44th Annual Academy Awards Results and Commentary (1972)

  • Date of Ceremony: Monday, April 10, 1972
  • For films released in: 1971
  • Host(s): Helen Hayes, Alan King, Sammy Davis Jr. and Jack Lemmon
Other years:

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The 44th Academy Awards were presented on Monday, April 10, 1972 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. They were hosted by Helen Hayes, Alan King, Sammy Davis Jr. and Jack Lemmon. Davis, who had converted to Judaism in the Sixties, famously quipped, “Tonight, the Academy is honoring two films about my people, Shaft and Fiddler on the Roof.”

The French Connection won five Oscars, including Best Picture, a Best Director for William Friedkin and Best Actor for Gene Hackman. Norman Jewison’s Fiddler on the Roof followed closely with three Oscars.

Jane Fonda won Best Actress while The Last Picture Show’s Ben Johnson and Cloris Leachman took the two Best Supporting categories.

For the first time, the presentation of the Best Picture Oscar was not the last item before the end credits. That honor went to the sole Honorary Award recipient that year, the legendary Charlie Chaplin. After an introduction by then-AMPAS President Daniel Taradash, Mr. Chaplin emerged to a raucous standing ovation that lasted several minutes. An emotional Chaplin said “This is an emotional moment for me, and words seem so futile, so feeble. I can only say that…thank you for the honor of inviting me here, and, oh, you’re wonderful, sweet people.” As Jack Lemmon brought out a replica of his Little Tramp hat and cane, the orchestra struck up with “Smile”, the theme from Chaplin’s film Modern Times and the ceremony ended.


Best Picture

  • The French Connection
    Philip D'Antoni [Producer]

Best Directing

  • The French Connection
    William Friedkin

Best Actor

Best Actress

  • Klute
    Jane Fonda

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

  • The Last Picture Show
    Ben Johnson

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

  • The Last Picture Show
    Cloris Leachman

Best Foreign Language Film

  • The Garden of the Finzi Continis

Best Art Direction

  • Nicholas and Alexandra
    John Box [Art Direction], Ernest Archer [Art Direction], Jack Maxsted [Art Direction], Gil Parrondo [Art Direction] and Vernon Dixon [Set Decoration]

Best Cinematography

  • Fiddler on the Roof
    Oswald Morris

Best Costume Design

  • Nicholas and Alexandra
    Yvonne Blake and Antonio Castillo

Best Documentary (Feature)

  • The Hellstrom Chronicle
    Walon Green

Best Documentary (Short Subject)

  • Sentinels of Silence
    Manuel Arango and Robert Amram

Best Film Editing

  • The French Connection
    Jerry Greenberg

Best Music (Original Dramatic Score)

  • Summer of '42
    Michael Legrand

Best Music (Scoring: Adaptation and Original Song Score)

  • Fiddler on the Roof
    John Williams [Adaptation Score by]

Best Music (Song - Original for the Picture)

  • Shaft "Theme from Shaft"
    Isaac Hayes [Music and Lyrics by]

Best Short Subject (Animated)

  • The Crunch Bird
    Ted Petok

Best Short Subject (Live Action)

  • Sentinels of Silence
    Manuel Arango and Robert Amram

Best Sound

  • Fiddler on the Roof
    Gordon K. McCallum and David Hildyard

Best Special Visual Effects

  • Bedknobs and Broomsticks
    Alan Maley, Eustace Lycett and Danny Lee

Best Writing (Screenplay - based on material from another medium)

  • The French Connection
    Ernest Tidyman

Best Writing (Story and Screenplay - based on factual material or material not previously published or produced)

  • The Hospital
    Paddy Chayefsky

Honorary Award

  • Charles Chaplin
    Note: …for the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century.

Scientific or Technical Award (Class II)

  • John N. Wilkinson [of Optical Radiation Corporation]
    Note: …for the development and engineering of a system of xenon arc lamphouses for motion picture projection.

Scientific or Technical Award (Class III)

  • Thomas Jefferson Hutchinson, James R. Rochester and Fenton Hamilton
    Note: …for the development and introduction of the Sunbrute system of xenon arc lamps for location lighting in motion picture production.
  • Photo Research Division of Kollmorgen Corporation
    Note: …for the development and introduction of the film-lens balanced Three Color Meter.
  • Robert D. Auguste and Cinema Products Company
    Note: …for the development and introduction of a new crystal controlled lightweight motor for the 35mm motion picture Arriflex camera.
  • Producers Service Corporation, Consolidated Film Industries, Cinema Research Corporation and Research Products Inc.
    Note: …for the engineering and implementation of fully automated blow-up motion picture printing systems.
  • Cinema Products Company
    Note: …for a control motor to actuate zoom lenses on motion picture cameras.
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