Oscar Roles: Steiger, Rod in In the Heat of the Night

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Most Oscar roles have depicted men as committed to their careers, often at the expense of having any personal or domestic lives.

Rod Steiger's 1967 Oscar-winning role, as Billie Gillespie in "In the Heat of the Night" is a thick-witted, bigoted sheriff, investigating a murder in his small Southern town. The film deals with Gillespie's relationship with Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier), a black homicide detective from the North who's brought to help him resolve the mystery. In the course of the movie, their relationship transforms from initial suspicion and contempt to mutual respect and understanding.

"In the Heat of the Night" illuminates its male protagonists in terms of occupation and race, which are exclusively explored in the contexts of their jobs; nothing of their private lives enters into the narrative. Now try to imagine a female version of "In the Heat of the Night," made in 1967. Wouldn't there be men and romantic affairs in the women's lives