The Sound of Music and In the Heat of the Night shocked some audiences in the 1960s by grabbing the Best Picture awards in Oscars 1965 and 1966. Let’s look into it.
1965 Best Picture: The Sound of Music
Yes, this is a syrupy movie based on a syrupy Broadway production and it plays loose with the facts regarding the famous Von Trapp family singers, but who cares. This Rodgers and Hammerstein musical set box office records and is still an annual favorite on television during the Holiday Season. It is filled with memorable songs and beautiful cinematography.
Julie Andrews, who was not chosen to reprise her Broadway role in the film version of My Fair Lady (1964), gained revenge when she won as best actress that year for Mary Poppins and was nominated again for her role as Maria Von Trapp. Robert Wise, who had won best director for West Side Story (1961), won again for this film.
1966 Best Picture: In the Heat of the Night
This film was so successful that it later spawned two sequels and a long running television series. Sidney Poitier plays a black Philadelphia police detective who while visiting in Mississippi becomes involved with a red neck sheriff (Rod Steiger) and his investigation of the murder of a Chicago businessman. As the investigation proceeds, the sheriff gains a grudging respect, and then quiet admiration, for his counterpart.
Although sometimes criticized, then and today, as painting a distorted picture of Southern life in the 1960s, the film was an important milestone in its depiction of racial prejudice.