Here, à propos of nothing, beyond my own historical interest, is William Friedkin winning an Oscar for Directing (for The French Connection) in 1972, beating out both Peter Bogdanovich and Stanley Kubrick. Say what you will about whether the award went to the right man–Friedkin’s work on The French Connection is easily deserving of the honor. It takes a giant set of balls to stage a dangerous chase scene in the middle of New York City without the necessary permits.
I was lucky enough to hear Friedkin speak recently at a screening of Sorcerer in San Jose; he told a number of wildly amusing stories. One of them involved a New York City functionary who agreed to look the other way with respect to the famous chase scene in The French Connection–in exchange for $40,000, with which he retired to Jamaica.
Friedkin is an incredibly fascinating and woefully under-appreciated filmmaker, in my humble estimation.