Oscar Movies: Oliver! (1968)


Oscar Nominations: 11

Picture, produced by John Woolf
Director: Carol Reed
Screenplay (Adapted): Vernon Harris
Actor: Ron Moody
Supporting Actor: Jack Wild
Cinematography: Oswald Morris
Score of a Musical Film (Original or Adapted): John Green
Art Direction-Set Decoration: John Box and Terence Marsh; Vernon Dixon and Ken Muggleston
Film Editing: Ralph Kemplen
Costume Design: Phyllis Dalton
Sound: Shepperton Studio

Oscar Awards: 5

Art Direction-Set Decoration

Honorary Oscar to Onna White for her outstanding choreography achievement

Oscar Context

In 1968, “Oliver!” was not the only musical vying for the Best Picture Oscar. The other nominee was William Wyler's screen adaptation of the Broadway hit, “Funny Girl.” It would take another 22 years for another musical, “Chicago” in 2002, to nab the Best Picture Oscar.

These musicals competed with two historical dramas, “The Lion in Winter” and Zeffirelli's rendition of Shakespeare's “Romeo and Juliet.” The fifth nominee featured Paul Newman directorial debut in the intimate drama, “Rachel, Rachel, starring his wife-actress Joanne Woodward.

It was hard not to notice that most of the Best Picture nominees in 1968, a year in which the country was engaged in the Vietnam War, were set in the past, suggesting that the Academy voters might have opted for escapist rather than relevant and timely entertainment.

Carol Reed established international reputation with two extraordinary suspense films, both based on Graham Greene's novels: The Fallen Idol, starring Ralph Richardson, and The Third Man, with Orson Welles. Both pictures boasted high production values; Robert Krasker won an Oscar for his blackandwhite photography of Vienna in The Third Man. Reed received nominations for these films, but won the Oscar at his third nomination, for a less characteristic movie, the musical Oliver!