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Retro Rewind: Oscar Films of the 70s

Fifty-three years ago, when the clock struck midnight on the evening of ‘69, a new decade was born in bell bottoms and a sense for flower power. With this new era, the film industry would produce motion pictures that’d define the next ten years in equally explosive grandeur.

Honoring movies released in 1970, the 43rd annual Academy Awards presented a glamorous ceremony of the stunning and poignant films that depicted the first examples of filmmaking in the new decade.

Iconic films like M*A*S*H (1970) and Patton (1970) were up for the Best Picture Award, both themes centering around war and American patriotism.

Patton (1970) ended up taking the title for Best Picture, and George C. Scott, who was selected as Best Actor for his role in Patton (1970), became the first actor in Academy Awards history to refuse the Oscar. According to Scott, his reasoning was that the prestigious film ceremony was “a two-hour meat parade, a public display with contrived suspense for economic reasons.”

Scott was not the only one to make history on April 15th, 1971 in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Helen Hayes, who won Best Supporting Actress that night for her role in Airport (1970), became the first ever performer to win Academy Awards in both lead and supporting categories through the duration of her career.

The 43rd Academy Awards was a night full of records and firsts, including within the Best Actress category. Since the 6th Academy Awards back in 1934, the 1970 ceremony was the first time in which all five Best Actress nominees were first-time nominees. Even to this day, this has yet to occur again. Coincidentally, it was also the first time since 1935 that none of the Best Actor nominees had a previous nomination in the aforementioned category. As for most awards won, Patton (1970) took the title with seven wins. As for most nominations, Patton (1970) and Airport (1970) tied with ten each.

Starting off with a bang, the 1970s in America brought an iconic array of films to the industry. Among these include The Godfather (1972), The Exorcist (1973), Jaws (1975), Rocky (1976), and so many more. These films also made quite the impact at the Academy Awards. The Godfather (1972) took home the Best Actor, Best Picture, and Best Adapted Screenplay awards. The Exorcist (1973) won Best Sound and Best Adapted Screenplay. Jaws (1975) won the Best Original Score, Best Sound Mixing, Best Film Editing, and Best Picture awards. Rocky (1976) achieved Best Picture, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Actress, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Sound Mixing. Wow!

The Academy Awards is a prestigious celebration of the film industry and all the factors that contribute to its impact and importance. Film is constantly evolving and taking on new meanings every single year. With the 43rd annual Academy Awards being fifty-three years ago, it can be observed that the films honored on that night contrast heavily with the films to be honored at the upcoming 95th Academy Awards in 2023.

However, films like Jaws (1975) and Five Easy Pieces (1970) were monumental in their age like Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022) and Elvis (2022). Acknowledging, indulging, and awarding such films is incredibly important to the growth of film and entertainment. Years from now, there is no doubt the future of film will become classic masterpieces that inspire and make history throughout the evolution of time.

Written By Celeste Wolf

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