Mike’s Top Ten of 1976
1976 is a year that a lot of people gravitate to because it’s got some of the most memorable films of the 70s in it. The Best Picture list of this year includes All the President’s Men, Network, Rocky and Taxi Driver. That alone means it’s gonna have a lot of eyeballs on it. And then there’s some other really iconic films from this year too. You could pinpoint a lot of really pivotal moments for film that all happened in this year. John Wayne’s last film, the last great western before the genre died out, and, oh yeah… those four films previously mentioned.
The other great thing about this year, as is the case with most 70s years, is that there are so many great films below the top ten that are just great, most of which are true hidden gems that are largely forgotten nowadays.
Also take a look out for one of my absolute favorite comedies of all time. (more…)
The Oscar Quest: Best Picture – 1976
Oh, I hate having to talk about this year. This is one of the most contentious Best Picture choices of all time. It really is. Everyone has an opinion.
Generally considered one of the strongest Best Picture categories ever — Rocky takes the win. Fortunately, the film has become iconic, so the win doesn’t look as bad as something like Chariots of Fire does. It also wins Best Director for John G. Avildsen (talked about here). That actually helped the decision seem stronger, since it helps when they show it more support than just the Picture win. Best Actor was Peter Finch for Network (talked about here), and while he was more of a strong supporting role in the film, he was actually a good decision, since William Holden had an Oscar already and De Niro would win his later. Faye Dunaway also won Best Actress for the film (talked about here), which actually was a great decision, since she was so overdue by this point. And Beatrice Straight won Best Supporting Actress for the film (talked about here), after giving a 5 1/2 minute performance. I don’t really think she should have won, but hey — Jodie certainly came out okay from it. And Jason Robards won Best Supporting Actor for All the President’s Men (talked about here), which was an amazing decision. He’s so good in that.
Now, let me say — there’s a lot of contention here. And everyone is entitled to their opinion. I see why Rocky is considered a “lesser” film to at least three of the other nominees. But, honestly — I love the film so much, and knowing that it won — it actually makes it a lot easier for me to vote for it, guilt-free. I probably could have said that for any one of four films if they had won this category. In a year like this, I personally just marvel at the films rather than quibble about what should have won.
BEST PICTURE – 1976
And the nominees are…
All the President’s Men (Warner Bros.)
Bound for Glory (United Artists)
Network (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, United Artists)
Rocky (United Artists)
Taxi Driver (Columbia) (more…)
The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1976
I love 1976. It’s one of the strongest Best Picture fields of all time, my favorite film of the bunch — Rocky wins Best Picture, and almost all the decisions they made are either acceptable or great.
John G. Avildsen wins Best Director for Rocky (talked about here), which goes with the territory. Whichever won Best Picture was also gonna win Best Director. Peter Finch won Best Actor for Network (talked about here), which is wholly acceptable, since all the other deserving nominees had won or would later win Oscars. Beatrice Straight also won Best Supporting Actress for the film (talked about here), which is acceptable, despite the fact that she was only on screen for five minutes. And Best Supporting Actor was Jason Robards for All the President’s Men (talked about here). I wouldn’t have voted for him, but I understand and can accept the decision.
Which brings us to this category. I’m not gonna lie — I’m not voting for her here. I have a strong personal preference that overrides everything .But, after all the incredible performances she gave, she totally deserved this, and was gonna win anyway, so I’m glad she did.
BEST ACTRESS – 1976
And the nominees were…
Marie-Christine Barrault, Cousin, cousine
Faye Dunaway, Network
Talia Shire, Rocky
Sissy Spacek, Carrie
Liv Ullmann, Face to Face (more…)
The Oscar Quest: Best Director – 1976
I love me some 1976. How can you not? Rocky, Taxi Driver, All the President’s Men, Network… and those were just the films nominated for Best Picture. How stacked a list is that? It’s probably the strongest Best Picture year of all time. And Rocky winning Best Picture, to me, was the best decision, mostly because it’s my favorite film of the bunch. Though I get people feeling otherwise (as long as they aren’t dicks about it).
Peter Finch wins Best Actor for Network (talked about here), which, while it wouldn’t have been my personal choice in the category, is totally acceptable as a result. I explained why in the article. Then Best Actress was Faye Dunaway, also for Network, which had to happen. She earned a statue twice over by this point and gave arguably the best performance of her career. Great call. (Shame about Talia Shire, though. Sentimental favorite.) Then Best Supporting Actress was Beatrice Straight, also from Network (talked about here), which I’m okay with (I think), though I’d have voted for Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver. And Best Supporting Actor was Jason Robards for All the President’s Men (talked about here), which I’m okay with, but I, personally would have gone with Burt Young or Burgess Meredith (not even sentimentally, I thought they legit gave better performances).
So that’s 1976. Awesome, in all, and it ends with this category, which, given the Best Picture choice, was pretty much a foregone conclusion.
BEST DIRECTOR – 1976
And the nominees were…
John G. Avildsen, Rocky
Ingmar Bergman, Face to Face
Sidney Lumet, Network
Alan J. Pakula, All the President’s Men
Lina Wertmüller, Seven Beauties (more…)
The Oscar Quest: Best Actor – 1976
1976. This has been coming up a lot lately. Which is good, since, the year is so good all around, everyone pretty much knows about it. I mean, Rocky, Network, All the President’s Men, Taxi Driver? It didn’t matter what won Best Picture there. Though, for my money, Rocky was the best choice. John G. Avildsen wins Best Director for it, which, okay, maybe not the best choice of the bunch, but, understandable.
As for the rest of the categories — Faye Dunaway wins Best Actress for Network. She was way overdue by this point, so that’s understandable. Beatrice Straight wins Best Supporting Actress for it as well (which I talked about here). Jason Robards wins Best Supporting Actress for All the President’s Men (which I talked about here). Which brings us to this category.
A lot’s been said about this category over the years. A lot of people cry foul that Robert De Niro didn’t win here for Taxi Driver. My first run-through, seeing these nominees, I couldn’t see how William Holden didn’t win for Network. But, looking at what happened around this category, I don’t see how this isn’t considered a good decision.
BEST ACTOR – 1976
And the nominees were…
Robert De Niro, Taxi Driver
Peter Finch, Network
Giancarlo Giannini, Seven Beauties
William Holden, Network
Sylvester Stallone, Rocky (more…)
The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor – 1976
I love 1976. How can you not? Taxi Driver, All the President’s Men, Network and Rocky. And Bound for Glory, but, whatever on that one. But those first four — wow. For me, 1976 was going to be a great year no matter what they chose for Best Picture. Personally I thought they made the best choice with Rocky, though I bet that’s the one choice people bitch about the most. Best Director for John G. Avildsesn — okay, fine, maybe Sidney Lumet or Alan Pakula should have won. But, hey, Avildsen also directed the Karate Kid, so at least he’s got two redeemable movies on his resume. I think that’s enough for him to have earned it (independent of those two.
Also this year, Peter Finch wins Best Actor for Network, which I swear I just talked about. Oh, wait, that was Beatrice Straight for Best Supporting Actress, which I talked about here. And also Faye Dunaway wins Best Actress for Network as well. So really that film swept almost every other major award at the ceremony except Picture, Director, and this one. This one, now, is a horse of a different color.
I have mixed feelings about this one. I love Jason Robards, but, he won twice, in a row, here and in 1977, and I feel as though he only needed one. And that’s really because, in this category, I really think someone else should have won. But, outside of that, can we all just agree on how amazingly stacked this category is, with the performances and the films they were in? Holy fuck it’s good, right?
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – 1976
And the nominees were…
Ned Beatty, Network
Burgess Meredith, Rocky
Laurence Olivier, Marathon Man
Jason Robards, All the President’s Men
Burt Young, Rocky (more…)
The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actress – 1976
Oh, 1976. What a stacked year. Rocky wins Best Picture, which, some people are upset over. I understand. All the President’s Men, Taxi Driver, Network, and, Bound for Glory were also nominated for Best Picture. I think we can all agree, there were four great decisions to be made there. Personally, I think they made the best one. John G. Avildsen didn’t necessarily need to win Best Director. I think Sidney Lumet or Alan Pakula would have been better choices (Martin Scorsese was not nominated. Your guess as to why), but you know, Rocky‘s awesome.
As for the rest of the year, Peter Finch wins Best Actor for Network. He beat Sly Stallone (who didn’t need the Oscar), Bill Holden (who had his Oscar already), Bob De Niro (who had an Oscar and would get one four years after this, which may or may not make up for the fact that it was fucking Taxi Driver), and Giancarlo Giannini for Seven Beauties (who went on to get tortured and killed in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. Bonus points for also being disembowled in Hannibal). I call that a fair decision. Best Actress went to Faye Dunaway (finally!), also for Network, ending her string of (acceptable) snubs. And Best Supporting Actor went to Jason Robards for All the President’s Men, which, is acceptable (kind of), but — I’d personally have gone for Burgess Meredith or Burt Young for Rocky. But, you know, Robards is awesome.
That’s really it. 1976 is one of the strongest years in Academy history. You know, it’s awesome. (Motif!)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – 1976
And the nominees were…
Jane Alexander, All the President’s Men
Jodie Foster, Taxi Driver
Lee Grant, Voyage of the Damned
Piper Laurie, Carrie
Beatrice Straight, Network (more…)