Everyone suspected that Midnight Cowboy would win the 1969 Best Picture Oscar. Because it had sadness, soul, big-city grit, great performances, great music and visual poetry…obviously a deeper, meatier, more ambitious film than Anne of the Thousand Days, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Hello, Dolly!, which were also nominated.

But deep down I adored the fifth competitor, Costa GavrasZ, a little bit more than Midnight Cowboy, partly because I was creeped out by the Bob Balaban blowjob scene. I wouldn’t have been the least bit unhappy if Z had won.

Which of the five is the most beloved or most widely seen today? Butch Cassidy, most likely, with Midnight Cowboy a close second. Nobody cares about Hello, Dolly! or Anne of a Thousand Days, and for the most part Z is a low-profile arthouse curio — admired and respected by film connoisseurs but ignored by Joe and Jane Popcorn.

Jon Voight was regarded as a good, gentle soul in the spring of ’70 — he wouldn’t cross over into rightwing lunacy until the dawn of the 21st Century.