Best Director, 1973-1975
1973: Ingmar Bergman (Cries and Whispers), Bernardo Bertolucci (Last Tango in Paris), William Friedkin (The Exorcist), George Roy Hill (The Sting - winner), George Lucas (American Graffiti)
1974: John Cassavetes (A Woman Under the Influence), Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather Part II - winner), Bob Fosse (Lenny), Roman Polanski (Chinatown), François Truffaut (Day for Night)
1975: Robert Altman (Nashville), Federico Fellini (Amarcord), Miloš Forman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - winner), Stanley Kubrick (Barry Lyndon), Sidney Lumet (Dog Day Afternoon)
Look on their works, ye film buffs, and despair. Never before or since has Oscar honored such an incredible array of all-time greats as it did during this jaw-dropping three-year run at the height of New Hollywood. The Best Director slates from these years mixed American enfant terribles and European legends, Broadway stars and indie upstarts, experienced directors still making best-of-career work and newcomers reinventing the rules around them. Quibble with the winners if you want — and with George Roy Hill beating Bergman and Friedkin, or Forman's admittedly fine work in Cuckoo's Nest topping Altman's magnum opus in Nashville, you probably should — but this is as good as it gets. Coppola's win in 1974, a year he had two movies in Best Picture contention, is the jewel in the crown.