The 1970s! Where to even being?
The 1970s began with Hollywood embracing the daring and the artistic and it ended with Hollywood moving towards the type of big budget blockbusters that have come to define the industry. The 1970s saw the birth of modern Hollywood. Along the way, many great films were released and, for once, many of them were honored by the Academy.
For this decade, the problem isn’t going to be finding 6 things that the Academy got right. The problem is going to be narrowing the list down to only six.
- The Godfather and The Godfather Part II win Best Picture in 1972 and 1974
Never has the Academy been more correct than when they named The Godfather and The Godfather Part II as being the best films of their respective years. For that matter, 1972 and 1974 were both great cinematic years and the Academy deserves a lot of credit for truly nominating the best films of those years. Some, I know, will point out that The Towering Inferno was nominated in 1974 but you know what? Even The Towering Inferno is kind of fun.
(Now, of course, if The Towering Inferno had won, they’d have a point….)
2. The 1971 Best Picture lineup
With the exception of Nicholas and Alexandra, the 1971 Best Picture lineup was one of the best that the Academy ever put together. A Clockwork Orange, Fiddler on the Roof, The French Connection, The Last Picture Show …. just replace Nicholas and Alexandra with Dirty Harry and it would be perfect!
3. The Exorcist And Jaws Are Nominated For Best Picture
Often ignored in the past, the horror genre was finally acknowledged in the 70s. Of course, both The Exorcist and Jaws had to make a huge amount of money in order to be accepted but no matter. I still love that they were nominated.
4. Sissy Spacek Is Nominated For Best Actress For 1976’s Carrie
Speaking of the horror genre, Sissy Spacek not only deserved to be nominated but, along with Piper Laurie, she probably should have won. Spacek’s performance remains powerful to this day. I’ve always felt that the film version of Carrie was far superior to Stephen King’s novel and that’s because Spacek plays the role with an empathy that’s missing from the book. Carrie White is both frightening and sympathetic and for that, Spacek deserved the Oscar.
5. John Travolta Is Nominated For Best Actor For 1977’s Saturday Night Fever
Somehow, he lost to Richard Dreyfuss’s manic turn in The Goodbye Girl but just the fact that Travolta was nominated is still one of the Academy’s best decisions. It’s just unfortunate that the Academy’s music branch didn’t show the same respect for the movie’s soundtrack.
6. Christopher Walken Wins Best Supporting Actor For 1978’s The Deer Hunter
I’m a bit biased because I just watched this film a few nights ago but no matter. If you’re ever tempted to dismiss Walken as being more of an eccentric personality than an actor, I suggest you watch The Deer Hunter. His performance is as brilliant as it is heart-breaking.
Next up: the 80s!