Francis Coppola‘s life reached a state of total fulfillment at the 47th Oscar Awards, held on 4.8.75 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion, when The Godfather, Part II won the Best Picture Oscar. A year before (on 4.2.74) at the same venue, George Roy Hill‘s The Sting took the same honor. I became friendly with The Sting‘s co-producer Julia Phillips in the mid ’90s, and I can report she had a softer and gentler voice when she took the stage with co-producers Michael Phillips and Tony Bill. (I love how Phillips is staring intently at the floor as Elizabeth Taylor recites the names of the other contenders.) Producer Albert Ruddy accepted The Godfather‘s Best Picture Oscar on 3.27.73, also at the Chandler. “America needs the motion picture business,” he said, “and the motion picture business needs the United States.” Movies were certainly the national religion 42 years ago, but the embrace of that ’70s-style faith has, of course, been all but abandoned by today’s majors. The torch has passed to the indie community, and much of what’s happening today is actually pretty great. (Including, of course, the televized renaissance.). But we all miss the days when the big studios were a bit less corporate-minded, more respectful of the spiritual, culture-reflecting potential of the form. Guys like Charlie Bluhdorn were eccentric and grandiose but they cared. I shudder to think where theatrical would be without producers Megan Ellison, Scott Rudin and…who else? The list is not long.