Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1971

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Peter Bogdanovich (The Last Picture Show)
William Friedkin (The French Connection)
Norman Jewison (Fiddler on the Roof)
Stanley Kubrick (A Clockwork Orange)
John Schlesinger (Sunday Bloody Sunday)

Biggest Snub:

Arthur Hiller – The Hospital

My Overall Thoughts:

This was an interesting year where 2 of the 5 nominees did amazing jobs in their respective films and genres but ultimately it came down to a decisions as to whether to give the win to a musical or thriller

My Rankings:


5. John Schlesinger 
4. Stanley Kubrick
3. Peter Bogdanovich
2. William Friedkin
1. Norman Jewison


5. A Clockwork OrangeA movie that needs too much to be deciphered to even attempt to enjoy. Kubrick was a genius, but he tried here to leave too much for the viewer to guess. When you watch a movie, you want to be drawn in, but here I only felt that it was trying to repulse me the whole time.
4. Sunday Bloody SundayFilm that tries to show how people get caught up in their lives and are willing to settle for small amounts of love along the way without trying to find a reason to commit to a real relationship. Finch and Jackson are both quite good here, but the story itself moves along at such a slow pace that it too often reaches lulls where it is less interesting to watch what will happen as the story unfolds.
3. The Last Picture ShowSlow, but very good story that says so much about how youth want to get older and how older people reminisce about their vibrant youthful days. Great script that is portrayed expertly by its cast. Bottoms, Bridges and Shepard made names for themselves here. Johnson, Leachman and Burstyn are great in supporting roles that earned each of them an Oscar nomination with Johnson and Leachman taking home supporting actor gold for this movie.
2. The French ConnectionNot the Best Best Picture, but still a film that helps define the detective genre for films and TV shows. Hackman is excellent as the main character and deserved his Oscar for the role.
1. Fiddler on the RoofThis film is not only my favorite musical but its also one of my all-time favorite movies.  The idea of dealing with a changing world is such a universal concept that is even relevant to people in today’s world.  I have seen this film so many times and despite the fact that it’s three hours long, I could watch it over and over and never get tired of it.  The songs and themes depicted here are superb and I cry at some of the simple moments in the film because its so powerful.  Topol is an amazing lead actor and gave this film a more lofty and serious tone than his on-stage predesessor Zero Mostel was ever able to do. This film was clearly the best film of 1971 and should have beaten The French Connection (1971) for the Oscar for Best Picture.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yes and No!  I think that NJ does an amazing job with FotR which was not an easy film to adapt to the screen, but there is no question as to the fact that WF managed to bring a taut crime thriller to the screen which would become the standard for the way these kind of films will e made for the next almost 50 years.

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

One thought on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1971

  1. Of your top 3 – coulda been anyone.All terrific films. Love French Connection.Last Picture show was superb. And Fiddler was excellent (although not MY favorite musical).


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