Academy Awards
Best Picture Milestones



1970s
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Oscars - Best Picture Milestones
Year of Awards (No.) Production Company Best Picture Winner/Year and Director
Number of Awards/Nominations and Milestones
Film Poster
1970 (43rd)

20th Century Fox

Patton (1970)
d. Franklin J. Schaffner
Awards: 7
Nominations: 10

A rousing biopic of the WWII general, a brilliant tactician sidelined by his outspokenness.

  • the first PG-rated film to win Best Picture since the institution of the MPAA rating system
  • the big-budget film (at about $12 million) was the first war film to win Best Picture since 1962, when Lawrence of Arabia (1962) won the Best Picture award
1971 (44th)

20th Century Fox

The French Connection (1971)
d. William Friedkin
Awards: 5
Nominations: 8

The fact-based story of two determined New York detectives who pursue a major drug-smuggling operation.

  • the first R-rated film to win Best Picture since the institution of the MPAA rating system
  • following In the Heat of the Night (1967), it was only the second Best Picture in Academy history to showcase a police officer as its central character
  • in the same year, the first science-fiction film to be nominated for Best Picture was Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange (1971) and it was the last X-rated film to be nominated for Best Picture
  • in the same year, Nicholas and Alexandra (1971), the most-recent PG-rated film to be nominated for Best Picture
1972 (45th)

Paramount

The Godfather (1972)
d. Francis Ford Coppola
Awards: 3
Nominations: 10

A Mafia family struggles to reconcile old-country traditions and the realities of doing business in America.

  • one of The Godfather's original eleven nominations was removed, Best Music (Original Dramatic Score), when it was determined that Nino Rota's score had been used for a previous 1958 film
  • all of its three nominees for Best Supporting Actor lost to Joel Grey in Cabaret (1972)
  • in the same year, Cabaret (1972) set a record - it had the most Oscar wins (8) of any film without winning the Best Picture award
  • in the same year, it was the only year in which a film, The Emigrants (1972) (Best Picture nominee) and its sequel, The New Land (1972) (Best Foreign Language film nominee) were both nominated
1973 (46th)

Universal

The Sting (1973)
d. George Roy Hill
Awards: 7
Nominations: 10

Two charming grifters decide to work an elaborate con in thirties Chicago.

1974 (47th)

Paramount

The Godfather, Part 2 (1974)
d. Francis Ford Coppola
Awards: 6
Nominations: 11

The Corleone family's past is explored while its activities expand into Vegas in the late 1950s.

  • the only sequel to win a Best Picture Oscar at the time of its win [an earlier unsuccessful attempt at a sequel-Best Picture win was The Bells of St. Mary's (1945) - following the Best Picture winner of the previous year - Going My Way (1944)]
  • its 'sequel' The Godfather, Part III (1990) was also nominated for Best Picture - and lost, and two sequel-installments of The Lord of the Rings (in 2002 and 2003) were also nominated, with the latter winning the top honor. Some might consider the Best Picture-winning The Silence of the Lambs (1991) as a sequel to Manhunter (1986), but that stretches the definition of a true sequel
  • the first of only three partly foreign language films (English/Sicilian) to win Best Picture (the other two were in 1987 and 2008)
1975 (48th)

United Artists

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
d. Milos Forman
Awards: 5
Nominations: 9

The struggle between submission to authority and rebellion plays out in a mental hospital.

1976 (49th)

United Artists

Rocky (1976)
d. John G. Avildsen
Awards: 3
Nominations: 10

An unsuccessful boxer pins his hopes on a high-profile match against a champ.

  • the first sports film to win Best Picture; the next sports film to win Best Picture was Chariots of Fire (1981), followed by Million Dollar Baby (2004)
1977 (50th)

United Artists

Annie Hall (1977)
d. Woody Allen
Awards: 4
Nominations: 5

A neurotic New York Jew and a ditzy suburban WASP try to make their relationship work.

  • the first comedy to win the Best Picture Oscar since The Sting (1973), and before that, Tom Jones (1963); it would be another 21 years for the next romantic comedy to win Best Picture -- Shakespeare in Love (1998)
  • in the same year, The Turning Point (1977) was the first of only two Best Picture nominees to receive the most nominations (11) without winning a single Academy Award; the other film was The Color Purple (1985)
  • the 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))
1978 (51st)

Universal

The Deer Hunter (1978)
d. Michael Cimino
Awards: 5
Nominations: 9

Three young men from small-town Pennsylvania are forever changed by their experience in Vietnam.

  • in the same year, Heaven Can Wait (1978), the second time that a duo-directing team was nominated for Best Picture, Warren Beatty and Buck Henry (the first instance was in 1961, and the third instance in 2007)
1979 (52nd)

Columbia

Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
d. Robert Benton
Awards: 5
Nominations: 9

A divorced dad resents playing Mr. Mom, then fights for his son when his ex-wife demands custody.

  • two other family-related dramatic Best Pictures would follow in just a few years, Robert Redford's Ordinary People (1980) and Terms of Endearment (1983)

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