Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
"Rocky," the gritty Cinderella saga of a small-time fighter who gets a chance at the big time, went the distance Monday night at the 49th annual Academy Awards and walked off with the prize for Best Picture of the Year.
Though "Rocky" won in only three of the 10 categories in which it was nominated, the film, like the character it's about, came from behind to snatch the top award.
Sylvester Stallone, the 30-year-old actor who played Rocky, wrote the film, and was chiefly responsible for its being produced, stood at the prodium in his tux and open-neck shirt and said, "To all the Rocky's in the world, I love you."
"Rocky" also won oscars for best direction (John G. Avildsen) and best editing.
"Network," a virulent satire of the television news business, and "All the President's Men," a straightforward film version of the Woodward-Bernstein Watergate account, tied for the most Oscars won, with each film taking four. "Network" won for its original screenplay and for three members of its cast, Faye Dunaway, the late Peter Finch and Beatrice Straight.
"President's Men" was cited for art direction, sound and adapted screenplay, and Jason Robards won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
The ceremonies, televised live from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles to an American audience estimated at 70 million by the ABC television network, ran nearly a full half-hour over time. "It's not a short show, but it's a huge audience," actor Warren Beatty told the crowd.
The annual rite is also to be seen in 43 foreign countries.
One of the most emotinal moments of the ceremony came when "Network" writer Paddy Chayefsky summoned Eletha Finch, the Jamaican-born wife of actor Peter Finch, to the stage to accept her late husband's Oscar for best actor in "Network." Finch played the demented TV news anchorman Howard Beale, a "mad prophet" whose career ends when he is assassinated on camera to boost ratings.
With tears in her eyes, Mrs. Finch said, "I want to say thanks to members of the academy for my husband. I wish he was here tonight to be with us all, but since he isn't here, I'll always cherish this for him."
Finch, who died for a heart attack in Los Angeles on Jan. 14 at the age of 60, became the first performer to win the best acting oscar posthumously. He was nominated once before, for "Sunday, Bloody Sunday," in 1971.
Two other oft-mentioned heroes of the evening were actors Sylvester Stallone and Robert Redford. It was Stallone who saw "Rocky" through to its triumph even after discouragement from the Hollywood establishment. The low-budget movie has been one of the most rabble-rousing small films in years.
"'Rocky' speaks directly to the audience," Stallone had said in an interview. "I pitched it straight at a mass audience. You could say that's very calculated, and you'd be right, but it's calculated to be entertaining."
Stallone was nominated for his screenplay and his acting in the film, but won neither Oscar.
Redford was repeatedly cited by those who won Oscars for "President's Men." William Goldman, credited as the screenwriter, noted from the platform, This movie has been from the beginning the obsession of Robert Redford."
Faye Dunaway, 36, accepting the award for best actress for her fire-breathing antics in "Network," told the crowd, "I didn't expect this to happen quite yet." She was nominated twice before - for "Bonnie and Clyde" and for "Chinatown" - but this was her first win.
The music Oscars were led by the hardly unexpected announcement of "Evergreen," by Barbra Streisand and Paul Williams, as Best Song. Streisand and Williams dashed it off for Streisand's remake of "A Star is Born," a film otherwise largely snubbed by the Academy in this year's major award categories.
Streisand herself sang the ballad, wearing a baggy orange dress and matching microphone. "In my wildest wildest dreams I could never eber imagine winning an Academy Award for writing a song," Streisand gushed when she accepted the Oscar.
Williams, one of the shortest living composers, rubbed his nose as he accepted the award and said, "I was going to thank all the little people, and then I remembered I am the little people."
Even Streisand towers over his.
Other music awards went ot composer Jerry Goldsmith for his original and creepy score for the thriller "The Omen" and to Leonard Rosenman for adapting the music of Woody Guthrie for the folksinger's film biography "Bound for Glory."
Accepting his Oscar, Rosenman said, "I do write original music, too," referring to the fact that though he is a composer, he also won the music adaptation Oscar last year for "Barry Lyndon."
One of the clear upsets of the night was the choice of "Black and White in Color" as best foreign language film of the year over the popular favorite, "Cousin, Cousine." And producer Arthur Cohn took honors for one of the evening's longest and most rambling acceptance speeches. He said among many other things that, "It was a tribute to the Academy that it has chosen 'Black and White in Color.'"
It was no surprise that "Harlan County, U.S.A." a film about a Kentucky coalminers' strike, won the Oscar for best feature-length documentary, and not much of a shock either that the Academy gave a standing ovation to once-blacklisted writer Lillian Hellman, who presented the prize. Flustered after the applause, Hellman said "I'm sorry, I can't seem to locate - " and before she could say "the cue cards," she did locate them.
"Thank you," she said, reading from the cards.
Jason Robards, accepting the best supporting actor trophy for playing Washington Post Executive Editor Benjamin C. Bradlee in "All the President's Men," praised what he called "the integrity, honesty and preseverance" of producer and costar Robert Redford, whose Wildwood Productions made the film. Robards also thanked Bradlee "for being alive, so that he would let me come out and play with him."
Robards was considered a favorite to win in the category even though his appearance in the film was brief. The son and namesake of a famous American stage and film actor, Robards made his film actor, Robards made his film debut in 1958 in "The Journey" and his other films included "A Thousand Clowns," "Tender Is the Night," and "Long Day's Journey Into Night." He has twice won the theater's New York Drama Critics Award and won a Tony for his role in "The Disenchanted."
Beatrice Straight conceded she'd been the "dark horse" choice for best supporting actress in accepting the prize for playing Louise Schumacher, the jilted wife of William Holden in "Network." Straight's recent movie roles have been few, but she has appared on many television programs. Last year she played Mrs. Hacker in the short-lived CBS series "Beacon Hill."
Actress Cicely Tyson presented the Irving G. Thalberg memorial award, named after the famour MGM producer, to veteran producer Pandro S. Berman, whose films have ranged from "Top Hat" to "Gunga Din" to "Blackboard Jungle" to "A Patch of Blue."
Berman became the 21st individual to receive the award, which was established in 1937 to honor producers "whose body of work reflects a consistently high quality." Berman, born in Pittsburgh in 1905, supervised his first production, "Way Back Home," at RKO studios in 1932.
Although producer William Friedkin had predicted many changes for the Oscar show this year - he did away with shots of notables driving up in limousines, for one thing - the program had much that was reminiscent of previous ceremonies: windbag sentimentality, ponderious and all-inclusive acceptance speeches, and gaudy musical numbers marked by random gyrations.
Stallone was onstage midway in the proceedings when a real-life fighter walked out to spar with him: Muhammad Ali. "Can't you see that I'm working?" joked Stallone. "Show me what you can do," said Ali, and the pair began exchanging friendly jabs. Stallone said his real nickname was not "The Italian Stallion," as in the film but "Kid Salami."
The evening was also polkadotted with the predictable cuecard fluffs and prolonged ovations.Author Norman Mailer also managed to get in a raunchy literary anecdote about Voltaire in an effort to illuminate the woes of the modern screenwriter.
Comic Richard Pryor emceed the first 45 minutes of the show and gave the program an unusually and refreshingly comedic start, directing some of his jibes at the pretentiousness that usually surrounds the Oscar show. Pryor ended his turn by shouting, "Hey everybody back in Peoria, it's me!"
He was abetted by fellow young comedian Chevy Chase who was to perform the yearly ritual of reading the Academy voting rules but began by executing his trademark-a fall on the floor. As Chase began to read the rules, a giant hairy hand appeared from behind a curtain with an oversized envelope in it, obviously representing King Kong, whom producer Dino De Laurentiis had at one point proposed be seriously considered a contender for the Best Actor category.
No one else, however, took that suggestion seriously.
"King Kong" and "Longan's Run" received Special Achievement Awards for Visual Effects voted by the Academy board fo governors and previously announced several weeks ago. Under Academy rules the special effects awards are no longer mandatory.
The special effects for "Kong" were supervised by Glen Robinson and Joe Day. L. B. Abbott designed the effects for "Logan's Run" in collaboration with Robinson and Matthew Yuricich, who specialize in miniatures and matte painting, rspectively.
If the Oscar show looked less glittery than usual, it wasn't by accident. William Friedkin,producer of the show for the first time - and director of such films as "The Exorcist" and "The French Connection" - declared with his customary absence of subtlety before the broadcast that he thought the glamor aspect was baloney. He reportedly ordered actress Ellen Burstyn to tone down the gown she planned to wear because it looked like "a gold lame cowboy suit."
In the face of such edicts, and in something of a huff, designers Ray Aghayan and Bob Mackie, assigned to supervise the on-stage outfits, resigned prior to the show.
"Some women are inherently glamorous and very sexy, and you can't cover it up," Mackie protested.