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), followed by: 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); Blazing Saddles (US, Mel Brooks); Thieves Like Us (US, Robert Altman); Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (US, Martin Scorsese); Harry and Tonto (US, Paul Mazursky); 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; Alan Arkin, Freebie and the Bean

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; Gerald Hirschfeld, Young Frankenstein; Bruce Surtees, Lenny)

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: Paul Williams and George Allieson Tipton, PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE (2nd: Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Lowe, The Little Prince, followed by: Nelson Riddle, The Great Gatsby)

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


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