Saturday, February 6, 2016

1976--The Year in Review

The British miniseries I, Claudius was really the "film" event of the year, but I can’t give a miniseries Best Picture; something about it seems unfair to even five-hour films. So I had to leave it to Scorsese, Lumet, and Pakula to battle it out for Best Picture and Director. Ultimately, I had to go with the film whose lonely, frank harshness has influenced decades of filmmaking hence, and whose lead performance from Robert De Niro has continually astounded all. Supporting Actor was a packed category this year, by the way--at least ten more possibilities were left by the wayside. Best Song, too, was a bear, with a very unlikely choice topping my list (the whole score for Alan Parker's still underrated and underseen Bugsy Malone nearly overtook the latter category. though ultimately I had to go another very surprising way, I did recognize Paul Williams for his extraordinary contribution to movies this year, though (he ended up winning the Oscar alongside Barbara Streisand for their "Evergreen" collaboration). As for Best Actress, I had to dip into television for the proper choice, and I do so without regret, though I do laud the runner up, who'd go on to do greater things. In the end, has there ever been a more contentious battle for Best Picture? I don't think so. Rocky, Taxi Driver, All The President's Men, Network, Bound for Glory. A perfect lineup. A rarity. NOTE: These are MY choices for each category, and are only occasionally reflective of the selections made by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (aka The Oscars). When available, the nominee that actually won the Oscar will be highlighted in bold. 

PICTURE: TAXI DRIVER (US, Martin Scorsese) (2nd: Network (US, Sidney Lumet), followed by: All the President’s Men (US, Alan J. Pakula); Rocky (US, John G. Avildsen); Bound for Glory (US, Hal Ashby); The Front (US, Martin Ritt); Small Change (France, François Truffaut); Bugsy Malone (UK, Alan Parker); Carrie (US, Brian de Palma); Harlan County, USA (US, Barbara Kopple); The Outlaw Josey Wales (US, Clint Eastwood); The Bad News Bears (US, Michael Richie); Sybil (US, Daniel Petrie); The Man Who Fell to Earth (UK, Nicolas Roeg); The Shootist (US, Don Siegel); Stay Hungry (US, Bob Rafelson); In the Realm of the Senses (Japan, Nagisa Oshima); 1900 (Italy, Bernardo Bertolucci); The Memory of Justice (France, Marcel Ophuls); The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (US, John Cassavetes); Kings of the Road (West Germany, Wim Wenders); Nuts in May (UK, Mike Leigh); The Tenant (France, Roman Polanski); The Seven Per-Cent Solution (US, Herbert Ross); Face to Face (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman); Robin and Marian (UK, Richard Lester); Heart of Glass (West Germany, Werner Herzog); Next Stop, Greenwich Village (US, Paul Mazursky); Silent Movie (US, Mel Brooks); L’Innocente (Italy, Luchino Visconti); Marathon Man (US, John Schlesinger); Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 (Switzerland, Alain Tanner); Allegro Non Troppo (Italy, Bruno Bazzeto); Griffin and Phoenix (US, Daryl Duke); Assault on Precinct 13 (US, John Carpenter); Mikey and Nicky (US, Elaine May); Car Wash (US, Michael Schultz); God Told Me To (US, Larry Cohen); Casanova (Italy, Federico Fellini); Hollywood on Trial (US, David Helpern); The Marquise of O (France, Eric Rohmer); Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (Brazil, Bruno Baretto); Silver Streak (US, Arthur Hiller); The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (US, Nicholas Gessner); The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings (US, John Badham); The Blank Generation (US, Ivan Kral and Amos Poe); The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea (US, Lewis John Carlino); Ode to Billy Joe (US, Max Baer); Baby Blue Marine (US, John Hancock); Mother, Jugs and Speed (US, Peter Yates); Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson (US, Robert Altman); Obsession (US, Brian de Palma); Gator (US, Burt Reynolds); Leadbelly (US, Gordon Parks); Logan's Run (US, Michael Anderson); Murder by Death (US, Robert Moore); The Enforcer (US, James Fargo); The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox (US, Melvin Frank); Family Plot (US, Alfred Hitchcock); The Last Tycoon (US, Elia Kazan); The Missouri Breaks (US, Arthur Penn); The Opening of Misty Beethoven (US, Radley Metzger))


  
ACTOR: Robert De Niro, TAXI DRIVER (2nd: Sylvester Stallone, Rocky, followed by: William Holden, Network; Woody Allen, The Front; Ben Gazzara, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie; David Carradine, Bound for Glory; John Wayne, The Shootist; Clint Eastwood, The Outlaw Josey Wales) 

ACTRESS: Sally Field, SYBIL (2nd: Sissy Spacek, Carrie, followed by: Faye Dunaway, Network; Liv Ullmann, Face to Face; Joanne Woodward, Sybil; Sonia Braga, Doña Flor and Her Two Husbands; Allison Steadman, Nuts in May; Jodie Foster, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane) 



SUPPORTING ACTOR: Peter Finch, NETWORK (won as Best Actor) (2nd: Jason Robards, All The President’s Men, followed by: Ned Beatty, Network; Lawrence Olivier, Marathon Man; Richard Pryor, Silver Streak; Burt Young, Rocky; Burgess Meredith, Rocky; Chief Dan George, The Outlaw Josey Wales)



SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Jodie Foster, TAXI DRIVER (2nd: Piper Laurie, Carrie, followed by: Melinda Dillon, Bound for Glory; Beatrice Straight, Network; Martine Bartlett, Sybil; Talia Shire, Rocky; Jane Alexander, All the President’s Men; Dominique Sanda, 1900)


DIRECTOR: Martin Scorsese, TAXI DRIVER (2nd: Sidney Lumet, Network, followed by: Alan J. Pakula, All The President’s Men; Martin Ritt, The Front; Hal Ashby, Bound for Glory; John G. Avildsen, Rocky; Francois Truffaut, Small Change; Alan Parker, Bugsy Malone)

NON-ENGLISH-LANGUAGE FILM: SMALL CHANGE (France, François Truffaut) (2nd: In the Realm of the Senses (Japan, Nagisa Oshima), followed by: 1900 (Italy, Bernardo Bertolucci); The Memory of Justice (France, Marcel Ophuls); Kings of the Road (West Germany, Wim Wenders); Face to Face (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman); Heart of Glass (West Germany, Werner Herzog); L’Innocente (Italy, Luchino Visconti); Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 (Switzerland, Alain Tanner); Allegro Non Troppo (Italy, Bruno Bazzeto); Casanova (Italy, Federico Fellini); The Marquise of O (France, Eric Rohmer); Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (Brazil, Bruno Baretto))



DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: HARLAN COUNTY USA (US, Barbara Kopple) (2nd: The Memory of Justice (France, Marcel Ophuls), followed by: Hollywood on Trial (US, David Helpern); The Blank Generation (US, Ivan Kral and Amos Poe))



ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Paddy Chayefsky, NETWORK (2nd: Paul Schrader, Taxi Driver, followed by: Walter Bernstein, The Front; Bill Lancaster, The Bad News Bears; Alan Parker, Bugsy Malone)



ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: William Goldman, ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN (2nd: Robert Getchell, Bound for Glory; Stewart Stern, Sybil; Philip Kaufman and Sonia Chernus, The Outlaw Josey Wales; Nicholas Meyer, The Seven Per-Cent Solution)



LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: RENDEZVOUS (France, Claude Lelouch) (2nd: Children (UK, Terence Davies), followed by: Plaisir d’amour en Iran (France, Agnes Varda); Kudzu (US, Marjorie Ann Short); To Fly! (US, Jim Freeman and Greg MacGillivrey))



ANIMATED SHORT FILM: THE STREET (Canada, Caroline Leaf) (2nd: Leisure (Australia, David Denneen), followed by: Le Paysagiste (Canada, Jacques Drouin); Arabesque (US, John Whitney Sr.); Dojoji (Japan, Kihachiro Kawamoto)



CINEMATOGRAPHY: Haskell Wexler, BOUND FOR GLORY (2nd: Gordon Willis, All The President's Men, followed by: Michael Chapman, Taxi Driver; Owen Roizman, Network; Vittorio Storaro, 1900)

ART DIRECTION: ALL THE PRESIDENT‘S MEN, Bugsy Malone, The Shootist, Logan’s Run, Bound for Glory 


COSTUME DESIGN: CASANOVA, Bugsy Malone, 1900, The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings, Bound for Glory  



FILM EDITING: TAXI DRIVER, Rocky, All The President’s Men, Network, Carrie 

SOUND: ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN, Rocky, Network, Bound for Glory, Silver Streak


 
ORIGINAL SCORE: Bernard Herrmann, TAXI DRIVER (2nd: Pino Donaggio, Carrie, followed by Bill Conti, Rocky; Jerry Fielding, The Outlaw Josey Wales; Bernard Herrmann, Obsession)



ADAPTED OR MUSICAL SCORE: Paul Williams, BUGSY MALONE (2nd: Leonard Rosenman, Bound for Glory, followed by: Patrick Williams, The Bad News Bears)



ORIGINAL SONG: “I Never Dreamed Someone Like You Could Love Someone Like Me” from CARRIE (Music and lyrics by Pino Donnagio and Merrit Malloy) (2nd: “My Name is Tallulah” from Bugsy Malone (Music and lyrics by Paul Williams), followed by: "Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star is Born)" (Music by Barbra Streisand, lyrics by Paul Williams); “I Wanna Get Next to You” from Car Wash (Music and lyrics by Norman Whitfield); “Hooked on Your Love” from Sparkle (Music and lyrics by Curtis Mayfield); “You Give A Little Love” from Bugsy Malone (Music and lyrics by Paul Williams); "Tomorrow" from Bugsy Malone (Music and lyrics by Paul Williams); "Ordinary Fool" from Bugsy Malone (Music and lyrics by Paul Williams); "So You Wanna Be a Boxer" from Bugsy Malone (Music and lyrics by Paul Williams); “Car Wash” from Car Wash (Music and lyrics by Norman Whitfield); "Gonna Fly Now" from Rocky (Music by Bill Conti, lyrics by Carol Collins and Ayn Robbins); "Gator" from Gator (Music and lyrics by Jerry Reed); "Please Don't Touch Me Plums" from The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox (Music and lyrics by Sammy Cahn, Melvin Frank and Charles Fox))

SPECIAL EFFECTS: LOGAN'S RUN


MAKEUP: TAXI DRIVER, Bugsy Malone, Rocky

Saturday, January 30, 2016

1975--The Year in Review

Oh, boy. I mean…really…this hurt. It's such an outstanding year for movies, I still question if I made the right selection here, leaving the Kubrick, Wertmuller, Lumet, Spielberg, and Forman films out in the cold (I adore them all so much that I couldn't abandon them entirely). Dang. How can I justify this? Okay. Nicholson was nearly trumped this year–in a photo finish–by Pacino’s frenzied bank robber (which still seems like this superlative actor's best performance ever). In the end, even though I've promised myself not to go this route unless absolutely necessary, I had to do it anyway: a tie (Nicholson's charismatic R.P. McMurphy is every bit Pacino's match in vitality; it's impossible to pick between the two, even though the Academy decided in Nicholson's favor, leaving Pacino in a lurch for many years to come). And here’s where the case for One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest as Best Picture--as much as I absolutely love it--starts to crumble for me. Fletcher’s Oscar-winning "lead" performance was certainly a supporting one, so I placed her in that category–where she didn’t have a chance against the phalanx of Nashville women (and the one that I picked performed sublimely in her film debut--and her songwriting led to another prize). Supporting Actor, too, was locked up (Cazele's nearly silent portrayal--one that mightily impressed me, even as a kid first watching it in '75--was the soul of Dog Day Afternoon). As for Barry Lyndon, I have to admit it comes up just a slight bit short for me in the emotion department, but it certainly was the most meticulously crafted film of the year (it gets better and better each time you watch it, like most Kubrick movies do). Seeing as how this was the case, my favorite director of the 1970s had to emerge up top for his omnibus masterwork Nashville, an acidic criticism and embrace of American culture with scads of vibrant characters and tunes thrown about its three epic hours (Altman's film is more relevant today than in 1975--in fact, it's timeless, and that's pretty much why I decided in its favor). I tried to spread the love from here on. But…again… this really was tough. Still, on anther day, I would probably go the same way. A major milestone should be mentioned: 1975 featured two films directed by women justifiably at the top of the list: Lina Wertmuller's Seven Beauties--the first and most powerful Holocaust comedy, predating Roberto Begnini's Life is Beautiful by decades--and Chantal Akerman's challenging portrait of Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. Finally: the short film categories are filled with absolute brilliance, through and through, so be sure to check out the links, as there are some great riches there! NOTE: These are MY choices for each category, and are only occasionally reflective of the selections made by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (aka The Oscars). When available, the nominee that actually won the Oscar will be highlighted in bold. 

PICTURE: NASHVILLE (US, Robert Altman) (2nd: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (US, Milos Forman), followed by: Seven Beauties (Italy, Lina Wertmuller); Dog Day Afternoon (US, Sidney Lumet); Barry Lyndon (UK, Stanley Kubrick); Jaws (US, Steven Spielberg); Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (Belgium/France, Chantal Akerman); The Day of the Locust (US, John Schlesinger); Monty Python and the Holy Grail (UK, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam); Grey Gardens (US, Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer); Tommy (UK, Ken Russell); Welfare (US, Frederick Wiseman); Overlord (UK, Stuart Cooper); Night Moves (US, Arthur Penn); Picnic at Hanging Rock (Australia, Peter Weir); Love and Death (US, Woody Allen); The Passenger (Italy/US, Michelangelo Antonioni); The Story of Adele H. (France, Francois Truffaut); The Man Who Would Be King (UK, John Huston); Shampoo (US, Hal Ashby); Smile (US, Michael Ritchie); Deep Red (Italy, Dario Argento); The Magic Flute (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman); The Man Who Skied Down Everest (US, Bruce Myznik and Lawrence Schiller); Hester Street (US, Joan Micklin Silver); The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum (West Germany, Margarethe Von Trotta and Volker Schlöndorff); Rancho Deluxe (US, Frank Perry); Hearts of the West (US, Howard Zieff); The Sunshine Boys (US, Herbert Ross); Cooley High (US, Michael Schultz); Rollerball (US, Norman Jewison); Queen of the Stardust Ballroom (US, Sam O'Steen); Hard Times (US, Walter Hill); Death Race 2000 (US, Paul Bartel); The Drowning Pool (US, Stuart Rosenberg); Three Days of the Condor (US, Sydney Pollack); The Rocky Horror Picture Show (UK, Jim Sheridan); Maitresse (France, Barbet Schroeder); Farewell, My Lovely (US, Dick Richards); Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins (US, Dick Richards); The California Reich (US, Keith Critchlow and Walter F. Parkes); The Incredible Machine (US, Irwin Rosten and Ed Spiegel); Hustle (US, Robert Aldrich); The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (US, J. Lee Thompson); Aloha, Bobby and Rose (US, Floyd Mutux); Give 'em Hell, Harry! (US, Steve Binder and Peter H. Hunt); Bite the Bullet (US, Richard Brooks); White Line Fever (US, Jonathan Kaplan); W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings (US, John G. Avildsen); Brother, Can You Spare a Dime (US, Phillippe Mora); The Stepford Wives (US, Bryan Forbes); Crazy Mama (US,Jonathan Demme); The Story of O (France, Just Jaeckin); Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (Italy, Pier Paolo Pasolini))





ACTOR: (TIE) Al Pacino, DOG DAY AFTERNOON and Jack Nicholson, ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST (2nd: Giancarlo Giannini, Seven Beauties, followed by: Tim Curry, The Rocky Horror Picture Show; Roy Schieder, Jaws; Gene Hackman, Night Moves; Walter Matthau, The Sunshine Boys)

ACTRESS: Isabelle Adjani, THE STORY OF ADELE H. (2nd: Delphine Seyrig, Jeanne Dielman 23 quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles, followed by: Ann-Margret, Tommy; Diane Keaton, Love and Death; Angela Winkler, The Lost Honor of Katherina Blum; Maureen Stapleton, Queen of the Stardust Ballroom)

SUPPORTING ACTOR: John Cazale, DOG DAY AFTERNOON (2nd: Donald Sutherland, The Day of the Locust, followed by: Charles Durning, Dog Day Afternoon; Robert Shaw, Jaws; Sidney Lassick, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; Burgess Meredith, The Day of the Locust)


 
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Ronee Blakely, NASHVILLE (2nd: Louise Fletcher, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (won as Best Actress), followed by: Lily Tomlin, Nashville; Gwen Welles, Nashville; Tina Turner, Tommy; Geraldine Chaplin, Nashville) 



DIRECTOR: Robert Altman, NASHVILLE (2nd: Milos Forman, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, followed by: Lina Wertmuller, Seven Beauties; Stanley Kubrick, Barry Lyndon, Sidney Lumet, Dog Day Afternoon; Chantal Akerman, Jeanne Dielman 23 quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles)



NON-ENGLISH-LANGUAGE FILM: SEVEN BEAUTIES (Italy, Lina Wertmuller) (2nd: Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (Belgium/France, Chantal Akerman), followed by: The Story of Adele H. (France, Francois Truffaut); The Magic Flute (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman); The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum (West Germany, Margarethe Von Trotta and Volker Schlöndorff); Maitresse (France, Barbet Schroeder))



LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: ANGEL AND BIG JOE (US, Bert Salzman) (2nd: The Ash Tree (UK, Lawrence Gordon Clark), followed by: Two Solutions for One Problem (Iran, Abbas Kierostami); Recorded Live (US, S.S. Wilson); Windows (UK, Peter Greenaway); The Girl Chewing Gum (UK, John Smith))



ANIMATED SHORT FILM: HEDGEHOG IN THE FOG (Yugoslavia, Yuri Norstein) (2nd: Quasi at the Quackadero (US, Sally Cruickshank), followed by: Kick Me (US, Robert Swarthe); Rikki Tiki Tavi (US, Chuck Jones); Sisyphus (Hungary, Marcell Jankovics))



DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: GREY GARDENS (US, Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer) (2nd: Welfare (US, Frederick Wiseman), followed by: The Man Who Skied Down Everest (US, Lawrence Schiller and Bruce Nyznik); The California Reich (US, Keith Critchlow and Walter F. Parkes); The Incredible Machine (US, Irwin Rosten and Ed Spiegel))



ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Frank Pierson, DOG DAY AFTERNOON (2nd: Lina Wertmuller, Seven Beauties, followed by: Joan Tewkesbury, Nashville; Alan Sharp, Night Moves; Robert Towne and Warren Beatty, Shampoo)



ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Lawrence Hauben and Bo Goldman, ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO‘S NEST (2nd: Stanley Kubrick, Barry Lyndon, followed by: Waldo Salt, The Day of the Locust; Terry Jones, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam and Eric Idle, Monty Python and The Holy Grail; John Huston and Gladys Hill, The Man Who Would Be King)



CINEMATOGRAPHY: John Alcott, BARRY LYNDON (2nd: Russell Boyd, Picnic at Hanging Rock, followed by John Alcott, Overlord; Haskell Wexler and Bill Butler, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; Conrad Hall, The Day of the Locust)

ART DIRECTION: BARRY LYNDON, The Day of the Locust, The Sunshine Boys, Tommy, The Man Who Would Be King

COSTUME DESIGN: BARRY LYNDON, Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Magic Flute, Nashville



FILM EDITING: JAWS, Dog Day Afternoon, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Night Moves, Nashville  

SOUND: JAWS, Tommy, Nashville, Dog Day Afternoon, Rollerball



ORIGINAL SCORE: John Williams, JAWS (2nd: Jack Nitzsche, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, followed by: Enzo Jannacci, Seven Beauties; John Barry, The Day of the Locust; Bruce Smeaton, Picnic at Hanging Rock)



ADAPTED OR MUSICAL SCORE: Pete Townshend, TOMMY (2nd: Leonard Rosenmann, Barry Lyndon, followed by: Allen Nicholls, Keith Carradine, Karen Black, Ronee Blakeley, Gary Busey, Juan Grizzle, Dave Peel, Joe Raposo, Arline Barnett and Jonnie Barnett, Nashville; Richard O'Brien, The Rocky Horror Picture Show; Eric Ericson, The Magic Flute)



ORIGINAL SONG: “My Idaho Home” from NASHVILLE (Music and lyrics by Ronee Blakely) (2nd: "Camelot Song (Knights of the Round Table)” from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Music by Neil Innes, lyrics by Graham Chapman and John Cleese), followed by: "Since You've Gone" from Nashville (Music and lyrics by Gary Busey); “I’m Easy” from Nashville (Music and lyrics by Keith Carradine); "Dues" from Nashville  (Music and lyrics by Ronee Blakely); “One, I Love You” from Nashville (Music and lyrics by Richard Baskin); “Drifting and Dreaming of You” from White Line Fever (Music and lyrics by David Nichtern); “A Friend” from W.W. and The Dixie Dancekings (Music and lyrics by Don Williams and Jerry Reed); "It Don't Worry Me" from Nashville (Music and lyrics by Keith Carradine); "Champagne" from Tommy (Music and lyrics by Pete Townshend); "200 Years" from Nashville (Music by Richard Baskin, lyrics by Henry Gibson); "Let's Do It Again" from Let's Do It Again (Music and lyrics by Curtis Mayfield))

SPECIAL EFFECTS: THE HINDENBERG, Jaws  


MAKEUP: BARRY LYNDON, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Sunshine Boys

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

1974--The Year in Review

The Francis Ford Coppola juggernaut continued in 1974 with two extremely notable works--sincerely, the charismatic writer/director was totally on fire this year, maybe as no other filmmaker has been before or since. This would have been an unprecedented one-man race were it not for Polanski and Towne's sublime Chinatown (dutifully noted here, though it still feels like I've slighted their magnificent work). Yet Coppola wasn't the only auteur to contribute two astounding pieces to his CV in 1974, as the most-unlikely Mel Brooks delivered a similar double-blow with Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. Still--let's face it: there was only one choice to be made here. I'm glad to give some leeway to Cassavetes and his muse, wife Gena Rowlands, and to Brooks' most valuable supporting player (in both movies) Madeline Kahn. If I had only one wish, it would be that there were more than one award to give to this stellar array of Best Actor possibilities. But Hackman, with his supremely conflicted Harry Caul, had to emerge above them all, as it's perhaps this fine artist's most acutely detailed performance. A really remarkable year of movies here. Also note the first appearance of true "Claymation" in the winner of the Best Animated Short category: the superb stop motion artisan Will Vinton, who'd go on to influence film and advertising culture for decades to come. NOTE: These are MY choices for each category, and are only occasionally reflective of the selections made by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (aka The Oscars). When available, the nominee that actually won the Oscar will be highlighted in bold. 


PICTURE: THE GODFATHER PART II (US, Francis Ford Coppola) (2nd: Chinatown (US, Roman Polanski); The Conversation (US, Francis Ford Coppola); A Woman Under the Influence (US, John Cassavetes); The Parallax View (US, Alan J. Pakula); The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (US, Tobe Hooper); Young Frankenstein (US, Mel Brooks); General Idi Amin Dada (France/Switzerland, Barbet Schroeder); Céline and Julie Go Boating (France, Jacques Rivette); Edvard Munch (Norway/Sweden, Peter Watkins); The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (West Germany, Werner Herzog); Thieves Like Us (US, Robert Altman); Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (US, Martin Scorsese); Harry and Tonto (US, Paul Mazursky); Blazing Saddles (US, Mel Brooks); Italianamerican (US, Martin Scorsese); Mirror (USSR, Andrei Tarkovsky); Cockfighter (US, Monte Hellman); The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (US, Joseph Sargent); Daisy Miller (US, Peter Bogdanovich); Dark Star (US, John Carpenter); The Longest Yard (US, Robert Aldrich); Lancelot du Lac (France, Robert Bresson); Hearts and Minds (US, Peter Davis); Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (West Germany, Rainer Werner Fassbinder); Female Trouble (US, John Waters); Lenny (US, Bob Fosse); Alice in the Cities (West Germany, Wim Wenders); Xala (Senegal, Ousmane Sembene); California Split (US, Robert Altman); The Outfit (US, John Flynn); The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (US, John Korty); The Sugarland Express (US, Steven Spielberg); Black Christmas (US, Bob Clark); Gone in 60 Seconds (US, H.B. Halicki); The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (Canada, Ted Koecheff); Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (US, Sam Peckinpah); Cousin, Cousine (France, Jean-Charles Tachella); Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (US, Michael Cimino); Murder on the Orient Express (US, Sidney Lumet); Dersu Uzala (Japan/USSR, Akira Kurosawa); Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer (US, Thom Andersen); Phantom of the Paradise (US, Brian de Palma); Truck Turner (US, Jonathan Kaplan); The Cars That Ate Paris (Australia, Peter Weir); Caged Heat (US, Jonathan Demme); Lacombe, Lucien (France, Louis Malle); The Phantom of Liberty (France, Luis Buñuel); Sandakan 8 (Japan, Kei Kumai); Parade (France, Jacques Tati); Zardoz (UK, John Boorman); The Towering Inferno (US, John Guillermin); Immoral Tales (France, Walerian Borowczyk); Swept Away…by an Unusual Destiny in the Blue Sea of August (Italy, Lina Wertmuller); Phase IV (US, Saul Bass); Conrack (US, Martin Ritt); Freebie and the Bean (US, Richard Rush); The Groove Tube (US, Ken Shapiro); The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (US, Gordon Hessler); We All Loved Each Other So Much (Italy, Ettore Scola); That's Entertainment! (US, Jack Haley Jr.); Foxy Brown (US, Jack Hill); Zandy's Bride (US, Jan Troell); The Three Musketeers (US, Richard Lester); Buster and Billie (US, Daniel Petrie); Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (US, John Hough); Macon County Line (US, Richard Compton); Earthquake (US, Mark Robson); Emmanuelle (France, Just Jaeckin); Sweet Movie (Yugoslavia/France, Dusan Makavejev); Benji (US, Joe Camp))



ACTOR: Gene Hackman, THE CONVERSATION (2nd: Jack Nicholson, Chinatown, followed by: Al Pacino, The Godfather Part II; Art Carney, Harry and Tonto; Peter Falk, A Woman Under the Influence; Bruno S., The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser; Warren Oates, Cockfighter; Dustin Hoffman, Lenny



ACTRESS: Gena Rowlands, A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE (2nd: Ellen Burstyn, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, followed by: Cicely Tyson, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman; Brigitte Mira, Ali: Fear Eats the Soul; Faye Dunaway, Chinatown; Marilyn Burns, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre; Diahann Carroll, Claudine)


 
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Robert De Niro, THE GODFATHER PART II (2nd: John Huston, Chinatown, followed by: Lee Strasberg, The Godfather Part II; Jeff Bridges, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot; Harvey Korman, Blazing Saddles; John Cazale, The Godfather Part II; Robert Shaw, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three; Peter Boyle, Young Frankenstein



SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Madeline Kahn, BLAZING SADDLES (2nd: Valerie Perrine, Lenny, followed by: Cloris Leachman, Young Frankenstein; Jessica Harper, Phantom of the Paradise; Madeline Kahn, Young Frankenstein; Edith Massey, Female Trouble; Diane Ladd, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore; Talia Shire, The Godfather Part II)


DIRECTOR: Francis Ford Coppola, THE GODFATHER PART II (2nd: Roman Polanski, Chinatown, followed by: Francis Ford Coppola, The Conversation; John Cassavetes, A Woman Under the Influence; Alan J. Pakula, The Parallax View; Tobe Hooper, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre; Jacques Rivette, Celine and Julie Go Boating; Alan J. Pakula, The Parallax View)


NON-ENGLISH-LANGUAGE FILM: CELINE AND JULIE GO BOATING (France, Jacques Rivette) (2nd: Edvard Munch (Norway/Sweden, Peter Watkins), followed by: The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (West Germany, Werner Herzog); Mirror (USSR, Andrei Tarkovsky); Lancelot du Lac (France, Robert Bresson); Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (West Germany, Rainer Werner Fassbinder); Alice in the Cities (West Germany, Wim Wenders); Xala (Senegal, Ousmane Sembene); Cousin, Cousine (France, Jean-Charles Tachella); Dersu Uzala (Japan/USSR, Akira Kurosawa) (won in 1975); Lacombe, Lucien (France, Louis Malle); The Phantom of Liberty (France, Luis Buñuel))



LIVE ACTION SHORT: ONE-EYED MEN ARE KINGS (France, Edmond Sechan) (2nd: The Violin (Canada, Andrew Welsh and George Pastic), followed by: Planet Ocean (US, George Casey)) 



ANIMATED SHORT: CLOSED MONDAYS (US, Will Vinton) (2nd: The Family That Dwelt Apart (Canada, Yvon Mallette), followed by: Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too (US, John Lounsbury); The Heron and the Crane (Yugoslavia, Yuri Norshteyn); Miracle of Flight (UK, Terry Gilliam))


DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: GENERAL IDI AMIN DADA (Germany, Barbet Schroeder) (2nd: Hearts and Minds (US, Peter Davis), followed by: Italianamerican (US, Martin Scorsese); Janis (US, Howard Alk))



ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Robert Towne, CHINATOWN (2nd: Francis Ford Coppola, The Conversation, followed by John Cassavetes, A Woman Under the Influence; Paul Mazursky and Josh Greenfield, Harry and Tonto; Mel Brooks, Andrew Bergman, Norman Steinberg, Richard Pryor and Alan Uger, Blazing Saddles)



ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:  Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo, THE GODFATHER PART II (2nd: David Giler and Lorenzo Semple Jr., The Parallax View, followed by: Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder, Young Frankenstein; Peter Stone, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three; Frederic Raphael, Daisy Miller)


CINEMATOGRAPHY: Gordon Willis, THE GODFATHER PART II (2nd: John A. Alonzo, Chinatown, followed by: Gordon Willis, The Parallax View; Fred J. Koenekamp, The Towering Inferno; Gerald Hirschfeld, Young Frankenstein)

ART DIRECTION: THE GODFATHER PART II, Chinatown, Young Frankenstein, Murder on the Orient Express, The Towering Inferno


COSTUME DESIGN: DAISY MILLER, Chinatown, The Great Gatsby, The Godfather Part II, Murder on the Orient Express 



FILM EDITING: THE GODFATHER PART II, The Longest Yard, Chinatown, The Conversation, The Parallax View



SOUND: THE CONVERSATION, Earthquake, The Longest Yard, The Godfather Part II, Young Frankenstein



ORIGINAL SCORE: Jerry Goldsmith, CHINATOWN (2nd: David Shire, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, followed by: Nino Rota and Carmine Coppola, The Godfather Part II; Michael Small, The Parallax View; John Morris, Young Frankenstein)



SCORING OF A MUSICAL/ADAPTATION SCORE: PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE (Paul Williams and George Aliceson Tipton) (2nd: The Little Prince (Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Lowe), followed by: The Great Gatsby (Nelson Riddle))



ORIGINAL SONG: “Benson, Arizona“ from DARK STAR (Music by John Carpenter, lyrics by Bill Taylor) (2nd: “Special to Me“ from Phantom of the Paradise (Music and lyrics by Paul Williams), followed by “Blazing Saddles” from Blazing Saddles (Music by John Morris; lyrics by Mel Brooks); “Truck Turner” from Truck Turner (Music and lyrics by Isaac Hayes); “On and On“ from Claudine (Music and lyrics by Curtis Mayfield); "Where Do We Go From Here" from Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (Music and lyrics by Paul Williams); “I’m Tired” from Blazing Saddles (Music by John Morris; lyrics by Mel Brooks); "We May Never Love Like This Again" from The Towering Inferno (Music and lyrics by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschorn); "Benji's Theme (I Feel Love)" from Benji (Music by Euel Box, lyrics by Betty Box))


SPECIAL EFFECTS: EARTHQUAKE, The Towering Inferno, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad

MAKEUP: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MISS JANE PITTMAN, Young Frankenstein, The Godfather Part II

Thursday, January 21, 2016

1973--The Year in Review

When Universal Studios' executives were presented with the script for my film of choice, they insisted it would never work: there were too many story lines running concurrently, and audiences would be hopelessly lost in navigating its plot. When the aging execs finally saw the film, they abjectly hated it--but, then again, Universal Studios had been famously behind the times for many years. American Graffiti ended up being not only the best movie of the year, but also among the most profitable of all time. It also changed the way we processed cinematic storytelling, even after filmmakers like Robert Altman had accepted its forward thinking. Though I absolutely ADORE the ten films that follow it on my list, I could go no other way. The acting, the dialogue, the look, the sound, the editing, the needle-drop scoring (even better than the remarkable Mean Streets)…it changed so much of American film that it simply could not be ignored. Its effects are still being felt today, with each decade producing a movie of prime similarity (in the 80s Fast Times at Ridgemont High; in the 90s Dazed and Confused, in the 2000s Superbad). But I have to give props to so many other films this year, and so I think my relatively well-balanced ballot says it all (there was no way I could ignore the Best Director of the year). I have to note that the song category was packed to the max with possibilities, and though both the Hamlisch/Bergman standard and the Dylan anthem live on in lively ways, I was compelled to go another direction; the protracted final shot of Electra Glide in Blue, with the insanely emotive song "Tell Me" as its backing, is just TOO unforgettable. And finally, as to the oft-neglected short film category, I COMPLETELY urge you all to look at Frank and Caroline Mouris’ Frank Film; it is utterly unlike anything ever made--a singular achievement. NOTE: These are MY choices for each category, and are only occasionally reflective of the selections made by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (aka The Oscars). When available, the nominee that actually won the Oscar will be highlighted in bold.


PICTURE: AMERICAN GRAFFITI (US, George Lucas) (2nd: O Lucky Man! (UK, Lindsay Anderson), followed by: The Exorcist (US, William Friedkin); Scenes from a Marriage (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman); Mean Streets (US, Martin Scorsese); Electra Glide in Blue (US, James William Guercio); Paper Moon (US, Peter Bogdanovich); Badlands (US, Terrence Malick); The Long Goodbye (US, Robert Altman); The Sting (US, George Roy Hill); Amarcord (Italy, Federico Fellini); Painters Painting (US, Emile de Antonio); The Mother and the Whore (France, Jean Eustache); The Spirit of the Beehive (Spain, Victor Erice); Holy Mountain (Mexico, Alejandro Jodorowsky); Don’t Look Now (UK, Nicolas Roeg); F for Fake (France/US, Orson Welles); Payday (US, Daryl Duke); Papillon (US, Franklin J. Schaffner); The Wicker Man (UK, Robin Hardy); Scarecrow (US, Jerry Schatzberg); Theatre of Blood (UK, Douglas Hickox); The Iceman Cometh (US, John Frankenheimer); The Last Detail (US, Hal Ashby); Charley Varrick (US, Don Siegel); Sleeper (US, Woody Allen); High Plains Drifter (US, Clint Eastwood); Godspell (US, David Greene); Bang The Drum Slowly (US, John Hancock); The Friends of Eddie Coyle (US, Peter Yates); Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (US, Sam Peckinpah); Serpico (US, Sidney Lumet); The Night Porter (Italy, Liliana Cavani); Sisters (US, Brian de Palma); Day for Night (France, François Truffaut); Magnum Force (US, Ted Post); The Paper Chase (US, James Bridges); Jeremy (US, Arthur Barron); Turkish Delight (Netherlands, Paul Verhoeven); The Day of the Jackal (UK, Fred Zinnemann); A Brief Vacation (Italy, Vittorio de Sica); Distant Thunder (India, Satyajit Ray); The Last of Sheila (US, Herbert Ross); Save the Tiger (US, John G. Avildsen); That'll Be the Day (UK, Claude Whatham); Charlotte's Web (US, Charles Nichols and Iwao Takamoto); Blume in Love (US, Paul Mazursky); Dillinger (US, John Milius); Wattstax (US, Mel Stuart); The Way We Were (US, Sydney Pollack); Breezy (US, Clint Eastwood); Coffy (US, Jack Hill); Tom Sawyer (US, Don Taylor); Fantastic Planet (France, René Laloux); Enter the Dragon (US/Hong Kong, Robert Clouse); The Seven-Ups (US, Philip D'Antoni); The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob (France, Gerard Oury); Let the Good Times Roll (US, Robert Abel and Sidney Levin); Ganja and Hess (US, Bill Gunn); La Grande Bouffe (France, Marco Ferreri); My Name is Nobody (US/Italy, Tonino Valerii); The Laughing Policeman (US, Stuart Rosenberg); White Lightning (US, Joseph Sargent); Soylent Green (US, Richard Fleischer); The Crazies (US, George A. Romero); Robin Hood (US, Wolfgang Reitherman); Jesus Christ Superstar (US, Norman Jewison); Walking Tall (US, Phil Karlson); Emperor of the North (US, Robert Aldrich); The Devil in Miss Jones (US, Gerard Damiano))



DIRECTOR: Lindsay Anderson, O LUCKY MAN! (2nd: Martin Scorsese, Mean Streets, followed by: George Lucas, American Graffiti; William Friedkin, The Exorcist; Ingmar Bergman, Scenes from a Marriage; Terrence Malick, Badlands; Peter Bogdanovich, Paper Moon; George Roy Hill, The Sting)

ACTOR: Vincent Price, THEATRE OF BLOOD (2nd: Malcolm McDowell, O Lucky Man!, followed by: Robert Blake, Electra Glide in Blue; Al Pacino, Serpico; Donald Sutherland, Don't Look Now; Rip Torn, Payday; Harvey Keitel, Mean Streets; Jack Nicholson, The Last Detail

ACTRESS: Liv Ullmann, SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE (2nd: Ellen Burstyn, The Exorcist, followed by: Sissy Spacek, Badlands; Pam Grier, Coffy; Barbara Streisand, The Way We Were; Julie Christie, Don’t Look Now; Kay Lenz, Breezy; Charlotte Rampling, The Night Porter)



SUPPORTING ACTOR: Jason Miller, THE EXORCIST (2nd: Robert De Niro, Mean Streets, followed by: Robert Ryan, The Iceman Cometh; Max Von Sydow, The Exorcist; John Houseman, The Paper Chase; Paul Le Mat, American Graffiti; Charles Martin Smith, American Graffiti; Arthur Lowe, O Lucky Man!)



SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Tatum O’Neal, PAPER MOON (2nd: Madeline Kahn, Paper Moon, followed by: Valentina Cortese, Day for Night; Candy Clark, American Graffiti; Cindy Williams, American Graffiti; Mackenzie Phillips, American Graffiti; Diane Keaton, Sleeper; Linda Blair (and Mercedes McCambridge), The Exorcist)



NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE FILM: SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman) (2nd: Amarcord (Italy, Federico Fellini), followed by: The Mother and the Whore (France, Jean Eustache); The Spirit of the Beehive (Spain, Victor Erice); Holy Mountain (Mexico, Alejandro Jodorowsky); The Night Porter (Italy, Liliana Cavani); Day for Night (France, François Truffaut); Turkish Delight (Netherlands, Paul Verhoeven); A Brief Vacation (Italy, Vittorio de Sica); Distant Thunder (India, Satyajit Ray))


DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: PAINTERS PAINTING (US, Emile de Antonio) (2nd: F for Fake (US, Orson Welles), followed by Wattstax (US, Mel Stuart); Let The Good Times Roll (US, Robert Abel and Sidney Levin))


ANIMATED FEATURE: CHARLOTTE'S WEB (US, Charles Nichols and Iwao Takamoto) (2nd: Fantastic Planet (France, René Laloux), followed by: Robin Hood (US, Wolfgang Reitherman)



ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: George Lucas, Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck, AMERICAN GRAFFITI (2nd: David S. Ward, The Sting, followed by: Ingmar Bergman, Scenes from a Marriage; Martin Scorsese and Mardik Martin, Mean Streets; Robert Boris and Rupert Hitzig, Electra Glide in Blue)



ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: William Peter Blatty, THE EXORCIST (2nd: Alvin Sargent, Paper Moon, followed by: David Sherwin and Malcolm McDowell, O Lucky Man!; Leigh Brackett, The Long Goodbye; Waldo Salt and Norman Wexler, Serpico)



LIVE ACTION SHORT: THE WOLD-SHADOW (US, Stan Brakhage) (2nd: Cristo’s Valley Curtain (US, Albert Maysles, David Maysles and Ellen Giffard), followed by: L’Ammbassade (Chile, Chris Marker); The Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water (UK, Jeff Grant); A Field of Honor (US, Robert Zemeckis))



ANIMATED SHORT: FRANK FILM (US, Frank and Caroline Mouris) (2nd: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (US, Bill Melendez), followed by: The Trip (Japan, Kihachiro Kawamoto); Where The Wild Things Are (US, Gene Deitch); Tup Tup (Yugoslavia, Nedeljko Dragic))


CINEMATOGRAPHY: Lazslo Kovacs, PAPER MOON (2nd: Owen Roizman and Billy Williams, The Exorcist, followed by: Rafael Corkidi, Holy Mountain; Conrad Hall, Electra Glide in Blue; Robert Surtees, The Sting)

ART DIRECTION: THE STING, Paper Moon, The Exorcist, High Plains Drifter, Holy Mountain

COSTUME DESIGN: THE STING, Paper Moon, The Way We Were, Amarcord, Godspell 

FILM EDITING: AMERICAN GRAFFITI, The Exorcist, The Sting, O Lucky Man!, Godspell



SOUND: AMERICAN GRAFFITI, The Exorcist, Paper Moon, The Sting, Papillon 



ORIGINAL SCORE: Jerry Goldsmith, PAPILLON (2nd: Marvin Hamlisch, The Way We Were, followed by: James William Guercio, Electra Glide in Blue; John Williams, The Long Goodbye; Nino Rota, Amarcord)



ADAPTED/SONG SCORE: Alan Price, O LUCKY MAN! (2nd: Marvin Hamlisch, The Sting, followed by: Stephen Schwartz and Stephen Reinhardt, Godspell; Paul Giovanni, The Wicker Man; Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, Charlotte's Web)



ORIGINAL SONG: “Tell Me” from ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE (Music and lyrics by James William Guercio) (2nd: “The Way We Were” from The Way We Were (Music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman), followed by: “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” from Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (Music and lyrics by Bob Dylan); “O Lucky Man!” from O Lucky Man! (Music and lyrics by Alan Price); "The Long Goodbye" from The Long Goodbye (Music by John Williams, lyrics by Johnny Mercer); “Live and Let Die” from Live and Let Die (Music and lyrics by Paul and Linda McCartney); "There Must Be Something More" from Charlotte's Web (Music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman); “She’s Only A Country Girl” from Payday (Music and lyrics by Shel Silverstein); "River Song" from Tom Sawyer (Music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman); "Poor People" from O Lucky Man! (Music and lyrics by Alan Price); "Are You Man Enough?" from Shaft in Africa (Music and lyrics by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter); "Corn Rigs" from The Wicker Man (Music and lyrics by Paul Giovanni); "Tom Sawyer!" from Tom Sawyer (Music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman); "Beautiful City" from Godspell (Music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz); "Nice to Be Around" from Cinderella Liberty (Music by John Williams, lyrics by Paul Williams))


MAKEUP: THE EXORCIST, Papillon, The Sting