Oscar Movies: Taxi Driver (1976)

Oscar Nominations: 4

Picture, produced by Michael Phillips and Julia Phillips
Actor: Robert De Niro
Supporting Actress: Jodie Foster
Original Song: Bernard Herrmann

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

Each of the other 1976 Best Picture nominees was artistically more interesting than the Oscar winner, “Rocky.” Alan Pakula's “All the President's Men,” produced by Robert Redford, was a good political thriller about the Watergate scandal, based on the best seller by the two Washington Post reporters, Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) and Bob Woodward (Robert Redford).

Sidney Lumet made an outrageous farce, “Network,” about the potential power of television, that for some reason many people took as a serious drama. And Martin Scorsese followed up his audacious “Mean Street with “Taxi Driver,” a film about political and social alienation, embodied by Robert De Niro in a grand performance that received many critical kudos.

Of the five nominees, however, “Rocky” message, the rise to stardom of an obscure “nobody,” which paralleled both the actor's life off screen and President Jimmy Carter's 1976 election, was the most upbeat and the least controversial. But it was also the most befitting of the nation's mood in its Bicentennial celebrations.

Scorsese, the director of “Taxi Driver,” failed to received a nod from his peers at the Directors Branch. Jodie Foster joined a roster of child actors nominated for the Supporting Acting Oscar. This was the last score by the genius composer Bernard Herrmann, who died at 64, just days after completing work on the film. The Score Oscar went to Jerry Goldsmith for De Palma's “The Omen.”