The 46th Academy Awards happened (unusually) on Tuesday, 4.2.74, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay were The Exorcist (William Peter Blatty, winner), The Last Detail (Robert Towne, based on Darryl Ponicsan‘s novel), The Paper Chase (James Bridges, based on the novel by John Jay Osborn Jr.), Paper Moon (Alvin Sargent, based on Joe David Brown‘s “Addie Pray”) and Serpico (Waldo Salt and Norman Wexler, based on the book by Peter Maas).

Given the indisputable fact that The Last Detail is widely regarded today as the most unpretentiously and understatedly soulful and compassionate film of the above five, not to mention that the most artfully honed and elegant in a semi-coarse, enlisted-man sense…it’s a crying shame that Towne didn’t take the Oscar. It was his. It had his name on it, despite the fact that Blatty was the one who actually took possession.

Paul and Linda McCartney were seated somewhere in the middle center. Paul’s “Live and Let Die” should’ve won the Best Song Oscar. Alas, it lost to “The Way We Were”, music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman.