Sometimes the Oscar show is rescheduled due to a National Tragedy which happened April 10, 1968.
The assassination of Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968 shocked the nation. The Oscars were programed for April 8th but due to Dr. King’s funeral the show went on, only a couple of days later. Gregory Peck the President of the Academy for 1968 spoke eloquently about ‘the fateful week in the history of our nation’, how ‘we must unite in compassion in order to survive’ and to ‘continue to celebrate in film the dignity of man’. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night two movies out of five dealing with thought provoking issues of racial understanding garnered ten nominations for Dinner with two wins and seven nominations for Night with four wins.
There was a time in the 60’s when nominees tried to get out of attending this award night for various reasons. For 1967 Gregory Peck twisted arms to make sure people showed up. The only nominees that did not attend that year were Katherine Hepburn (who won for Best Actress) because she was in France filming the Mad Woman of Chaillot and Spencer Tracy who had been nominated posthumously. In the Heat of the Night was honored as Best Picture. In the Heat of the Night and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner were both honored for their Screenplay’s one adapted one original.