top of page

The 1969 Critics Consensus Awards

Charles Denner and Yves Montand in Z

Every year, I correlate data from all of the major year-end critics awards and polls, assigning points values to their choices corresponding to their placements. A win is worth 10 points, for example; second place is worth 9; five nominees that become four upon one winning would share an average value of 7.5. These only ever go as far down as tenth place, but cover a wide range of categories, currently as high as 16. These are then multiplied by a factor between 1 and 10 dependent upon the influence and esteem of the groups, so the New York Film Critics Circle's points are worth a multiple of 10, as are Cahiers du Cinema's points, while a newbie group like the Greater Western New York Film Critics Association's points are only subject to a multiple of 1. Once all the data has been collected, we have top fives for these 16 categories, and a winner for each too.

There are qualifications - to be eligible as a nominee or a winner, a film must have been received an initial release in a region of the US during the previous calendar year, and cannot have been confirmed a nominee for any year before that; a category can only be included if at least ten eligible titles have been mentioned in that category among the critics awards and polls included; an actor who splits points between Leading and Supporting categories for the same performance will be counted for the category in which they scored higher and excluded from the other, even if they've secured a nomination in their lower-scoring category. And, alas, this is all at my personal discretion - I choose the awards and polls to feature, I choose the multipliers, I choose the categories! I'd include popular categories such as Costume Design and Visual Effects if these voting bodies actually had good enough taste in these fields for their opinions to mean anything, but they don't. I'd never include Original Song, though, because it's a ridiculous category.

Not only do I carry this out contemporarily, I carry it out retrospectively too. Moving back through history, certain groups' multipliers have diminished as their age and influence diminished too. And as fewer groups existed, so too did fewer categories meet the standards for inclusion; eventually, some of the core categories (Picture, Director, four acting categories, a consolidated screenplay category) fell below the required minimum of ten eligible contenders, or double the five nominees, so I switched to confirming only winners. I went back as far as double the number of winners - two per category - qualified each year, which took me back to 1969.

The seven top categories in 1969 were pretty broadly shared out - five films, including the first ever non-English language title, decades before enough would qualify for Foreign Language Film to allow the incorporation of the category. Indeed, that non-English language title won Best Picture - Costa-Gavras' Z, one of only two that year to win two awards, the other being Paul Mazursky's Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice. The year's Oscar Best Picture winner, Midnight Cowboy, didn't lose out entirely, though, winning for one of its two Oscar-nominated leading actors, Jon Voight. None of these winners claimed their respective Oscars, however. Check out all of 1969's Critics Consensus award winners below.

Best Picture

Z (Costa-Gavras)

Best Director

Costa-Gavras (Z)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Jane Fonda (They Shoot Horses, Don't They?)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Jon Voight (Midnight Cowboy)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Dyan Cannon (Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Jack Nicholson (Easy Rider)

Best Screenplay

Paul Mazursky and Larry Tucker (Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice)

I'll be posting these results for every year from 1969 until now between today and Oscar sunday, the 24th of January, when I'll reveal the winners and nominees for 2018.

28 views0 comments


bottom of page