The Oscar Quest: Best Director – 1970

I have to be okay with 1970, because you just can’t argue with it. Patton is a film that’s gonna win Best Picture almost every time. It just is. And George C. Scott winning Best Actor for it (talked about here) is one of the greatest Best Actor decisions of all time (sorry, James Earl Jones. you were incredible too).

As for the rest of this year, Glenda Jackson winning Best Actress for Women in Love ranks as the single worst Academy decision of all time. You can feel my pain here. Best Supporting Actor was John Mills for Ryan’s Daughter, which I hate, as I said here. And Best Supporting Actress was Helen Hayes for Airport (talked about here), which is one of the few decisions from this year I actually like.

My problem with this year is — I love Love Story. It’s one of my favorite films of all time. And the fact that Patton was gonna win no matter what (much like 1997 with Titanic and L.A. Confidential) is quite disappointing. But fortunately, this category, Patton or not, was a good decision.


And the nominees were…

Robert Altman, MASH

Federico Fellini, Satyricon

Arthur Hiller, Love Story

Ken Russell, Women in Love

Franklin J. Schaffner, Patton

Altman — MASH is the film that spawned the series. About the medical hospital in Korea where the men don’t seem to do much and lots of hijinks occur. There’s really no plot to the film. It’s mostly just a series of happenings, so there’s nothing to summarize. But know that it’s a funny film and that you should totally see it if you haven’t (and you should probably know that without me having to tell you).

Altman’s direction is fine. You can see where his later style was being developed here. Thing is, though — I never considered Altman a director who needed to win Best Director. I’m not that big a fan of his films. A lot of people are, and I understand that — but I’m not. So I don’t feel the need to vote for him ever.

Fellini — What a fucking weird movie this is. It’s a series of shit going on in ancient Rome. I honestly don’t remember half the shit that happened, because it felt like Shakespeare on an acid trip. I remember three things — weird makeup and costumes and surrealistic images, orgies, and a big minotaur fight. Other than that, I couldn’t begin to tell you what this was about.

No way in hell I, or anyone, will or should vote for Fellini here. If he didn’t win for 8 1/2 or La Dolce Vita, there’s no way he should have won for this. Never ever never.

Hiller — Love Story is seriously one of my favorite films of all time. I love it so much.

It’s about a preppy rich kid who meets and falls in love with a poor girl. And they fall in love, and marry, and then she gets sick and dies. (They tell you she dies from the opening line, so I’m not spoiling anything.) What makes the film work is the authenticity of the romance (not necessarily the father aspect, just the way they interact and the brilliance of the dialogue) and the performance of Ali MacGraw. Holy shit, that woman deserved to win an Oscar for her performance. And she didn’t, hence the reason it’s the worst Academy decision of all time (especially when you see Glenda Jackson’s performance). It’s a perfect movie, and if you haven’t seen it, we can’t be friends.

Hiller’s direction is fine. Thing is, though — I actually feel Patton’s direction was better. And I love this film. But I feel that this should have won Best Picture and Patton should have won here and Best Actor, and then everything would have went the way it should have.

Russell — What the fuck is this movie?

Glenda Jackson and her sister want men. They meet Alan Bates and Oliver Reed. They start seeing them, and they start fucking them. Then I think the men start fucking each other, or they switch partners — some fucked up shit happens. I don’t know. This movie was terrible.

No. Just no. I know Ken Russell is Ken Russell — but no. Not this movie. Flat out refuse.

Schaffner — Patton is Patton. Biopic of Patton, or more like an examination of Patton, featuring a brilliant performance by George C. Scott. No need to summarize it, because that’s the film.

The direction here is really strong, and I feel it was the best possible choice in this category. That’s it, really. It’s a pretty simple one.

My Thoughts: Easy category. Hiller was my favorite by far, but Schaffner deserved this one. No contest. Russell was no way, Fellini’s was just too weird, and Atlman — meh. Schaffner all the way.

My Vote: Schaffner

Should Have Won: Schaffner

Is the result acceptable?: Best result in the category, which, given my obscene love for Love Story, should tell you something.

Ones I suggest you see: Love Story, if you haven’t seen this, you are dead to me, and we can’t be friends.

Patton you should probably see because it’s a classic and because George C. Scott’s performance is one of the best male performances ever put to screen.

MASH is MASH, and you should probably see it. It’s really hilarious and it’s also a classic. Don’t be a schmuck.


5) Russell

4) Fellini

3) Altman

2) Schaffner

1) Hiller

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