Jack Nicholson Francis Ford Coppola

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Click on one of these decades to read about the major stars and movies of the time:

Intro | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s

Films are listed as winners in the year the ceremony was held

The 1970s was a decade of great experimentation among US film makers - producing some of the finest ever US cinema.

A new breed of young directors like Martin Scorsese, William Friedkin, Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, Norman Jewison and Sydney Pollack emerged.

They were raised on the European film aesthetic and started to make grittier, harder-edged films. The change in tone of film makers was reflected in the Academy Awards' nominations and winners.

Chinatown, The Godfather, The French Connection, The Last Picture Show, M*A*S*H - all received nominations at the start of the decade.

A new breed of Hollywood actor also emerged in the decade - Robert De Niro and Jack Nicholson, both in looks and attitude, differed wildly from the clean-cut classic appeal of Clark Gable or Cary Grant.

In 1971 the Academy once again moved to correct a previous wrong. Orson Welles was given an honorary award. In the same year George C Scott became the first actor to ever refuse an Oscar. Before the ceremony he had said he would not appear, calling it a "two-hour meat parade".

Charlie Chaplin received an honorary award in 1972, considered by many the most emotional moment in Oscar history.

He had left the US 20 years earlier as his politics came under scrutiny, but when he returned in 1972 he received the longest standing ovation ever given to a recipient.

Almost all of the big picture winners, such as The Godfather Part One and Two and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, of the decade are still considered classics - with a few notable exceptions.

In 1974 The Sting won, beating American Graffiti and The Exorcist. And three years later Sylvester Stallone's Rocky won best picture - it also won the best director award for John Avilsden, beating Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver) and Alan Pakula (All the President's Men).

Star Wars, the most successful film of the decade, won seven technical Oscars in 1978 but failed to win best picture or director.


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