Friday, December 18, 2015

1969--The Year in Review

It's an edgy slate of movies closing out this earth-shaking decade. For the Academy's part, they responded well to the sea-change by awarding Best Picture to the chanciest movie ever to top their poll--Midnight Cowboy, John Schlesinger's melancholy tale of crushed dreams and unexpected friendship. It's such a massively moving piece, I have zero animosity for it; even so, one boisterous, bloody work just barely nudges it out of the winner's circle. Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch bowled me over as it did almost everyone who saw it in the late '60s/early '70s (it's certainly a movie that should be seen at least once at a theater; if you haven't experienced it as such, you're partially abandoning its strength). From its very first scene--that staccato credits sequence portraying the titular bunch trotting past a group of joyful kids cackling as thousands of fire ants overtake two deadly but hapless scorpions (a harbinger of the film's famously chaotic conclusion)--The Wild Bunch aims to encapsulate the brutality of criminally-minded men and, simultaneously, their deeply-held longing to regain some modicum of innocence, honor and compassion. In its dichotomies, and in its steadfast refusal to steer its gaze away from violent acts, Peckinpah's picture is like no other. For better or worse, it set a template for all subsequent cinema. Of course, there were other superb films to challenged these two: Z, Costa-Gavras' expertly constructed thriller about political upheaval in Greece; Salesman, the soaringly dour Maysles Brothers documentary about door-to-door Bible hawkers; The Honeymoon Killers, Leonard Kastle's sole directorial effort (he took over from a fired Martin Scorsese), based on a true story about lonelyhearts killers Ray and Martha Hernandez; Haskell Wexler's stunning Medium Cool, featuring footage of the 1968 Democratic convention riots seamlessly blended into a narrative about a rebellious TV reporter; a tour of ancient oddities courtesy of Fellini Satyricon; They Shoot Horses, Don't They, Sydney Pollack's ultra-downbeat look at a Depression-era dance contest; and perhaps the most widely-loved movie of the year, George Roy Hill's smash-hit buddy western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which basically twins with The Wild Bunch as a temporary farewell to the Western genre. With that, in 2016, we'll start with the greatest decade of movies ever: the 1970s! 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 WILD BUNCH (US, Sam Peckinpah) (2nd: Midnight Cowboy (US, John Schlesinger), followed by: Z (Algeria/France, Constantin Costa-Gavras); Salesman (US, Albert Maysles, David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin); Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (US, George Roy Hill); The Honeymoon Killers (US, Leonard Kastle); Medium Cool (US, Haskell Wexler); Fellini Satyricon (Italy, Federico Fellini); The Sorrow and the Pity (France, Marcel Ophuls); They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (US, Sydney Pollack); This Man Must Die (France, Claude Chabrol); Kes (UK, Ken Loach); My Night with Maud (France, Eric Rohmer); The Rain People (US, Francis Ford Coppola); On Her Majesty's Secret Service (UK, Peter Hunt); Play Dirty (UK, Andre de Toth); Law And Order (US, Frederick Wiseman); Oh! What a Lovely War (UK, Richard Attenborough); Army of Shadows (France, Jean-Pierre Melville); Easy Rider (US, Dennis Hopper); Take the Money and Run (US, Woody Allen); The Passion of Anna (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman); Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice (US, Paul Mazursky); Downhill Racer (US, Michael Ritchie); Women in Love (UK, Ken Russell); Alice's Restaurant (US, Arthur Penn); The Italian Job (UK, Peter Collinson); The Damned (West Germany/Italy, Luchino Visconti); The Reivers (US, Mark Rydell); A Boy Named Charlie Brown (US, Bill Melendez); The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (UK, Ronald Neame); True Grit (US, Henry Hathaway); Anne of the Thousand Days (UK, Charles Jarrott); The Learning Tree (US, Gordon Parks); Sweet Charity (US, Bob Fosse); Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here (US, Abraham Polonsky); Last Summer (US, Frank Perry); The Plot Against Harry (US, Michael Rohmer); The Valley of Gwangi (US, James O'Connelly); Journey to the Far Side of the Sun (UK, Robert Parrish); Goodbye Columbus (US, Larry Peerce); Marlowe (US, Paul Bogart); Bloody Mama (US, Roger Corman); Putney Swope (US, Robert Downey); The Magic Christian (UK, Joseph McGrath); The Bed-Sitting Room (UK, Richard Lester); Age of Consent (Australia/UK, Michael Powell); Hello Dolly (US, Gene Kelly); Paint Your Wagon (US, Joshua Logan); More (Luxembourg, Barbet Schroeder); Mondo Trasho (US, John Waters))



ACTOR: Dustin Hoffman, MIDNIGHT COWBOY (2nd: Jon Voight, Midnight Cowboy, followed by: William Holden, The Wild Bunch; John Wayne, True Grit; Paul Newman, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; Robert Redford, Downhill Racer; Tony Lobianco, The Honeymoon Killers)


ACTRESS: Shirley Knight, THE RAIN PEOPLE (2nd: Maggie Smith, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, followed by: Jane Fonda, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?; Françoise Fabian, My Night with Maud; Glenda Jackson, Women in Love (won in 1970); Shirley Stoler, The Honeymoon Killers; Shirley MacLaine, Sweet Charity
 

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Gig Young, THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON'T THEY? (2nd: Jack Nicholson, Easy Rider, followed by: James Caan, The Rain People; Ernest Borgnine, The Wild Bunch; Rupert Cross, The Reivers; Robert Ryan, The Wild Bunch; Red Buttons, They Shoot Horses, Don't They?)


SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Mary Jane Higby, THE HONEYMOON KILLERS (2nd: Catherine Burns, Last Summer, followed by: Susannah York, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?; Dyan Cannon, Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice; Goldie Hawn, Cactus Flower; Chita Rivera, Sweet Charity; Sylvia Miles, Midnight Cowboy) 

 
DIRECTOR: Sam Peckinpah, THE WILD BUNCH (2nd: John Schlesinger, Midnight Cowboy, followed by: Constantin Costa-Gavras, Z; George Roy Hill, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; Albert Maysles, David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin, Salesman; Haskell Wexler, Medium Cool; Leonard Kastle, The Honeymoon Killers)



NON-ENGLISH-LANGUAGE FILM: Z (Algeria/France, Constantin Costa-Gavras) (2nd: Fellini Satyricon (Italy, Federico Fellini), followed by: This Man Must Die (France, Claude Chabrol); My Night with Maud (France, Eric Rohmer); Army of Shadows (France, Jean-Pierre Melville); The Passion of Anna (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman))



DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: SALESMAN (US, Albert Maysles, David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin) (2nd: The Sorrow and the Pity (France, Marcel Ophuls), followed by: Law And Order (US, Frederick Wiseman))



ANIMATED FEATURE: A BOY NAMED CHARLIE BROWN (US, Bill Melendez) 



ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: William Goldman, BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (2nd: Sam Peckinpah and Walon Green, The Wild Bunch, followed by: Eric Rohmer, My Night With Maud; Paul Mazursky and Larry Tucker, Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice; Francis Ford Coppola, The Rain People)



ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Waldo Salt, MIDNIGHT COWBOY (2nd: Jorge Semprun, Z, followed by: Ken Loach, Barry Hines, and Tony Bartlett, Kes; James Poe and Robert E. Thompson, They Shoot Horses, Don't They?; Claude Chebrol and Paul Gegauff, This Man Must Die)



LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: TOPS (US, Charles and Ray Eames) (2nd: A Day with the Boys (US, Clu Gulager), followed by: Lemon (US, Hollis Frampton); A Test of Violence (UK, Stuart Cooper); The Story (US, Homer Groening); Invocation of My Demon Brother (US, Kenneth Anger))



ANIMATED SHORT FILM: WALKING (Canada, Ryan Larkin) (2nd: The Ant and the Aardvark (US, Friz Freling), followed by: Of Men and Demons (US, John and Faith Hubley); Bambi Vs. Godzilla (US, Marv Newland); It's Tough to Be a Bird (US, Ward Kimball))


CINEMATOGRAPHY: Lucien Ballard, THE WILD BUNCH (2nd: Conrad Hall, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, followed by: Giuseppe Rotunno, Fellini Satyricon; Haskell Wexler Medium Cool; Adam Hollander, Midnight Cowboy) 

 
ART DIRECTION: THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON'T THEY? (2nd: Oh! What a Lovely War, followed by: Anne of a Thousand Days, Hello Dolly, Journey to the Far Side of the Sun)

 
COSTUME DESIGN: FELLINI SATYRICON (2nd: Anne of a Thousand Days, followed by: Sweet Charity, They Shoot Horses Don't They, Oh! What a Lovely War) 



FILM EDITING: THE WILD BUNCH, Midnight Cowboy, Z, Medium Cool, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 

SOUND: BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID, The Wild Bunch, Sweet Charity, Hello Dolly, Marooned) 



ORIGINAL SCORE: Burt Bacharach, BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (2nd: Jerry Fielding, The Wild Bunch, followed by: John Barry, Midnight Cowboy; John Williams, The Reivers; Mikis Theodorakis, Z)

ADAPTED OR MUSICAL SCORE: John Green and Albert Woodbury, THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON'T THEY? (2nd: Cy Coleman, Sweet Charity, followed by: Alfred Ralston, Oh! What a Lovely War; Vince Guaraldi, Rod McKuen, and John Scott Trotter, A Boy Named Charlie Brown; Nelson Riddle, Paint Your Wagon)



ORIGINAL SONG: "Everybody's Talkin'" from MIDNIGHT COWBOY (Music and lyrics by Fred Neil) (2nd: "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Music by Burt Bacharach, lyrics by Hal David), followed by: “A Boy Named Charlie Brown” from A Boy Named Charlie Brown (Music and lyrics by Rod McKuen); "Something in the Air" from The Magic Christian (Music and lyrics by John Keen); "Mama Tried" from Killers Three (Music and lyrics by Merle Haggard); “Jean” from The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Music and lyrics by Rod McKuen); "Come and Get It" from The Magic Christian (Music and lyrics by Paul McCartney); “We Have All The Time in the World” from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (Music by John Barry, lyrics by Hal David); “The Ballad of Easy Rider” from Easy Rider (Music by Roger McGuinn, lyrics by Bob Dylan and Roger McGuinn))



SPECIAL EFFECTS: THE VALLEY OF GWANGI, Marooned, Journey to the Far Side of the Sun

 
MAKEUP: FELLINI SATYRICON, The Illustrated Man

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