Best Picture – 1976

Official Nominations: Rocky. Taxi Driver. All The President’s Men. Bound For Glory. Network.

The mid-seventies were incredibly impressive from a quality perspective, with The Academy largely nominating the correct films. 1976 is mostly no different – there are four films here which you would be happy to pic as winner, and another which is all but forgotten. Bound For Glory is the outcast – a biography of Woody Guthrie. It’s the sort of thing The Academy always nominates, but this one while fine is oddly stale and uneventful. Sidney Lumet gets another nod after missing out the previous year, this time for the brilliant and satirical Network – a film which seems to grow in value with every passing scandal and generation. Speaking of scandals, All The President’s Men is probably still the most famous ‘media’ movie focusing on real life events, inspirational and pertinent.

As important and great as those movies are, the final two are by far the more adored and have enjoyed that status since release. Taxi Driver firmly positioned De Niro and Scorsese as greats and is one of the seminal movies of the decade, a grim and darkly comedic look at New York, and by extension, North America’s underbelly. It’s another film whose power hasn’t diminished. Finally, it’s Rocky. Say what you will about the sequels (I personally love them all), but the original remains one of the most inspiring movies ever, filled with love, hope, determination, and remains the best American Dream movie since the time it was released. Stallone, Shire, Avildson, Meredith, Young, Weathers – the music, the training, the fight, the dialogue – from a commercial, cultural, and critical standpoint one of the most important movies ever made.

My Winner: Rocky

rocky-movie

My Nominations: Rocky. Taxi Driver. The Omen. All The President’s Men. Network. Marathon Man.

As proof again of how strong the mid-seventies were, four of the five official nominees make my list. There are plenty of others to choose from though. In terms of critically acclaimed horror movies, The Omen seems to be one which gets forgotten alongside The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby – but it’s no less vital. Certainly more visceral in its approach thanks to the use of some spectacular, gory setpieces, Richard Donner’s classic still holds up. Finally, Marathon Man brings equally insidious thrills as Dustin Hoffman gets embroiled in the hunt for Nazi diamonds, with Schlesinger barely shying away from some of the most notoriously uncomfortable, squirming scenes of torture ever. Lovely.

My Winner: Rocky

Let us know in the comments which film of 1976 you pick as winner!

4 thoughts on “Best Picture – 1976

  1. John Charet August 16, 2019 / 10:25 pm

    Personally I would choose Taxi Driver. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    P.S. I am amazed that you have not nominated The Man Who Fell to Earth for anything yet?

    • carlosnightman August 17, 2019 / 7:47 am

      I think I nominated Bowie for Best Actor, not sure if any others coming

  2. Eric Binford August 21, 2019 / 9:08 pm

    All the official nominees were great! I love all 5, but if you force me to pick one, I would have to go with President’s Men — Gordon Willis’s brilliant cinematography is the deciding factor.

    Anyhow, here are my top ten (in order of preference):

    Obsession — Brian De Palma
    Buffalo Bill and the Indians or Sitting Bull’s History Lesson — Rober
    1900 — Bernardo Bertolucci
    All the President’s Men — Alan J. Pakula
    Martin — George A. Romero
    Network — Sidney Lumet
    Rocky — John G. Avildsen
    Taxi Driver — Martin Scorsese
    The Tenant — Roman Polanski
    Carrie — Brian De Palma

    • carlosnightman August 23, 2019 / 5:41 pm

      Interesting picks, especially Buffalo Bill. I think 4-5 of your picks are in my personal top ten of the year

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