The Towering Inferno (1974) - Irwin Allen & John Guillermin
It may seem odd to think of a big budget disaster film garnering 8 Oscar nominations, but how much different is this than Titanic? Allen's over ambitious granddaddy of disaster films contains a well stocked cast, and with only a very minimal of backstory pulnges right into the catastrophe. At least 120 of the 165 minutes of this story are devoted to the fire and burning, and people squabling about how to stop it, and how to evacuate everyone from the 135th floor. Fred Astaire got a surprise Oscar nomination for best supporting actor without doing much of anything, certainly not any acting. Sociologically this doesn't have the same undercurrent that Earthquake had, that film relishing in the joy of self destruction. Here, Paul Newman and Steve McQueen are superheroes out to save the world, although they don't wear capes. Some of the plot lines are forced and you wind up spending far too much time showing explosions to make us actually give a crap about who lives or dies. Calling it the high water mark of the disaster craze still doesn't make it a resounding success. As a curiosity though, I'd say the best part about this film is watching OJ Simpson.
*The Towering Inferno was nominated for best picture, best art direction, best editing, best original dramatic score, best sound, and best supporting actor (Astaire). It won for best original song and best cinematography.