cult classic status.
  • The Graduate Gets Noticed: While it didn’t win Best Picture, Mike Nichols did receive Best Director, and the film has since become a cultural landmark.


  • Delayed but Not Deterred: The ceremony was originally scheduled for April 8 but was postponed for two days due to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Bob Hope’s Streak: This year marked yet another hosting gig for Bob Hope, who by this point had become synonymous with the Oscars.
  • First Oscar for a Canadian: Walter Mathau took home the Best Supporting Actor award for The Fortune Cookie, becoming the first Canadian actor to win an Oscar.
  • The Graduate was the last film to win Best Director and nothing else.
  • Bonnie and Clyde and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner each earned 10 nominations, each winning 2.
  • Alfred Hitchcock’s acceptance speech is on record as one of the shortest in Academy Awards history: “Thank you very much indeed”.
  • John Williams received his first nomination for scoring Valley of the Dolls.
  • This was the first ceremony since the 1948 awards show to feature film clips from the Best Picture nominated films.

1968 Oscar Nominees and Winners

Best Picture:
In the Heat of the Night – Walter Mirisch (WINNER)
Bonnie and Clyde – Warren Beatty
Doctor Dolittle – Arthur P. Jacobs
The Graduate – Lawrence Turman
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner – Stanley Kramer
Best Director:
Mike Nichols – The Graduate (WINNER)
Arthur Penn – Bonnie and Clyde
Stanley Kramer – Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
Richard Brooks – In Cold Blood
Norman Jewison – In the Heat of the Night
Best Actor:
Rod Steiger – In the Heat of the Night as Police Chief Bill Gillespie (WINNER)
Warren Beatty – Bonnie and Clyde as Clyde Barrow
Dustin Hoffman – The Graduate as Benjamin Braddock
Paul Newman – Cool Hand Luke as Lucas “Cool Hand Luke” Jackson
Spencer Tracy (posthumous nomination) – Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner as Matt Drayton
Best Actress:
Katharine Hepburn – Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner as Christina Drayton (WINNER)
Anne Bancroft – The Graduate as Mrs. Robinson
Faye Dunaway – Bonnie and Clyde as Bonnie Parker
Edith Evans – The Whisperers as Mrs. Ross
Audrey Hepburn – Wait Until Dark as Susy Hendrix
Best Supporting Actor:
George Kennedy – Cool Hand Luke as Dragline (WINNER)
John Cassavetes – The Dirty Dozen as V.R. Franko
Gene Hackman – Bonnie and Clyde as Buck Barrow
Cecil Kellaway – Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner as Monsignor Ryan
Michael J. Pollard – Bonnie and Clyde as C.W. Moss
Best Supporting Actress:
Estelle Parsons – Bonnie and Clyde as Blanche Barrow (WINNER)
Carol Channing – Thoroughly Modern Millie as Muzzy
Mildred Natwick – Barefoot in the Park as Ethel Banks
Beah Richards – Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner as Mrs. Mary Prentice
Katharine Ross – The Graduate as Elaine Robinson
Best Story and Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen:
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner – William Rose (WINNER)
Bonnie and Clyde – David Newman and Robert Benton
Divorce American Style – Screenplay by Norman Lear; Story by Robert Kaufman
Two for the Road – Frederic Raphael
The War Is Over – Jorge Semprún
Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium:
In the Heat of the Night – Stirling Silliphant based on the novel by John Ball (WINNER)
Cool Hand Luke – Donn Pearce and Frank Pierson based on the novel by Donn Pearce
The Graduate – Buck Henry and Calder Willingham based on the novel by Charles Webb
In Cold Blood – Richard Brooks based on the novel by Truman Capote
Ulysses – Joseph Strick and Fred Haines based on the novel by James Joyce
Best Foreign Language Film:
Closely Watched Trains (Czechoslovakia) (WINNER)
El amor brujo (Spain)
I Even Met Happy Gypsies (Yugoslavia)
Live for Life (France)
Portrait of Chieko (Japan)
Best Documentary Feature:
The Anderson Platoon (WINNER)
A King’s Story
A Time for Burning
Best Documentary Short Subject:
The Redwoods – Mark Harris and Trevor Greenwood (WINNER)
Monument to the Dream
A Place to Stand
See You at the Pillar
While I Run This Race
Best Live Action Short Subject:
A Place to Stand – Christopher Chapman and Cam McWhirt (WINNER)
Paddle to the Sea – Julian Biggs
Sky over Holland – John Ferno
Stop Look and Listen – Len Janson and Chuck Menville
Best Short Subject – Cartoons:
The Box (WINNER)
Hypothese Beta
What on Earth!
Best Original Music Score:
Thoroughly Modern Millie – Elmer Bernstein (WINNER)
Cool Hand Luke – Lalo Schifrin
Doctor Dolittle – Leslie Bricusse
Far from the Madding Crowd – Richard Rodney Bennett
In Cold Blood – Quincy Jones
Best Original Song Score or Adaptation Score:
Camelot – Alfred Newman and Ken Darby (WINNER)
Doctor Dolittle – Lionel Newman and Alexander Courage
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner – Frank De Vol
Thoroughly Modern Millie – André Previn and Joseph Gershenson
Valley of the Dolls – John Williams
Best Song:
“Talk to the Animals” from Doctor Dolittle – Music and Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse (WINNER)
“The Bare Necessities” from The Jungle Book – Music and Lyrics by Terry Gilkyson
“The Eyes of Love” from Banning – Music by Quincy Jones; Lyrics by Bob Russell
“The Look of Love” from Casino Royale – Music by Burt Bacharach; Lyrics by Hal David
“Thoroughly Modern Millie” from Thoroughly Modern Millie – Music by Jimmy Van Heusen; Lyrics by Sammy Cahn
Best Costume Design:
Camelot – John Truscott (WINNER)
Bonnie and Clyde – Theadora Van Runkle
The Happiest Millionaire – Bill Thomas
The Taming of the Shrew – Danilo Donati and Irene Sharaff
Thoroughly Modern Millie – Jean Louis
Best Art Direction:
Camelot – Art Direction: John Truscott and Edward Carrere; Set Decoration: John W. Brown (WINNER)
Doctor Dolittle – Art Direction: Mario Chiari, Jack Martin Smith and Ed Graves; Set Decoration: Walter M. Scott and Stuart A. Reiss
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner – Art Direction: Robert Clatworthy; Set Decoration: Frank Tuttle
The Taming of the Shrew – Art Direction: Renzo Mongiardino, John DeCuir, Elven Webb and Giuseppe Mariani; Set Decoration: Dario Simoni and Luigi Gervasi
Thoroughly Modern Millie – Art Direction: Alexander Golitzen and George C. Webb; Set Decoration: Howard Bristol
Best Cinematography:
Bonnie and Clyde – Burnett Guffey (WINNER)
Camelot – Richard H. Kline
Doctor Dolittle – Robert L. Surtees
The Graduate – Robert L. Surtees
In Cold Blood – Conrad L. Hall
Best Sound:
In the Heat of the Night – Samuel Goldwyn Studio Sound Department (WINNER)
Camelot – Warner Bros.-Seven Arts Studio Sound Department
The Dirty Dozen – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studio Sound Department
Doctor Dolittle – 20th Century-Fox Studio Sound Department
Thoroughly Modern Millie – Universal City Studio Sound Department
Best Sound Effects:
The Dirty Dozen – John Poyner (WINNER)
In the Heat of the Night – James Richard
Best Film Editing:
In the Heat of the Night – Hal Ashby (WINNER)
Beach Red – Frank P. Keller
The Dirty Dozen – Michael Luciano
Doctor Dolittle – Samuel E. Beetley and Marjorie Fowler
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner – Robert C. Jones
Best Special Visual Effects:
Doctor Dolittle – L. B. Abbott (WINNER)
Tobruk – Howard A. Anderson and Albert Whitlock
Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award
Gregory Peck
Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award:
Alfred Hitchcock
Honorary Oscar:
Arthur Freed was presented for distinguished service to the Academy and the production of six top-rated Awards telecasts.
Oscar® and Academy Awards® and Oscar® design mark are the trademarks and service marks and the Oscar© statuette the copyrighted property, of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Pop Culture Madness is neither endorsed by nor affiliated with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.