If 1973 isn’t the strongest year of the decade, then 1975 for sure is. This top ten list, though. Holy shit. When the weakest one in the bunch is something that you disagree with because it’s not your cup of tea, that’s a strong year. You can’t argue with the cultural impact or strength of any of these films. Kubrick, Lumet, Spielberg, Gilliam, Altman, Forman, Pollack, Russell. That’s just 8 of the top 10. That’s nuts.
I will admit, it’s somewhat top heavy a year, as the lower films aren’t as strong as the ones in some other years. But still, when you have a top ten as strong as this one, you don’t need much else. (more…)
What is it with the 70s? Great films on top of great films. We’ve rarely had it this good, before or since. The 1972-1976 years are perhaps the strongest consecutive years ever, Oscar-wise. It’s just ridiculous. And what’s great about them is, you can quibble about what won, but you cannot deny the fact that the film that won was better than at least half the other Best Picture winners.
This year, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest wins the big five — Best Picture, Best Director for Milos Forman (talked about here), Best Actor for Jack Nicholson (talked about here), Best Actress for Louise Fletcher (talked about here), and Best Screenplay. If you’ve seen the film, you know how good it is and how good of a decision those were. (Though, personally, I’d have gone another way on Director no matter what won here, just because of personal preference.) Best Supporting Actor was George Burns for The Sunshine Boys (talked about here), which is awesome, and Best Supporting Actress was Lee Grant for Shampoo (talked about here), which works, given the weakness of the category and her stature as an actress.
So, overall — 1975 is an amazing year, and really all we can quibble about is what we liked instead, even though we all know what did win is more than perfectly acceptable. I love years like this.
BEST PICTURE – 1975
And the nominees were…
Barry Lyndon (Warner Bros.)
Dog Day Afternoon (Warner Bros.)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (United Artists) (more…)
1975 is a pretty basic Academy year. No need to get complicated with it.
One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest wins Best Picture, Best Actor for Jack Nicholson (talked about here), Best Actress for Louise Fletcher (talked about here), and Best Director for Milos Forman (talked about here). All are great in their own way, though I didn’t think Best Director was absolutely necessary, even though it makes sense. And Best Supporting Actor was George Burns for The Sunshine Boys (talked about here). Great veteran Oscar.
So that leaves this category. Whoa, is it weak. Really weak. Fortunately, they made the best decision, so it worked out.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – 1975
And the nominees were…
Ronee Blakley, Nashville
Lee Grant, Shampoo
Sylvia Miles, Farewell, My Lovely
Lily Tomlin, Nashville
Brenda Vaccaro, Jacqueline Susann’s Once Is Not Enough (more…)
Ever see the video of Steven Spielberg watching the nominees be announced this year? It’s great. He’s like, “I got beaten out by Fellini!” Even he can’t believe he wasn’t nominated. That about describes this category. How the hell are you not gonna nominate Jaws? But I digress. Let’s recap.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest pretty much sweeps all the awards, winning Best Picture, Best Actor for Jack Nicholson (talked about here), Best Actress for Louise Fletcher (talked about here), and this category. The awards it didn’t win were Best Supporting Actor, which went to George Burns for The Sunshine Boys (talked about here), and Best Supporting Actress, which went to Lee Grant for Shampoo. Both were strong decisions. Pretty much this entire year was really strong.
The only category I really have a problem with this year is this category. I know the Picture/Director link-up is nice and all, but — it didn’t need to happen here. Cuckoo’s Nest is a very stagy film. I think they could easily have split Picture and Director, and the two acting wins would have stopped anyone from thinking twice about it. Especially if they gave this to one of the two people they should have. It wouldn’t have mattered at all. (But seriously — no Jaws — that’s laughable.)
BEST DIRECTOR – 1975
And the nominees were…
Robert Altman, Nashville
Federico Fellini, Amarcord
Milos Forman, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Stanley Kubrick, Barry Lyndon
Sidney Lumet, Dog Day Afternoon (more…)
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…)
1975 is such a strong year. And it’s the crux of the 70s, too. Seriously, ’74, ’75 and ’76 were the three strongest years in the Academy’s history. And if they aren’t, they’re top five for sure. It’s incredible. Just listen to this murderer’s row of 1975 Best Picture nominees: Barry Lyndon, Dog Day Afternoon, Jaws, Nashville, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. How do you pick?
One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest wins Best Picture, Best Director for Milos Forman, Best Actor for Jack Nicholson, and this category. I love all the decisions except Best Director. That one — I know it was gonna happen because it synched up with Best Picture, but — it was probably the fourth best actual directing effort at best. You’re gonna tell me Forman did a better directing job than Stanley Kubrick, Sidney Lumet and (an un-nominated) Steven Spielberg? Okay…
The rest of the year was George Burns as Best Actor for The Sunshine Boys (talked about here), which I like. Nice veteran win for a great guy and a hilarious performance. And Best Supporting Actress was Lee Grant for Shampoo, which was a great decision because she was an actress who was gonna win won at some point, gave a great performance, and the category was weak as hell.
So, really, 1975 is actually a really strong year. The only category I really have any gripe with is Best Director, and even that — whatever.
BEST ACTRESS – 1975
And the nominees were…
Isabelle Adjani, The Story of Adele H.
Louise Fletcher, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Glenda Jackson, Hedda
Carol Kane, Hester Street (more…)
1975 is the kind of year you just glance at and then move on. It’s one of those years where, at face value, nothing is wrong, and then after the fact, you think, “Wait, were those the droids I was looking for?”
What I mean by that is — all of the choices they made (well, most of them. One of them — whatever), you look at them and immediately go, “Yeah, good choices. There’s nothing really wrong here.” But, when you do think about it, are they actually good choices?
Take Best Picture and Best Director from this year. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. A classic film. A great film. There’s no denying that. Miloš Forman. A great director. Has made some classics — Amadeus, Man on the Moon, Ragtime, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Hair — there’s really no denying that the film and director are great. But — are they really worthy of winning Best Picture? Or more specifically, are they worthy of winning Best Picture this specific year? It’s just a thought. I’ll bring it up later when I actually go over the categories. It’s just something that I’ve been thinking about every time I go back to the categories. If you want to get a head start and try to see what I mean, take a look at what else (and who else) was nominated (and by exclusion, wasn’t). Just take a look. (Hint: My argument is going to have something to do with being cinematic vs. being theatrical.)
Anyway, the other major categories that happened this year basically amounted to a clean sweep for Cuckoo’s Nest. Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher took hom Best Actor and Best Actress. Interesting fact on that, because lord knows I’m all about the interesting facts. The only two times Jack Nicholson has won the Best Actor Oscar, his costar also won the Best Actress Oscar as well. That’s an interesting fact, right? Every time Jack has won, he helped his costar win too. That says something, methinks. What, I don’t know. But something. (more…)