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. 

(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)
Hardcore (US, Paul Schrader)
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)
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; Robert Benton, Kramer Vs. Kramer; Ridley Scott, Alien; Peter Yates, Breaking Away; George Roy Hill, A Little Romance)

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 Bass 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

Saturday, February 20, 2016

1978--The Year in Review

Perhaps this is not the best year of the 1970s, but it's not a mediocre one at all. The top 20 films here scream out joyously and fantastically to the Earth. And the top choice, battered as it may now be, still stands as a prime example of world cinema. It shook me to my core then, and it still does today. And I cannot fail to hail my top director, who really establishes his lyrical voice here. Plus, nearly the best music documentary of all time, and terrific horror, comedy, thrillers, spoofs, war movies, documentaries, rock n’ roll (great year for that!), UK and US television, and the first notable comic book movie (though that now seems like a execrable curse, even as this one set the template). By the way, please check out Special Delivery, the seven-minute choice for Best Animated Short--you will NOT be sorry. Treat yourself! It’s marvelous. And, yes…also…I love Scorsese's The Last Waltz. A masterpiece, that! It makes me cry with utter ecstasy. But so does, ever so slightly more importantly, Michael Cimino's heartbreaking wartime story. 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: The Last Waltz (US, Martin Scorsese)
followed by: Days of Heaven (US, Terrence Malick)
Interiors (US, Woody Allen)
Straight Time (US, Ulu Grosbard)
The Tree of Wooden Clogs (Italy, Ermanno Olmi)
An Unmarried Woman (US, Paul Mazursky)
Who’ll Stop The Rain (US, Karel Reisz)
Blue Collar (US, Paul Schrader)
Halloween (US, John Carpenter)
Gates of Heaven (US, Errol Morris)
The Silent Partner (Canada, Darryl Duke)
Midnight Express (UK, Alan Parker)
Coming Home (US, Hal Ashby)
The End (US, Burt Reynolds)
An Enemy of the People (US, George Schaefer)
Superman (US, Richard Donner)
National Lampoon’s Animal House (US, John Landis)
The Rutles: All You Need is Cash (US, Eric Idle and Gary Weis)
I Wanna Hold Your Hand (US, Robert Zemeckis)
Dawn of the Dead (US, George A. Romero)
Killer of Sheep (US, Charles Barnett)
Girlfriends (US, Claudia Weill)
Autumn Sonata (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman)
Koko: A Talking Gorilla (West Germany, Barbet Schroeder)
Watership Down (US, Martin Rosen)
Get Out Your Handkerchiefs (France, Bertrand Blier)
Scared Straight! (US, Arnold Shapiro)
Martin (US, George A. Romero)
Magic (UK, Richard Attenborough)
The Buddy Holly Story (US, Steve Rash)
A Wedding (US, Robert Altman)
Heaven Can Wait (US, Warren Beatty and Buck Henry)
American Boy (US, Martin Scorsese)
The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (Australia, Fred Schepisi)
Pretty Baby (US, Louis Malle)
Go Tell the Spartans (US, Ted Post)
The Brink's Job (US, William Friedkin)
Fingers (US, James Toback)
Summer of My German Soldier (US, Michael Tuchner)
La Cage aux Folles (France, Edouard Molinaro)
Big Wednesday (US, John Milius)
China 9, Liberty 37 (Italy, Monte Hellman)
Drunken Master (Hong Kong, Woo-Ping Yuen)
American Hot Wax (US, Floyd Mutrux)
Coma (US, Michael Crichton)
The Fury (US, Brian De Palma)
Up in Smoke (US, Lou Adler)
Death on the Nile (UK, John Guillermin)
The Lord of the Rings (US, Ralph Bakshi)
Stevie (UK, Robert Enders)
Foul Play (US, Colin Higgins)
Despair (West Germany, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
The Legacy (UK, Richard Marquand)
The Boys From Brazil US, Franklin J. Schaffner)
Grease (US, Randall Kleiser)
Sextette (US, Ken Hughes))

ACTOR: Dustin Hoffman, STRAIGHT TIME (2nd: Anthony Hopkins, Magic, followed by: Robert De Niro, The Deer Hunter; Christopher Reeve, Superman; Richard Pryor, Blue Collar; Jon Voight, Coming Home; Gary Busey, The Buddy Holly Story; Elliott Gould, The Silent Partner)

ACTRESS: Jill Clayburgh, AN UNMARRIED WOMAN (2nd: Geraldine Page, Interiors, followed by: Jane Fonda, Coming Home; Ingrid Bergman, Autumn Sonata; Tuesday Weld, Who’ll Stop The Rain; Genevieve Bujold, Coma; Melanie Mayron, Girlfriends; Glenda Jackson, Stevie) 

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christopher Walken, THE DEER HUNTER (2nd: John Cazale, The Deer Hunter, followed by: Yaphet Kotto, Blue Collar; Christopher Plummer, The Silent Partner; Dom Deluise, The End; Harry Dean Stanton, Straight Time; Bruce Dern, Coming Home; John Hurt, Midnight Express)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Maureen Stapleton, INTERIORS (2nd: Mary Beth Hurt, Interiors, followed by: Linda Manz, Days of Heaven; Theresa Russell, Straight Time; Meryl Streep, The Deer Hunter; Diane Keaton, Interiors; Maggie Smith California Suite; Wendy Jo Sperber, I Wanna Hold Your Hand)

DIRECTOR: Michael Cimino, THE DEER HUNTER (2nd: Terrence Malick, Days of Heaven, followed by: Martin Scorsese, The Last Waltz; Woody Allen, Interiors; John Carpenter, Halloween; Paul Mazursky, An Unmarried Woman; Alan Parker, Midnight Express; Paul Schrader, Blue Collar)

NON-ENGLISH-LANGUAGE FILM: THE TREE OF WOODEN CLOGS (Italy, Ermanno Olmi) (2nd: Autumn Sonata (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman), followed by: Get Out Your Handkerchiefs (France, Bertrand Blier); La Cage aux Folles (France, Edouard Molinaro); Drunken Master (Hong Kong, Woo-Ping Yuen))

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: THE LAST WALTZ (US, Martin Scorsese) (2nd: Gates of Heaven (US, Errol Morris), followed by: Koko: A Talking Gorilla (West Germany, Barbet Schroeder); Scared Straight! (US, Arnold Shapiro); American Boy (US, Martin Scorsese))

ANIMATED FEATURE: WATERSHIP DOWN (US, Martin Rosen) (2nd: The Lord of the Rings (US, Ralph Bakshi)

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Michael Cimino, Derek Washburn, Quinn Redeker and Louis Garfinkle, THE DEER HUNTER (2nd: Paul Schrader and Leonard Schrader, Blue Collar, followed by: Paul Mazursky, An Unmarried Woman; Woody Allen, Interiors; Jerry Belson, The End)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Alvin Sargent, Edward Bunker and Jeffery Boam, STRAIGHT TIME (2nd: Judith Rascoe and Robert Stone, Who'll Stop the Rain?, followed by: Alexander Jacobs and Arthur Miller, An Enemy of the People; Curtis Hanson, The Silent Partner; Oliver Stone, Midnight Express)

ANIMATED SHORT: SPECIAL DELIVERY (Canada, Eunice Macauley and John Weldon) (2nd: Rip Van Winkle (US, Will Vinton), followed by: The Small One (US, Don Bluth); The Metamorphosis of Mr. Samsa (Canada, Caroline Leaf); Afterlife (Canada, Ishu Patel))

LIVE ACTION SHORT: HARDWARE WARS (US, Ernie Fossellus) (2nd: Within the Woods (US, Sam Raimi), followed by: Teenage Father (US, Taylor Hackford); Xenogenesis (US, James Cameron and Randall Frakes)

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Nestor Almendros and Haskell Wexler, DAYS OF HEAVEN (2nd: Michael Chapman, Laszlo Kovacs and Vilmos Zsigmond, The Last Waltz, followed by Vilmos Zsigmond, The Deer Hunter; Gordon Willis, Interiors; Dean Cundey, Halloween)

ART DIRECTION: INTERIORS, The Wiz, The Brink’s Job, Heaven Can Wait, Days of Heaven

COSTUME DESIGN: THE WIZ, Death on the Nile, Days of Heaven, Pretty Baby, Interiors

FILM EDITING: THE DEER HUNTER, The Last Waltz, Midnight Express, Straight Time, National Lampoon’s Animal House

SOUND: THE DEER HUNTER, The Last Waltz, Days of Heaven, Midnight Express, Superman

ORIGINAL SCORE: John Carpenter, HALLOWEEN (2nd: Giorgio Moroder, Midnight Express, followed by: John Williams, Superman; Jerry Goldsmith, The Boys from Brazil; Jerry Goldsmith, Magic)

SCORING OF A MUSICAL/ADAPTATION SCORING: Joe Renzetti, THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY (2nd: Neil Innes, The Rutles: All You Need is Cash, followed by: Louis St. Louis, Grease)

ORIGINAL SONG: “Hopelessly Devoted to You” from GREASE (Music and lyrics by John Farrar) (2nd: “Can You Read My Mind” from Superman (Music by John Williams, lyrics by Leslie Bricusse), followed by: “FM (No Static at All)” from FM (Music and lyrics by Donald Fagan and Walter Becker); “Last Dance” from Thank God It’s Friday (Music and lyrics by Paul Jabara); "Grease" from Grease (Music and lyrics by Barry Gibb); “Another Fine Mess” from The End (Music and lyrics by Paul Williams); “Ready to Take a Chance Again” from Foul Play (Music by Charles Fox, lyrics by Norman Gimbel); "Through the Eyes of Love" from Ice Castles (Music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager))


MAKEUP: THE WIZ, Dawn of the Dead, Superman

Thursday, February 18, 2016

1977--The Year in Review

So many wonders in 1977. It's amazing to think that Woody Allen could bloom right beside George Lucas, David Lynch, Steven Spielberg, and Mike Leigh--and yet all could co-exist alongside veterans like Robert Altman, Luis Bunuel, and John Cassavetes. Yet it happened, in a year that would change the course of film history. Though Lucas' film would take the majority of the awards, it was easy to conclude that Allen's stark and moving look at a lost love affair should come out on top, especially since it was led by dynamic lead performances from Allen and Diane Keaton, who possibly delivers the smartest, most lovable lead performance of the decade (and in a year in which she double-socked us with another challenging role in Looking for Mr. Goodbar). After this, neither Allen's moviemaking career or the movies in general would ever be the same. Of course, the same goes for the arrival of Star Wars, but enough has been said about that. David Lynch's debut results in easily the most notable picture outside of these two champions, but also Steven Spielberg's affirmation of his Jaws promise is nothing to be disregarded. A relative newcomer nabs the Best Actor award, and steers the culture with his dancing moves, while an old-timer, fit with a perfect role, snatches the Supporting Actor award (he actually won for The Sunshine Boys in 1975, but THIS is the part he should have been lauded for; as well, the Larry Gelbart script he was working from deserved praise, too). As for the short films, two design masters landed the Animation award (with a film that would influence many in the future), while the UK delivered a stark view of countryside dangers in the Live Action category. And, finally, in the Best Song race, the Brothers Gibb reign with five nominations and a much deserved win (in reality, the Bee Gees were not a part of the Academy's top five--a crime). 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: Eraserhead (US, David Lynch)
followed by: 3 Women (US, Robert Altman)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (US, Steven Spielberg)
Star Wars (US, George Lucas)
That Obscure Object of Desire (France/Spain, Luis Buñuel)
Opening Night (US, John Cassavetes)
Sorcerer (US, William Friedkin)
The Late Show (US, Robert Benton)
Abigail's Party (UK, Mike Leigh)
Oh, God! (US, Carl Reiner)
Padre Padrone (Italy, Paolo Taviani and Vittorio Taviani)
Pumping Iron (US, George Butler and Robert Fiore)
21 Up (UK, Michael Apted)
Peppermint Soda (France, Diane Kurys)
Citizen's Band (aka Handle With Care) (US, Jonathan Demme)
Slap Shot (US, George Roy Hill)
Saturday Night Fever (US, John Badham)
The Duellists (UK, Ridley Scott)
Between the Lines (US, Joan Micklin Silver)
Soldier of Orange (Belgium/Netherlands, Paul Verhoeven)
Roseland (UK/IS, James Ivory)
Man of Marble (Poland, Andrzej Wajda)
The Last Wave (Australia, Peter Weir)
Looking for Mr. Goodbar (US, Richard Brooks)
The American Friend (West Germany, Wim Wenders)
Providence (France/UK, Alain Resnais)
Semi-Tough (US, Michael Richie)
Cross of Iron (US, Sam Peckinpah)
Stroszek (West Germany, Werner Herzog)
Julia (US, Fred Zinnemann)
I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (US, Anthony Page)
Hitler: A Film from Germany (West Germany, Hans-Jürgen Syberberg)
The Man Who Loved Women (France, Francois Truffaut)
Martin (US, George A. Romero)
Rolling Thunder (US, John Flynn)
Desperate Living (US, John Waters)
The Spy Who Loved Me (UK, Lewis Gilbert)
New York, New York (US, Martin Scorsese)
Rabid (Canada, David Cronenberg)
House (Japan, Nobuhiko Obayashi)
Who are the DeBolts and Where Did They Get 19 Kids? (US, John Korty)
Kentucky Fried Movie (US, John Landis)
Short Eyes (US, Robert M. Young)
Equus (US/UK, Sidney Lumet)
Andy Warhol’s Bad (US, Paul Morrissey)
A Bridge Too Far (UK/US, Richard Attenbourough)
Twilight's Last Gleaming (US, Robert Aldrich)
One on One (US, Lamont Johnson)
The Goodbye Girl (US, Herbert Ross)
High Anxiety (US, Mel Brooks)
The Turning Point (US, Herbert Ross)
The Hills Have Eyes (US, Wes Craven)
First Love (US, Joan Darling)
Demon Seed (US, Donald Cammell)
Gizmo! (US, Howard Smith)
The Gauntlet (US, Clint Eastwood)
Smokey and the Bandit (US, Hal Needham)
Black Sunday (US, John Frankenheimer)
Greased Lightning (US, Michael Schultz)
Rollercoaster (US, James Goldstone)
The Rescuers (US, Wolfgang Reitherman, John Lounsbury, and Art Stevens)
Suspiria (Italy, Dario Argento)
Wizards (US, Ralph Bakshi)
Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (US, Sam Wanamaker)
Pete's Dragon (US, Don Chaffey)
Shock Waves (US, Ken Wiederhorn)
The Incredible Melting Man (US, William Sachs))

ACTOR: John Travolta, SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER (2nd: Woody Allen, Annie Hall, followed by: Richard Dreyfuss, Close Encounters of the Third Kind (won for The Goodbye Girl); Jack Nance, Eraserhead; Fernando Rey, That Obscure Object of Desire; John Gielgud, Providence; Art Carney, The Late Show; John Denver, Oh, God!


ACTRESS: Diane Keaton, ANNIE HALL (2nd: Allison Steadman, Abigail's Party, followed by: Shelley Duvall, 3 Women; Gena Rowlands, Opening Night; Sissy Spacek, 3 Women; Diane Keaton, Looking for Mr. Goodbar; Lily Tomlin, The Late Show; Jessica Harper, Suspiria) 

SUPPORTING ACTOR: George Burns, OH, GOD! (2nd: G.D. Spradlin, One on One, followed by: Tim Stern, Abigail's Party; Jason Robards, Julia; Francois Truffaut, Close Encounters of the Third Kind; Jackie Gleason, Smokey and the Bandit; Bob Balaban, Close Encounters of the Third Kind; Mikhail Baryshnikov, The Turning Point)   

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Vanessa Redgrave, JULIA (2nd: Melinda Dillon, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, followed by: Janet Duvitski, Abigail's Party; Teri Garr, Oh, God!; Joan Blondell, Opening Night; Quinn Cummings, The Goodbye Girl; Tuesday Weld, Looking for Mr. Goodbar; Charlotte Stewart, Eraserhead) 

DIRECTOR: Woody Allen, ANNIE HALL (2nd: David Lynch, Eraserhead, followed by: Steven Spielberg, Close Encounters of the Third Kind; Robert Altman, 3 Women; Luis Bunuel, That Obscure Object of Desire; George Lucas, Star Wars; William Friedkin, Sorcerer; John Cassavetes, Opening Night)

NON-ENGLISH-LANGUAGE FILM: THAT OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE (France/Spain, Luis Buñuel) (2nd: Hitler: A Film from Germany (West Germany, Hans-Jürgen Syberberg), followed by: Padre Padrone (Italy, Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani); Peppermint Soda (France, Diane Kurys); Soldier of Orange (Belgium/Netherlands, Paul Verhoeven); Man of Marble (Poland, Andrzej Wajda); Stroszek (West Germany, Werner Herzog); House (Japan, Nobuhiko Obayashi))

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: PUMPING IRON (US, George Butler and Robert Fiore) (2nd: 21 Up (UK, Michael Apted), followed by: Who are the DeBolts and Where Did They Get 19 Kids? (US, John Korty); Gizmo! (US, Howard Smith))

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman, ANNIE HALL (2nd: Steven Spielberg, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, followed by: Mike Leigh, Abigail's Party; Robert Benton, The Late Show; Nancy Dowd, Slap Shot)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Larry Gelbart, OH, GOD! (2nd: Luis Bunuel and Jean-Claude Carriere, That Obscure Object of Desire, followed by: Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, Padre Padrone; Richard Brooks, Looking for Mr. Goodbar; Norman Wexler, Saturday Night Fever)

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: APACHES (UK, John MacKenzie) (2nd: The Absent Minded Waiter (US, Carl Gottlieb), followed by: Notes on the Popular Arts (US, Saul Bass); Stigma (UK, Lawrence Gordon Clark); Dog’s Dialogue (France, Raoul Ruiz))

ANIMATED SHORT FILM: POWERS OF TEN (US, Charles Eames and Ray Eames) (2nd: A Doonebury Special (US, John Hubley, Faith Hubley, and Garry Trudeau), followed by: The Sand Castle (Canada, Co Hoedeman); The Bead Game (Canada, Ishu Patel); Jimmy the C (US, Jimmy Picker))

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Herbert Caldwell and Frederick Elmes, ERASERHEAD (2nd: Frank Tidy, The Duellists; followed by: Vilmos Zsigmond, John A. Alonzo, Steven Poster, Laszlo Kovacs, William Fraker, and Douglas Slocombe, Close Encounters of the Third Kind (award given to Zsigmond solely); Charles Rosher Jr., 3 Women; Dick Bush and John M. Stephens, Sorcerer) 

ART DIRECTION: STAR WARS, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Spy Who Loved Me, Eraserhead, The Duellists

COSTUME DESIGN: STAR WARS, Julia, The Duellists, New York New York, A Little Night Music

FILM EDITING: STAR WARS, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Sorcerer, Annie Hall, Slap Shot

SOUND: STAR WARS, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Eraserhead, Sorcerer, A Bridge Too Far

ORIGINAL SCORE: John Williams, STAR WARS and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (this is VERY MUCH NOT a tie: it is a joint award) (2nd: Edgar Froese and Christopher Franke, Sorcerer; Jack Elliott, Oh, God!; Marvin Hamlisch, The Spy Who Loved Me; Georges Delarue, Julia)


ADAPTED OR MUSICAL SCORE: Ralph Burns, NEW YORK, NEW YORK (2nd: Irwin Kostal, Pete’s Dragon, followed by: David Shire, Saturday Night Fever)

ORIGINAL SONG: “Stayin‘ Alive” from SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER (Music and lyrics by Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb) (2nd: “New York, New York“ from New York, New York (Music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb), followed by: “How Deep Is Your Love” from Saturday Night Fever (Music and lyrics by Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb); “Nobody Does It Better” from The Spy Who Loved Me (Music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager); "Night Fever" from Saturday Night Fever (Music and lyrics by Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb); “High Anxiety“ from High Anxiety (Music and lyrics by Mel Brooks); “East Bound and Down” from Smokey and the Bandit (Music and lyrics by Jerry Reed); "You Light Up My Life" from You Light Up My Life (Music and lyrics by Joe Brooks); "More Than a Woman" from Saturday Night Fever (Music and lyrics by Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb); "If I Can't Have You" from Saturday Night Fever (Music and lyrics by Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb); "The Goodbye Girl" from The Goodbye Girl (Music and lyrics by David Gates); "Candle on the Water" from Pete's Dragon (Music and lyrics by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn); "My Fair Share" from One on One (Music by Charles Fox, lyrics by Paul Williams); "Someone's Waiting for You" from The Rescuers (Music by Sammy Fain, lyrics by Carol Collins and Ayn Robbins))

SPECIAL EFFECTS: STAR WARS, Close Encounters of the Third Kind

MAKEUP: STAR WARS, Eraserhead, The Duellists

Saturday, February 6, 2016

1976--The Year in Review

The British miniseries I, Claudius was really the "film" event of the year, but I can’t give a miniseries Best Picture; something about it seems unfair to even five-hour films. So I had to leave it to Scorsese, Lumet, and Pakula to battle it out for Best Picture and Director. Ultimately, I had to go with the film whose lonely, frank harshness has influenced decades of filmmaking hence, and whose lead performance from Robert De Niro has continually astounded all. Supporting Actor was a packed category this year, by the way--at least ten more possibilities were left by the wayside. Best Song, too, was a bear, with a very unlikely choice topping my list (the whole score for Alan Parker's still underrated and underseen Bugsy Malone nearly overtook the latter category. though ultimately I had to go another very surprising way, I did recognize Paul Williams for his extraordinary contribution to movies this year, though (he ended up winning the Oscar alongside Barbara Streisand for their "Evergreen" collaboration). As for Best Actress, I had to dip into television for the proper choice, and I do so without regret, though I do laud the runner up, who'd go on to do greater things. In the end, has there ever been a more contentious battle for Best Picture? I don't think so. Rocky, Taxi Driver, All The President's Men, Network, Bound for Glory. A perfect lineup. A rarity. 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: TAXI DRIVER (US, Martin Scorsese)
(2nd: Network (US, Sidney Lumet)
followed by: All the President’s Men (US, Alan J. Pakula)
Rocky (US, John G. Avildsen)
Bound for Glory (US, Hal Ashby)
The Front (US, Martin Ritt)
Small Change (France, François Truffaut)
Bugsy Malone (UK, Alan Parker)
Carrie (US, Brian de Palma)
Harlan County, USA (US, Barbara Kopple)
The Outlaw Josey Wales (US, Clint Eastwood)
The Bad News Bears (US, Michael Richie)
Sybil (US, Daniel Petrie)
The Man Who Fell to Earth (UK, Nicolas Roeg)
The Shootist (US, Don Siegel)
Stay Hungry (US, Bob Rafelson)
In the Realm of the Senses (Japan, Nagisa Oshima)
1900 (Italy, Bernardo Bertolucci)
The Memory of Justice (France, Marcel Ophuls)
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (US, John Cassavetes)
Kings of the Road (West Germany, Wim Wenders)
Nuts in May (UK, Mike Leigh)
The Tenant (France, Roman Polanski)
The Seven Per-Cent Solution (US, Herbert Ross)
Face to Face (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman)
Robin and Marian (UK, Richard Lester)
Heart of Glass (West Germany, Werner Herzog)
Next Stop, Greenwich Village (US, Paul Mazursky)
Silent Movie (US, Mel Brooks)
Marathon Man (US, John Schlesinger)
Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 (Switzerland, Alain Tanner)
Allegro Non Troppo (Italy, Bruno Bazzeto)
Griffin and Phoenix (US, Daryl Duke)
Assault on Precinct 13 (US, John Carpenter)
Mikey and Nicky (US, Elaine May)
Car Wash (US, Michael Schultz)
God Told Me To (US, Larry Cohen)
Fellini Casanova (Italy, Federico Fellini)
Hollywood on Trial (US, David Helpern)
The Marquise of O (France, Eric Rohmer)
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (Brazil, Bruno Baretto)
The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (US, Nicholas Gessner)
The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings (US, John Badham)
The Blank Generation (US, Ivan Kral and Amos Poe)
The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea (US, Lewis John Carlino)
Silver Streak (US, Arthur Hiller)
Ode to Billy Joe (US, Max Baer)
Baby Blue Marine (US, John Hancock)
Mother, Jugs and Speed (US, Peter Yates)
Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson (US, Robert Altman)
Obsession (US, Brian de Palma)
Gator (US, Burt Reynolds)
Leadbelly (US, Gordon Parks)
Logan's Run (US, Michael Anderson)
Murder by Death (US, Robert Moore)
The Enforcer (US, James Fargo)
The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox (US, Melvin Frank)
Family Plot (US, Alfred Hitchcock)
The Last Tycoon (US, Elia Kazan)
The Missouri Breaks (US, Arthur Penn)
The Opening of Misty Beethoven (US, Radley Metzger))

ACTOR: Robert De Niro, TAXI DRIVER (2nd: Sylvester Stallone, Rocky, followed by: William Holden, Network; Woody Allen, The Front; Ben Gazzara, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie; David Carradine, Bound for Glory; John Wayne, The Shootist; Clint Eastwood, The Outlaw Josey Wales) 

ACTRESS: Faye Dunaway, NETWORK (2nd: Sissy Spacek, Carrie, followed by: Sally Field, Sybil; Liv Ullmann, Face to Face; Joanne Woodward, Sybil; Sonia Braga, Doña Flor and Her Two Husbands; Allison Steadman, Nuts in May; Jodie Foster, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane) 

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Peter Finch, NETWORK (won as Best Actor) (2nd: Jason Robards, All The President’s Men, followed by: Ned Beatty, Network; Lawrence Olivier, Marathon Man; Richard Pryor, Silver Streak; Burt Young, Rocky; Burgess Meredith, Rocky; Chief Dan George, The Outlaw Josey Wales; Zero Mostel, The Front)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Jodie Foster, TAXI DRIVER (2nd: Piper Laurie, Carrie, followed by: Melinda Dillon, Bound for Glory; Beatrice Straight, Network; Martine Bartlett, Sybil; Talia Shire, Rocky; Jane Alexander, All the President’s Men; Dominique Sanda, 1900)

DIRECTOR: Martin Scorsese, TAXI DRIVER (2nd: Sidney Lumet, Network, followed by: Alan J. Pakula, All The President’s Men; Martin Ritt, The Front; Hal Ashby, Bound for Glory; John G. Avildsen, Rocky; Francois Truffaut, Small Change; Alan Parker, Bugsy Malone)

NON-ENGLISH-LANGUAGE FILM: SMALL CHANGE (France, François Truffaut) (2nd: In the Realm of the Senses (Japan, Nagisa Oshima), followed by: 1900 (Italy, Bernardo Bertolucci); The Memory of Justice (France, Marcel Ophuls); Kings of the Road (West Germany, Wim Wenders); Face to Face (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman); Heart of Glass (West Germany, Werner Herzog); L’Innocente (Italy, Luchino Visconti); Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 (Switzerland, Alain Tanner); Allegro Non Troppo (Italy, Bruno Bazzeto); Casanova (Italy, Federico Fellini); The Marquise of O (France, Eric Rohmer); Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (Brazil, Bruno Baretto))

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: HARLAN COUNTY USA (US, Barbara Kopple) (2nd: The Memory of Justice (France, Marcel Ophuls), followed by: Hollywood on Trial (US, David Helpern); The Blank Generation (US, Ivan Kral and Amos Poe))

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Paddy Chayefsky, NETWORK (2nd: Paul Schrader, Taxi Driver, followed by: Walter Bernstein, The Front; Bill Lancaster, The Bad News Bears; Alan Parker, Bugsy Malone)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: William Goldman, ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN (2nd: Robert Getchell, Bound for Glory; Stewart Stern, Sybil; Philip Kaufman and Sonia Chernus, The Outlaw Josey Wales; Nicholas Meyer, The Seven Per-Cent Solution)

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: RENDEZVOUS (France, Claude Lelouch) (2nd: Children (UK, Terence Davies), followed by: Plaisir d’amour en Iran (France, Agnes Varda); Kudzu (US, Marjorie Ann Short); To Fly! (US, Jim Freeman and Greg MacGillivrey))

ANIMATED SHORT FILM: THE STREET (Canada, Caroline Leaf) (2nd: Leisure (Australia, David Denneen), followed by: Le Paysagiste (Canada, Jacques Drouin); Arabesque (US, John Whitney Sr.); Dojoji (Japan, Kihachiro Kawamoto)

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Haskell Wexler, BOUND FOR GLORY (2nd: Gordon Willis, All The President's Men, followed by: Michael Chapman, Taxi Driver; Owen Roizman, Network; Vittorio Storaro, 1900)

ART DIRECTION: ALL THE PRESIDENT‘S MEN, Bugsy Malone, The Shootist, Logan’s Run, Bound for Glory 

COSTUME DESIGN: CASANOVA, Bugsy Malone, 1900, The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings, Bound for Glory  

FILM EDITING: TAXI DRIVER, Rocky, All The President’s Men, Network, Carrie 

SOUND: ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN, Rocky, Network, Bound for Glory, Silver Streak

ORIGINAL SCORE: Bernard Herrmann, TAXI DRIVER (2nd: Pino Donaggio, Carrie, followed by Bill Conti, Rocky; Jerry Fielding, The Outlaw Josey Wales; Bernard Herrmann, Obsession)

ADAPTED OR MUSICAL SCORE: Paul Williams, BUGSY MALONE (2nd: Leonard Rosenman, Bound for Glory, followed by: Patrick Williams, The Bad News Bears)

ORIGINAL SONG: “I Never Dreamed Someone Like You Could Love Someone Like Me” from CARRIE (Music and lyrics by Pino Donnagio and Merrit Malloy) (2nd: “My Name is Tallulah” from Bugsy Malone (Music and lyrics by Paul Williams), followed by: "Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star is Born)" (Music by Barbra Streisand, lyrics by Paul Williams); “I Wanna Get Next to You” from Car Wash (Music and lyrics by Norman Whitfield); “Hooked on Your Love” from Sparkle (Music and lyrics by Curtis Mayfield); “You Give A Little Love” from Bugsy Malone (Music and lyrics by Paul Williams); "Tomorrow" from Bugsy Malone (Music and lyrics by Paul Williams); "Ordinary Fool" from Bugsy Malone (Music and lyrics by Paul Williams); "So You Wanna Be a Boxer" from Bugsy Malone (Music and lyrics by Paul Williams); “Car Wash” from Car Wash (Music and lyrics by Norman Whitfield); "Gonna Fly Now" from Rocky (Music by Bill Conti, lyrics by Carol Collins and Ayn Robbins); "Gator" from Gator (Music and lyrics by Jerry Reed); "Please Don't Touch Me Plums" from The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox (Music and lyrics by Sammy Cahn, Melvin Frank and Charles Fox); "Crossroads" from Massacre at Central High (Music by Tommy Leonetti, lyrics by Jill Williams)


MAKEUP: TAXI DRIVER, Bugsy Malone, Rocky