The 44th Academy Awards were presented April 10, 1972, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. The ceremonies were presided over by Helen Hayes, Alan King, Sammy Davis Jr., and Jack Lemmon. One of the highlights of the evening was the appearance of Betty Grable, battling cancer at the time, who made one of her last public appearances. She appeared along with one of her leading men from the 1940s, singer Dick Haymes, to present the musical scoring awards. Grable died the following year. This was the first time in the history of the Awards in which the nominees were shown on superimposed pictures while being announced.
Charlie Chaplin received an honorary award at this ceremony, for "the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century". Chaplin, who had been living in self-imposed exile in Switzerland for twenty years, came back to the United States to re-market his older films and to receive this award. When introduced to the audience, Chaplin received a twelve-minute standing ovation, the longest in Academy Awards history.
‡ Dates and years listed for each ceremony were the eligibility period of film release in Los Angeles County. For the first five ceremonies, the eligibility period was done on a seasonal basis, from August to July. For the 6th ceremony, held in 1934, the eligibility period lasted from August 1, 1932 to December 31, 1933. Since the 7th ceremony held in 1935, the period of eligibility became the full previous calendar year from January 1 to December 31.