Best Picture: The Godfather Part II
The Godfather Part II also won Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor (Robert De Niro), Art Direction-Set Decoration (Dean Tavoularis, Angelo Graham, and George R. Nelson), Directing (Francis Ford Coppola), Music – Original Dramatic Score (Nino Rota and Carmine Coppola), and Writing – Screenplay adapted from other material (Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo).
The Godfather Part II became the first motion picture sequel to win the award for Best Picture, as the original, The Godfather, had won two years earlier.
Ingrid Bergman, Best Supporting Actress winner for Murder on the Orient Express, devoted her acceptance speech to praising the virtues of fellow nominee Valentina Cortese (Day for Night).
Sammy Davis Jr., Bob Hope, Shirley MacLaine, and Frank Sinatra shared the hosting duties.
There was controversy over the political implications of a telegram read by producer Bert Schneider in accepting the Oscar for the Documentary Feature Hearts and Minds, a film about the Vietnam War.
On January 2, 1974, the Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act was signed by President Nixon; one provision suggested a speed limit cap of 55 mph, which was intended to lower gasoline consumption.
On February 4, 1974, publishing heiress Patricia Hearst was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army, and on April 15, she was photographed during the notorious robbery of a San Francisco bank.
In March 1974, Charles de Gaulle Airport opened near Paris, France.
In March 1974, the Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang was discovered near Xi'an, in the Shaanxi province of China.
In April 1974, Stephen King's first novel, Carrie, was published.
In May 1974, India successfully detonated its first nuclear device.
In June 1974, the first Universal Product Code (UPC) was scanned to sell a package of Wrigley's chewing gum in Troy, Ohio.
On June 29, 1974, Soviet-born ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov defected while on a tour of Canada.
On August 8, 1974, President Richard M. Nixon announced his intention to become the first president in American history to resign from office.
Vice President Gerald Ford succeeded President Nixon to become the 38th President of the United States.
On October 30, 1974, Muhammad Ali became the heavyweight champion of the world for the second time when he knocked out champ George Foreman in the eighth round of the Rumble in the Jungle, a match held in Kinshasa, Zaire.
On October 9, 1974, Oskar Schindler died.
In November 1974, a hominid skeleton estimated to be more than 3 million years old was discovered in Ethiopia and named Lucy after the Beatles song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.
Special Achievement Award (Visual Effects)
To Frank Brendel, Glen Robinson, Albert Whitlock for Earthquake.
Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award
To Arthur B. Krim.
To Howard Hawks, a master American filmmaker whose creative efforts hold a distinguished place in world cinema.
To Jean Renoir, a genius who, with grace, responsibility and enviable devotion through silent film, sound film, feature, documentary and television, has won the world's admiration.