Yesterday we watched Woody Allen not pick up his Best Director Oscar for ‘Annie Hall’ in 1978 due to his being in New York playing the clarinet with a band in midtown. However his producers, Jack Rollins and Charles Joffe, chose to make the trip and were rewarded with picking up the Best Picture Oscar. It’s a touching clip because Joffe makes much of how United Artists–specifically David Picker, Eric Pleskow and Arthur Krim–welcomed Allen into their fold seven years prior and essentially gave him free reign to ‘do his thing’, allowing him to develop into the massive filmmaking talent that he eventually became. This truly is an attitude from a dead civilization, a Hollywood–a whole movie business for that matter–that has long disappeared. As such there’s a bit of a time capsule moment when viewing this Oscar win…the audience only knows Woody Allen as a successful broadly comic filmmaker of the previous decade who somehow has morphed into a respected and revered auteur of a movie that delighted and impressed all audiences (not just Woody’s niche) and won the most prestigious awards the business could offer. This clip is, in a sense, all one really needs to know at all…but history accumulates as one ages and I’m sorry that this genius, who is still very much with us and active, can no longer be viewed for what he’s accomplished–which is a tremendous legacy. In a way, I wish time had frozen on this particular Oscar night.


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