Forty-Six Years Ago Today, “The Sting” Wins Best Picture Oscar
On April 2, 1974, one of my all-time favorite movies, The Sting, won Best Picture at the 46th Academy Awards. It was a touch controversial at the time. Many people thought that other pictures were more deserving of the award. And, true, 1973 saw some great movies released to theaters. As a matter of fact, two of my other all-time favorites were also nominated for Best Picture. George Lucas's American Graffiti and William Friedkin's The Exorcist.
!973 also saw the release of Serpico(with an incredible performance by Al Pacino), The Last Detail(with a terrific performance by Jack Nicholson as Billy "Badass" Buddusky), Ingmar Bergman's Cries and Whispers, Bertolucci's Last Tango In Paris, and the list goes on, A Touch of Class, The Way We Were, The Paper Chase, Paper Moon, Papillon, etc.
Listen, anyone who knows me, knows that I love cinema. And even though I like(or love) all those movies previously mentioned, there's a big reason why The Sting remains in my Top 10 List....It was the first movie that I ever saw at a movie theater. And it made a huge impression on me. It was 1976 and we were living on the island of Guam, on the naval base. I was six years old. By the way, you're not confused. Those dates are correct. The Sting came out in 1973 to movie theaters in the continental United States. It took another three whole years to make it to the tiny island of Guam!
Anyway, because it was my first movie-going experience, it has always remained one of my favorites. And let's not forget the dynamic pairing of the two stars, Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Years later, I finally got the chance to see their first on-screen pairing(remember folks, no videotapes, DVDs, or Internet back then), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and that became another favorite. In both movies, Newman and Redford(whether in scenes together or apart) just seem to be having a blast with their roles. Here's one of my favorite scenes from The Sting with Newman's character Henry Gondorff pretending he's drunk to pull a con on mob boss Doyle Lonnegan in a high stakes poker game(Gondorff purposely mispronouncing Lonnegan's name is priceless):
When I hear people talking about how movies should be fun, I always think The Sting must be what they're referring to. Happy Anniversary to a great Oscar win!