San Francisco at the Oscars

On Sunday, the 86th Academy Awards, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will honor those who created the 2013 films judged to be the best. One film nominated in three categories is “Blue Jasmine.” It is set in San Francisco.

Through the years, many filmmakers have chosen our beautiful city as the location for their films. In 1967, director Stanley Kramer chose to showcase San Francisco in his film, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” The film and the awards presentation were definitely products of the late 1960s ethos. Here is the trailer that introduced the themes in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” –

Although the film was a hit throughout 1968, there was some criticism because the screenplay presented Poitier as a too-perfect, too-proper, doer of many good deeds as the prospective son-in-law who happened to be African American. The film was also touched by significant dual tragedies.

Spencer Tracy was in poor health and announced, before the start of filming, that this would be his final film. He completed his final scene on May 24, 1967, and died 17 days later. He was nominated posthumously for an Oscar as Best Actor. Here is a poignant clip of what is called Tracy’s “final speech” in the film. Knowing that Hepburn and Tracy were partners in real life adds to the impact:

The second tragedy that touched the 40th Academy Awards for 1967 films, scheduled to be awarded on April 8, 1968, was the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King on April 4. The awards ceremony was postponed for two days until April 10. Tracy did not win in his category, but Hepburn did win for Best Actress in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” However, she did not attend the ceremony.

Best wishes,