Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1977


Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Woody Allen (Annie Hall)
George Lucas (Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope)
Herbert Ross (The Turning Point)
Steven Spielberg (Close Encounters of the Third Kind)
Fred Zinnemann (Julia)

Biggest Snub:

Richard Attenborough – A Bridge Too Far

My Overall Thoughts:

This is an interesting year. All 5 of the nominees do very good jobs with directing these 5 nominated films and any of them could theoretically have been worthy of winning even if only one of them was so groundbreaking and would have such an effect on the future of films.

My Rankings:

Directing

5. Fred Zinnemann 
4. Herbert Ross 
3. Steven Spielberg 
2. Woody Allen
1. George Lucas

Movies

5. The Turning PointInteresting film that looks at how people reflect on choices they made in life. I probably would have enjoyed this even more if I was a fan of ballet (which I’m surprisingly not). Bancroft and MacLaine are both great here because we easily get to see how different the paths of two similar lives can take solely depending on each decision.
4. JuliaGripping tale of friendship over danger and the love friends can have even when separated for so long.
3. Close Encounters of the Third KindGreat film that is reminiscent of other early Spielberg films, yet doesn’t seem to have as great an impact despite that. The cast is quite good here and Dreyfuss plays the is he crazy/or isn’t he role quite well. The way that the mystery of it all is teased throughout is great but the final meeting is a slight letdown due to the way it is built up until that point. Score by Williams is great to listen to. Special effects are great for it’s time, but the film leaves too many questions unanswered to be considered amazing.
2. Annie HallFunny movie, Allen plays himself best. Great rom-com that still remains one of the best of the genre even after 4 decades. Manages to mix the drama and comedy so well and comes across as being extremely realistic.
1. Star Wars: Episode IV — A New HopeAmazing film that gets better and better every time I see it. The banter between R2D2 and C-3PO is always enjoyable to listen to. The way that the story is played out works so well and it remains such a classic premise that has been copied so often to a lesser effect. Great cast led by largely unknown actors at the time have become so iconic in these roles and have thrilled generations over the 41 years since the film debuted. Guinness is great as the mentor figure and even though some of his scenes seem a bit weird, they still help keep the story moving along throughout. The special effects are superbly done and were extremely groundbreaking at the time and still hold up quite well even with 4 decades of new effects being created ever since. Music by Williams still remains so powerful and iconic and I can listen to it over and over without getting bored of it.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yes and No!  The Academy wasn’t ready for a sci-fi movie to win any of the big awards in ’77 and eventhough Lucas’ masterpiece was amazing, the Academy members still chose to go with the safe choice and award Allen who does a great rom-com that still remains relevant even after more than 40 years.

Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!

One thought on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1977

  1. You may get a 2nd chance with Turning Point – I’ve heard rumors of a remake. Disagree on “snub” for Attenborough. I love WW II movies – but Bridge Too Far was a dud – about a mission that went wrong in a big way. Dumb idea for a film (like Dunkirk was, IMO, last year. An evacuation, NOT a battle won). As to Star Wars – impressive, but very Saturday morning kids kind of set up. Close Encounters was excellent – but falls into Spielberg, Still Boy Genius territory. Academy not ready for him yet. But deserving for the scope of the piece. JULIA, also excellent, important story – well told – biopic (Academy loves those) and featuring a slew of great performances. Could’ve won for Ross. Would’ve been fine with that. Woody’s year. A gem. Would screenplay have been enough? Maybe. But it also won Best Picture – and Woody never takes producing credits on his films – so Director and Writer seem appropriate. Lastly – on Turning Point… Herb Ross came thisclose to luring Grace Kelly out of retirement to play one of the ballerinas (opposite AUDREY HEPBURN!!), but Prince Rainier wouldn’t permit it. Not sure if that casting would’ve made more of an impact on you Rob. Also – not sure who he would’ve replaced since all 5 nominees were deserving – but John Badham might’ve been a bit screwed for “Saturday Night Fever”.

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