Saturday, February 27, 2016

1979--The Year in Review

If I could deliver an emphatically passionate love letter to a single movie year, it would be this one. Okay, so I was a precocious 13-year-old kid in 1979--I was watching movies at the theater and on cable like a bonafide madman and, yeah, everything we see as kids, we hold up as the best the world has to offer. But who can really dispute the quality of the following list? It’s a monster, this collection of works, and it made me decide to devote my life to loving movies. I scream it proudly: 1979 remains the greatest of all cinematic years--yes, this is a HIGHLY personal choice, however, I defend it with scrapping gusto (it's certainly the one that most informs the movies as of 2016). To support my argument, it was a big year for Canada, Japan, Germany, and especially for Australia (where Mad Max, My Brilliant Career, The Plumber, Tim, and The Odd Angry Shot provided a further gateway into that country's newly remarkable film output). As for America: there were many Saturday Night Live-related debuts: Steve Martin, Bill Murray, Albert Brooks, and Dan Aykroyd. It was a landmark year for Meryl Streep who has three movies on the list, thus beginning her command of the cinema. 1979 was the most romantic of all movie years (with A Little Romance at the head of the pack, though Manhattan, Tess, Voices, Yanks, and Starting Over come real close), and the most musical (All That Jazz, Manhattan, Hair, Quadrophenia, Rock n' Roll High School, The Muppet Movie, The Kids are Alright, Over the Edge, Elvis, Rust Never Sleeps, The Rose, and The Great Rock n' Roll Swindle), and the funniest (Being There, The In-Laws, The Jerk, 1941, Richard Pryor: Live in Concert, Monty Python's Life of Brian, 10, The Whole Shootin' Match, Meatballs, and Real Life), Many excellent science-fiction entries (Alien, Mad Max, Stalker, Time After Time, The China Syndrome, Star Trek: The Motion Picture and The Black Hole) and respectable horror movies (Phantasm, The Brood, Nosferatu The Vampire, Salem's Lot, Vengeance is Mine, Dracula, Zombie, and Driller Killer). And so many wonderfully intimately human movies like Best Boy, Breaking Away, Going in Style, Norma Rae, Rich Kids, Love on the Run, The Onion Field, Who's Who, Gal Young 'Un, Heartland, French Postcards, and The Marriage of Maria Braun. Plus, I must point out this year's output transformed so many of the craft categories. Art direction, makeup, special effects, music, costume design, cinematography, editing and especially sound made great leaps this year. Oh, I could go on and on. So many fine productions here. At any rate, these final choices for 1979 were positively laborious. Making each move was like trying to not tumble off a needle tip, and then the finality felt like breaking bad news to my very closest friend. Ultimately, though, my selection for Best Picture was really obvious to me, as I must have watched it 20 times in 1979 alone. It is Bob Fosse's true masterpiece, and the single title I would vigorously support as an induction into the cinematic canon. 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: ALL THAT JAZZ (US, Bob Fosse) (2nd: Manhattan (US, Woody Allen), followed by: Apocalypse Now (US, Francis Ford Coppola); A Little Romance (US, George Roy Hill); Tess (UK, Roman Polanski); Breaking Away (US, Peter Yates); The Tin Drum (West Germany, Volker Schlöndorff); Best Boy (US, Ira Wohl); Alien (US, Ridley Scott); Kramer vs. Kramer (US, Robert Benton); Oblomov (USSR, Nikita Mikhalkov); The Black Stallion (US, Carroll Ballard); Over the Edge (US, Jonathan Kaplan); Being There (US, Hal Ashby); Going in Style (US, Martin Brest); Hair (US, Milos Forman); The Onion Field (US, Harold Becker); Wise Blood (US, John Huston); Richard Pryor: Live in Concert (US, Jeff Margolis); The China Syndrome (US, James Bridges); Woyzeck (West Germany, Werner Herzog); Stalker (USSR, Andrei Tarkovsky); Mad Max (Austrailia, George Miller); The Marriage of Maria Braun (West Germany, Rainer Werner Fassbinder); Norma Rae (US, Martin Ritt); Starting Over (US, Alan J. Pakula); The In-Laws (US, Arthur Hiller); That Sinking Feeling (Scotland, Bill Forsyth); Phantasm (US, Don Coscarelli); The Jerk (US, Carl Reiner); Voices (US, Robert Markowitz); Meatballs (Canada, Ivan Reitman); 1941 (US, Steven Spielberg); The Brood (Canada, David Cronenberg); Vengeance is Mine (Japan, Shohei Imamura); Quadrophenia (UK, Franc Roddam); The Warriors (US, Walter Hill); Rich Kids (US, Robert M. Young); Time After Time (US, Nicholas Meyer); Who's Who (UK, Mike Leigh); My Brilliant Career (Australia, Gillian Armstrong); North Dallas Forty (US, Ted Koecheff); Monty Python’s Life of Brian (UK, Terry Jones); Real Life (US, Albert Brooks); Escape from Alcatraz (US, Don Siegel); Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (US, Allan Arkush); The Muppet Movie (US, James Frawley); Gal Young 'Un (US, Victor Nunez); The Corn is Green (US, George Cukor); The Whole Shootin’ Match (US, Eagle Pennell); Heartland (US, Richard Pearce); The Plumber (Austraila, Peter Weir); Scum (UK, Alan Clarke); Hardcore (US, Paul Schrader); Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears (USSR, Vladimir Menshov); The Europeans (UK, James Ivory); Murder by Decree (Canada, Bob Clark); The Kids are Alright (US, Jeff Stein); The Odd Angry Shot (Australia, Tom Jeffery); The Wanderers (US, Walter Hill); Love on the Run (France, Francois Truffaut); Yanks (UK, John Schesinger); 10 (US, Blake Edwards); Nosferatu, the Vampyre (West Germany, Werner Herzog); The Seduction of Joe Tynan (US, Jerry Schatzberg); The Rose (US, Mark Rydell); The Great Train Robbery (US, Michael Crichton); Elvis (US, John Carpenter); Winter Kills (US, William Richert); The Great Rock ’n’ Roll Swindle (UK, Julian Temple); Butch and Sundance: The Early Days (US, Richard Lester); Tim (Australia, Michael Pate); The Lady in Red (US, Lewis Teague); French Postcards (US, Willard Huyck); California Dreaming (US, John Hancock); The Electric Horseman (US, Sydney Pollack); Salem's Lot (US, Tobe Hooper); And Justice For All (US, Norman Jewison); Rust Never Sleeps (US, Neil Young); Dracula (US, John Badham); Fedora (US, Billy Wilder); Star Trek: The Motion Picture (US, Robert Wise); Love at First Bite (US, Stan Dragoti); Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens (US, Russ Meyer); Mr. Mike's Mondo Video (US, Michael O' Donahue and Ernie Fosselius); Zombie (Italy, Lucio Fulci); Moonraker (UK, Lewis Gilbert); Driller Killer (US, Abel Ferrara); The Black Hole (US, Gary Nelson); Baby Snakes (US, Frank Zappa); Caligula (US/Italy, Tinto Brass))



ACTOR: Roy Schieder, ALL THAT JAZZ (2nd: Peter Sellers, Being There, followed by: Dustin Hoffman, Kramer vs. Kramer; Ben Gazzara, Saint Jack; David Bennett, The Tin Drum; Martin Sheen, Apocalypse Now;  George Burns, Going in Style; Burt Reynolds, Starting Over; Jack Lemmon, The China Syndrome; Brad Dourif, Wise Blood)

ACTRESS: Sally Field, NORMA RAE (2nd: Jill Clayburgh, Starting Over, followed by: Diane Lane, A Little Romance; Jane Fonda, The China Syndrome; Judy Davis, My Brilliant Career; Nastassja Kinski, Tess; Hannah Schygulla, The Marriage of Maria Braun; Bette Midler, The Rose; Amy Irving, Voices; Conchata Ferrell, Heartland)


SUPPORTING ACTOR: Paul Dooley, BREAKING AWAY (2nd: Ian Holm, Alien, followed by: James Woods, The Onion Field; Robert Duvall, Apocalypse Now; Justin Henry, Kramer Vs. Kramer; Art Carney, Going in Style; Lee Strasberg, Going in Style; Melvin Douglas, Being There; Wilford Brimley, The China Syndrome; Frederic Forrest, Apocalypse Now)



SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Meryl Streep, KRAMER VS. KRAMER (2nd: Barbara Barrie, Breaking Away, followed by: Cheryl Barnes, Hair; Sigourney Weaver, Alien; Season Hubley, Hardcore; Candice Bergen, Starting Over; Mariel Hemingway, Manhattan; Mary Nell Santacroce, Wise Blood; Mary Steenburgen, Time After Time)



DIRECTOR: Bob Fosse, ALL THAT JAZZ (2nd: Woody Allen, Manhattan, followed by: Francis Ford Coppola, Apocalypse Now; Ira Wohl, Best Boy; Volker Schlondorff, The Tin Drum; Roman Polanski, Tess; Carroll Ballard, The Black Stallion; Robert Benton, Kramer Vs. Kramer; George Roy Hill, A Little Romance; Martin Brest, Going in Style)



NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE FILM: THE TIN DRUM (West Germany, Volker Schlöndorff) (2nd: Oblomov (USSR, Nikita Mikhalkov), followed by: Woyzeck (West Germany, Werner Herzog); Stalker (USSR, Andrei Tarkovsky); The Marriage of Maria Braun (West Germany, Rainer Werner Fassbinder); Vengeance is Mine (Japan, Shohei Imamura); Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears (USSR, Vladimir Menshov) (won in 1980); Nosferatu, the Vampyre (West Germany, Werner Herzog); Love on the Run (France, Francois Truffaut))



DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: BEST BOY (US, Ira Wohl) (2nd: Richard Pryor: Live in Concert (US, Jeff Margolis), followed by: The Kids Are Alright (US, Jeff Stein))



ANIMATED SHORT: EVERY CHILD (Canada, Eugene Fedorenko) (2nd: Harpya (Belgium, Raoul Servais), followed by: Tale of Tales (USSR, Yuri Norshteyn); It’s So Nice To Have A Wolf Around The House (US, Paul Fierlinger); Asparagus (US, Suzan Pitt))



LIVE ACTION SHORT: A SHORT FILM ON SOLAR ENERGY (US, Saul and Elaine Bass) (2nd: Solly’s Diner (US, Larry Hankin), followed by: Canned Laughter (UK, Geoffrey Sax); The Plank (UK, Eric Sykes))



ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Steve Tesich, BREAKING AWAY (2nd: Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman, Manhattan, followed by: Bob Fosse and Robert Alan Aurthur, All That Jazz; Edward Cannon and Martin Brest, Going in Style; Charles S. Haas and Tim Hunter, Over the Edge; Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank Jr., Norma Rae)



ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Allen Burns, A LITTLE ROMANCE (2nd: Jean Claude Carriere, Volker Schlondorff, Franz Seitz and Gunter Grass, The Tin Drum, followed by: Francis Ford Coppola, John Milius and Michael Herr, Apocalypse Now; Robert Benton, Kramer Vs. Kramer; Joseph Wambaugh, The Onion Field; Aleksandr Adabashyan and Nikita Mikhalov, Oblomov)

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Vittorio Storaro, APOCALYPSE NOW (2nd: Gordon Willis, MANHATTAN, followed by: Caleb Deschanel, The Black Stallion; Geoffrey Unsworth and Ghislain Cloquet, Tess (won in 1980); Giuseppe Rotunno, All That Jazz; Nestor Alamendros, Kramer Vs. Kramer)

ART DIRECTION: ALIEN, Apocalypse Now, Tess (won in 1980), All That Jazz, The China Syndrome, 1941


COSTUME DESIGN: ALL THAT JAZZ, Tess (won in 1980), Hair, The Europeans, Quadrophenia, Murder by Decree



EDITING: ALL THAT JAZZ, Apocalypse Now, Alien, The Black Stallion, Breaking Away, Kramer Vs. Kramer



SOUND: APOCALYPSE NOW, The Black Stallion, Alien, All That Jazz, The China Syndrome, 1941



ORIGINAL SCORE: Georges Delarue, A LITTLE ROMANCE (2nd: Carmine Coppola, The Black Stallion, followed by: Phillippe Sarde, Tess; Miklos Rosza, Time After Time; John Williams, 1941; Sol Kaplan, Over The Edge)



SCORING FOR A MUSICAL/ADAPTATION SCORING: Ralph Burns, ALL THAT JAZZ (2nd: Galt McDermott and Tom Pierson, Hair, followed by: Paul Williams and Kenny Ascher, The Muppet Movie)



ORIGINAL SONG: “It Goes Like It Goes” from NORMA RAE (Music by David Shire, lyrics by Norman Gimbel) (2nd: "Take Off With Us" from All That Jazz (Music by Stanley Lebowsky, lyrics by Fred Tobias), followed by: “The Rainbow Connection” from The Muppet Movie (Music and lyrics by Paul Williams and Kenny Ascher); “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” from Monty Python’s Life of Brian (Music and lyrics by Eric Idle); “Moondust” from Meatballs (Music by Elmer Bernstein, lyrics by Norman Gimbel); “Rock and Roll High School” from Rock and Roll High School (Music and lyrics by Joey Ramone, Johnny Ramone, and Dee Dee Ramone); “I Will Always Wait for You” from Voices (Music and lyrics by Jimmy Webb); "Children's Song" from Voices (Music and lyrics by Jimmy Webb); “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” from Rock and Roll High School (Music and lyrics by Tommy Ramone); "The Rose" from The Rose (Music and lyrics by Amanda McBroom))



SPECIAL EFFECTS: ALIEN, 1941, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, The China Syndrome, The Black Hole  


MAKEUP: ALIEN, Nosferatu The Vampire, All That Jazz

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