Oscar Movies: Sting, The (1973)

After the period comedy “Tom Jones” (1963), it took a whole decade for another comedy to win the top Oscar, though by choosing George Roy Hill's “The Sting,” a Depression-era comedy, the Academy voters found themselves under fire.

Cashing in on the previous success of his comedy Western “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” Hill reteams its stars, Paul Newman and Robert Redford, in a Chicag-set Depression-era comedy about the conceits of two con men (Newman and Redford) against a big-time racketeer (Robert Shaw).

Released to mostly good reviews, “The Sting” ranks high on Variety's All-Time Champions list. The abundantly charming movie boasts Scott Joplin's exuberant piano rags, which were adapted by Marvin Hamlisch and became popular throughout the country. Still, many felt that blockbusters like “The Sting” had no business being nominated for Oscars in the first place, let alone win Best Picture.

Once again, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) found itself under severe attack from its more serious critics. Eyebrows were raised and questions asked: Is “The Sting” truly Oscar-caliber Is it the sort of film to be honored with the Oscar, presumably the most prestigious award in the world

Oscar Nominations and Awards:

“The Sting” won 7 Oscars out of its 10 nominations

Picture: Tony Bill, Michael Phillips, Julia Phillips, producers
Director: George Roy Hill
Story and Screenplay (Adapted): David Ward
Art Direction-Set Decoration: Henry Bumstead, James Payne
ScoringOriginal or Adapted: Marvyn Hamlisch
Editing: William Reynolds
Costume Design: Edith Head

The Sting lost in 3 categories:

Actor: Robert Redford, in his one and only acting nomination, though he won the 1980 directing Oscar for “Ordinary People”;

Cinematography: Robert Surtees
Sound: Ronald K. Pierce and Robert Bertrand