Thursday, October 29, 2015

1960--The Year in Review

As soon as 1960 struck, the movie world shook as if a massive earthquake had shifted its tectonic plates. No longer were the American studio products accepted by rote. In fact, it's astounding how far American movies fell off the map--the studios were clearly confused by what was happening (so many of their works now felt lifelessly stiff). Instead, the year's finest movies--goosed with the energy of sex and violence and mystery--hailed from other countries; in short, the art film exploded into the stratosphere. Yet prevailing over all is a potboiler by a British director, darting between episodes of his popular American TV series as he searched for a hit that would keep his movie career chugging along. This very work changed the way movies would be made and seen forever (Psycho initiated the then new concept that filmgoers would not be admitted into the auditorium after the film started, and it, of course, made everyone afraid to take a shower for decades to come). As far as the Oscars go, they showed a final display of love for a brilliant (German, by birth) filmmaker who'd been denied the top spot the year before. But it's Hitchcock's shocking modern horror film that still stuns everyone who sees it, to the point that superb and more rewardingly difficult films lie supplicant to its grimy charms. I should note: I've decided this is the first year that a Documentary Feature award should be implemented--and, surprisingly, the winner is one that fully details the American democratic process. With the short films, a movie from Canada proved to be an inspiration to a future masterpiece from Stanley Kubrick (whose epic 1960 movie--made without his full directorial approval--cemented his standing as a bankable filmmaker). And, in animation, both Warner Brothers and a mad experimental movie nut are bested by a film derived from the work of cartoonist and social commentator Jules Feiffer. 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: PSYCHO (US, Alfred Hitchcock)
(2nd: The Virgin Spring (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman), followed by:
Breathless (France, Jean-Luc Godard)
La Dolce Vita (Italy, Federico Fellini)
Le Trou (France, Jacques Becker)
Purple Noon (France/Italy, René Clément)
Shoot the Piano Player (France, François Truffaut)
L’Avventura (Italy, Michelangelo Antonioni)
Primary (US, Robert Drew and Richard Leacock)
Spartacus (US, Stanley Kubrick)
Jigoku (Japan, Nobuko Nakagawa)
Peeping Tom (UK, Michael Powell)
Late Autumn (Japan, Yasujiro Ozu)
The Bad Sleep Well (Japan, Akira Kurosawa)
Eyes Without a Face (France, Georges Franju)
Sons and Lovers (UK, Jack Cardiff)
Inherit the Wind (US, Stanley Kramer)
The Magnificent Seven (US, John Sturges)
Le Testament d’Orphée (France, Jean Cocteau)
Pollyanna (US, David Swift)
Elmer Gantry (US, Richard Brooks)
The Apartment (US, Billy Wilder)
Rocco and His Brothers (Italy, Luchino Visconti)
Tunes of Glory (UK, Ronald Neame)
Cruel Story of Youth (Japan, Nagisa Oshima)
The League of Gentlemen (UK, Basil Dearden)
Village of the Damned (UK, Wolf Rilla)
Two Women (Italy, Vittorio de Sica)
Comanche Station (US, Budd Boetticher)
The Little Shop of Horrors (US, Roger Corman)
Never on Sunday (Greece, Jules Dassin)
The Angry Silence (UK, Guy Green)
Black Sunday (Italy, Mario Bava)
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (US, Karel Reisz)
The Young One (Mexico, Luis Buñuel)
When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (Japan, Mikio Naruse)
Zazie dans le Métro (France, Louis Malle)
The Sundowners (US, Fred Zinnemann)
Midnight Lace (US, David Miller)
Wild River (US, Elia Kazan)
Le Petit Soldat (France, Jean-Luc Godard)
Bells are Ringing (US, Vincente Minnelli)
The House of Usher (US, Roger Corman)
Exodus (US, Otto Preminger)
Sergeant Rutledge (US, John Ford)
Les Bonnes Femmes (France, Claude Chabrol)
Strangers When We Meet (US, Richard Quine)
Blood and Roses (France, Roger Vadim)
The 1,000 Eyes of Dr Mabuse (Germany, Fritz Lang)
The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond (US, Budd Boetticher))

ACTOR: Anthony Perkins, PSYCHO (2nd: Spencer Tracy, Inherit the Wind, followed by: Fredric March, Inherit the Wind; Charles Aznavour, Shoot the Piano Player; Laurence Olivier, The Entertainer; Alain Delon, Purple Noon; Burt Lancaster, Elmer Gantry; Jean-Paul Belmondo, Breathless; Marcello Mastroianni, La Dolce Vita; Jack Lemmon, The Apartment)

ACTRESS: Hayley Mills, POLLYANNA (2nd: Shirley MacLaine, The Apartment, followed by: Sophia Loren, Two Women (voted at the top the following year); Monica Vitti, L’Avventura; Doris Day, Midnight Lace; Jean Simmons, Elmer Gantry; Barbara Steele, Black Sunday; Melina Mercouri, Never on Sunday; Dorothy McGuire, The Dark at the Top of the Stairs; Jean Seberg, Breathless)

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Harry Morgan, INHERIT THE WIND (2nd: Peter Ustinov, Spartacus, followed by: Martin Balsam, Psycho; Trevor Howard, Sons and Lovers; Charles Laughton, Spartacus; Karl Malden, Pollyanna; Alastair Sim, School for Scoundrels; Nigel Patrick, The League of Gentlemen; Fred MacMurray, The Apartment; Sal Mineo, Exodus) 

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Janet Leigh, PSYCHO (2nd: Agnes Moorehead, Pollyanna, followed by: Wendy Hiller, Sons and Lovers; Shirley Jones, Elmer Gantry; Shirley Knight, The Dark at the Top of the Stairs; Vera Miles, Psycho; Alida Valli, Eyes Without a Face; Mary Ure, Sons and Lovers; Glynis Johns, The Sundowners; Brenda de Banzie, The Entertainer)

DIRECTOR: Alfred Hitchcock, PSYCHO (2nd: Jean-Luc Godard, Breathless, followed by: Ingmar Bergman, The Virgin Spring; Federico Fellini, La Dolce Vita; Jacques Becker, Le Trou; Rene Clement, Purple Noon; Francois Truffaut, Shoot the Piano Player; Michelangelo Antonioni, L’Avventura; Nobuko Nakagawa, Jigoku; Michael Powell, Peeping Tom

NON-ENGLISH-LANGUAGE FILM: THE VIRGIN SPRING (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman) (2nd: Breathless (France, Jean-Luc Godard), followed by: La Dolce Vita (Italy, Federico Fellini); Le Trou (France, Jacques Becker); Purple Noon (France/Italy, René Clément); Shoot the Piano Player (France, François Truffaut); L’Avventura (Italy, Michelangelo Antonioni); Jigoku (Japan, Nobuko Nakagawa); Late Autumn (Japan, Yasujiro Ozu); The Bad Sleep Well (Japan, Akira Kurosawa); Eyes Without a Face (France, Georges Franju); Le Testament d’Orphée (France, Jean Cocteau); Rocco and His Brothers (Italy, Luchino Visconti); Cruel Story of Youth (Japan, Nagisa Oshima); Two Women (Italy, Vittorio de Sica); The Young One (Mexico, Luis Buñuel); When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (Japan, Mikio Naruse); Zazie dans le Métro (France, Louis Malle))

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: PRIMARY (US, Robert Drew and Richard Leacock) (2nd: The Horse with the Flying Tail (US, Larry Lansburgh)

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Ulla Isaksson, THE VIRGIN SPRING (2nd: Michelangelo Antonioni, Elio Bartolini, and Tonino Guerra, L'Avventura, followed by: Federico Fellini, Ennio Flaiano, Tullio Pinelli, and Brunello Rondi, La Dolce Vita; Marguerite Duras, Hiroshima Mon Amour; Francois Truffaut, Breathless)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Francois Truffaut and Marcel Moussy, SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER (2nd: Rene Clement and Paul Gegauff, Purple Noon, followed by: Jacques Becker, Jean Aurel, and Jose Giovanni, Le Trou; Joseph Stefano, Psycho; Nedric Young and Harold Jacob Smith, Inherit the Wind)

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: UNIVERSE (Canada, Roman Kroiter and Colin Low) (2nd: The Dead (US, Stan Brakhage), followed by: Giuseppina (UK, James Hill); Baum im Herbst (Trees in Autumn) (Austria, Kurt Kren); Beyond Silence (US, Edmond Levy); A City Called Copenhagen (Denmark, Jorgen Roos))

ANIMATED SHORT FILM: MUNRO (US, Gene Deitch) (2nd: High Note (US, Chuck Jones), followed by: Goliath II (US, Wolfgang Reitherman); Arnulf Rainer (Austria, Peter Kubelka); Hyde and Go Tweet (US, Friz Freleng); Person to Bunny (US, Friz Freleng))

BLACK-AND-WHITE CINEMATOGRAPHY: John L. Russell, PSYCHO (2nd: Freddie Francis, Sons and Lovers, followed by: Sven Nykvist, The Virgin Spring; Raoul Coutard, Shoot the Piano Player; Joseph LaShelle, The Apartment; Aldo Scavarda, L’Avventura) 

COLOR CINEMATOGRAPHY: Russell Metty, SPARTACUS (2nd: Henri Decaë, Purple Noon, followed by: Mamoru Morita, Jigoku; Otto Heller, Peeping Tom; John Alton, Elmer Gantry; Mario Bava and Ubaldo Terzano, Black Sunday) 

BLACK-AND-WHITE ART DIRECTION: PSYCHO, The Apartment, Sons and Lovers, The Facts of Life, The Fugitive Kind

COLOR ART DIRECTION: SPARTACUS, Jigoku, The Time Machine, Sunrise at Campobello, Midnight Lace

BLACK-AND-WHITE COSTUME DESIGN: LA DOLCE VITA (won in 1961), Never on Sunday, The Facts of Life, Black Sunday, The Virgin Spring

COLOR COSTUME DESIGN: MIDNIGHT LACE, Spartacus, Pollyanna, Sunrise at Campobello, Tunes of Glory

FILM EDITING: PSYCHO, Breathless, Purple Noon, Inherit the Wind, Le Trou

SOUND: SPARTACUS, The Alamo, The Apartment, Inherit the Wind, Psycho

ORIGINAL SCORE: Bernard Herrmann, PSYCHO (2nd: Elmer Bernstein, The Magnificent Seven, followed by: Alex North, Spartacus; Nino Rota, La Dolce Vita; Georges Delerue, Shoot the Piano Player; Ernest Gold, Exodus)

ADAPTED OR MUSICAL SCORE: Andre Previn, BELLS ARE RINGING (2nd: Lionel Newman and Earle Hagen, Let's Make Love, followed by: Nelson Riddle, Can-Can) 

ORIGINAL SONG: "North to Alaska" from NORTH TO ALASKA (Music and lyrics by Mike Phillips) (2nd: "Where the Boys Are" from Where the Boys Are (Music by Neil Sedaka, lyrics by Howard Greenfield), followed by: "Never on Sunday" from Never on Sunday (Music and lyrics by Manos Hadjidakis); "The Facts of Life" from The Facts of Life (Music and lyrics by Johnny Mercer))


MAKEUP: THE TIME MACHINE, Jigoku, Eyes Without a Face

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

1959--The Year in Review

As the 1950s draw to a close, we can see another era looming--one filled with strong voices from around the world. As far as 1959 is concerned, it came down to a gentle battle between two shores. On the American front, few films could rival Billy Wilder's most superb comedy, built so solidly even though its filming was massively troubled (even so, it contained Marilyn Monroe's finest performance, as well as Joe E. Brown's). Hitchcock's North by Northwest arrived as somewhat of a critical disappointment, though that now seems an impossible conclusion. Howard Hawks' Rio Bravo seemed to be the exclamation point on an incredible directorial career. The year's biggest hit was William Wyler's Ben Hur, a lavish biblical epic that reaches its apex in its final third with a thrilling  chariot race directed largely by Andrew Marton and stuntman Yakima Canutt. But, in the end, I had to give it to Truffaut, who delivered the movie that all movie lovers adore, with the young Leaud smashing in the lead. Truffaut's film would stand as a gateway to a forthcoming cinematic world. On the short film front, Robert Frank contributes the premier document of that Beat-driven era, while the Hubleys finally break the Warner Brothers wining streak with their independently-produced masterpiece, constructed upon the babbling talk of their creative kids. 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 400 BLOWS (France, François Truffaut)
(2nd: Some Like it Hot (US, Billy Wilder), followed by: 
North by Northwest (US, Alfred Hitchcock)
Rio Bravo (US, Howard Hawks)
Anatomy of a Murder (US, Otto Preminger)
Pickpocket (France, Robert Bresson)
Pork Chop Hill (US, Lewis Milestone)
Hiroshima, Mon Amour (France, Alain Resnais)
The Diary of Anne Frank (US, George Stevens)
Day of the Outlaw (US, André de Toth)
Floating Weeds (Japan, Yasujiro Ozu)
Shadows (US, John Cassavetes)
Ben-Hur (US, William Wyler)
Black Orpheus (Brazil, Marcel Camus)
The Human Condition Part I: No Greater Love (Japan, Masaki Kobayashi)
The Human Condition Part II: The Road to Eternity (Japan, Masaki Kobayashi)
The World of Apu (India, Satyajit Ray)
Jazz on a Summer's Day (US, Bert Stern)
Our Man in Havana (UK, Carol Reed)
The Nun’s Story (US, Fred Zinnemann)
Imitation of Life (US, Douglas Sirk)
Tiger Bay (UK, J. Lee Thompson)
Ride Lonesome (US, Budd Boetticher)
General Della Rovere (Italy, Roberto Rossellini)
Ballad of a Soldier (USSR, Grigori Chukhrai)
Sleeping Beauty (US, Clyde Geronimi)
Fires on the Plain (Japan, Kon Ichikawa)
Les Cousins (France, Claude Chabrol)
Nazarin (Mexico, Luis Bunuel)
Room at the Top (UK, Jack Clayton)
Les Liaisons Dangereuses (France, Roger Vadim)
Look Back in Anger (UK, Tony Richardson)
The Mouse That Roared (UK, Jack Arnold)
The World, The Flesh and The Devil (US, Ranald MacDougall)
The FBI Story (US, Mervyn LeRoy)
Odds Against Tomorrow (US, Robert Wise)
On the Beach (US, Stanley Kramer)
Pillow Talk (US, Michael Gordon)
Plan 9 from Outer Space (US, Edward D. Wood Jr.)
The House on Haunted Hill (US, William Castle)
I’m All Right Jack (UK, John Boulting)
The Hound of the Baskervilles (UK, Terence Fisher)
Porgy and Bess (US, Otto Preminger)
They Came to Codura (US, Robert Rossen)
Journey to the Center of the Earth (US, Henry Levin)
Verboten! (US, Samuel Fuller)
The Mummy (UK, Terence Fisher)
A Summer Place (US, Delmer Daves)
The Tingler (US, William Castle)
A Bucket of Blood (US, Roger Corman)
Espresso Bongo (UK, Val Guest)
The Killer Shrews (US, Ray Kellogg)
The Immoral Mr. Teas (US, Russ Meyer)

ACTOR: Jean-Pierre Léaud, THE 400 BLOWS (2nd: Jack Lemmon, Some Like it Hot, followed by: Cary Grant, North by Northwest; James Stewart, Anatomy of a Murder; Tony Curtis, Some Like it Hot; Robert Ryan, Day of the Outlaw; John Wayne, Rio Bravo; Richard Burton, Look Back in Anger; Paul Muni, The Last Angry Man; Alec Guinness, Our Man in Havana)

ACTRESS: Marilyn Monroe, SOME LIKE IT HOT (2nd: Audrey Hepburn, The Nun’s Story, followed by: Emmanuelle Riva, Hiroshima, Mon Amour; Katharine Hepburn, Suddenly Last Summer; Simone Signoret, Room at the Top; Doris Day, Pillow Talk; Jeanne Moreau, Les Liaisons Dangereuses; Lana Turner, Imitation of Life; Lee Remick, Anatomy of a Murder; Elizabeth Taylor, Suddenly Last Summer) 

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Joe E. Brown, SOME LIKE IT HOT (2nd: Dean Martin, Rio Bravo, followed by: George C. Scott, Anatomy of a Murder; Burl Ives, Day of the Outlaw; Joseph Schildkraut, The Diary of Anne Frank; Stephen Boyd, Ben Hur; Hugh Griffith, Ben Hur; James Mason, North by Northwest; Tony Randall, Pillow Talk; Ed Wynn, The Diary of Anne Frank)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Juanita Moore, IMITATION OF LIFE (2nd: Jessie Royce Landis, North by Northwest, followed by: Shelley Winters, The Diary of Anne Frank; Susan Kohner, Imitation of Life; Hayley Mills, Tiger Bay; Angie Dickenson, Rio Bravo; Eve Arden, Anatomy of a Murder; Edith Evans, Look Back in Anger; Thelma Ritter, Pillow Talk; Hermione Baddeley, Room at the Top)  

DIRECTOR: Francois Truffaut, THE 400 BLOWS (2nd: Billy Wilder, Some Like it Hot, followed by: Alfred Hitchcock, North by Northwest; Howard Hawks, Rio Bravo; Robert Bresson, Pickpocket; Otto Preminger, Anatomy of a Murder; William Wyler, Ben Hur; George Stevens, The Diary of Anne Frank; Andre De Toth, Day of the Outlaw; Marcel Camus, Black Orpheus)

NON-ENGLISH-LANGUAGE FILM: THE 400 BLOWS (France, François Truffaut) (2nd: Black Orpheus (Brazil, Marcel Camus), followed by: Pickpocket (France, Robert Bresson); Hiroshima, Mon Amour (France, Alain Resnais); Floating Weeds (Japan, Yasujiro Ozu); The Human Condition Part I: No Greater Love (Japan, Masaki Kobayashi); The Human Condition Part II: The Road to Eternity (Japan, Masaki Kobayashi); The World of Apu (India, Satyajit Ray); General Della Rovere (Italy, Roberto Rossellini); Ballad of a Soldier (USSR, Grigori Chukhrai); Fires on the Plain (Japan, Kon Ichikawa); Les Cousins (France, Claude Chabrol); Nazarin (Mexico, Luis Bunuel); Les Liaisons Dangereuses (France, Roger Vadim))

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Francois Truffaut and Marcel Moussy, THE 400 BLOWS (2nd: Marguerite Duras, Hiroshima Mon Amour, followed by: John Cassavetes, Shadows; Robert Bresson, Pickpocket; Sergio Amidei, Diego Fabbri, and Indro Montanelli, General Della Rovere)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond, SOME LIKE IT HOT (2nd: Ernest Lehman, North by Northwest, followed by: Wendell Mayes, Anatomy of a Murder; Jules Furthman and Leigh Brackett, Rio Bravo; Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, The Diary of Anne Frank)

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: PULL MY DAISY (US, Robert Frank) (2nd: The Running, Jumping and Standing Still Film (UK, Richard Lester), followed by: Cat’s Cradle (US, Stan Brakhage); Skyscraper (US, Shirley Clarke); Signal 30 (US, Richard Wayman))

ANIMATED SHORT FILM: MOONBIRD (US, John Hubley, Faith Hubley) (2nd: The Violinist (US, Ernest Pintoff), followed by: Baton Bunny (US, Chuck Jones); Mexicali Shmoes (US, Friz Freleng))

BLACK-AND-WHITE CINEMATOGRAPHY: William C. Mellor, THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK (2nd: Charles Lang Sr., Some Like it Hot, followed by: Joseph C. Brun, Odds Against Tomorrow; Sacha Vierny and Takahashi Michio, Hiroshima Mon Amour; Russell Harlan, Day of the Outlaw) 

COLOR CINEMATOGRAPHY: Robert Surtees, BEN HUR (2nd: Robert Burks, North by Northwest, followed by: Kazuo Miyagawa, Floating Weeds; Jean Bourgoin, Black Orpheus; Franz Planer, The Nun's Story)  

BLACK-AND-WHITE ART DIRECTION: SOME LIKE IT HOT, The Diary of Anne Frank, Career, Suddenly Last Summer, The Gazebo

COLOR ART DIRECTION: BEN HUR, North by Northwest, Pillow Talk, The Best of Everything, Journey to the Center of the Earth 

BLACK-AND-WHITE COSTUME DESIGN: SOME LIKE IT HOT, The Diary of Anne Frank, Career, The Gazebo, Les Liaisons Dangereuses

COLOR COSTUME DESIGN: BEN HUR, Black Orpheus, Porgy and Bess, The Best of Everything. North by Northwest 

FILM EDITING: NORTH BY NORTHWEST, Ben Hur, Some Like It Hot, Rio Bravo, The 400 Blows 

SOUND: BEN HUR, Some Like it Hot, North by Northwest, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Nun's Story 

ORIGINAL SCORE: Bernard Herrmann, NORTH BY NORTHWEST (2nd: Miklós Rózsa, Ben Hur, followed by: Duke Ellington, Anatomy of a Murder; Max Steiner, A Summer Place; Georges Delarue, The 400 Blows)

ADAPTED OR MUSICAL SCORE: Adolph Deutsch, SOME LIKE IT HOT (2nd: George Bruns, Sleeping Beauty, followed by: Andre Previn and Ken Darby, Porgy and Bess; Nelson Riddle and Joseph J. Lilley, Li'l Abner; Lionel Newman, Say One for Me)

ORIGINAL SONG: "High Hopes" from A HOLE IN THE HEAD (Music by James Van Heusen, lyrics by Sammy Cahn) (2nd: "Lonely Boy" from Girls Town (Music and lyrics by Paul Anka), followed by: "My Rifle, My Pony and Me" from Rio Bravo (Music by Dimitri Tiomkin, lyrics by Paul Francis Webster); "The Best of Everything" from The Best of Everything (Music by Alfred Newman, lyrics by Sammy Cahn); "The Hanging Tree" from The Hanging Tree (Music by Jerry Livingston, lyrics by Mack David))

SPECIAL EFFECTS: BEN HUR, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Darby O’Gill and the Little People


For BACK TO THE FUTURE Day, my 1985 interview with Robert Zemeckis

In the celebratory spirit of this unique moment called October 21, 2015, I thought I'd reach deep back into my past and unearth the interview session I had with Robert Zemeckis, director and co-writer of Back to the Future. Appearing originally in the July 23, 1985 edition of Georgia State University's newspaper The Signal, this talk was conducted in Atlanta, GA as part of Zemeckis' press tour in support of the film that would arguably emerge as his most widely-valued contribution to the popular art of movies:

If there's one phrase applicable to Robert Zemeckis, the director of Romancing The Stone and this summer's hit Back To The Future, that phrase would be "All-American.” Donned with large spectacles, his husky form and reddish-to-blonde mop of hair, the 34-year-old director certainly looks the part. And, as for his audible self, it's not so much his nasal West Coast accent that reveals his American roots; it's what he has to say about himself and his profession.

Zemeckis' very career--and the turns it's made since his days at the University of Southern California's film school more than a decade ago--is a prime example of what some people would consider the perfect Hollywood through-line. As a kid, he confesses to being struck by some typically American influences. "War favorite movie when I was 13 years old was The Great Escape," he says. "That was the greatest movie I had ever seen. And television. You know, I grew up in front of a television set. Then, any movie with monsters in it fascinated me. I remember being six years old and making my father take me to see The Blob. I had to see that, along with all those great William Castle movies--House on Haunted Hill, 13 Ghosts. Those were my kid movies.”  

Taking a more serious tone, Zemeckis lists weightier factors that compelled him to become a filmmaker. As far as directors go, he highly praises the influential talents of contemporaries George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Francis Coppola. But he admits to being beholden more to cinematic legends like Frank Capra, Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, and Billy Wilder. "I think that Americans make movies better than anyone else," Zemeckis states. There exists, though, "a traumatic movie" that made him decide instantly upon his career. "I remember I was in high school and I saw Arthur Penn's Bonnie and Clyde. Before then, I had always gone to movies and enjoyed them for the stuff that was in them. Then, all of the sudden, I was this high school sophomore and I realized what films were all about. That scene when Gene Hackman gets shot and dies right in front of was like 'Wow, someone is manipulating my emotions here!' It was very powerful; I felt terrible. I remember walking out of that movie saying 'There's something more here than just stunts and action to films. I gotta check this out!'"
Despite the fact that many consider Zemeckis' career a model success story, he would be the first to say that his has been a less-than-smooth ride to the top. He left USC in 1973 having made a series of well-received student films, one of which, Field of Honor, gathered a multitude of film festival prizes. "It was a very, very black comedy, inspired by A Clockwork Orange, a movie that was out about the time I was in school. It was very dark and people were getting killed all over the place and it was very funny.” He laughs about it now. “My wife hates it. It has won all of these awards and my wife can't stand to look at it. She says, 'I can't believe you! You are sick!' But I made it when I was a restless young man, when I didn't hold anything sacred, when I thought anything could be lampooned."

The young Zemeckis had enough confidence in the film to show it to fellow USC graduate John Milius (Red Dawn, Conan the Barbarian, Apocalypse Now). Milius liked the film so much that he asked Zemeckis and his writing partner, another USC graduate named Bob Gale, to write a screenplay for him. That screenplay ended up being the first draft for Steven Spielberg's 1941. Zemeckis remains good-humored about that film's famous drubbing at the box office. When asked if, in the future, he would like to do either a monster movie or a war movie, he cheekily replied "Well, I did write 1941. That could be considered a monster movie and a war movie." He is also genuinely protective of the $40 million Spielberg film. "I like it a lot. I'm very proud of that movie. I think it will be rediscovered someday. I mean, how can I be less than proud? Here I am responsible for writing a screenplay which puts Toshiro Mifune, Christopher Lee, and Slim Pickens all in the same scene together. Gosh, I'm very proud of that.” He can joke about it now, but it's a sensitive point that obviously stings. “Actually, I think the end situation was that the budget was reviewed more than the movie was. It wasn't some crime against nature like some of the press made it out to be."

While Spielberg was directing 1941 ("Probably something he regrets," Zemeckis adds), Zemeckis cemented a deal with Universal for which he would write (again with Bob Gale) and direct I Wanna Hold Your Hand, a sweetly raucous comedy about a carload of 1964 Jersey kids willing to do absolutely anything to get in to see The Beatles' first American appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Zemeckis' new deal insisted that Steven Spielberg overlook the project as executive producer. The film got a majority of very good notices but a minority of viewers—an extremely sad outcome for such a brilliantly funny movie. Even so, Zemeckis leapt into another vehicle almost immediately: a pitch-black 1980 comedy entitled Used Cars, starring Kurt Russell as an underhanded used car salesman cleverly navigating a bitter rivalry with another neighboring car lot controlled by Jack Warden (who plays two radically different parts in the film). Vulgar and crude, but in a lovingly agreeable way, it elicited favorable responses from the trade (especially from New Yorker critic Pauline Kael), but it too was a box-office failure.

Just recently, however, both I Wanna Hold Your Hand and Used Cars have acquired cult status after becoming mainstays on pay cable channels like HBO. Zemeckis finds solace in that fact. "They're both movies I'm extremely proud of. I'm really happy that they're finally getting seen now. I just wish to hell all these people that love 'em now would've loved 'em when they came out," he says. But Zemeckis is careful not to be downtrodden about his financial failures; at the same time, he's also quite adamant about the success of his films. Making quieter, little-seen films is not his ideal place in the filmmaking universe. "It's okay as long as the film don't get lost," he says. "As a writer and director, you don't want to make movies that people don't see; there's no point in that. I was hoping when I made Used Cars that it was going to be a wildly successful film. I didn't want it to be a low-profile movie."

After Used Cars, Zemeckis was out of work for three years, in what was probably a welcome respite. It was during that time that he and Gale penned three screenplays, one of which became Back To The Future. After his box-office score with last year's extremely popular Romancing The Stone, Zemeckis felt it was time to rediscover one of those scripts and bring it into production. "There was a lot of pressure—the kind I'd never felt before--about what the next move was going to be," Zemeckis says. "It has to be the right one, so Back To The Future became the obvious choice because it was a story that I had wanted to do for so many years, something I had been very passionate about."' 

The film is a crowd-pleasing romp that follows Marty McFly, (played by Michael J. Fox of NBC's Family Ties), a teenage boy living in a broken-down home with his broken-down parents (played superbly by Lea Thompson and the wonderful Crispin Glover). An apprentice to local nut case Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd), Marty assists the doctor in the testing of a time machine built, amusingly, into a DeLorean. But, when trouble strikes in the form of determined Libyan terrorists, Marty is forced to escape the scene using the newly-built vehicle. A minute flashes by, and the kid finds himself roaming the promising rural roots of his hometown, circa 1955. There, he meets up with his teenaged parents: his father is a lanky, greasy and painfully shy nerd (playd perfectly by Crispin Glover), while his mother is a popular and extremely cute schoolgirl. This wouldn't be a problem, except that Marty's future mother (in another superb supporting performance by Lea Thompson) takes a sudden romantic interest in her future son, thereby threatening Marty's very existence. It's a remarkably clever movie, written to maximum effect by Zemeckis and Gale.

Science-fiction is not one of Zemeckis' pet genres, as one familiar with Back To The Future might think. In fact, he avidly dislikes it because of its penchant to overcome and even disguise the plotline with technology and hardware. "The problem I have with science fiction is that, in predicting the future and describing other worlds, you're completely at the mercy of the writer or the filmmaker. This is his vision of what an alien is going to look like. If I agree with it, that's fine; if I don't then what? I'm left nowhere. That's why I enjoyed doing Back To The Future so much. With this story, I was locked into the past and I couldn't tamper with it." Instead of centering in on its sci-fi elements, he prefers to focus on the movie's more personable points. "What we set out to do was to make a human, fun, comedic, dramatic story and the idea of time travel was going to be used just a devise to tell that story. I think that's what helps to separate it from other time travel movies--it's not about time travel, it's about this young man's dilemma."

Zemeckis has not been fazed a bit by the press's view of his partnership with Spielberg. He says he would feel "uneasy," though, if people started thinking that Spielberg directed the film (as they have in the case of Tobe Hooper and 1982's Poltergeist). He says his collaboration with Spielberg "has been very comfortable and supportive. It's a small price to pay to be asked if I'm concerned about living in the shadow of Steven Spielberg—it's a small price to pay for what I ultimately got for that, which was the ability to make Back To The Future the best it possibly could be under the best possible conditions.” 

The filmmaker is, however, set on doing a project without Spielberg's assistance. "I think it'll be healthy for both of us." he says. He has plans to adapt the old radio program The Shadow for the screen. Even so, he knows he's at a major crossroads. "I'm really in a quandary as to where I'm at in this point in my career. That's why I want to take some time off. I don't want to get serious about making a movie for a while. All I've been doing is working and I haven't had the chance to live a little life. You know, I just want to go home and wash my car. I know it sounds ridiculous, but the idea of cleaning my garage? I mean, I'm really looking forward to those things."

When my interview with Robert Zemeckis was finally over, I hung back and asked if, in his days at USC, he ever dreamed he'd be associated with the elite of filmmaking so early in his career. He, of course, gave a true-blue American reply: "Did I dream it? Yeah, every day!"

Friday, October 16, 2015

1958--The Year in Review

Ultimately, this year, it comes down to two titles that still live large in the hearts of movie lovers. Hitchcock's masterpiece has recently arrived at the top of collective accolades (most specifically, the 2012 Sight and Sound poll), but I prefer the skeezier pleasures of Welles' astoundingly odd and vibrant B-movie, a film that I caught for the first time on late-night TV and was immediately hooked into its bizarre vision of a world literally exploding before our eyes. I adore many of the accomplished films released in its and its closest competitor's wake, but it's generally a period of middling product--a kind of yawn before the following year's landslide of astonishing cinema. Even so, in 1958, we have Wajda (exhibiting Cybulski's superb lead performance, right before he died too early, just like his US twin James Dean), Kurosawa (whose film would provide a kind of template for Star Wars many decades later), Tati (exhilarating as alter ego Mr. Hulot), and the wonderful work of Rosalind Russell, who'd played the exotic Auntie Mame hundreds of times on Broadway before perfectly assaying the character on film. Unsung supporting performers arrive at the top of their field this year, while in the short film categories, live action (and largely experimental) works overtake traditional animation which, in terms of studio product, took a marked downturn, sad to say (though, in an obvious attempt to right past wrongs, Bugs Bunny wins his FIRST Oscar this year). Still, in the short live action film category arrives Roman Polanski with his remarkable, student-made tribute to silent film comedy (it was a big year for Polish cinema, overall). Ray Harryhausen comes out on top for the first time in the effects category. Meanwhile, Jerry Lee Lewis, with an exciting opening number to a obscure cult film, bests all traditional songwriters in the Best Song category. 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. 

(2nd: Vertigo (US, Alfred Hitchcock), followed by:
Ashes and Diamonds (Poland, Andrzej Wajda)
Some Came Running (US, Vincente Minnelli)
The Hidden Fortress (Japan, Akira Kurosawa)
Mon Oncle (France, Jacques Tati)
Auntie Mame (US, Morton da Costa)
The Fabulous World of Jules Verne (Czechlosovakia, Karel Zeman)
The Horse’s Mouth (UK, Ronald Neame)
Terror in a Texas Town (US, Joseph H. Lewis)
Big Deal on Madonna Street (Italy, Mario Monicelli)
The Magician (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman)
I Want to Live! (US, Robert Wise)
Man of the West (US, Anthony Mann)
The Big Country (US, William Wyler)
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (US, Richard Brooks)
A Time to Love and a Time to Die (US, Douglas Sirk)
The Lovers (France, Louis Malle)
A Night to Remember (UK, Roy Ward Baker)
Gigi (US, Vincente Minnelli)
The Defiant Ones (US, Stanley Kramer)
The Old Man and The Sea (US, John Sturges)
Separate Tables (US/UK, Delbert Mann)
The Left-Handed Gun (US, Arthur Penn)
The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad (US, Nathan Juran)
I Bury the Living (US, Albert Band)
Horror of Dracula (UK, Terence Fisher)
No Time for Sergeants (US, Mervyn Le Roy)
Damn Yankees (US, Stanley Donen and George Abbott)
Buchanan Rides Alone (US, Budd Boetticher)
Cry Terror! (US, Andrew L. Stone)
Bell Book and Candle (US, Richard Quine)
Indiscreet (US, Stanley Donen)
South Pacific (US, Joshua Logan)
The Blob (US, Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr.)
The Fly (US, Kurt Neumann)
Thunder Road (US, Arthur Ripley)
The Last Hurrah (US, John Ford)
Run Silent Run Deep (US, Robert Wise)
King Creole (US, Michael Curtiz)
It! The Terror from Beyond Space (US, Edward L. Cahn)
High School Confidential (US, Jack Arnold)
tom thumb (US, George Pal)

ACTOR: James Stewart, VERTIGO (2nd: Orson Welles, Touch of Evil, followed by: Zbigniew Cybulski, Ashes and Diamonds; Alec Guinness, The Horse’s Mouth; Frank Sinatra, Some Came Running; Richard Boone, I Bury the Living; Sidney Poitier, The Defiant Ones; David Niven, Separate Tables; Andy Griffith, No Time for Sergeants; Spencer Tracy, The Old Man and the Sea

ACTRESS: Rosalind Russell, AUNTIE MAME (2nd: Shirley MacLaine, Some Came Running, followed by: Susan Hayward, I Want to Live!; Kim Novak, Vertigo; Elizabeth Taylor, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; Jeanne Moreau, The Lovers; Deborah Kerr, Separate Tables; Inger Stevens, Cry Terror!

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Joseph Calleia, TOUCH OF EVIL (2nd: Dean Martin, Some Came Running, followed by: Myron McCormick, No Time for Sergeants; Dennis Weaver, Touch of Evil; Burl Ives, The Big Country; Akim Tamiroff, Touch of Evil; Ray Walston, Damn Yankees; Burl Ives, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; Arthur Kennedy, Some Came Running)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Wendy Hiller, SEPARATE TABLES (2nd: Gwen Verdon, Damn Yankees, followed by: Marlene Dietrich, Touch of Evil; Hermione Gingold, Gigi; Judith Anderson, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; Maureen Stapleton, Lonelyhearts; Barbara Bel Geddes, Vertigo; Coral Browne, Auntie Mame; Angela Lansbury, The Long Hot Summer)

DIRECTOR: Orson Welles, TOUCH OF EVIL (2nd: Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo, followed by: Andrzej Wajda, Ashes and Diamonds; Akira Kurosawa, The Hidden Fortress; Vincente Minnelli, Some Came Running; Jacques Tati, Mon Oncle; Karel Zeman, The Fabulous World of Jules Verne; Morton Da Costa, Auntie Mame)

NON-ENGLISH-LANGUAGE FILM: ASHES AND DIAMONDS (Poland, Andrzej Wajda) (2nd: The Hidden Fortress (Japan, Akira Kurosawa), followed by: Mon Oncle (France, Jacques Tati); The Fabulous World of Jules Verne (Czechlosovakia, Karel Zeman); Big Deal on Madonna Street (Italy, Mario Monicelli); The Magician (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman); The Lovers (France, Louis Malle))

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Jacques Tati, Jacques Lagrange, and Jean L'Hote, MON ONCLE (2nd: Nedric Young and Harold Jacob Smith, The Defiant Ones, followed by: Ryuzo Kikushima, Hideo Oguni, Shinobu Hashimoto, and Akira Kurosawa, The Hidden Fortress; Louis Garfinkle, I Bury the Living; Ingmar Bergman, The Magician)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:  Orson Welles, TOUCH OF EVIL (2nd: Alec Coppel and Samuel A. Taylor, Vertigo, followed by: Alec Guinness, The Horse's Mouth; Jerzy Andrzejewski and Andrzej Wajda, Ashes and Diamonds; Agenore Incrocci, Furio Scarpelli, Suso Cecchi D'Amico, and Mario Monicelli, Big Deal on Madonna Street)

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: TWO MEN AND A WARDROBE (Poland, Roman Polanski) (2nd: Le Chant du Styrène (France, Alain Resnais); A Movie (US, Bruce Conner); Glass (Netherlands, Bert Haanstra); Grand Canyon (US, Walt Disney))

ANIMATED SHORT FILM: FREE RADICALS (UK, Lenny Lye) (2nd: Schwechater (Austria, Peter Kubelka), followed by: Hook, Line and Stinker (Chuck Jones); Knighty Knight Bugs (US, Friz Freling); Paul Bunyan (US, Les Clark and Walt Disney)

BLACK-AND-WHITE CINEMATOGRAPHY: Russell Metty, TOUCH OF EVIL (2nd: Ichio Yamazaki, The Hidden Fortress, followed by: Geoffrey Unsworth, A Night to Remember; Lionel Lindon, I Want to Live!; Jerzy Wojcik, Ashes and Diamonds)

COLOR CINEMATOGRAPHY: Robert Burks, VERTIGO (2nd: William H. Daniels, Some Came Running, followed by: Jean Bourgoin, Mon Oncle; Franz Planer, The Big Country; Harry Stradling, Jr., Auntie Mame)

BLACK-AND-WHITE ART DIRECTION: A NIGHT TO REMEMBER, The Hidden Fortress, Touch of Evil, Separate Tables, King Creole

COLOR ART DIRECTION: VERTIGO, Gigi, Mon Oncle, Auntie Mame, Bell Book and Candle

BLACK-AND-WHITE COSTUME DESIGN: I WANT TO LIVE!, A Night to Remember, Ashes and Diamonds, The Hidden Fortress, The Magician 

COLOR COSTUME DESIGN: GIGI, Auntie Mame, Some Came Running, The Buccaneer, Damn Yankees

FILM EDITING: TOUCH OF EVIL, Vertigo, I Want to Live!, The Defiant Ones, The Hidden Fortress 

SOUND: VERTIGO, South Pacific, Damn Yankees, I Want to Live!, The Defiant Ones

ORIGINAL SCORE: Bernard Herrmann, VERTIGO (2nd: Henry Mancini, Touch of Evil, followed by: Jerome Moross, The Big Country; Bernard Herrmann, The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad; Dimitri Tiomkin, The Old Man and the Sea

ADAPTED OR MUSICAL SCORE: Ray Heindorf, DAMN YANKEES (2nd: Andre Previn, Gigi, followed by: Alfred Newman and Ken Darby, South Pacific)

ORIGINAL SONG: "High School Confidential" from HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL (Music and lyrics by Jerry Lee Lewis) (2nd: "I Remember It Well" from Gigi (Music by Frederic Loewe, lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner), followed by: "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" from Gigi (Music by Frederic Loewe, lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner); "Almost in Your Arms" from Houseboat (Music and lyrics by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans); "Teacher's Pet" from Teacher's Pet (Music and lyrics by Joe Lubin))

SPECIAL EFFECTS: THE SEVENTH VOYAGE OF SINBAD, The Fabulous World of Jules Verne, A Night to Remember, tom thumb

MAKEUP: THE FLY, Auntie Mame, Touch of Evil

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

1957--The Year in Review

Another remarkable year for movies. Ingmar Bergman makes a splash with TWO masterpieces (how was he able to do it??), while Fellini, Kurosawa (also with two), Kalatozov, Wajda, Malle and Ozu contribute essential works. David Lean became the big winner this year, as far as the Oscars go, and his popular tale of WWII heroism cannot be denied respect. But it's a very different war movie--Stanley Kubrick's true breakthrough as a visionary of ultimate import--that resonates above all, at least in my estimation, with his recounting of WWI futility and injustice. It's simply the most exciting movie of the year; Paths of Glory goes by in a flash--in a way I've never seen a movie do since--and is totally a punch in the gut when it's all over (and made with an incredibly though imperceptibly low budget). In the acting races, it's mostly triumph of foreign output, with old-timer Sjostrom (a former silent filmmaker in both Sweden and America) and newcomers Giulietta Masina (Fellini's bonafide muse) and Sweden's Ingrid Thulin out front. Even so, it's a completely lucrative year for Hollywood, with great westerns, horror, noir, sci-fi, musical, and war movies dotting the screens. Otherwise, as far as the US output goes, it was New York's newcomer Sidney Lumet who provided the movie that most Americans return to again and again--a tribute to the US justice system, one that realizes its faults and merits, with twelve very deeply nuanced and well-performed characters (it was so painfully difficult to choose amongst them for the supporting actor prize). Meanwhile, a transplanted British director delivers a gorgeously scathing indictment of US entertainment journalism. As for the short films, Mexico's Alejandro Jodorowsky arrives on the scene with a vibrantly colored bit of dark whimsy, while Chuck Jones provides perhaps the crown jewel of the Warner Brothers team's rich output. Elvis Presley makes further marks on the film landscape, as do nuclear-driven sci-fi and Hammer horror. 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. 

(2nd: Wild Strawberries (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman), followed by:
12 Angry Men (US, Sidney Lumet)
The Seventh Seal (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman)
Sweet Smell of Success (US, Alexander Mackendrick)
Nights of Cabiria (Italy, Federico Fellini)
A Face in the Crowd (US, Elia Kazan)
Throne of Blood (Japan, Akira Kurosawa)
Funny Face (US, Stanley Donen)
The Cranes are Flying (USSR, Mikhail Kalatozov)
On the Bowery (US, Lionel Rogosin)
Kanal (Poland, Andrzej Wajda)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (UK/US, David Lean)
Witness for the Prosecution (US, Billy Wilder)
Night of the Demon (UK, Jacques Tourneur)
Crime of Passion (US, Gerd Oswald)
The Tall T (US, Budd Boetticher)
The Tin Star (US, Anthony Mann)
The Incredible Shrinking Man (US, Jack Arnold)
Elevator to the Gallows (France, Louis Malle)
Men in War (US, Anthony Mann)
Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (US, John Huston)
The Tarnished Angels (US, Douglas Sirk)
Tokyo Twilight (Japan, Yasujiro Ozu)
Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (US, Frank Tashlin)
3:10 to Yuma (US, Delmer Daves)
An Affair to Remember (US, Leo McCarey)
Love in the Afternoon (US, Billy Wilder)
Peyton Place (US, Mark Robson)
Gunfight at the OK Corral (US, John Sturges)
Fear Strikes Out (US, Robert Mulligan)
The Curse of Frankenstein (UK, Terence Fisher)
Old Yeller (US, Robert Stevenson)
Forty Guns (US, Samuel Fuller)
The Strange One (US, Jack Garfein)
A Hatful of Rain (US, Fred Zinnemann)
Enemy From Space (UK, Val Guest)
The Lower Depths (Japan, Akira Kurosawa)
The Prince and the Showgirl (US/UK, Laurence Olivier)
The Bachelor Party (US, Delbert Mann);
Desk Set (US, Walter Lang)
Man of a Thousand Faces (US, Joseph Pevney)
The Spirit of St. Louis (US, Billy Wilder)
Il Grido (Italy, Michelangelo Antonioni)
Run of the Arrow (US, Samuel Fuller)
The Pajama Game (US, Stanley Donen)
Zero Hour (US, Hall Bartlett)
Sayonara (US, Joshua Logan)
Silk Stockings (US, Rouben Mamoulian)
The Three Faces of Eve (US, Nunnally Johnson)
Not of This Earth (US, Roger Corman)
The Amazing Colossal Man (US, Burt I. Gordon)
The Pride and the Passion (US, Stanley Kramer)
20 Million Miles to Earth (US, Nathan Juran)
Jailhouse Rock (US, Richard Thorpe)
The Delinquents (US, Robert Altman)
The Monster That Challenged the World (US, Arnold Laven)
I Was a Teenage Werewolf (US, Gene Fowler Jr.))

ACTOR:  Andy Griffith, A FACE IN THE CROWD (2nd: Victor Sjöstrom, Wild Strawberries, followed by: Burt Lancaster, Sweet Smell of Success; Henry Fonda, 12 Angry Men; Kirk Douglas, Paths of Glory; Tony Curtis, Sweet Smell of Success; Alec Guinness, The Bridge on the River Kwai; Charles Laughton, Witness for the Prosecution; Toshiro Mifune, Throne of Blood; Ben Gazzara, The Strange One) 

ACTRESS: Giulietta Masina, NIGHTS OF CABIRIA (2nd: Tatiana Samoilova, The Cranes Are Flying, followed by: Audrey Hepburn, Funny Face; Joanne Woodward, The Three Faces of Eve; Marlene Dietrich, Witness for the Prosecution; Deborah Kerr, Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison; Jeanne Moreau, Elevator to the Gallows; Patricia Neal, A Face in the Crowd; Isuzu Yamada, Throne of Blood; Barbara Stanwyck, Forty Guns)

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Lee J. Cobb, 12 ANGRY MEN (2nd: George Macready, Paths of Glory, followed by: Ed Begley, 12 Angry Men; Bengt Ekerot, The Seventh Seal; Timothy Carey, Paths of Glory; Aldo Ray, Men in War; Sessue Hayakawa, The Bridge on the River Kwai; Red Buttons, Sayonara; Adolphe Menjou, Paths of Glory; Karl Malden, Fear Strikes Out) 

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Ingrid Thulin, WILD STRAWBERRIES (2nd: Elsa Lanchester, Witness for the Prosecution, followed by: Miyoshi Umeki, Sayonara; Kay Thompson, Funny Face; Carol Haney, The Pajama Game; Isuzu Yamada, Tokyo Twilight; Ineko Arema, Tokyo Twilight; Carolyn Jones, The Bachelor Party; Diane Varsi, Peyton Place; Hope Lange, Peyton Place) 

DIRECTOR: Stanley Kubrick, PATHS OF GLORY (2nd: Ingmar Bergman, Wild Strawberries, followed by: Ingmar Bergman, The Seventh Seal; Mikhail Kalatozov, The Cranes are Flying; Sidney Lumet, 12 Angry Men; Alexander Mackendrick, Sweet Smell of Success; Akira Kurosawa, Throne of Blood; Elia Kazan, A Face in the Crowd; Federico Fellini, Nights of Cabiria; Andrzej Wajda, Kanal)

NON-ENGLISH-LANGUAGE FILM: WILD STRAWBERRIES (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman), followed by: The Seventh Seal (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman); Nights of Cabiria (Italy, Federico Fellini); Throne of Blood (Japan, Akira Kurosawa); The Cranes are Flying (USSR, Mikhail Kalatozov); Kanal (Poland, Andrzej Wajda); Elevator to the Gallows (France, Louis Malle); Tokyo Twilight (Japan, Yasujiro Ozu); The Lower Depths (Japan, Akira Kurosawa); Il Grido (Italy, Michelangelo Antonioni))

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Ingmar Bergman, THE SEVENTH SEAL (2nd: Ingmar Bergman, Wild Strawberries, followed by: Budd Schulberg, A Face in the Crowd; Jerry Stefan Stawinski, Kanal; Joel Kane, Dudley Nichols, and Barney Slater, The Tin Star; John Lee Mahin and John Huston, Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman, SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS (2nd: Stanley Kubrick, Calder Willingham and Jim Thompson, Paths of Glory, followed by: Reginald Rose, 12 Angry Men; Michael Wilson and Carl Foreman, The Bridge on the River Kwai; Federico Fellini, Ennio Flaiano, Tullio Pinelli, and Pier Paulo Pasolini, Nights of Cabiria; Burt Kennedy, The Tall T)

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: LA CRAVATE (Mexico, Alejandro Jodorowsky) (2nd: Les Mistons (France, François Truffaut), followed by: 8×8: A Chess Sonata in Eight Movements (France, Jean Cocteau and Hans Richter)

ANIMATED SHORT FILM: WHAT'S OPERA, DOC? (Chuck Jones) (2nd: Ali Baba Bunny (Chuck Jones), followed by: Birds Anonymous (Friz Freleng); A Chairy Tale (Canada, Norman McLaren); Three Little Bops (Friz Freleng); Let's All Go to the Lobby (director unknown))


BLACK-AND-WHITE CINEMATOGRAPHY: James Wong Howe, SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS (2nd: Sergei Urusevsky, The Cranes are Flying, followed by: Gunnar Fischer, The Seventh Seal; Asaichi Nakai, Throne of Blood; Georg Krause, Paths of Glory; Gunnar Fischer, Wild Strawberries)

COLOR CINEMATOGRAPHY: Ray June, FUNNY FACE (2nd: Jack Hildyard, The Bridge Over the River Kwai, followed by: Oswald Morris, Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison; William H. Mellor, Peyton Place; Milton Krasner, An Affair to Remember; Jack Asher, The Curse of Frankenstein)  

BLACK-AND-WHITE ART DIRECTION: SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS, Throne of Blood, Paths of Glory, Love in the Afternoon, Witness for the Prosecution

COLOR ART DIRECTION: FUNNY FACE, Desk Set, Raintree Country, Silk Stockings, Les Girls

BLACK-AND-WHITE COSTUME DESIGN: THRONE OF BLOOD, The Seventh Seal, Paths of Glory, Love in the Afternoon, Sweet Smell of Success

COLOR COSTUME DESIGN: FUNNY FACE, Les Girls, Raintree Country, Peyton Place, The Prince and the Showgirl

FILM EDITING: PATHS OF GLORY, 12 Angry Men, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Witness for the Prosecution, 3:10 to Yuma
SOUND: PATHS OF GLORY, Witness for the Prosecution, A Face in the Crowd, Funny Face, Gunfight at the OK Corral

ORIGINAL SCORE: Malcolm Arnold, THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (2nd: Nino Rota, Nights of Cabiria, followed by: Franz Waxman, Peyton Place; Elmer Bernstein, Sweet Smell of Success; Miles Davis, Elevator to the Gallows; Masaru Sato, Throne of Blood) 

ADAPTED OR MUSICAL SCORE: Adolph Deutsch, FUNNY FACE (2nd: Ray Heindorf and Howard Jackson, The Pajama Game, followed by: Andre Previn and Conrad Salinger, Silk Stockings; Jeff Alexander, Jailhouse Rock; Saul Chaplin and Adolph Deutsch, Les Girls)

ORIGINAL SONG: "All the Way" from THE JOKER IS WILD (Music by James Van Heusen, lyrics by Sammy Cahn) (2nd: "It's Not for Me to Say" from Lizzie (Music by Robert Allen, lyrics by Al Stillman), followed by: "Jailhouse Rock" from Jailhouse Rock (Music and lyrics by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller); "Teddy Bear" from Loving You (Music and lyrics by Kal Mann and Bernie Lowe); "Tammy" from Tammy and the Bachelor (Music and lyrics by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston); "Treat Me Nice" from Jailhouse Rock (Music and lyrics by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller); "Think Pink" from Funny Face (Music by Roger Edens, lyrics by Leonard Gershe))


MAKEUP: THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, The Seventh Seal, Man of a Thousand Faces