Friday, February 21, 2014

Best Picture Winners: 1975 - 1979

The current score is 27 good choices out of 46.

The last half of this decade isn't as incredible as the first half, but it's still a pretty good streak.

1975 - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was the winner and you'd have to be crazy to argue against it. Nominee Jaws is probably the most widely watched picture of the group, then and now, and it is still pretty scary. Many critic would argue Kubrick's nominee Barry Lyndon is the masterpiece of the year. And nominees Dog Day Afternoon and Nashville would have been admirable choice as well. There were no bad choice among these five, so I'm okay with Cuckoo, though I would have voted for Spielberg's thriller.

1976 - There are those who look on this year as an outrage. How can Sly Stallone's Rocky beat nominated classics Network, All the President's Men and Taxi Driver? Well, because it's a great sports film with wonderful characters charmingly written and portrayed. Nominee Bound for Glory would have been the only bad choice and it's not a bad film.

1977 - STAR WARS was widely acknowledged at the time by anyone under the age of 21 as the greatest film ever made. I still love this nominee a lot. The prequels tried, but cannot kill its charm. But the winner was Annie Hall. Comedies rarely get much respect at the Oscars, and this was a great one, so I'll still have to classify this as an acceptable choice. Much better than nominees The Goodbye Girl, Julia or The Turning Point would have been.

1978 - The Deer Hunter won and it really is a flawed film. But it is still a great film, better than the other nominees, Coming Home, Heaven Can Wait, Midnight Express and especially An Unmarried Woman which is awfully dull. The truly great films of the year, Animal House, Halloween and Dawn of the Dead didn't have a shot at being nominated.

1979 - The only year of the decade where the Academy got it flat out wrong. The winner, Kramer vs. Kramer, is a good film, excellent soap opera which touched on themes like divorce and the place of men in child rearing that people obviously responded to. But nominee Apocalypse Now towers over it and the other nominees, All That Jazz, Breaking Away and Norma Rae, all of which would have been worthy of winning the year before.

So that's four out of five, a nine film streak for the Academy in the decade. Bringing the total to 31 out of 51.

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