Tuesday, March 29, 2016

1984--The Year in Review

1984 is a rock-flavored year for me. In this, my first year as a published film writer, my number one choice--Jonathan Demme's collaboration with the band Talking Heads--is the first documentary I have ever chosen for the top spot; it's the only movie in which, when I saw it in a theater, the experience was LITERALLY like a dance party. I have still never experienced anything like Stop Making Sense. I went into my first glimpse of it not knowing much about its subjects, and I emerged a new person–one with an instant sense of rhythm, and a desire to play music just like those joyful people up on the screen (I ended up playing percussion with a band in the mid-90s because of it). This film, plus my second choice–cinema's greatest-ever blend of improv comedy and mockumentary, intriguingly deemed This is Spinal Tap–changed my life and, as a result, for my following two decades, I was as big a fan of music as I had previously been of movies. On top of all this, we have among the most explosive and competitive Best Song selections of all time, with tunes from This is Spinal Tap, Purple Rain, Footloose, Streets of Fire, The Woman in Red, Beverly Hills Cop, Swing Shift, 1984, Give My Regards to Broad Street, and Ghostbusters. It's also a massively documentary-themed year, with Robert Epstein's remarkable The Times of Harvey Milk, the continuation of Michael Apted's landmark series 28 Up (perhaps the most important of its installments), and Streetwise, Martin Bell's astounding account of Seattle homelessness. As for narratives, I was breathlessly impressed with newcomer Roland Joffe who, along with screenwriter Bruce Robinson, transformed my view of the Asian-based conflict that had so recently choked the world; The Killing Fields was THE movie that made me understand the breadth of that bizarre war. We were served a regal final effort from the film master David Lean, an adaptation of E.M. Forster's mysterious A Passage to India. And, on another front, there was Broadway Danny Rose, a very different kind of Woody Allen film, with the director/writer/actor’s most idiosyncratic performance (featured alongside a stunning show from his newest leading lady Mia Farrow). Allen's film joined This Is Spinal Tap as a leader in an another amazing year for comedy that included Ghostbusters, Stranger Than Paradise, Comfort and Joy, Splash, Beverly Hills Cop, Repo Man, Sixteen Candles, Moscow on the Hudson, Top Secret!, Romancing the Stone, The Lonely Guy, and Police Academy. There was the arrival of a new brand of indie film with Jim Jarmusch, Neil Jordan, Alex Cox, Lars Von Trier, and Joel and Ethan Coen (whose Blood Simple star M. Emmet Walsh came close to  besting Supporting Actor Oscar-winner Haing S. Ngor, who was so wonderful in The Killing Fields--I was this close to deeming it a tie), and the further outputs from John Sayles, Wim Wenders, Bill Forsyth, and Alan Rudolph. For the Academy's part, the year was controlled by Milos Forman's lush and very entertaining adaptation of Peter Schaffer's stage play Amadeus, which really popped onscreen (I wish I could love it as much as the Academy did, but it's slightly too dull for me). At any rate, 1984 is a bear, and newly 80s-flavored. We’re in a much different era now, folks, and it's a good one. 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: STOP MAKING SENSE (US, Jonathan Demme and Talking Heads)
(2nd: This is Spinal Tap (US, Rob Reiner)
followed by: The Killing Fields (UK, Roland Joffé)
Broadway Danny Rose (US, Woody Allen)
The Times of Harvey Milk (US, Robert Epstein)
A Passage to India (UK, David Lean)
Streetwise (US, Martin Bell)
Blood Simple (US, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen)
Stranger Than Paradise (US, Jim Jarmusch)
Amadeus (US, Milos Forman)
28 Up (UK, Michael Apted)
Threads (UK, Mick Jackson)
Paris, Texas (West Germany/France/US, Wim Wenders)
Love Streams (US, John Cassavetes)
Once Upon a Time in America (US, Sergio Leone)
The Terminator (US, James Cameron)
Places in the Heart (US, Robert Benton)
A Sunday in the Country (France, Bertrand Tavernier)
Comfort and Joy (UK, Bill Forsyth)
Antonio Gaudi (Japan, Hiroshi Teshigahara)
Under the Volcano (US/UK, John Huston)
Choose Me (US, Alan Rudolph)
The Natural (US, Barry Levinson)
The Brother from Another Planet (US, John Sayles)
George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey (US, George Stevens Jr.)
Mike's Murder (US, James Bridges)
The Bostonians (UK, James Ivory)
The Company of Wolves (UK, Neil Jordan)
Ghostbusters (US, Ivan Reitman)
Splash (US, Ron Howard)
Iceman (US, Fred Schepisi)
Beverly Hills Cop (US, Martin Brest)
Repo Man (US, Alex Cox)
Birdy (US, Alan Parker)
The Hit (UK, Stephen Frears)
A Soldier’s Story (US, Norman Jewison)
1984 (UK, Michael Radford)
After the Rehearsal (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman)
Starman (US, John Carpenter)
The Element of Crime (Denmark, Lars von Trier)
Secret Honor (US, Robert Altman)
The Pope of Greenwich Village (US, Stuart Rosenberg)
The Burning Bed (US, Robert Greenwald)
The Cotton Club (US, Francis Ford Coppola)
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (US, Leonard Nimoy)
The Bounty (US/UK, Roger Donaldson)
Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom (US, Steven Spielberg)
Country (US, Richard Pearce)
Carmen (Italy/Spain, Francesco Rosi)
Swann in Love (France, Volker Schlöndorff)
Swing Shift (US, Jonathan Demme)
Sixteen Candles (US, John Hughes)
Nausicaa in the Valley of the Wind (Japan, Hayao Miyazaki)
Moscow on the Hudson (US, Paul Mazursky)
Body Double (US, Brian de Palma)
Dune (US, David Lynch)
Streets of Fire (US, Walter Hill)
Old Enough (US, Marisa Silver)
Top Secret! (US, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker)
Tightrope (US, Richard Tuggle)
Romancing the Stone (US, Robert Zemeckis)
The Karate Kid (US, John G. Avildsen)
Greystoke: The Legend of Tazan, Lord of the Apes (UK, Hugh Hudson)
Night of the Comet (US, Thom Eberhardt)
The Lonely Guy (US, Arthur Hiller)
Suburbia (US, Penelope Spheeris)
Razorback (Australia, Russell Mulcahy)
The Adventures of Buckeroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (US, W.D. Richter)
2010 (US, Peter Hyams)
The Last Starfighter (US, Nick Castle)
Dreamscape (US, Joseph Reuben)
The River (US, Mark Rydell)
The Razor's Edge (US, John Byrum)
Purple Rain (US, Albert Magnoli)
Footloose (US, Herbert Ross)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (US, Wes Craven)
Crimes of Passion (UK, Ken Russell)
The Toxic Avenger (US, Michael Herz)
Red Dawn (US, John Milius)
Police Academy (US, Hugh Wilson)
The NeverEnding Story (US/West Germany, Wolfgang Petersen))

ACTOR: Woody Allen, BROADWAY DANNY ROSE (2nd: F. Murray Abraham, Amadeus, followed by: Steve Martin, All of Me; Albert Finney, Under the Volcano; Eddie Murphy, Beverly Hills Cop; Tom Hulce, Amadeus; Victor Banerjee, A Passage to India; Philip Baker Hall, Secret Honor; Bill Paterson, Comfort and Joy)

ACTRESS: Mia Farrow, BROADWAY DANNY ROSE (2nd: Judy Davis, A Passage to India, followed by: Sally Field, Places in the Heart; Debra Winger, Mike‘s Murder; Vanessa Redgrave, The Bostonians; Genevieve Bujold, Choose Me; Kathleen Turner, Romancing the Stone; Karen Allen, Starman; Frances McDormand, Blood Simple)

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Haing S. Ngor, THE KILLING FIELDS (2nd: M. Emmet Walsh, Blood Simple, followed by: Nick Apollo Forte, Broadway Danny Rose; John Lone, Iceman; Christopher Guest, This is Spinal Tap; Adolph Caesar, A Soldier’s Story; Jeffery Jones, Amadeus; John Candy, Splash; John Malkovich, Places in the Heart)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Peggy Ashcroft, A PASSAGE TO INDIA (2nd: Melanie Griffith, Body Double, followed by: Theresa Russell, The Razor’s Edge; Glenn Close, The Natural; Christine Lahti, Swing Shift; Eszter Balint, Stranger Than Paradise; Geraldine Page, The Pope of Greenwich Village; Lindsey Crouse, Places in the Heart; Elizabeth Berridge, Amadeus)

DIRECTOR: Jonathan Demme and Talking Heads, STOP MAKING SENSE (2nd: Woody Allen, Broadway Danny Rose, followed by: Roland Joffe, The Killing Fields; Rob Reiner, This is Spinal Tap; Milos Forman, Amadeus; David Lean, A Passage to India; Mick Jackson, Threads; Jim Jarmusch, Stranger Than Paradise; Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Blood Simple)

NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE FILM: A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY (France, Bertrand Tavernier) (2nd: After the Rehearsal (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman), followed by: The Element of Crime (Denmark, Lars von Trier); Carmen (Italy/Spain, Francesco Rosi); Swann in Love (France, Volker Schlöndorff); Nausicaa in the Valley of the Wind (Japan, Hayao Miyazaki))

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: STOP MAKING SENSE (US, Jonathan Demme and Talking Heads) (2nd: The Times of Harvey Milk (US, Robert Epstein), followed by: Streetwise (US, Martin Bell); 28 Up (UK, Michael Apted); Antonio Gaudi (Japan, Hiroshi Teshigahara); George Stevens: A Filmmaker’s Journey (US, George Stevens Jr.))


ANIMATED SHORT: ANNA AND BELLA (Netherlands, Borge Ring) (won in 1985) (2nd: Jumping (Japan, Osamu Tezuka); Charade (Canada, John Minnis); You Might Think (US, Charlie Levi, Jeff Stein and Alex Weil); The Pit, the Pendulum, and Hope (Czechoslovakia, Jan Svankmajer))

LIVE ACTION SHORT: A GIRL'S OWN STORY (New Zealand, Jane Campion) (2nd: Frankenweenie (US, Tim Burton), followed by: Barres (France, Luc Moullet); Making a Splash (UK, Peter Greenaway); Quest (US, Elaine Bass and Saul Bass))

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer and Rob Reiner, THIS IS SPINAL TAP (2nd: Woody Allen, Broadway Danny Rose, followed by: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Blood Simple; Robert Benton, Places in the Heart; Barry Hines, Threads; Jim Jarmusch, Stranger Than Paradise)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Bruce Robinson, THE KILLING FIELDS (2nd: David Lean, A Passage to India, followed by: Peter Schaffer, Amadeus; Henry Olek and Phil Alden Robinson, All of Me; Bertrand Tavernier and Colo Tavernier, A Sunday in the Country; Guy Gallo, Under the Volcano)

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Caleb Deschanel, THE NATURAL (2nd: Chris Menges, The Killing Fields, followed by: Miroslav Ondricek, Amadeus; Jordan Cronenweth, Stop Making Sense; Gordon Willis, Broadway Danny Rose) 

ART DIRECTION: AMADEUS, Dune, The Natural, A Passage to India, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

COSTUME DESIGN: AMADEUS, Dune, The Cotton Club, A Passage to India, The Natural

FILM EDITING: STOP MAKING SENSE, The Killing Fields, This is Spinal Tap, The Terminator, A Passage to India

SOUND: STOP MAKING SENSE, Amadeus, Dune, The Terminator, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

SOUND EFFECTS: DUNE, The Terminator, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

ORIGINAL SCORE: Maurice Jarre, A PASSAGE TO INDIA (2nd: Randy Newman, The Natural, followed by: Mark Knopfler, Comfort and Joy; Dave Grusin, Falling in Love; Bruce Smeaton, Iceman)

ADAPTATION SCORE/SCORING OF A MUSICAL: Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, and Rob Reiner, THIS IS SPINAL TAP (2nd: Prince, Purple Rain, followed by: Neville Mariner, Amadeus; Dick Hyman, Broadway Danny Rose)

ORIGINAL SONG: “Purple Rain“ from PURPLE RAIN (Music and lyrics by Prince) (2nd: "Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight" from This is Spinal Tap (Music and lyrics by Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer and Rob Reiner), followed by: "When Doves Cry" from Purple Rain (Music and lyrics by Prince); “Against All Odds (Take a Look At Me Now)” from Against All Odds (Music and lyrics by Phil Collins); "I Can Dream About You" from Streets of Fire (Music and lyrics by Dan Hartman); ”Big Bottom” from This is Spinal Tap (Music and lyrics by Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer and Rob Reiner); "Nowhere Fast" from Streets of Fire (Music and lyrics by Jim Steinman); "I Just Called to Say I Love You" from The Woman in Red (Music and lyrics by Stevie Wonder); "Let's Go Crazy" from Purple Rain (Music and lyrics by Prince); "The Heat is On" from Beverly Hills Cop (Music and lyrics by Harold Faltermeyer and Keith Forsey); “Sex Farm” from This is Spinal Tap (Music and lyrics by Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer and Rob Reiner); “Someone Waits for You” from Swing Shift (Music by Peter Allen, lyrics by Will Jennings); “Julia” from 1984 (Music and lyrics by Annie Lennox and David Stewart); "I Would Die 4 U" from Purple Rain (Music and lyrics by Prince); "No More Lonely Nights" from Give My Regards to Broad Street (Music and lyrics by Paul McCartney); "Almost Paradise" from Footloose (Music by Eric Carmen, lyrics by Dean Pitchford); "Ghostbusters" from Ghostbusters (Music and lyrics by Ray Parker, Jr.); "Take Me With U" from Purple Rain (Music and lyrics by Prince); "Tonight Is What It Means to Be Young" from Streets of Fire (Music and lyrics by Jim Steinman); "Gimme Some Money" from This is Spinal Tap (Music and lyrics by Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer and Rob Reiner); "Let's Hear It for the Boy" from Footloose (Music by Tom Snow, lyrics by Dean Pitchford))

SPECIAL EFFECTS: GHOSTBUSTERS, 2010, Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom 

MAKEUP: AMADEUS, Iceman, The Terminator 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

1983--The Year in Review

The top five pictures of 1983 are easily a few of the 1980s most stellar titles, and the subsequent fifteen titles are also essential viewing. But there is a general drop-off in quality this year, and it’ll be a while before we see anything like 1967-82 again. Still, I treasure my top pick, Local Hero, like a precious jewel; I deeply feel that it is my movie, made with love and care just for my adoration. I had been a fan of Scottish director Bill Forsyth for a few years before seeing this masterpiece that, with its gorgeous lensing, gently funny screenplay, and stunning Mark Knopfler score, urges its viewers to stop the hubbub in their lives and admire the beauty of the world that surrounds us. Of course, its nearest competitor. Philip Kaufman's The Right Stuff is clearly the American movie of the year--a movingly patriotic epic about the nascent days of the U.S. space program that's irreverent, accurate, and remarkable in its perfect production and inventive casting. Two movies with venal lead characters dancing around the edges of the entertainment industry vied most closely for Best Actor this year: Robert De Niro's Rupert Pupkin is an unforgettable invention (as is Sandra Bernhard's nutty superfan), but it is Eric Roberts' murderous, painfully tortured Paul Snider in Bob Fosse's sleazy take on Hollywood that had to take the prize (the Academy went with another, more likable industry outlier played by Robert Duvall). At the Oscars, TV veteran James L. Brooks dominated with his adaptation of Larry McMurtry's Terms of Endearment (which finally netted an award for Shirley MacLaine, rightfully so, as well as a second Oscar for Jack Nicholson, hilarious as a hard-partying retired astronaut). Comedy as a whole made terrific strides this year with movies like Zelig, Trading Places, Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, The Big Chill, Educating Rita, Risky Business, The Man with Two Brains, Valley Girl, Strange Brew, National Lampoon's Vacation, and that holiday perennial A Christmas Story. But in all it was a pretty serious film output this year, as screens were studded with such downbeat tales as The Dresser, Entre Nous, Silkwood, The Ballad of Narayama, Betrayal, Under Fire, Daniel, Scarface, Bad Boys, and two devastating looks at the effects of nuclear war on average citizens, Testament and The Day After (to that time, the highest rated TV movie ever). On the short film front, I had to give the live action award to what is in the running for the best music video of all time, while the animation spot goes to one of the indisputable masters of Czech cinema. 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: LOCAL HERO (Scotland, Bill Forsyth)
(2nd: The Right Stuff (US, Philip Kaufman), followed by:
The King of Comedy (US, Martin Scorsese)
Star 80 (US, Bob Fosse)
Entre Nous (France, Diane Kurys)
Zelig (US, Woody Allen)
The Dresser (UK, Peter Yates)
Silkwood (US, Mike Nichols)
Terms of Endearment (US, James L. Brooks)
Marvin and Tige (US, Eric Weston)
The 4th Man (Netherlands, Paul Verhoeven)
Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (UK, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam)
Lianna (US, John Sayles)
Tender Mercies (US, Bruce Beresford)
Sans Soleil (France, Chris Marker)
Careful, He Might Hear You (Australia, Carl Schultz)
The Dead Zone (Canada, David Cronenberg)
Betrayal (UK, David Hugh Jones)
El Norte (US, Gregory Nava)
Testament (US, Lynne Littman)
Rumble Fish (US, Francis Ford Coppola)
Educating Rita (UK, Lewis Gilbert)
Never Cry Wolf (US, Carroll Ballard)
Trading Places (US, John Landis)
Man of Flowers (Australia, Paul Cox)
Risky Business (US, Paul Brickman)
Videodrome (Canada, David Cronenberg)
Marlene (West Germany, Maximilian Schell)
Pauline at the Beach (France, Eric Rohmer)
Under Fire (US, Roger Spottiswoode)
L’Argent (France, Robert Bresson)
Nostalghia (Italy/USSR, Andrei Tarkovsky)
Made in Britain (UK, Alan Clarke)
Valley Girl (US, Martha Coolidge)
The Big Chill (US, Lawrence Kasdan)
The Day After (US, Nicholas Meyer)
The Outsiders (US, Francis Ford Coppola)
The Ballad of Narayama (Japan, Shohei Imamura)
Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (UK/Japan/New Zealand, Nagisa Oshima)
Sugar Cane Alley (France/Martinique, Euzhan Palcy)
Of Unknown Origin (Canada, George Pan Cosmatos)
Daniel (US, Sidney Lumet)
Le Bal (France/Italy, Ettore Scola)
WarGames (US, John Badham)
Return of the Jedi (US, Richard Marquand)
Yentl (US, Barbra Streisand)
À Nos Amours (France, Maurice Pialat)
He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin' (US, Emile Ardalino)
Twice Upon a Time (US, John Korty and Charles Swenson)
Scarface (US, Brian de Palma)
And the Ship Sails On (Italy, Federico Fellini)
All the Right Moves (US, Michael Chapman)
A Christmas Story (Canada, Bob Clark)
Something Wicked This Way Comes (US, Jack Clayton)
Cross Creek (US, Martin Ritt)
Heart Like a Wheel (US, Jonathan Kaplan)
Utu (New Zealand, Geoff Murphy)
The Man with Two Brains (US, Carl Reiner)
Wild Style (US, Charlie Ahearn)
Bad Boys (US, Rick Rosenthal)
Reuben, Reuben (US, Robert Ellis Miller)
Strange Invaders (US, Michael Laughlin)
To Be or Not To Be (US, Alan Johnson)
Max Dugan Returns (US, Herbert Ross)
The Star Chamber (US, Peter Hyams)
Strange Brew (Canada, Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas)
Hanna K. (Israel/France, Costa-Gavras)
Octopussy (UK, John Glen)
Brainstorm (US, Douglas Trumbull)
Christine (US, John Carpenter)
Cujo (US, Lewis Teague)
National Lampoon's Vacation (US, Harold Ramis)
Eddie and the Cruisers (US, Martin Davidson)

ACTOR: Eric Roberts, STAR 80 (2nd: Robert De Niro, The King of Comedy, followed by: Robert Duvall, Tender Mercies; John Cassavetes, Marvin and Tige; Tom Courteney, The Dresser; Albert Finney, The Dresser; Christopher Walken, The Dead Zone; Al Pacino, Scarface; Peter Riegert, Local Hero)

ACTRESS: Shirley MacLaine, TERMS OF ENDEARMENT (2nd: Julie Walters, Educating Rita, followed by: Debra Winger, Terms of Endearment; Meryl Streep, Silkwood; Isabelle Huppert, Entre Nous; Jane Alexander, Testament; Bonnie Bedelia, Heart Like A Wheel; Wendy Hughes, Careful, He Might Hear You

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Jack Nicholson, TERMS OF ENDEARMENT (2nd: John Lithgow, Twilight Zone: The Movie, followed by: Guy Marchand, Entre Nous; Jerry Lewis, The King of Comedy; Fred Ward, The Right Stuff; Sam Shepard, The Right Stuff; Denis Lawson, Local Hero; Ed Harris, The Right Stuff) 

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Sandra Bernhard, THE KING OF COMEDY (2nd: Amanda Plummer, Daniel, followed by: Cher, Silkwood; Veronica Cartwright, The Right Stuff; Tess Harper, Tender Mercies; Alfre Woodard, Cross Creek; Jamie Lee Curtis, Trading Places; Michelle Pfeiffer, Scarface)

DIRECTOR: Bill Forsyth, LOCAL HERO (2nd: Philip Kaufman, The Right Stuff, followed by: Martin Scorsese, The King of Comedy; Diane Kurys, Entre Nous; Woody Allen, Zelig; Bob Fosse, Star 80; Mike Nichols, Silkwood; Peter Yates, The Dresser)

NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE FILM: ENTRE NOUS (France, Diane Kurys) (2nd: The 4th Man (The Netherlands, Paul Verhoeven), followed by: Pauline at the Beach (France, Eric Rohmer); Marlene (West Germany, Maximilian Schell); L’Argent (France, Robert Bresson); Nostalghia (Italy/USSR, Andrei Tarkovsky); The Ballad of Narayama (Japan, Shohei Imamura); Sugar Cane Alley (France/Martinique, Euzhan Palcy); Le Bal (France/Italy, Ettore Scola); À Nos Amours (France, Maurice Pialat); And the Ship Sails On (Italy, Federico Fellini))

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: SANS SOLEIL (France, Chris Marker) (2nd: He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin' (US, Emile Ardalino), followed by: Wild Style (US, Charlie Ahearn))

ANIMATED FEATURE: TWICE UPON A TIME (US, John Korty and Charles Swenson)

LIVE ACTION SHORT: THRILLER (US, John Landis) (2nd: Down to the Cellar (Czechoslovakia, Jan Svankmajer), followed by: Rockit (US/UK, Kevin Godley and Lol Creame); Every Breath You Take (UK, Kevin Godley and Lol Creame); Passionless Moments (Australia, Jane Campion and Gerard Lee)

ANIMATED SHORT: THE VANISHED WORLD OF GLOVES (Czechoslovakia, Jiri Barta) (2nd: A Ballad About Green Wood (Czechoslovakia, Jiri Barta), followed by: Sundae in New York (US, Jimmy Picker); Mickey's Christmas Carol (US, Burney Mattinson))

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Paul D. Zimmerman, THE KING OF COMEDY (2nd: Bill Forsyth, Local Hero, followed by: Horton Foote, Tender Mercies; Woody Allen, Zelig; Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Michael Palin and Eric Idle, Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life; John Sayles, Lianna)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Philip Kaufman, THE RIGHT STUFF (2nd: Diane Kurys and Alain Le Henry, Entre Nous, followed by: Ronald Harwood, The Dresser; Harold Pinter, Betrayal; James L. Brooks, Terms of Endearment; Nora Ephron and Alice Arlen, Silkwood)

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Chris Menges, LOCAL HERO (2nd: Caleb Deschanel, The Right Stuff, followed by: Gordon Willis, Zelig; Stephen Burum, Rumble Fish; Hiro Narita, Never Cry Wolf)

ART DIRECTION: THE RIGHT STUFF, Return of the Jedi, The Dresser, Local Hero, Something Wicked This Way Comes

COSTUME DESIGN: ZELIG, The Right Stuff, The King of Comedy, The Dresser, Something Wicked This Way Comes

FILM EDITING: THE RIGHT STUFF, Silkwood, Star 80, The King of Comedy, Flashdance

SOUND: THE RIGHT STUFF, Return of the Jedi, Never Cry Wolf, WarGames, The King of Comedy

SOUND EFFECTS: THE RIGHT STUFF, WarGames, Return of the Jedi

ORIGINAL SCORE: (TIE) Mark Knopfler, LOCAL HERO and Stewart Copeland, RUMBLE FISH (2nd: Bill Conti, The Right Stuff, followed by: Patrick Williams, Marvin and Tige; John Barry, High Road to China; Jerry Goldsmith, Under Fire)

ADAPTATION SCORE/SCORING OF A MUSICAL: Michel Legrand, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, YENTL (2nd: William Elliott, The Pirates of Penzance, followed by: Elmer Bernstein, Trading Places)

ORIGINAL SONG: “Galaxy Song” from MONTY PYTHON’S THE MEANING OF LIFE (Music by Eric Idle and John Du Prez, lyrics by Eric Idle) (2nd: “Don’t Box Me In” from Rumble Fish (Music and lyrics by Stewart Copeland and Stan Ridgway), followed by: "I’ve Decided to Leave Here Forever" from Tender Mercies (Music and lyrics by Robert Duvall); "Holiday Road" from National Lampoon's Vacation (Music and lyrics by Lindsay Buckingham); "The Meaning of Life" from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (Music by Eric Idle and John Du Prez, lyrics by Eric Idle); "If You'll Hold the Ladder (I'll Climb to the Top)" from Tender Mercies (Music and lyrics by Buzz Rabin and Sara Busby); "Easy Money" from Easy Money (Music and lyrics by Billy Joel); “Stay Gold” from The Outsiders (Music by Carmine Coppola, lyrics by Stevie Wonder); “Papa, Can You Hear Me?” from Yentl (Music by Michel Legrand, lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman); "Flashdance...What A Feeling" from Flashdance (Music by Giorgio Moroder, lyrics by Irene Cara and Keith Forsey); “It Hurts to Face Reality” from Tender Mercies (Music and lyrics by Lefty Frizzell); "Maniac" from Flashdance (Music by Michael Sembello and Dennis Matkosky); "The Way He Makes Me Feel" from Yentl (Music by Michel Legrand, lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman); "All The Right Moves" from All the Right Moves (Music by Tom Snow, lyrics by Barry Alfonso); "On The Dark Side" from Eddie and the Cruisers (Music and lyrics by John Cafferty); "All Time High" from Octopussy (Music by John Barry, lyrics by Tim Rice))


MAKEUP: THE DRESSER, Videodrome, Twilight Zone: The Movie

Saturday, March 19, 2016

1982--The Year in Review

1982, in my arguable opinion, was the final year of the last Golden Age of cinema, stretching fifteen years from its origin in 1967. This period might reach a bit into 1983, however the Reagan-era clamor for blockbusters and a distinctively 80s-tinged indie movement would both really take hold in that year, so for all intents and purposes, the frank and harshly-flavored 1970s are largely dead hereafter. 1982 was also a big year for me, personally, because as a 15-year-old kid, I'd finally decided to devote my life to exploring cinema's past, present and future. It was the first year I nacsently predicted the top nominees for the Oscars: Gandhi (which dominated the awards this year; I like it, but it's a bit too repetitive), E.T. The Extraterrestrial, Tootsie, The Verdict and Missing (the last two were the iffiest inclusions). But so many OTHER movies moved me on top of these superb titles. And, ultimately, even though it took me a year to see it, it was Ingmar Bergman’s Dickensian, semi-autobiographical opus Fanny and Alexander that wholly stole my heart (the film would finally hit US shores in a 3-hour theatrical version, truncated from its original 6-hour Swedish TV running time; Bergman would say that cutting it down was horribly damaging to the work, but I adore both versions; in fact, the Academy would hand the theatrical cut four awards in 1983--a record sum for a non-English language picture). It's a thrill to finally award Paul Newman the Best Actor prize for what I think is his best performance: shaky, alcoholic Boston lawyer Frank Galvin, facing one final make-or-break case. Of course, this was the year that Meryl Streep was anointed (rightfully, for a while at least) as America's premier screen actress with her devastating lead in Alan J. Pakula's nearly-perfect adaptation of William Styron's Sophie's Choice. The horror/sci-fi/fantasy genres make further leaps towards commanding the culture with Blade Runner (which I'm sad to say, comes out on top here not once, and I sincerely am bummed about this), E.T. The Extraterrestrial, The Thing, Poltergeist, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, The Secret of NIHM, The Entity, Q, Cat People, Tron, Timerider, Basket Case, The Dark Crystal, Liquid Sky, and Creepshow. To boot, the year's output included lots of great comedy, indie work, off-kilter Hollywood product, UK/Canada/Australia stuff, foreign-language treasures, and one incredible, low-key masterwork by writer/director Joan Micklin Silver–Chilly Scenes of Winter–that still too few discerning filmgoers today have seen. Were I to meet with them in some dreamworld, this would be the first film I'd insist the folks at the Criterion Collection take a closer look at. Finally, and interestingly, my two winners of the Short Film awards are directed by filmmakers who'd make bigger splashes later in the 1980s. 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: Blade Runner (US, Ridley Scott)
followed by: Chilly Scenes of Winter (US, Joan Micklin Silver)
Sophie’s Choice (US, Alan J. Pakula)
E.T. The Extraterrestrial (US, Steven Spielberg)
Missing (US, Costa-Gavras)
The Verdict (US, Sidney Lumet)
Tootsie (US, Sydney Pollack)
Shoot the Moon (US, Alan Parker)
Diner (US, Barry Levinson)
Burden of Dreams (US, Les Blank)
The Night of the Shooting Stars (Italy, Paolo Taviani and Vittorio Taviani)
Koyaanisqatsi (US, Godfrey Reggio)
The Thing (US, John Carpenter)
Gandhi (UK, Richard Attenborough)
The Executioner’s Song (US, Lawrence Schiller)
The Grey Fox (Canada, Philip Borsos)
Deathtrap (US, Sidney Lumet)
Lonely Hearts (Australia, Paul Cox)
The Year of Living Dangerously (Australia/US, Peter Weir)
The World According to Garp (US, George Roy Hill)
Best Friends (US, Norman Jewison)
Victor/Victoria (US, Blake Edwards)
Frances (US, Graeme Clifford)
48 HRS. (US, Walter Hill)
The Escape Artist (US, Caleb Deschanel)
Night Shift (US, Ron Howard)
La Nuit de Varennes (France/Italy, Ettore Scola)
Personal Best (US, Robert Towne)
Poltergeist (US, Tobe Hooper)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (US, Nicholas Mayer)
Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (US, Robert Altman)
The Border (US, Tony Richardson)
Brimstone and Treacle (UK, Richard Loncraine)
Alsino and the Condor (Nicaragua, Miguel Littin)
Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (US, Carl Reiner)
The Draughtsman’s Contract (UK, Peter Greenaway)
The Secret of NIHM (US, Don Bluth)
My Favorite Year (US, Richard Benjamin)
Fast Times at Ridgemont High (US, Amy Heckerling)
An Officer and a Gentleman (US, Taylor Hackford)
Eating Raoul (US, Paul Bartel)
Say Amen, Somebody (US, George T. Nierenberg)
Fitzcarraldo (West Germany, Werner Herzog)
Veronika Voss (West Germany, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
Just Another Missing Kid (Canada, John Zaritsky)
La Truite (France, Joseph Losey)
Moonlighting (UK, Jerzy Skolimowski)
The Atomic Cafe (US, Jayne Loader, Kevin Rafferty and Pierce Rafferty)
The State of Things (West Germany, Wim Wenders)
The Man From Snowy River (Australia, George Miller)
The Return of Martin Guerre (France, Daniel Vigne)
Baby, It's You (US, John Sayles)
The Entity (US, Sidney J. Furie)
Q (US, Larry Cohen)
Barbarosa (US, Fred Schepisi)
First Blood (US, Ted Kotcheff)
One From The Heart (US, Francis Ford Coppola)
White Dog (US, Samuel Fuller)
Evil Under the Sun (UK, Guy Hamilton)
Cat People (US, Paul Schrader)
Tron (US, Steve Lisberger)
Timerider (US, William Dear)
La Traviata (Italy, Franco Zeffirelli)
Yol (Turkey/Switzerland, Serif Gören, Yilmaz Güney)
A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (US, Woody Allen)
Basket Case (US, Frank Henenlotter)
Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains (US, Lou Adler)
The Dark Crystal (US, Jim Henson and Frank Oz)
Pink Floyd The Wall (UK, Alan Parker)
Liquid Sky (US, Slava Tsukerman)
Creepshow (US, George A. Romero)
Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (UK, Terry Hughes and Ian McNaughton)
Tenebrae (Italy, Dario Argento)
Querelle (West Germany, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
Café Flesh (US, Stephen Sayadian))

ACTOR: Paul Newman, THE VERDICT (2nd: Ben Kingsley, Gandhi, folowed by: Dustin Hoffman, Tootsie; John Heard, Chilly Scenes of Winter; Jack Lemmon, Missing; Henry Thomas, E.T. The Extraterrestrial; Tommy Lee Jones, The Executioner’s Song; Richard Farnsworth, The Grey Fox; Peter O’Toole, My Favorite Year)

ACTRESS: Meryl Streep, SOPHIE'S CHOICE (2nd: Diane Keaton, Shoot the Moon, followed by: Mary Beth Hurt, Chilly Scenes of Winter; Barbara Hershey, The Entity; Jessica Lange, Frances; Sissy Spacek, Missing; Wendy Hughes, Lonely Hearts; Ewa Froling, Fanny and Alexander, Julie Andrews Victor/Victoria; Debra Winger, An Officer and a Gentleman)

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Jan Malmsjo, FANNY AND ALEXANDER (2nd: Borje Ahlstedt, Fanny and Alexander, followed by: Michael Keaton, Night Shift; Rutger Hauer, Blade Runner; Jarl Kulle, Fanny and Alexander; Eddie Murphy, 48 HRS; Robert Preston, Victor/Victoria; Mickey Rourke, Diner; John Lithgow, The World According to Garp; Charles Durning, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Gunn Wallgren, FANNY AND ALEXANDER (2nd: Lindsey Crouse, The Verdict, followed by: Linda Hunt, The Year of Living Dangerously (won in 1983); Jessica Tandy, Best Friends; Glenn Close, The World According to Garp; Audra Lindley, Best Friends; Zelda Rubenstein, Poltergeist; Kim Stanley, Frances; Rosanna Arquette, The Executioner's Story; Teri Garr, Tootsie)

DIRECTOR: Ingmar Bergman, FANNY AND ALEXANDER (2nd: Ridley Scott, Blade Runner, followed by: Steven Spielberg, E.T. The Extraterrestrial; Sidney Lumet, The Verdict; Joan Micklin Silver, Chilly Scenes of Winter; Constatine Costa-Gavras, Missing; Sydney Pollack, Tootsie; John Carpenter, The Thing; Alan J. Pakula, Sophie’s Choice; Richard Attenborough, Gandhi)

NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE FILM: FANNY AND ALEXANDER (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman, won in 1983) (2nd: The Night of the Shooting Stars (Italy, Paolo Taviani and Vittorio Taviani); La Nuit de Varennes (France/Italy, Ettore Scola); Alsino and the Condor (Nicaragua, Miguel Littin); Fitzcarraldo (West Germany, Werner Herzog); Veronika Voss (West Germany, Rainer Werner Fassbinder); La Truite (France, Joseph Losey); The State of Things (West Germany, Wim Wenders); The Return of Martin Guerre (France, Daniel Vigne); Parsifal (West Germany, Hans-Jürgen Syberberg); La Traviata (Italy, Franco Zeffirelli); Yol (Turkey/Switzerland, Serif Gören, Yilmaz Güney))

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: BURDEN OF DREAMS (US, Les Blank) (2nd: Koyaanisqatsi (US, Godfrey Reggio), followed by Say Amen, Somebody (US, George T. Nierenberg); Just Another Missing Kid (Canada, John Zaritsky); The Atomic Café (US, Jayne Loder, Pierce Rafferty and Kevin Rafferty))


ANIMATED SHORT: VINCENT (US, Tim Burton) (2nd: Zhil-byl-pyos (There Once Was a Dog) (USSR, E. Nazarov), followed by: The Snowman (UK, Dianne Jackson and Jimmy T. Murakami); Dimensions of Dialogue (Czechoslovakia, Jan Svankmajer); The Great Cognito (US, Will Vinton))

LIVE ACTION SHORT: THE DISCIPLINE OF D.E. (US, Gus Van Sant) (2nd: Ballet Robotique (US, Bob Rogers), followed by: A Shocking Accident (US, James Scott); The Haircut (US, Tamar Simon Hoffs); All Summer in a Day (US, Ed Kaplan); The Children’s Story (US, James Clavell))

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Ingmar Bergman, FANNY AND ALEXANDER (2nd: Barry Levinson, Diner, followed by: Larry Gelbart, Murray Schisgal, and Don McGuire, Tootsie; Bo Goldman, Shoot the Moon; Melissa Mathison, E.T. The Extraterrestrial; John Briley, Gandhi; Barry Levinson and Valerie Curtin, Best Friends)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Joan Micklin Silver, CHILLY SCENES OF WINTER (2nd: Alan J. Pakula, Sophie's Choice, followed by: Costa-Gavras and Donald Stewart, Missing; Norman Mailer, The Executioner’s Song; David Mamet, The Verdict; Hampton Fancher and David Webb Peoples, Blade Runner; Cameron Crowe, Fast Times at Ridgemont High)

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Sven Nykvist, FANNY AND ALEXANDER (won in 1983) (2nd: Jordan Cronenweth, Blade Runner, followed by: Nestor Alamendros, Sophie’s Choice; Andrezj Bartkowiak, The Verdict; Allen Daviau, E.T. The Extraterrestrial; Billy Williams, Gandhi)

ART DIRECTION: FANNY AND ALEXANDER (won in 1983), Blade Runner, Sophie’s Choice, Cannery Row, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, One From The Heart

COSTUME DESIGN: FANNY AND ALEXANDER (won in 1983), Sophie’s Choice, Evil Under the Sun, Gandhi, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, La Traviata

FILM EDITING: E.T. THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL, Blade Runner, Chilly Scenes of Winter, The Thing, Gandhi, Sophie’s Choice

SOUND: TRON, Blade Runner, E.T. The Extraterrestrial, Gandhi, The Thing, Pink Floyd The Wall

SOUND EFFECTS: TRON, Blade Runner, The Thing 

ORIGINAL SCORE: John Williams, E.T. THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL (2nd: Philip Glass, Koyaanisqatsi,, followed by: John Barry, Frances; Vangelis, Blade Runner; Marvin Hamlisch, Sophie’s Choice; Ken Lauber, Chilly Scenes of Winter)

ADAPTATION SCORE/SCORING OF A MUSICAL: Henry Mancini and Leslie Bricusse, VICTOR/ VICTORIA (2nd: Tom Waits, One From the Heart, followed by: James Levine, La Traviata)

ORIGINAL SONG: “How Do You Keep The Music Playing?” from BEST FRIENDS (Music by Michel Legrand, lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman) (2nd: “Putting Out Fire” from Cat People (Music by Giorgio Moroder, lyrics by David Bowie), followed by: “Up Where We Belong” from An Officer and a Gentleman (Music by Jack Nitzsche and Buffy Sainte-Marie, lyrics by Will Jennings); “Somebody’s Baby” from Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Music and lyrics by Jackson Browne); “Love Will Turn You Around” from Six Pack (Music and lyrics by Even Stevens, David Malloy, Kenny Rogers and Thom Schuyler); “It Might Be You” from Tootsie (Music by Dave Grusin, lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman); "I Burn for You" from Brimstone and Treacle (Music and lyrics by Sting); “That’s What Friends Are For” from Night Shift (Music by Burt Bacharach, lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager); “(The Boys are) Back in Town” from 48 HRS (Music and lyrics by Brian O’Neal))


MAKEUP: THE THING, Gandhi, Blade Runner, Fanny and Alexander, Tootsie

Monday, March 14, 2016

1981--The Year in Review

Another great year. Again, the top 30 films listed here are absolutely essential viewing (and proof that the 1970s are still going on, really). My top choice, Warren Beatty's Reds, has been a favorite of mine since its release, so I cannot abandon its sweeping romanticism and its epic peer at world history (plus its remarkable blending of the documentary and narrative styles of filmmaking; I love, too, how fiercely Beatty fought to get this difficult, extremely political yet massively tender movie made--and by a major capitalistic film outfit!). But Wolfgang Petersen's Das Boot (which wouldn't hit US shores until 1983) comes REAL close to besting it with its crushing suspense and atmosphere, and its equally challenging worldview (which makes us actually root for the Nazis!). Then, Lumet’s Prince of the City, with its 200 speaking parts and its own oppressive tension, also hits big (it was a tight race between Treat Williams' lead and John Heard's snarling, eye-patched performance in Cutter's Way, but I had to go for the latter; still, I could not ignore Prince of the City's sweeping screenplay). World cinema was re-awakened with movies like Pixote, Coup de Torchon, Mephisto, Diva, Christiane F, Man of Iron, Beau Père, Montenegro and two from the extremely prolific Rainer Werner Fassbinder Lili Marleen and Lola. It's a landmark year for the burgeoning genres of fantasy, sci-fi and horror, with Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Road Warrior, An American Werewolf in London, Excalibur, Time Bandits, The Evil Dead, Escape from New York, Dragonslayer, Quest for Fire, Possession, Scanners, The Howling, Shock Treatment, Caveman, Strange Behavior, Outland, Looker, For Your Eyes Only, Clash of the Titans, Dead and Buried, Heavy Metal, and The Beyond (geez, this seems like Year Zero for the present obsession with these genres). Comedy, too, reaches deep importance with Modern Romance, Gregory’s Girl, Arthur, They All Laughed, S.O.B., Continental Divide, The Four Seasons, Polyester, Stripes, Neighbors, and, yes, even Mommie Dearest. But then there are so many dramatic films I love: Blow Out (my favorite De Palma), Pixote, Gallipoli, Ragtime, Smash Palace, Southern Comfort, Thief, Body Heat, Sharky's Machine, Raggedy Man, Chariots of Fire (the surprise winner of the Best Picture award, via the Academy), Whose Life Is It, Anyway?, Ticket to Heaven, and Ms. 45. I have to laud the best musical of the year, a highly unique vision from director and former choreographer Herbert Ross (and writer Dennis Potter) called Pennies From Heaven--one of the most daring movies of the decade. And, finally, and unbelievably (since it's an art that has been so important from the beginning of cinema, as I have detailed in past years), it's the first year the Academy gave an Oscar to makeup artists, and of course Rick Baker had to win the award for the primo of his many masterpiece efforts. Ahh, it's insane how much I adore the pictures from 1981. It seems like a really unique period for movie history--one that's still ringing strongly to the present. 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: REDS (US, Warren Beatty)
(2nd: Das Boot (West Germany, Wolfgang Petersen)
followed by: Prince of the City (US, Sidney Lumet)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (US, Steven Spielberg)
Pennies from Heaven (US, Herbert Ross)
Cutter’s Way (US, Ivan Passer)
Modern Romance (US, Albert Brooks)
Gregory’s Girl (UK, Bill Forsyth)
Pixote (Brazil, Hector Babenco)
Gallipoli (Australia, Peter Weir)
My Dinner With André (US, Louis Malle)
Vernon, Florida (US, Erroll Morris)
Thief (US, Michael Mann)
The Road Warrior (Australia, George Miller)
An American Werewolf in London (US/UK, John Landis)
Excalibur (UK, John Boorman)
Smash Palace (New Zealand, Roger Donaldson)
Arthur (US, Steve Gordon)
Southern Comfort (US, Walter Hill)
Blow Out (US, Brian de Palma)
Coup de Torchon (France, Bertrand Tavernier)
Ragtime (US, Milos Forman)
Mephisto (Hungary, Istvan Szabo)
Time Bandits (UK, Terry Gilliam)
The Evil Dead (US, Sam Raimi)
Body Heat (US, Lawrence Kasdan)
Escape from New York (US, John Carpenter)
The Decline of Western Civilization (US, Penelope Spheeris)
Sharky's Machine (US, Burt Reynolds)
They All Laughed (US, Peter Bogdanovich)
Raggedy Man (US, Jack Fisk)
Chariots of Fire (UK, Hugh Hudson)
S.O.B. (US, Blake Edwards)
Christiane F (West Germany, Uli Edel)
Diva (France, Jean-Jacques Beineix)
On Golden Pond (US, Mark Rydell)
Dragonslayer (US, Matthew Robbins)
Man of Iron (Poland, Andrzej Wajda)
Whose Life Is It, Anyway? (US/Canada, John Badham)
The Four Seasons (US, Alan Alda)
Ticket to Heaven (Canada, Ralph L. Thomas)
American Pop (US, Ralph Bakshi)
Continental Divide (US, Michael Apted);
Ms. 45 (US, Abel Ferrara)
The Chosen (US, Jeremy Kagan)
Brooklyn Bridge (US, Ken Burns)
Quest for Fire (France/Canada/US, Jean-Jacques Annaud)
The Day After Trinity (US, Jon Else)
All Night Long (US, Jean-Claude Tramont)
Soldier Girls (US, Nick Broomfield and Joan Churchill)
Nighthawks (US, Bruce Malmuth)
Eye of the Needle (UK, Richard Marquand)
The Postman Always Rings Twice (US, Bob Rafelson)
Polyester (US, John Waters)
Lili Marleen (West Germany, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
Possession (France/.West Germany, Andzedj Zulawski)
Scanners (Canada, David Cronenberg)
Stripes (US/Canada, Ivan Reitman)
Neighbors (US, John G. Avildsen)
Beau Père (France, Bertrand Blier)
The Howling (US, Joe Dante)
The French Lieutenant’s Woman (UK, Karel Reisz)
True Confessions (US, Ulu Grosbard)
Absence of Malice (US, Sydney Pollack)
Montenegro (Sweden/UK, Dusan Makavejev)
Shock Treatment (UK, Jim Sharman)
First Monday in October (US, Ronald Neame)
Taps (US, Harold Becker)
Lola (West Germany, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
The Loveless (US, Kathryn Bigelow)
Caveman (US, Carl Gottlieb)
Circle of Two (Canada, Jules Dassin)
Mommie Dearest (US, Frank Perry)
The Fox and the Hound (US, Ted Berman and Richard Rich)
Strange Behavior (US, Michael Laughlin)
Road Games (Australia, Richard Franklin)
Outland (US, Peter Hyams)
Looker (US, Michael Crichton)
For Your Eyes Only (UK, John Glen)
Clash of the Titans (US/UK, Desmond Davis)
Dead and Buried (US, Gary Sherman)
Heavy Metal (Canada, Gerald Potterton)
History of the World, Part I (US, Mel Brooks)
Wolfen (US, Michael Wasleigh)
Porky's (Canada, Bob Clark)
Roar (US, Noel Marshall)
The Beyond (Italy, Lucio Fulci)
Evilspeak (US, Eric Weston))

ACTOR: John Heard, CUTTER'S WAY (2nd: Treat Williams, Prince of the City, followed by: Dudley Moore, Arthur; Albert Brooks, Modern Romance; Warren Beatty, Reds; Henry Fonda, On Golden Pond; Bruno Lawrence, Smash Palace; Nick Mancuso, Ticket to Heaven)

ACTRESS: Diane Keaton, REDS (2nd: Sissy Spacek, Raggedy Man, followed by: Kathleen Turner, Body Heat; Katherine Hepburn, On Golden Pond; Isabelle Huppert, Coup De Torchon; Meryl Streep, The French Lieutenant’s Woman; Kate Nelligan, Eye of the Needle)

SUPPORTING ACTOR: John Gielgud, ARTHUR (2nd: Christopher Walken, Pennies from Heaven, followed by: Jack Nicholson, Reds; Griffin Dunne, An American Werewolf in London; Howard E. Rollins Jr., Ragtime; Nicol Williamson, Excalibur; Robert Preston, S.O.B.; Eric Roberts, Raggedy Man) 

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Maureen Stapleton, REDS (2nd: Lisa Eichorn, Cutter’s Way, followed by: Jessica Harper, Pennies from Heaven; Elizabeth McGovern, Ragtime; Melinda Dillon, Absence of Malice; Kathryn Harrold, Modern Romance; Jane Fonda, On Golden Pond; Cathy Moriarty, Neighbors) 

DIRECTOR: Warren Beatty, REDS (2nd: Sidney Lumet, Prince of the City, followed by: Wolfgang Petersen, Das Boot; Steven Spielberg, Raiders of the Lost Ark; Albert Brooks, Modern Romance; Brian De Palma, Blow Out; Hector Babenco, Pixote; Bill Forsyth, Gregory's Girl)

NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE FILM: DAS BOOT (West Germany, Wolfgang Petersen) (2nd: Pixote (Brazil, Hector Babenco), followed by: Coup de Torchon (France, Bertrand Tavernier); Mephisto (Hungary, Istvan Szabo); Christiane F (West Germany, Uli Edel); Diva (France, Jean-Jacques Beineix); Man of Iron (Poland, Andrzej Wajda); Lili Marleen (West Germany, Rainer Werner Fassbinder); Beau Père (France, Bertrand Blier); Montenegro (Sweden/UK, Dusan Makavejev); Lola (West Germany, Rainer Werner Fassbinder))

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: VERNON, FLORIDA (US, Errol Morris) (2nd: The Decline of the Western Civilization (US, Penelope Spheeris), followed by: Brooklyn Bridge (US, Ken Burns); The Day After Trinity (US, Jon Else); Soldier Girls (UK/US, Nick Broomfield and Joan Churchill))

ANIMATED FEATURE: AMERICAN POP (US, Ralph Bakshi) (2nd: The Fox and the Hound (US, Ted Berman and Richard Rich), followed by: Heavy Metal (Canada, Gerald Potterton))

LIVE ACTION SHORT: TANGO (Poland, Zbigniew Rybczynski) (2nd: L'Avant Dernier (France, Luc Besson), followed by: The Bunker of the Last Gunshots (France, Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet); Pikoo's Diary (India, Satyajit Ray))

ANIMATED SHORT: CRAC (Canada, Frederic Back) (2nd: The Tender Tale of Cinderella Penguin (Canada, Janet Perlman). followed by: Projekt (Czechoslovakia, Jiri Barta); The Garden of Earthly Delights (US, Stan Brakhage); E (USSR, Bretislav Pojar))

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Albert Brooks and Monica Johnson, MODERN ROMANCE (2nd: Steve Gordon, Arthur, followed by Lawrence Kasdan, Body Heat; Warren Beatty and Trevor Griffiths, Reds; Bill Forsyth, Gregory’s Girl; Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn, My Dinner with Andre)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Jay Presson Allen and Sidney Lumet, PRINCE OF THE CITY (2nd: Jeffery Alan Fiskin, Cutter’s Way, followed by: Wolfgang Petersen, Das Boot; Dennis Potter, Pennies From Heaven; Michael Mann, Thief; Michael Weller, Ragtime)

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Vittorio Storaro, REDS (2nd: Alex Thomson, Excalibur, followed by: Jost Vacano, Das Boot; Vilmos Zsigmond, Blow Out; Gordon Willis, Pennies From Heaven; Douglas Slocombe, Raiders of the Lost Ark)

ART DIRECTION: RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, Das Boot, Pennies from Heaven, Reds, Excalibur, Ragtime

COSTUME DESIGN: EXCALIBUR, Pennies from Heaven, Reds, Ragtime, Chariots of Fire, The Road Warrior

EDITING: RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, Das Boot, Reds, Prince of the City, The Road Warrior, An American Werewolf in London 

SOUND: DAS BOOT, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Reds, The Road Warrior, Dragonslayer, Blow Out

ORIGINAL SCORE: John Williams, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (2nd: Vangelis, Chariots of Fire, followed by: Ry Cooder, Southern Comfort; Randy Newman, Ragtime; Dave Grusin, On Golden Pond; Colin Tully, Gregory's Girl)

ADAPTATION SCORE/SCORING OF A MUSICAL: Ralph Burns and Billy May, PENNIES FROM HEAVEN (2nd: Trevor Jones, Excalibur, followed by: Richard O'Brien, Shock Treatment)

ORIGINAL SONG: “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” from ARTHUR (Music and lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager, Burt Bacharach, Christopher Cross and Peter Allen) (2nd: “In My Own Way” from Shock Treatment (Music and lyrics by Richard O‘Brien) followed by: “One More Hour” from Ragtime (Music and lyrics by Randy Newman); “For Your Eyes Only” from For Your Eyes Only (Music by Bill Conti, lyrics by Mick Leeson); “Dream Away” from Time Bandits (Music and lyrics by George Harrison); “Never Say Goodbye” from Continental Divide (Music by Michael Small, lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager); "Endless Love" from Endless Love (Music and lyrics by Lionel Richie); "Looker" from Looker (Music and lyrics by Barry DeVorzon and Mike Tower))

SPECIAL EFFECTS: RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, Dragonslayer, Clash of the Titans

MAKEUP: AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, Quest for Fire (won in 1982), Heartbeeps, The Evil Dead, Mommie Dearest

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

1980--The Year in Review

Here we go into another decade, but, really, it’s still the 1970s. The year's best film, Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull is utterly a product of the previous decade, and yet it remains the best film of the 1980s. Unlike many movie lovers, though, its obvious superiority ironically makes me feel sorry for Robert Redford's masterful directorial debut, which ultimately won the Academy's Best Picture prize; Ordinary People has been drubbed upon for years since by movie fans angry over the denial of Scorsese's film, but I maintain Redford's film is a justifiable Best Picture choice--an absolutely devastating and intimate family drama, the sort of which I wish there were more of nowadays. Yet, really--I mean, REALLY--it should have hit an insurmountable wall with Scorsese's picture--but this supremely difficult and even unlikable movie was a box office flop, and was clearly a decade ahead of its time (the director was not yet the massive cultural figure he would become, and frankly, neither was his leading man, and certainly the two electrifying film newcomers Scorsese introduces us to were unknown quantities, audience-wise). Even so, Raging Bull is clearly the best movie of the year, with its superb cast, unrelenting brutality, and unbelievably on-point crew working at their uppermost powers (Thelma Schoonmaker's quicksilver editing may be the best of all time). In fact, the only other movie to come close to Raging Bull in craft quality is another black-and-white film, David Lynch's The Elephant Man (this is the first year in a couple of decades to feature two B&W movies in the running for Best Picture). And we’re not even beginning to talk about the Kubrick movie with which so many film fans are justifiably obsessed! And we're leaving out fantastic works like Kagemusha, Coal Miner's Daughter (whose lead actress obviously deserved her Oscar playing country star Loretta Lynn), the unjustly maligned Heaven's Gate, The Empire Strikes Back, Altered States, The Long Riders, and The Stunt Man. Plus such fine comedy this year, from Airplane!, Used Cars, The Blues Brothers, Fatso, Seems Like Old Times, Melvin and Howard, Bronco Billy, Caddyshack, The Gods Must Be Crazy, and Nine to Five. By the way, the Original Song category this year was insanely jam-packed with great tunes from movies as diverse as One Trick Pony, Fame, Urban Cowboy, Foxes, Xanadu, Nine to Five, American Gigalo, Popeye, Honeysuckle Rose, and The Jazz Singer! Strangely, though, the documentary output was non-existent, to the point where I had to omit the category this year. Even so, man, I tell ya, 1980 was a superb time for movies! 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: RAGING BULL (US, Martin Scorsese)
(2nd: Ordinary People (US, Robert Redford)
followed by: The Shining (US/UK, Stanley Kubrick)
Kagemusha (Japan, Akira Kurosawa)
The Elephant Man (UK/US, David Lynch)
The Long Riders (US, Walter Hill)
Coal Miner’s Daughter (US, Michael Apted)
The Empire Strikes Back (US, Irwin Kershner)
One Trick Pony (US, Robert M. Young)
The Stunt Man (US, Richard Rush)
Heaven’s Gate (US, Michael Cimino)
Altered States (US, Ken Russell)
Fame (US, Alan Parker)
Airplane! (US, Jerry Zucker, David Zucker, and Jim Abrahams)
Used Cars (US, Robert Zemeckis)
Breaker Morant (Australia, Bruce Beresford)
The Long Good Friday (UK, John McKenzie)
Inside Moves (US, Richard Donner)
The Changeling (Canada, Peter Medak)
Carny (US, Robert Kaylor)
The Blues Brothers (US, John Landis)
Fatso (US, Anne Bancroft)
My Bodyguard (US, Tony Bill)
The Big Red One (US, Samuel Fuller)
Night of the Juggler (US, Robert Butler)
Berlin Alexanderplatz (West Germany, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
Stardust Memories (US, Woody Allen)
Atlantic City (US/Canada, Louis Malle)
Mon Oncle d’Amérique (France, Alain Resnais)
Out of the Blue (US, Dennis Hopper)
The Great Santini (US, Lewis John Carlino)
Resurrection (US, Daniel Petrie)
Return of the Secaucus Seven (US, John Sayles)
Permanent Vacation (US, Jim Jaramusch)
Playing For Time (US, Daniel Mann)
Bad Timing (A Sexual Obsession) (US/UK, Nicolas Roeg)
Melvin and Howard (US, Jonathan Demme)
Bronco Billy (US, Clint Eastwood)
Dressed to Kill (US, Brian de Palma)
Urban Cowboy (US, James Bridges)
Seems Like Old Times (US, Jay Sandrich)
Nine to Five (US, Colin Higgins)
Brubaker (US, Stuart Rosenberg)
Foxes (US, Adrian Lyne)
The Ninth Configuration (US, William Peter Blatty)
The Fog (US, John Carpenter)
Rude Boy (UK, Jack Hazan and David Mingay)
Spetters (Netherlands, Paul Verhoeven)
The Last Metro (France, François Truffaut)
McVicar (UK, Tom Clegg)
The Idolmaker (US, Taylor Hackford)
The Dogs of War (US, John Irvin)
Private Benjamin (US, Howard Zieff)
Popeye (US, Robert Altman)
Gloria (US, John Cassavetes)
The Gods Must Be Crazy (South Africa, Jamie Urys)
A Small Circle of Friends (US, Rob Cohen)
Somewhere in Time (US, Jeannot Szwarc)
Foolin' Around (US, Richard T. Heffron)
American Gigolo (US, Paul Schrader)
Breaking Glass (UK, Brian Gibson)
The Blue Lagoon (US, Randal Kleiser)
Caddyshack (US, Harold Ramis)
The Apple (US/West Germany, Menahem Golan)
Cruising (US, William Friedkin)
Times Square (US, Allan Moyle)
Forbidden Zone (US, Richard Elfman)
Taxi Zum Klo (West Germany, Frank Ripploh)
Xanadu (US, Robert Greenwald)
Flash Gordon (US/UK, Mike Hodges)
The Jazz Singer (US, Richard Fleischer)
Friday the 13th (US, Sean Cunningham)
Insatiable (US, Stu Segall))

ACTOR: Robert De Niro, RAGING BULL (2nd: Timothy Hutton, Ordinary People (won as Supporting Actor), followed by: Jack Nicholson, The Shining; Tommy Lee Jones, Coal Miner’s Daughter; Peter O’Toole, The Stunt Man; John Hurt, The Elephant Man; Bob Hoskins, The Long Good Friday; Robert Duvall, The Great Santini; John Savage, Inside Moves)

ACTRESS: Sissy Spacek, COAL MINER‘S DAUGHTER (2nd: Ellen Burstyn, Resurrection, followed by: Mary Tyler Moore, Ordinary People; Linda Manz, Out of the Blue; Vanessa Redgrave, Playing for Time; Theresa Russell, Bad Timing (A Sexual Obsession); Debra Winger, Urban Cowboy; Shelley Duvall, The Shining)

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Donald Sutherland, ORDINARY PEOPLE (2nd: Joe Pesci, Raging Bull , followed by: Levon Helm, Coal Miner’s Daughter; Scatman Crothers, The Shining; Jack Thompson, Breaker Morant; Matt Dillon, My Bodyguard; Judd Hirsch, Ordinary People; Cliff Gorman, Night of the Juggler)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Cathy Moriarty, RAGING BULL (2nd: Eva Le Gallienne, Resurrection, followed by: Pamela Reed, The Long Riders; Charlotte Rampling, Stardust Memories; Mary Steenburgen, Melvin and Howard; Dolly Parton, Nine to Five; Beverly D’Angelo, Coal Miner’s Daughter; Diana Scarwid, Inside Moves)

DIRECTOR: Martin Scorsese, RAGING BULL (2nd: Stanley Kubrick, The Shining, followed by: Robert Redford, Ordinary People; Akira Kurosawa, Kagemusha; David Lynch, The Elephant Man; Richard Rush, The Stunt Man; Walter Hill, The Long Riders; Alan Parker, Fame)

NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE FILM: KAGEMUSHA (Japan, Akira Kurosawa) (2nd: Berlin Alexanderplatz (West Germany, Rainer Werner Fassbinder), followed by: Mon Oncle d’Amérique (France, Alain Resnais); Spetters (Netherlands, Paul Verhoeven); The Last Metro (France, François Truffaut))  

LIVE ACTION SHORT: A JURY OF HER PEERS (US, Sally Heckel) (2nd: Act of God (UK, Peter Greenaway), followed by: Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (US, Les Blank); Making The Shining (US, Vivian Kubrick); Closet Cases of the Nerd Kind (US, Rick Harper and Bob Rogers))

ANIMATED SHORT: THE FLY (Poland, Farenc Rofulsz) (2nd: The History of the World in Three Minutes Flat (Canada, Michael Mills), followed by: Le Menage (France, Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet)

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, USED CARS (2nd: Bill Bryden, Steven Smith, Stacy Keach and James Keach, The Long Riders, followed by: Bo Goldman, Melvin and Howard; Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker, Airplane!; John Sayles, Return of the Secaucus Seven)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin, RAGING BULL (2nd: Alvin Sargent, Ordinary People, followed by: Christopher DeVore, Eric Bergen and David Lynch, The Elephant Man; Jonathan Hardy, David Stevens and Bruce Beresford, Breaker Morant; Valerie Curtin and Barry Levinson, Inside Moves)

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Freddie Francis, THE ELEPHANT MAN (2nd: Vilmos Zsigmond, Heaven‘s Gate, followed by: Michael Chapman, Raging Bull; Takao Saito and Shoji Ueda, Kagamusha; John Alcott, The Shining)

ART DIRECTION: THE SHINING, Heaven’s Gate, The Empire Strikes Back, The Elephant Man, Kagemusha 

COSTUME DESIGN: THE ELEPHANT MAN, Kagemusha, Somewhere in Time, Heaven's Gate, Popeye

EDITING: RAGING BULL, Fame, The Long Riders, Coal Miner's Daughter, The Blues Brothers

SOUND: RAGING BULL, The Empire Strikes Back, Fame, The Elephant Man, Altered States 

ORIGINAL SCORE: Ry Cooder, THE LONG RIDERS (2nd: John Williams, The Empire Strikes Back, followed by: John Morris, The Elephant Man; John Corigliano, Altered States; John Barry, Inside Moves)

SCORING FOR A MUSICAL/ADAPTATION SCORING: Paul Simon, ONE TRICK PONY (2nd: Michael Gore, Fame, followed by: Harry Nilsson, Popeye)

ORIGINAL SONG: “Out Here On My Own” from FAME (Music by Michael Gore, lyrics by Leslie Gore) (2nd: “How The Heart Approaches What It Yearns” from One Trick Pony (Music and lyrics by Paul Simon), followed by: "Magic" from Xanadu (Music and lyrics by John Farrar); “On The Road Again” from Honeysuckle Rose (Music and lyrics by Willie Nelson); “On The Radio” from Foxes (Music by Giorgio Moroder, lyrics by Donna Summer); “Late in the Evening“ from One Trick Pony (Music and lyrics by Paul Simon); "Fame" from Fame (Music by Michael Gore, lyrics by Dean Pitchford); "Call Me" from American Gigolo (Music by Giorgio Moroder, lyrics by Debbie Harry); “Is It Okay If I Call You Mine?” from Fame (Music and lyrics by Paul McCrane); "Could I Have This Dance" from Urban Cowboy (Music and lyrics by Wayland Holyfield and Bob House); "America" from The Jazz Singer (Music and lyrics by Neil Diamond); "I Sing The Body Electric" from Fame (Music by Michael Gore, lyrics by Dean Pitchford); "Look What You've Done to Me" from Urban Cowboy (Music and lyrics by Boz Scaggs and David Foster); “Looking for Love” from Urban Cowboy (Music and lyrics by Wanda Mallette, Patti Ryan and Bob Morrison); “Nine to Five” from Nine to Five (Music and lyrics by Dolly Parton); "I'm Alright" from Caddyshack (Music and lyrics by Kenny Loggins); "Love on the Rocks" from The Jazz Singer (Music and lyrics by Neil Diamond); "He Needs Me" from Popeye (Music and lyrics by Harry Nilsson))


MAKEUP: THE ELEPHANT MAN, Altered States, Raging Bull