1975 is a really strong year. One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest wins Best Picture over Jaws, Barry Lyndon, Dog Day Afternoon and Nashville. All (though I’m not the biggest fan of Nashville) would have been acceptable decisions for most people. Cuckoo’s Nest also wins Best Director for Milos Forman and Best Actress for Louise Fletcher (talked about here). I love the Best Actress decision, and, while I accept the Best Director decision, I don’t particularly like it, since Sidney Lumet, Stanley Kubrick and (an un-nominated) Steven Spielberg gave better efforts than Forman did. Forman’s effort was pretty theatrical. Plus Kubrick and Lumet were already overdue by this point.
Best Supporting Actor this year was George Burns for The Sunshine Boys (talked about here), which I like as a decision. Nice way to reward a veteran who gave a great performance. And Best Supporting Actress was Lee Grant for Shampoo, which I also like, since — the category sucked. She was gonna win one at some point, and this was the logical category for her to do it.
Which brings us to this category. A very strong one, performance-wise. And the decision had to happen, however one may feel about it (but I can’t imagine anyone would actually be against it), since Nicholson was way overdue by this point and gave one of the defining performances of his career.
BEST ACTOR – 1975
And the nominees were…
Walter Matthau, The Sunshine Boys
Jack Nicholson, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Al Pacino, Dog Day Afternoon
Maximilian Schell, The Man in the Glass Booth
James Whitmore, Give ’em Hell, Harry! (more…)