Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Directed by John Schlesinger
Written by Waldo Salt, based upon the novel by James Leo Herlihy
Starring Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman
Midnight Cowboy seems an unusual choice to win the Oscar – after all, until it’s win in 1969, no movie with any real, honest-to-goodness grit to it, save for maybe Marty, managed to snag the top prize. And those that did have a tinge of grit to it – or darkness, if you prefer another word – were about big, important things, e.g. The Best Years of Our Lives. In other words, if a dark movie, rooted in real life, wanted to win Best Picture, it had to go big and make epic statements about important topics (anti-Semitism, WWII), because, aside from that sweet little film about the lonely butcher – Marty – you couldn’t win.