1977 Academy Awards®
Winners and History
Introduction, 1927/8-39, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s
Academy Awards Summaries
"Best Picture" Oscar®, "Best Director" Oscar®, "Best Actor" Oscar®, "Best Supporting Actor" Oscar®,
"Best Actress" Oscar®, "Best Supporting Actress" Oscar®, "Best Screenplay/Writer" Oscar®
This was the Golden Anniversary (50th year) of the Academy Awards.
Four of the five Best Picture nominees were about strong, forceful females.
The ultimate winner was director/writer/actor Woody Allen's semi-autobiographical, romantic comedy - the acclaimed Annie Hall - with innovative narrative techniques, slapstick, and clever one-liners, about a brief, unstable love affair between a neurotic, Jewish comedian (Woody Allen) and an insecure, Waspish singer named Annie Hall (Diane Keaton). It was the first Best Picture comedy since Tom Jones (1963), and it would be another 21 years for the next romantic comedy to win Best Picture -- Shakespeare in Love (1998).
Allen's poignant film dominated the Oscars ceremony this year, with five nominations and four wins. Only Allen's own Best Actor nomination failed to win. Therefore, Allen won his first Oscar as a director rather than as a actor-performer. The bittersweet, introspective film was voted Best Picture (for producer Charles Joffe), Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Original Screenplay (co-written by Woody Allen and partner Marshall Brickman).
At only 93 minutes, it was one of the shortest Best Picture Oscar winners. It was also the first comedy to win the Best Picture Oscar since The Sting (1973), and before that, Tom Jones (1963). This win, for United Artists, made it the first studio to win three Best Pictures in a row (the second studio to duplicate this feat was DreamWorks (from 1999-2001)):
The other nominees for Best Picture included:
Woody Allen won the award for Best Director for arguably his best film, Annie Hall. Herbert Ross, the director of Best Picture-nominated The Goodbye Girl, was not nominated in the Best Director category for that film but for his second Best Picture-nominated film, The Turning Point. Neil Simon was not nominated for his Best Picture-nominated The Goodbye Girl. Simon's Best Director-nominee slot was taken by director Steven Spielberg for Close Encounters of the Third Kind (with nine nominations and two wins, for Best Sound Effects Editing and Best Cinematography) about extra-terrestrial contacts with earthlings - his first film after the enormously popular Jaws (1975).
The Best Actor award was an upset: 30 year-old Richard Dreyfuss (with his first nomination - and sole Oscar win) won the award for his role as adversarial, temperamental, yet aspiring actor Elliott Garfield, a Richard III thespian who shares a cramped tenement apartment with a single mother and her daughter in the comedy The Goodbye Girl (the film's sole Oscar win). [Curiously, Dreyfuss was not nominated for his leading role as electrical lineman Roy Neary whose life-transforming experiences caused obsessional behavior and eventual enlightenment in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. At thirty, he became the youngest man to ever win the Best Actor Award, but lost that honor twenty-five years later when 29 year-old Adrien Brody won for The Pianist (2002).]
The leading contender in the Best Actor category was sentimental favorite Richard Burton (with his seventh and last unsuccessful career nomination) as intense psychiatrist Dr. Martin Dysart who counsels a stable-boy who blinded horses in Sidney Lumet's adaptation of Peter Shaffer's play titled Equus (with three nominations and no wins). [With his seventh loss, Burton set a record for the most nominations without a win. Peter O'Toole duplicated his 'accomplishment' in 1982, and surpassed it in 2006.]
The other three Best Actor nominees were:
The Best Actress winner was Diane Keaton (with her first nomination - and sole Oscar win) for her title role (in her fourth film with Allen) in Annie Hall as Annie Hall - a kooky, aspiring singer and Alvy Singer's (Woody Allen) love interest. The neurotic title character was noted as repeatedly saying the trademark phrase in a non-chalant manner: "La-de-dah!"
Other Best Actress co-nominees included the two main actresses in The Turning Point, the story of two dancers who have chosen separate paths:
The other two Best Actress nominees included:
Jason Robards Jr. (with his second nomination), the only American-born performer among the other four foreign-born Best Supporting Actor nominees, won his second consecutive Best Supporting Actor award for his role as thriller-writer Dashiell Hammett (Lillian Hellman's lover) in Julia. [Other actors who have accomplished the same two-in-a-row win were: Luise Rainer (1936 and 1937), Spencer Tracy (1937 and 1938), Katharine Hepburn (1967 and 1968), and Tom Hanks (1993 and 1994).]
The other Best Supporting Actor nominees were:
Jason Robards' co-star, Vanessa Redgrave (with her sole Oscar win in a career total of six nominations) won the Best Supporting Actress award in the title role as an anti-Nazi activist in Julia. During her acceptance speech, she angered some viewers with a reference to a few militant "Zionist hoodlums whose behavior is an insult to the stature of Jews all over the world".
Other Best Supporting Actress nominees included:
Oscar Snubs and Omissions:
Steven Spielberg's film Close Encounters of the Third Kind was bypassed in nominations for Best Picture.
Paul Newman was neglected in the nominations for his role as minor league hockey player/coach Reggie Dunlop in director George Roy Hill's ultra-realistic Slap Shot. Both Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spacek were un-nominated in their first-rate performances as roommates Millie Lammoreaux and identity-stealing Pinky Rose in Robert Altman's Three Women. Best Actress winner Diane Keaton's performance as sexually-repressed teacher/single's bar swinger Theresa Dunn in Richard Brooks' Looking for Mr. Goodbar was overshadowed - and un-nominated. And Robert De Niro was neglected for his work as an overworked, Irving Thalberg-like 1930s producer in The Last Tycoon.
Although Annie Hall won four of its five nominations, Tony Roberts was neglected for his supporting role as Rob, and Gordon Willis' cinematography was also overlooked. Despite the film's influence on fashion in New York and elsewhere (Ruth Morley worked with Ralph Lauren, who designed Annie's wide tie, 30's style wide-legged pants, man's shirt and waistcoat), there was also no Best Costume Design nomination.
None of the Bee Gee's fantastic, chart-topping hit songs from Saturday Night Fever received an Oscar nomination. To add insult to injury, the year's nominees for Best Original Song Score and Best Adaptation Score were, respectively:
To make up for the glaring omission, the Academy awarded a Best Song Oscar ("Last Dance") to an inferior disco film the following year, Thank God It's Friday (1978), featuring Donna Summer's film debut.
One of the best-known songs of all time, the theme song "New York, New York" from Martin Scorsese's musical flop New York, New York (1977), went un-nominated for Best Original Song.