Best Picture: Midnight Cowboy
Midnight Cowboy also won Academy Awards for Directing (John Schlesinger) and Writing – Screenplay based on material from another medium (Waldo Salt).
For the second year in a row, there was no official host. Awards were presented by seventeen Friends of Oscar: Bob Hope, John Wayne, Barbra Streisand, Fred Astaire, Jon Voight, Myrna Loy, Clint Eastwood, Raquel Welch, Candice Bergen, James Earl Jones, Katharine Ross, Cliff Robertson, Ali MacGraw, Barbara McNair, Elliott Gould, Claudia Cardinale, and Elizabeth Taylor.
John Wayne won his only Oscar for his lead performance in True Grit. He was previously nominated for his performance in Sands of Iwo Jima and as producer of 1960 Best Picture nominee The Alamo.
Z was honored as the Best Foreign Language Film. It was also the first nominee in the Foreign Language Film category to be nominated for Best Picture.
On January 30, 1969, The Beatles gave their final public performance on the roof of Apple Records in London.
In March 1969, Mario Puzo’s novel The Godfather was published.
In March 1969, Golda Meir became the first female prime minister of Israel.
In May 1969, an American teenager known as Robert R. died from a mysterious medical condition in St. Louis, Missouri. Tissue samples collected from Robert R. in 1969 were tested in the 1980s and indicated the presence of an early strain of HIV/AIDS.
On June 22, 1969, Judy Garland died in her London home.
On July 19, 1969, Senator Edward Ted Kennedy drove his car off a wooden bridge and into a pond on Chappaquiddick Island. Kennedy escaped from the submerged car, but his passenger, 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne, did not.
On July 20, 1969, astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. When he took those first steps, he said the famous phrase, That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.
In August 1969, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair was held in upstate New York.
On September 26, 1969, The Brady Bunch premiered on ABC.
In October 1969, the first episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus debuted on BBC One.
On November 10, 1969, Sesame Street made its broadcast debut.
In November 1969, Dave Thomas opened his first Wendy’s restaurant in Columbus, Ohio.
On November 19, 1969, Brazilian soccer great Pelé scored his 1,000th professional goal.
On December 6, 1969, hundreds of thousands of people gathered at the Altamont Speedway for a free concert headlined by the Rolling Stones. It is mostly remembered for the violence that erupted, including the onstage killing of a gun-wielding teenager by a member of the Hells Angels.
Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award
To George Jessel
To Cary Grant for his unique mastery of the art of screen acting with the respect and affection of his colleagues.