Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1974


Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

John Cassavetes (A Woman Under the Influence)
Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather, Part II)
Bob Fosse (Lenny)
Roman Polanski (Chinatown)
François Truffaut (Day for Night)

Biggest Snub:

Francis Ford Coppola – The Conversation

My Overall Thoughts:

This was a year where two of the nominees were the neck and neck for the win and left all of the other 3 nominees far behind.

My Rankings:

Directing

5. Bob Fosse 
4. John Cassavetes
3. François Truffaut 
2. Francis Ford Coppola
1. Roman Polanski

Movies

5. LennyHad high expectations for this and was sorely disappointed. Hoffman is ok here but he has done must better work elsewhere. Think I just don’t like the way Fosse presents movies.
4. A Woman Under the InfluenceInteresting look at how a mental illness can affect a family and disrupt their calm way of life. Falk is great in the lead especially since he is cast against character but Rowlands steals the show with her Oscar nominated / Globe winning performance.  The story drags on a bit too much and has too many lulls along the way and would have been better if it would have been shorter.
3. Day for NightGreat idea that works despite it being a bit odd. The fact that Truffaut cast himself in the lead was a great idea since he is quite familiar with the way things actually work.  We are given an inside look at how difficult the life of a director can be while making a film because of the fact that he must deal with so much in order to find a way to accomplish his task. Truffaut was deservingly nominated for Best Director for this film but there was little chance of him outdoing Coppola for The Godfather Part II (1974)
2. ChinatownGreat detective film that does a great job of keeping things moving at a superb pace. The twists and turns throughout the story keep things so interesting the whole way through. Loved how they slowly give us information about the past history of some of the characters which gives us insight into what may or may not be relevant later on. Nicholson, Dunaway and Huston are all excellent here but Nicholson stands out because he is able to show how great an actor he could be with this role. One of Polanski’s best films!
1. The Godfather, Part II  –Great movie. Not as good as the first one, but much better than the third one. Continues the epic tale of the Mafia family and helps make things feel so realistic. Definitely deserving of BP that year.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Most Definitely!  FFC was a very deserving winner for TGP2 after being passed over two years earlier.  Polanski was a very close second and would have easily won in any other year.

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

One thought on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1974

  1. Agree with your assessments on 1 and 2, although much credit should be given to Robert Towne’s SCREENPLAY (original) for Chinatown – which I think is one of the finest ever written (and I’ve read the script – it’s all there on the page). Disagree with you on your blind spot on Fosse. I thought Lenny was excellent. Also, in the past, you’ve accused the Academy of doing a “make good” when they screwed up on awarding someone in an earlier year – so that might apply to Coppola here and may have helped him eke out a win over Polanski. His make good for Chinatown took all the way until The Pianist – and was enough to ignore his fleeing the country over a statutory rape charge and hiding out in Europe. Also, tough to say Francis was “snubbed” for “The Conversation” when he was nominated and won for Godfather II. The “snub” for The Conversation might’ve been to Gene Hackman for Best Actor.

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