Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1973

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Ingmar Bergman (Cries and Whispers)
Bernardo Bertolucci (Last Tango in Paris)
William Friedkin (The Exorcist)
George Roy Hill (The Sting)
George Lucas (American Graffiti)

Biggest Snub:

Sidney Lumet – Serpico

My Overall Thoughts:

This was a year with 5 talented and deserving directors getting nominations even if none of them gave an out of the park home run.

My Rankings:


5. Ingmar Bergman 
4. Bernardo Bertolucci 
3. William Friedkin
2. George Lucas
1. George Roy Hill


5. Cries and WhispersTotally didn’t like this film at all. It was too “artistic” for me and doesn’t have a very easily understandable narrative. Thankfully it was relatively short, so I didn’t suffer for too long.
4. Last Tango in Paris – Controversial film for its time due to its raw depiction of a relationship based solely on physical aspects without getting emotional ones involved. Brando is fine here but the story is quite boring to watch because nothing really happens throughout the film that would make it interesting to watch from a narrative perspective. I understand the controversy of the film, but by today’s standards there isn’t anything that feels too graphic or overly explicit. Brando was nominated for Best Actor for this role and that probably has to do with the fact that he plays the role very distantly and subtlety which is not the kind of roles he was known for. Ultimately, this is just not an enjoyable film to watch IMHO.
3. American GraffitiMovie that proved Lucas knew what he was doing as a writer and director. Love how this was the inspiration for Happy Days. Great cast of relatively unknowns that mostly went on to bigger and brighter projects. Excellent soundtrack and production that transports us back to the early 1960’s.
2. The ExorcistSo much better than I had recalled. This film builds the story up really well and keeps things thrilling and interesting the entire time. I liked the fact that they approach this supernatural subject from a realistic perspective and try to show that something like this can actually happen. The pacing of this film works really well and nothing seems neither forced nor rushed. The cast is great and they are do a fine job keeping this exciting and powerful. Definitely was deserving of being the very first film from the horror genre to break the glass ceiling and get an Oscar nomination for Best Picture along with 9 other nominations. It managed to only win Best Sound and Best Adapted Screenplay.
1. The Sting Very fun movie, worthy best picture 40+ years later. Great cast helps keep the story fun and interesting the entire time.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yes!  In a tough year, they did ultimately make the right choice with Hill taking home gold.

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

One thought on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1973

  1. Agree on your “snub” choice – big time. A good year – I would’ve been happy with ANY of your top 3 wining. I loved The Sting (although some of it always comes off like an expensive TV movie for me) and i probably would’ve voted for Friedkin who took a terrific book and made it into a stunning classic film.


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