Thursday, May 26, 2016

1991--The Year in Review

Movies definitely take a dark turn this year, evidenced by the eventual winner of the Best Picture Oscar (and the other top four categories), Jonathan Demme's hit horror offering The Silence of the Lambs, an undeniably thrilling and somehow elegant addition to a genre that had rarely been noted before by the Academy. Of course, Anthony Hopkins hit a new high in his career as Hannibal Lecter, but his character was NOT a lead in the movie, so I have moved his performance over to the Supporting Actor category, which he handily wins. As for Best Actress, as much as I adore Jodie Foster's exacting Clarice Starling, I think Mimi Rogers easily overtakes her in The Rapture in an impossibly intense performance, displayed in a film that's often mindbending in its willingness to go where no other film will venture (that's why I also gave its writer/director Michael Tolkin the Best Original Screenplay award, even over the Coens). But it's that brotherly duo that I think emerged with the best movie of the year: a dank, hilariously layered and beautifully horrifying dip into the life of the mind called Barton Fink, with John Turturro excelling as a pretentious New York playwright struggling to adapt to new surroundings while on a soul-eating sojourn to Hollywood (the film set a still unbroken record at Cannes, winning Best Actor and Best Director on top of the Palme D'or). As much as I love other bleak offerings this year--Raise the Red Lantern, Europa (released in the US as Zentropa), JFK (which I admire on a filmmaking front despite resolutely believing that Oswald acted alone), Defending Your Life, The Double Life of Veronique, Cape Fear, The Fisher King, Poison, Delicatessen, Thelma and Louise, Boyz N The Hood and Naked Lunch, among them--it's the Coens that emerge with the 1991 film that fascinates me most with its smart and troubling imagery. 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: BARTON FINK (US, Joel Coen) (2nd: Raise the Red Lantern (China, Zhang Yimou), followed by: Defending Your Life (US, Albert Brooks); The Rapture (US, Michael Tolkin); The Double Life of Véronique (France/Poland, Krzysztof Kieslowski); Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse (US, Fax Bahr, Eleanor Coppola and George Hickenlooper); Europa (Germany/Denmark, Lars Von Trier); A Brighter Summer Day (Taiwan, Edward Yang); The Silence of the Lambs (US, Jonathan Demme); The Commitments (UK/Ireland, Alan Parker); Cape Fear (US, Martin Scorsese); Dogfight (US, Nancy Savoca); The Best Intentions (Sweden, Bille August); Beauty and the Beast (US, Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise); Poison (US, Todd Haynes) Thelma and Louise (US, Ridley Scott); 35 Up (UK, Michael Apted); Delicatessen (France, Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro); Bugsy (US, Barry Levinson); JFK (US, Oliver Stone); City of Hope (US, John Sayles); Boyz N the Hood (US, John Singleton); The Fisher King (US, Terry Gilliam); Naked Lunch (Canada, David Cronenberg); Rambling Rose (US, Martha Coolidge); Jungle Fever (US, Spike Lee); The Man in the Moon (US, Robert Mulligan); The Lovers on the Bridge (France, Leos Carax); L.A. Story (US, Mick Jackson); Rubin and Ed (US, Trent Harris); Grand Canyon (US, Lawrence Kasdan); Daughters of the Dust (US, Julie Dash); La Belle Noiseuse (France, Jacques Rivette); A Brief History of Time (US, Errol Morris); A Little Stiff (US, Caveh Zahedi); Until the End of the World (Germany/France/Australia/US, Wim Wenders); Paris Trout (US, Stephen Gyllenhaal); Like Water for Chocolate (Mexico, Alfonso Arau); Frankie and Johnny (US, Garry Marshall); Terminator 2: Judgment Day (US, James Cameron); Let Him Have It (UK, Peter Medak); A Rage in Harlem (US, Bill Duke); Little Man Tate (US, Jodie Foster); Enchanted April (UK, Mike Newell); Not Without My Daughter (US, Brian Gilbert); High Heels (Spain, Pedro Almodovar); Poink Break (US, Kathryn Bigelow); Proof (Australia, Jocelyn Moorhouse); Toto the Hero (Belgium/France, Jaco van Dormael); Stepping Out (US, Lewis Gilbert); The Rocketeer (US, Joe Johnston); Life Stinks (US, Mel Brooks); Black Robe (Canada, Bruce Beresford); Slacker (US, Richard Linklater); Homicide (US, David Mamet); New Jack City (US, Mario Van Peebles); What About Bob? (US, Frank Oz); The Doors (US, Oliver Stone); City Slickers (US, Ron Underwood); The Prince of Tides (US, Barbra Streisand); Fried Green Tomatoes (US, Jon Avnet); The Addams Family (US, Barry Sonnenfeld); My Own Private Idaho (US, Gus Van Sant); Prospero’s Books (UK, Peter Greenaway); Night on Earth (France/UK/Germany/US/Japan, Jim Jarmusch); Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (US, Kevin Reynolds); Shakes the Clown (US, Bobcat Goldthwait); Hook (US, Steven Spielberg))



ACTOR: John Turturro, BARTON FINK (2nd: Albert Brooks, Defending Your Life, followed by: Robert De Niro, Cape Fear; Warren Beatty, Bugsy; Howard Hesseman, Rubin and Ed; Nick Nolte, The Prince of Tides; Dennis Hopper, Paris Trout; River Phoenix, Dogfight)



ACTRESS: Mimi Rogers, THE RAPTURE (2nd: Lili Taylor, Dogfight, followed by: Gong Li, Raise the Red Lantern; Irene Jacob, The Double Life of Veronique; Jodie Foster, The Silence of the Lambs; Laura Dern, Rambling Rose; Susan Sarandon, Thelma and Louise; Geena Davis, Thelma and Louise)



SUPPORTING ACTOR: Anthony Hopkins, THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (won as Best Actor) (2nd: John Goodman, Barton Fink, followed by: Samuel L. Jackson, Jungle Fever; Rip Torn, Defending Your Life; Michael Lerner, Barton Fink; David Straithairn, City of Hope; Andrew Strong, The Commitments; Brad Pitt, Thelma and Louise)



SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Juliette Lewis, CAPE FEAR (2nd: Judy Davis, Naked Lunch, followed by: Meryl Streep, Defending Your Life; Amanda Plummer, The Fisher King; Diane Ladd, Rambling Rose; Mercedes Ruehl, The Fisher King; Sarah Jessica Parker, L.A. Story; Kate Nelligan, The Prince of Tides)


DIRECTOR: Joel Coen, BARTON FINK (2nd: Zhang Yimou, Raise the Red Lantern, followed by: Lars Von Trier, Europa; Krzysztof Kieslowski, The Double Life of Veronique; Albert Brooks, Defending Your Life; Jonathan Demme, The Silence of the Lambs; Michael Tolkin, The Rapture; Oliver Stone, JFK)


NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE FILM: RAISE THE RED LANTERN (China, Zhang Yimou) (2nd:  The Double Life of Véronique (France/Poland, Krzysztof Kieslowski), followed by: Europa (Germany/Denmark, Lars von Trier); A Brighter Summer Day (Taiwan, Edward Yang); The Best Intentions (Sweden, Bille August); Delicatessen (France, Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro); The Lovers on the Bridge (France, Leos Carax); La Belle Noiseuse (France, Jacques Rivette); Like Water for Chocolate (Mexico, Alfonso Arau); High Heels (Spain, Pedro Almodovar); Toto the Hero (Belgium/France, Jaco van Dormael))


DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: HEARTS OF DARKNESS: A FILMMAKER’S APOCALYPSE (US, Eleanor Coppola, George Hickenlooper and Fax Bahr) (2nd: 35 Up (US, Michael Apted, followed by: A Brief History of Time (US, Errol Morris))


ANIMATED FEATURE: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (US, Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise)



ANIMATED SHORT: ENTRE DEUX SOUERS (Canada, Caroline Leaf) (2nd: The Comb (UK, Stephen and Timothy Quay), followed by: The Sandman (UK, Paul Berry))



LIVE ACTION SHORT: LOSING MY RELIGION (US, Tarsem Singh) (2nd: Deadly Deception: General Electric, Nuclear Weapons and Our Environment (US, Debra Chasnoff) (won as Documentary Short), followed by: Bedhead (US, Robert Rodriguez); World of Glory (Sweden, Roy Andersson))



ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Michael Tolkin, THE RAPTURE (2nd: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Barton Fink, followed by: Albert Brooks, Defending Your Life; Krzysztof Kieslowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz, The Double Life of Veronique, Callie Khouri, Thelma and Louise)


ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Ted Tally, THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (2nd: Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais and Roddy Doyle, The Commitments, followed by:James Toback, Bugsy; Ni Zhen, Raise the Red Lantern; Oliver Stone and Zachary Sklar, JFK) 


CINEMATOGRAPHY: Lun Yang and Fei Zhao, RAISE THE RED LANTERN (2nd: Roger Deakins, Barton Fink, followed by: Robert Richardson, JFK; Darius Khondji; Delicatessen; Freddie Francis, Cape Fear)


ART DIRECTION: BARTON FINK, Raise the Red Lantern, Bugsy, The Rocketeer, Delicatessen



COSTUME DESIGN: BARTON FINK, Raise the Red Lantern, Bugsy, The Addams Family, The Rocketeer



FILM EDITING: JFK, The Commitments, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Silence of the Lambs, Thelma and Louise



SOUND: TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY, Beauty and the Beast, The Commitments, The Doors, Barton Fink

SOUND EFFECTS: TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY, Backdraft, The Rocketeer 

 

ORIGINAL SCORE: Carter Burwell, BARTON FINK (2nd: Howard Shore, The Silence of the Lambs, followed by Ennio Morricone, Bugsy; John Williams, JFK; Zbigniew Priesner, The Double Life of Veronique)



ADAPTATION SCORE/SCORING OF A MUSICAL: Alan Menken, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (won as Best Original Score) (2nd: Elmer Bernstein, Cape Fear, followed by: G. Mark Roswell, The Commitments)



ORIGINAL SONG: “Be Our Guest” from BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (Music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman) (2nd: “Gaston” from Beauty and the Beast (Music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman), followed by “Beauty and the Beast” from Beauty and the Beast (Music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman); "Belle" from Beauty and the Beast (Music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman); “Everything Do (I Do For You)” from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (Music by Michael Kamen, lyrics by Bryan Adams and Rob Lange))


SPECIAL EFFECTS: TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY, Backdraft, The Rocketeer 

MAKEUP: NAKED LUNCH, The Addams Family, Terminator 2: Judgment Day

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