Best Picture: The French Connection
The French Connection also won Academy Awards for Best Actor (Gene Hackman), Directing (William Friedkin), Film Editing (Jerry Greenberg), and Writing – Screenplay based on material from another medium (Ernest Tidyman).
The ceremony's opening number was called Lights, Camera, Action. It was choreographed by Ron Field, written by Billy Barnes, and interpreted by Joel Grey; the performance was a musical number about Hollywood's past.
Theme from Shaft was the Oscar winner for Song; Isaac Hayes wrote the music and lyrics and performed the song on the show in a spectacularly staged number. Hayes was the first African-American to win an Oscar in a music category.
Helen Hayes, Alan King, Sammy Davis Jr., and Jack Lemmon shared hosting duties.
On January 12, 1971, the sitcom All in the Family, starring Carroll O'Connor, debuted on CBS.
On January 25, 1971, Charles Manson and three female followers were convicted of 27 counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the 1969 slaying of Sharon Tate and six others.
In February 1971, the NASDAQ began trading as the world's first electronic stock exchange.
On February 28, 1971, Evel Knievel set a world record by jumping his motorcycle over 19 cars at the Ontario Motor Speedway, as part of the pre-show entertainment before the first NASCAR Miller High Life 500 stock car classic.
On June 6, 1971, The Ed Sullivan Show aired its final episode. The final new show aired March 28, 1971, followed by several weeks of reruns.
In June 1971, Neville Bonner became the first indigenous Australian to sit in the Australian Parliament.
On July 3, 1971, Jim Morrison, the lead singer of the Doors, was found dead in Paris, France.
On September 8, 1971, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts opened to the public with the premiere of Leonard Bernstein's Mass, which was written specifically for the occasion.
In September 1971, the Attica Prison Riots took place; law enforcement officials invaded the prison after four days of rioting and opened fire, killing 29 inmates and 10 hostages and injuring many others.
In October 1971, Walt Disney World Resort opened in Orlando, Florida.
To Charles Chaplin for the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century.