Tuesday, April 26, 2016

1988--The Year in Review

Krzysztof Kieslowski's ten-film series Dekalog is often cited as among the finest film achievements of 1988, but I have to confess, I still haven't seen all of it, so I conspicuously left it out of the running (though I have to say, the three installments I have seen are impeccable). In its stead, I've awarded Best Picture to another Eastern European-flavored tale of morality, Philip Kaufman's heartrending adaptation of Milan Kundera's classic novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being, with Juliette Binoche and Lena Olin each excelling as two radically different muses to Daniel Day Lewis' philandering brain surgeon, all against the backdrop of the 1968 Prague Spring revolution in Czechlosovakia (the only way the movie could have been any better is if one of the many great Czech filmmakers who actually lived through the event had directed it). Still, with Sven Nykvist's superb photography, Walter Murch's inventive editing, and Kaufman's terrific script (penned with the legendary Jean-Claude Carriere), it nonetheless hits the requisite heights. But for Best Director, I had to go another way: given how effectively its low budget was used, and how highly wrought the needless controversy was surrounding The Last Temptation of Christ (especially given its ultimate spiritual power), I just had to find for Martin Scorsese once again (his third win in the category thus far). It was a great year for world cinema--maybe the best of the 1980s--with Giuseppe Tornatore's Cinema Paradiso walking away with the prize (and it was a superb period for Japanese animation with three of the genre's finest offerings ever). I was going to go with Philippe Noiret for Supporting Actor for his moving work in Cinema Paradiso, but at the last minute, I came to the realization that Alan Rickman's slithery villain in Die Hard was the supporting performance that really captured the audience's fascination. As for the Academy's choices, they largely fell on the side of Barry Levinson's Rain Man, an entertaining movie to which I rarely return (I still think Tom Cruise is better in the film than Dustin Hoffman, even if Hoffman won the Best Actor Oscar that year). Hoffman doesn't even come into play in my final Best Actor race, which is commanded by Jeremy Irons' creepily devastating twin-lead performance in David Cronenberg's Dead Ringers. With the impressive documentary category, Errol Morris easily triumphs with his true breakthrough effort The Thin Blue Line (which ended up freeing its downtrodden subject, Randall Adams, from prison). In the short film category, the UK's emerging auteur Mike Leigh wins for one of his excellent short films made for the BBC, while Canadian animator Richard Condie comes out on top with his adaptation of a traditional folk tune about a pesky cat. All in all, a strange but rewarding year of 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.
(2nd: The Last Temptation of Christ (US, Martin Scorsese)
followed by: Cinema Paradiso (Italy, Giuseppe Tornatore)
The Thin Blue Line (US, Errol Morris)
Distant Voices, Still Lives (UK, Terence Davies)
Tucker: The Man and His Dream (US, Francis Ford Coppola)
Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie (France, Marcel Ophuls)
The Vanishing (Netherlands/France, George Sluizer)
Die Hard (US, John McTiernan)
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (US/UK, Terry Gilliam)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (US, Robert Zemeckis)
Dead Ringers (Canada, David Cronenberg)
High Hopes (UK, Mike Leigh)
Hairspray (US, John Waters)
Dangerous Liaisons (US, Stephen Frears)
They Live (US, John Carpenter)
A Fish Called Wanda (UK, Charles Crichton)
Things Change (US, David Mamet)
Clean and Sober (US, Glenn Gordon Caron)
Rain Man (US, Barry Levinson)
Let’s Get Lost (US, Bruce Weber)
Salaam Bombay! (India, Mira Nair)
Drowning by Numbers (UK, Peter Greenaway)
Another Woman (US, Woody Allen)
A World Apart (UK, Chris Menges)
Story of Women (France, Claude Chabrol)
Grave of the Fireflies (Japan, Isao Takahata)
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Spain, Pedro Almodóvar)
Bird (US, Clint Eastwood)
Alice (UK/Czechoslovakia, Jan Svankmajer)
Akira (Japan, Katsuhiro Otomo)
Bull Durham (US, Ron Shelton)
Beetlejuice (US, Tim Burton)
Paperhouse (UK, Bernard Rose)
My Neighbour Totoro (Japan, Hayao Miyazaki)
Little Dorrit (UK, Christine Edzard)
Landscape in the Mist (Greece, Theo Angelopoulos)
Frantic (US, Roman Polanski)
The Navigator (New Zealand, Vincent Ward)
The Beast (US, Kevin Reynolds)
Miracle Mile (US, Steve De Jarrnatt)
Running on Empty (US, Sidney Lumet)
In the Line of Duty: The FBI Murders (US, Dick Lowry)
Candy Mountain (US, Robert Frank and Rudy Wurlitzer)
The Accidental Tourist (US, Lawrence Kasdan)
The Accused (US, Jonathan Kaplan)
Crossing Delancey (US, Joan Micklin Silver)
The Bear (France/US, Jean-Jacques Annaud)
Midnight Run (US, Martin Brest)
School Daze (US, Spike Lee)
Tales of the Gimli Hospital (Canada, Guy Maddin)
Camille Claudel (France, Bruno Nuytten)
Leningrad Cowboys Go America (Finland, Aki Kaurismaki)
Dominick and Eugene (US, Robert M. Young)
Eight Men Out (US, John Sayles)
Vampire’s Kiss (US, Robert Bierman)
Talk Radio (US, Oliver Stone)
Mystic Pizza (US, Donald Petrie)
Working Girl (US, Mike Nichols)
Stand and Deliver (US, Ramon Menendez)
The Chocolate War (US, Keith Gordon)
Little Vera (USSR, Vasili Pichul)
Lady in White (US, Frank LaLoggia)
Colors (US, Dennis Hopper)
The Good Mother (US, Leonard Nimoy)
The Decline of Western Civilization, Part II (US, Penelope Spheeris)
The Time of the Gypsies (Yugoslavia, Emir Kusturica)
Coming to America (US, John Landis)
Married to the Mob (US, Jonathan Demme)
Mississippi Burning (US, Alan Parker)
Big (US, Penny Marshall)
Biloxi Blues (US, Mike Nichols)
A Cry in the Dark (Australia, Fred Schepisi)
The Milagro Beanfield War (US, Robert Redford)
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad (US, David Zucker)
The Moderns (US, Alan Rudolph)
The Passion of Beatrice (France, Bertrand Tavernier))

ACTOR: Jeremy Irons, DEAD RINGERS (2nd: Michael Keaton, Clean and Sober, followed by: Forrest Whitaker, Bird; Tom Hanks, Big; Tom Hulce, Dominick and Eugene; Don Ameche, Things Change; Bob Hoskins, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?; Edward James Olmos, Stand and Deliver)

ACTRESS: Juliette Binoche, THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING (2nd: Glenn Close, Dangerous Liasons, followed by: Jodie Foster, The Accused; Carmen Maura, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown; Isabelle Adjani, Camille Claudel; Gena Rowlands, Another Woman; Ruth Sheen, High Hopes; Meryl Streep, A Cry in the Dark)

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Alan Rickman, DIE HARD (2nd: Philippe Noiret, Cinema Paradiso, followed by: Martin Landau, Tucker: The Man and His Dream; Michael Keaton, Beetlejuice; River Phoenix, Running on Empty; Kevin Kline, A Fish Called Wanda; Charles Grodin, Midnight Run; Dean Stockwell, Married to the Mob)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Lena Olin, THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING (2nd: Johanna Ter Steege, The Vanishing, followed by: Diane Venora, Bird; Edna Dore, High Hopes; Kathy Baker, Clean and Sober; Michelle Pfieffer, Dangerous Liasons; Leslie Manville, High Hopes; Geena Davis, The Accidental Tourist)

DIRECTOR: Martin Scorsese, THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST (2nd: Philip Kaufman, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, followed by: Giuseppe Tornatore, Cinema Paradiso; Errol Morris, The Thin Blue Line; Terrence Davies, Distant Voices, Still Lives; Francis Ford Coppola, Tucker: The Man and His Dream; John McTiernan, Die Hard; George Sluzier, The Vanishing)

NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE FILM: CINEMA PARADISO (Italy, Giuseppe Tornatore) (won in 1989) (2nd:  Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie (France, Marcel Ophuls), followed by: The Vanishing (Netherlands/France, George Sluizer); Salaam Bombay! (India, Mira Nair); Story of Women (France, Claude Chabrol); Grave of the Fireflies (Japan, Isao Takahata); Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Spain, Pedro Almodóvar); Alice (UK/Czechoslovakia, Jan Svankmajer); Akira (Japan, Katsuhiro Otomo); My Neighbour Totoro (Japan, Hayao Miyazaki); Landscape in the Mist (Greece, Theo Angelopoulos); Camille Claudel (France, Bruno Nuytten); Leningrad Cowboys Go America (Finland, Aki Kaurismaki); Little Vera (USSR, Vasili Pichul); The Time of the Gypsies (Yugoslavia, Emir Kusturica))

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: THE THIN BLUE LINE (US, Errol Morris) (2nd: Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie (France, Marcel Ophuls), followed by: Let’s Get Lost (US, Bruce Weber); The Decline of Western Civilization, Part II (US, Penelope Spheeris))

ANIMATED FEATURE: GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES (Japan, Isao Takahata) (2nd: Akira (Japan, Katsuhiro Otoma), followed by: My Neighbor Totoro (Japan, Hayao Miyazaki); Alice (UK/Czechosovakia, Jan Svenkmeyer))

ANIMATED SHORT: THE CAT CAME BACK (Canada, Cordell Barker) (2nd: Feelings of Mountains and Waters (China, Wei Te); Family Portrait: The Simpsons (US, Matt Groening); The Public Voice (Denmark, Lejf Marcussen); Another Kind of Love (Czechoslovakia, Jan Svankmajer))

LIVE ACTION SHORT: THE SHORT AND CURLIES (UK, Mike Leigh) (2nd: The Appointments of Dennis Jennings (US, Dean Parisot and Steven Wright, US), followed by: The Last Theft (Czechoslovakia, Jiri Barta); Gullah Tales (US, Gary Moss and George De Golian); I…Dreaming (US, Stan Brakhage))

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Giuseppe Tornatore, CINEMA PARADISO (2nd: John Cleese and Charles Crichton, A Fish Called Wanda, followed by: Mike Leigh, High Hopes; Ron Shelton, Bull Durham; Terrence Davies, Distant Voices, Still Lives)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Philip Kaufman and Jean-Claude Carriere, THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING (2nd: Christopher Hampton, Dangerous Liasons, followed by: George Sluzier and Tim Crabbe, The Vanishing; Paul Schrader, The Last Temptation of Christ; John Carpenter, They Live)

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Sven Nykvist, THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING (2nd: Vittorio Storaro; Tucker: The Man and His Dream, followed by: Giuseppe Rotunno, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen; Jan De Bont, Die Hard; Phillippe Rousselot, The Bear)

ART DIRECTION: THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN, Tucker: The Man and His Dream, Dangerous Liasons, Beetlejuice, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

COSTUME DESIGN: THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN, Dangerous Liasons, The Last Temptation of Christ, Coming to America, Beetlejuice

FILM EDITING: DIE HARD, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Last Temptation of Christ; The Thin Blue Line, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? 

SOUND: DIE HARD, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Bird, Beetlejuice, The Bear

SOUND EFFECTS: DIE HARD, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, The Bear  

ORIGINAL SCORE: Peter Gabriel, THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST (2nd: Ennio Morricone, Cinema Paradiso, followed by: Alan Silvestri, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?; Philip Glass, The Thin Blue Line; Dave Grusin, The Milagro Beanfield War)

ADAPTATION SCORE/SCORING OF A MUSICAL: Lennie Niehaus, BIRD (2nd: Bill Lee, School Daze)

ORIGINAL SONG: “Hairspray“ from HAIRSPRAY (Music and lyrics by Rachel Sweet, Willa Bassen and Anthony Battaglia) (2nd: “Let The Rivers Run” from Working Girl (Music and lyrics by Carly Simon), followed by: “Da Butt” from School Daze (Music and lyrics by Marcus Miller and Mark Stevens); “Colors” from Colors (Music and lyrics by Ice-T and Afrika Islam); “Straight and Nappy“ from School Daze (Music and lyrics by Bill Lee); "Two Hearts" from Buster (Music by Lamont Dozier, lyrics by Phil Collins))

VISUAL EFFECTS: WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT?, Die Hard, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Dead Ringers, Beetlejuice

MAKEUP: BEETLEJUICE, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Dangerous Liasons, Coming to America, They Live

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

1987--The Year in Review

My choice for Best Picture of 1987 might seem unusual in the year of John Huston's final film, John Sayles' finest film (at least to this date), James L. Brooks' prescient TV critique Broadcast News (with one of Holly Hunter's two superb 1987 lead performances), Stanley Kubrick's Vietnam takedown (with that stunning near-debut from former drill instructor R. Lee Ermey), or the WWII epics--one cozily intimate, the other impressively huge--from John Boorman and Steven Spielberg. But Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire is the movie that utterly squashed my heart with its gorgeous embrace of life in the face of its celestial absence, with lead actor Bruno Ganz and cinematographer Henri Alekan (working in both color and resplendent black-and-white while nearing his 80s) as its MVPs. I was never a huge fan of the Academy's choice, Bertolucci's The Last Emperor, a beautiful but ponderous bio-pic most notable for being the first production to shoot in China's Forbidden City, but a film that's largely forgotten these days, despite its winning a sweeping nine Oscars. I was glad that Bertolucci finally got his due but, honestly, give me the angels any day. 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: WINGS OF DESIRE (West Germany, Wim Wenders)
(2nd: Matewan (US, John Sayles)
followed by: The Dead (UK/Ireland, John Huston)
Full Metal Jacket (US, Stanley Kubrick)
Hope and Glory (UK, John Boorman)
Broadcast News (US, James L. Brooks)
Empire of the Sun (US, Steven Spielberg)
Raising Arizona (US, Joel Coen)
Radio Days (US, Woody Allen)
Someone To Love (US, Henry Jaglom)
Au Revoir, Les Enfants (France, Louis Malle)
Le Grand Chemin (France, Jean-Loup Hubert)
Evil Dead II (US, Sam Raimi)
Swimming to Cambodia (US, Jonathan Demme)
Babette’s Feast (Denmark, Gabriel Axel)
Robocop (US, Paul Verhoeven)
The Princess Bride (US, Rob Reiner)
Street Smart (US, Jerry Schatzberg)
Ironweed (US, Hector Babenco)
Pelle the Conqueror (Denmark, Bille August)
The Untouchables (US, Brian De Palma)
Planes, Trains and Automobiles (US, John Hughes)
Moonstruck (US, Norman Jewison)
Housekeeping (US, Bill Forsyth)
Tin Men (US, Barry Levinson)
Prick Up Your Ears (UK, Stephen Frears)
Maurice (UK, James Ivory)
Fatal Attraction (US, Adrian Lyne)
The Witches of Eastwick (US, George Miller)
I've Heard the Mermaids Singing (Canada, Patricia Rozema)
Sign o' the Times (US, Prince)
Near Dark (US, Kathryn Bigelow)
Bagdad Café (West Germany/US, Percy Adlon)
House of Games (US, David Mamet)
The Year My Voice Broke (Australia, John Duigan)
The Glass Menagerie (US, Paul Newman)
Wish You Were Here (UK, David Leland)
Red Sorghum (China, Zhang Yimou)
Law of Desire (Spain, Pedro Almodóvar)
The Last Emperor (UK/Italy/China, Bernardo Bertolucci)
Chuck Berry: Hail, Hail, Rock n' Roll (US, Taylor Hackford)
The Living Daylights (US, John Glen)
Dark Eyes (Italy, Nikita Mikhalkov)
Intervista (Italy, Federico Fellini)
Barfly (US, Barbet Schroeder)
A Taxing Woman (Japan, Juzo Itami)
Roxanne (US, Fred Schepisi)
Hollywood Shuffle (US, Robert Townsend)
Dear America: Letters Home From Vietnam (US, Bill Couterie)
The Bedroom Window (US, Curtis Hanson)
The Hidden (US, Jack Sholder)
The Whales of August (UK, Lindsay Anderson)
Cry Freedom (UK/US, Richard Attenborough)
Three O'Clock High (US, Phil Joanou)
Someone to Watch Over Me (US, Ridley Scott)
City on Fire (Hong Kong, Ringo Lam)
Black Widow (US, Bob Rafelson)
High Tide (Australia, Gillian Armstrong)
The Stepfather (UK, Joseph Ruben)
Athens GA: Inside Out (US, Tony Gayton)
Innerspace (US, Joe Dante)
Square Dance (US, Daniel Petrie)
Good Morning, Vietnam (US, Barry Levinson)
Wall Street (US, Oliver Stone)
Lethal Weapon (US, Richard Donner)
Some Kind of Wonderful (US, Howard Deutch)
Predator (US, John McTiernan)
Dirty Dancing (US, Emile Ardelino)
Angel Heart (US, Alan Parker)
The Running Man (US, Paul Michael Glazer)
The Lost Boys (US, Joel Schumacher)
Hellraiser (UK, Clive Barker)
Overboard (US, Garry Marshall)
Spaceballs (US, Mel Brooks)
Three Men and a Baby (US, Leonard Nimoy)
Street Trash (US, James M. Munro)
Throw Momma From the Train (US, Danny DeVito)
Ishtar (US, Elaine May))

ACTOR: Bruno Ganz, WINGS OF DESIRE (2nd: Christian Bale, Empire of the Sun, followed by: Nicolas Cage, Raising Arizona; Michael Douglas, Wall Street; Jack Nicholson, Ironweed; Spalding Gray, Swimming to Cambodia; Max Von Sydow, Pelle the Conqueror; William Hurt, Broadcast News)

ACTRESS: Holly Hunter, BROADCAST NEWS (2nd: Meryl Streep, Ironweed, followed by: Cher, Moonstruck; Christine Lahti, Housekeeping; Joanne Woodward, The Glass Menagerie; Stephane Audran, Babette's Feast; Holly Hunter, Raising Arizona; Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction)

SUPPORTING ACTOR: R. Lee Ermey, FULL METAL JACKET (2nd: Albert Brooks, Broadcast News, followed by: Vincent D’Onofrio, Full Metal Jacket; Morgan Freeman, Street Smart; John Candy, Planes, Trains and Automobiles; Sean Connery, The Untouchables; Orson Welles, Somebody to Love; Alfred Molina, Prick Up Your Ears)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Olympia Dukakis, MOONSTRUCK (2nd: Angelica Huston, The Dead, followed by: Kathy Baker, Street Smart; Norma Aleandro, Gaby – A True Story; Veronica Cartwright, The Witches of Eastwick; Anne Archer, Fatal Attraction; Mary McCormack, Matewan; Karen Allen, The Glass Menagerie)

DIRECTOR: Wim Wenders, WINGS OF DESIRE (2nd: Stanley Kubrick, Full Metal Jacket, followed by: John Huston, The Dead; John Sayles, Matewan; John Boorman, Hope and Glory; James L. Brooks, Broadcast News; Steven Spielberg, Empire of the Sun; Joel Coen, Raising Arizona)

NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE FILM: WINGS OF DESIRE (West Germany, Wim Wenders) (2nd: Au Revoir, Les Enfants (France, Louis Malle, France), followed by: Le Grand Chemin (France, Jean-Loup Hubert); Babette’s Feast (Denmark, Gabriel Axel); Red Sorghum (China, Zhang Yimou); Law of Desire (Spain, Pedro Almodóvar); Intervista (Italy, Federico Fellini); A Taxing Woman (Japan, Juzo Itami); City on Fire (Hong Kong, Ringo Lam))

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: SWIMMING TO CAMBODIA (US, Jonathan Demme) (2nd: Dear America: Letters Home From Vietnam (US, Bill Couterie), followed by: Sign o’ The Times (US, Prince); Athens GA: Inside Out (US, Tony Gayton); Chuck Berry: Hail, Hail Rock n’ Roll (US, Taylor Hackford))

ANIMATED SHORT: THE MAN WHO PLANTED TREES (Canada, Frederic Back) (2nd: Your Face (US, Bill Plympton), followed by: The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer (UK, Stephen Quay and Timothy Quay); How Wang-Fo Was Saved (France, Rene Laloux); Breakfast on the Grass (USSR, Priit Parn))

LIVE ACTION SHORT: SUPERSTAR: THE KAREN CARPENTER STORY (US, Todd Haynes) (2nd: Gap-Toothed Women (US, Les Blank, Maureen Gosling, Susan Kell and Chris Simon), followed by: Bad (US, Martin Scorsese))

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: John Sayles, MATEWAN (2nd: James L. Brooks, Broadcast News, followed by: Wim Wenders and Peter Handke, Wings of Desire; Louis Malle, Au Revoir, Les EnfantsJohn Patrick Shanley, Moonstruck)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Tony Huston, THE DEAD (2nd: Stanley Kubrick, Michael Herr and Gustav Hasford, Full Metal Jacket, followed by: William Goldman, The Princess Bride; Tom Stoppard, Empire of the Sun; William Nicholson, Ironweed)

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Henri Alekan, WINGS OF DESIRE (2nd: Haskell Wexler, Matewan, followed by: Vittorio Storaro, The Last Emperor; Allen Daviau, Empire of the Sun; Douglas Milsome, Full Metal Jacket)

ART DIRECTION: THE LAST EMPEROR, The Untouchables, Radio Days, Empire of the Sun, Full Metal Jacket 

COSTUME DESIGN: THE LAST EMPEROR, Radio Days, The Untouchables, The Dead, Matewan

FILM EDITING: ROBOCOP, Full Metal Jacket, Empire of the Sun, Broadcast News, The Dead

SOUND: ROBOCOP, Empire of the Sun, Full Metal Jacket, Broadcast News, Lethal Weapon


ORIGINAL SONG: “Calling You” from BAGDAD CAFÉ (Music and lyrics by Bob Telson) (2nd: “Someone to Love“ from Someone to Love (Music and lyrics by Diane Bulgarelli), followed by: “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” from Dirty Dancing (Music and lyrics by Frankie Previte, Donald Markowitz, and John DiNicola); "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" from Mannequin (Music and lyrics by Albert Hammond and Diane Warren); "Light of Day" from Light of Day (Music and lyrics by Bruce Springsteen); “Storybook Love” from The Princess Bride (Music and lyrics by Willy DeVille); "Shakedown" from Beverly Hills Cop 2 (Music by Harold Faltermeyer and Keith Forsey; lyrics by Harold Faltermeyer, Keith Forsey and Bob Seger))

ORIGINAL SCORE: Basil Poledouris, ROBOCOP (2nd: Ennio Morricone, The Untouchables, followed by: Alex North, The Dead; John Williams, Empire of the Sun; Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Byrne and Cong Su, The Last Emperor)

ADAPTATION SCORE/SCORING OF A MUSICAL: Dick Hyman, RADIO DAYS (2nd: Mason Daring, Matewan, followed by: Carter Burwell, Raising Arizona; Elaine May and Paul Williams, Ishtar)


MAKEUP: EVIL DEAD II, Harry and the Hendersons, Predator, Hellraiser, Innerspace

Saturday, April 16, 2016

1986--The Year in Review

When a year produces ten movies that, decades later, you still consider among your all-time favorites, you know you’re talking about a great year. It was painful choosing from my top three especially, but it had to be done, and I had to find for Mr. Lynch, whose film blew just about everybody's minds  in the fall of that year (if Claude Berri's Manon of the Spring would have been just a tiny bit better, it might have beaten it; I’m lumping it and the more stirring Jean de Florette in as one movie). McElwee's breakthrough documentary Sherman's March, too, gave me a challenge, as it’s a one-of-a-kind undertaking that coninually rewards repeat viewings. But I realized I just couldn’t vote it Best Picture over Lynch's stunning take on secrets and small-town crime (featuring a landmark showing from Dennis Hopper as the terrifying Frank Booth). I'm extremely happy to recognize jazz legend Dexter Gordon as the best actor of the year (against some heavyweight competition); yes, he's playing a version of himself, but he's nonetheless mesmerizing in his only major film role (hell, Hopper said he was only playing himself in Blue Velvet). Also, I'm glad to give Marie Riviere Best Actress for her alternately annoying and brave lonely girl suffering through a solitary holiday in Rohmer's The Green Ray (released as Summer in the U.S.). And, here, I gladly deliver the award Ennio Morricone deserved that year for his regal score to The Mission, relegating Herbie Hancock's brilliant Round Midnight score to the Adaptation category where it belonged. As for the short films, two teams of relative newcomers win for their justly popular cult films. 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: Sherman’s March (US, Ross McElwee)
followed by: Jean De Florette/Manon of the Spring (France, Claude Berri)
The Green Ray aka Summer (France, Eric Rohmer)
Round Midnight (US/France, Bertrand Tavernier)
Hannah and Her Sisters (US, Woody Allen)
Sid and Nancy (US, Alex Cox)
The Sacrifice (Sweden/France, Andrei Tarkovsky)
Aliens (US, James Cameron)
The Color of Money (US, Martin Scorsese)
Something Wild (US, Jonathan Demme)
The Mosquito Coast (US, Peter Weir)
Withnail & I (UK, Bruce Robinson)
Betty Blue (France, Jean-Jacques Beineix)
Dancing in the Dark (Canada, Leon Marr)
Salvador (US, Oliver Stone)
The Fly (Canada, David Cronenberg)
Mona Lisa (UK, Neil Jordan)
84 Charing Cross Road (UK, David Hugh Jones)
Hoosiers (US, David Anspaugh)
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (US, John Hughes)
She’s Gotta Have It (US, Spike Lee)
When The Wind Blows (UK, Jimmy T. Murakami)
The Decline of the American Empire (Canada, Denys Arcand)
Manhunter (US, Michael Mann)
Platoon (US, Oliver Stone)
A Better Tomorrow (Hong Kong, John Woo)
Children of a Lesser God (US, Randa Haines)
Home of the Brave (US, Laurie Anderson)
Man Facing Southeast (Argentina, Elisio Subiela)
Three Amigos (US, John Landis)
Seize the Day (US, Fielder Cook)
Lucas (US, David Seltzer)
True Stories (US, David Byrne)
Absolute Beginners (UK, Julien Temple)
Down by Law (US, Jim Jarmusch)
The Big Easy (US, Jim McBride)
'night, Mother (US, Tom Moore)
Stand by Me (US, Rob Reiner)
Doña Herlinda and Her Son (Mexico, Jaime Humberto Hermosillo)
36 Fillette (France, Catherine Breillat)
The Mission (UK/US, Roland Joffé)
What Happened to Kerouac? (US, Richard Lerner and Lewis McAdams)
Down and Out in America (US, Lee Grant)
Just Between Friends (US, Allen Burns)
Castle in the Sky (Japan, Hayao Miyazaki)
Matador (Spain, Pedro Almodovar)
Mauvais Sang (France, Leos Carax)
Ginger and Fred (Italy, Federico Fellini)
Thérèse (France, Alain Cavalier)
At Close Range (US, James Foley)
Peggy Sue Got Married (US, Francis Ford Coppola)
Little Shop of Horrors (US, Frank Oz)
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (US, Leonard Nimoy)
River's Edge (US, Tim Hunter)
Big Trouble in Little China (US, John Carpenter)
The Name of the Rose (Italy/West Germany./France, Jean-Jacques Annaud)
Working Girls (US, Lizzie Borden)
Eat the Peach (Ireland, Peter Ormrod)
The Adventures of Mark Twain (US, Will Vinton)
Pretty in Pink (US, Howard Deutch)
Murrow (US, Jack Gold)
Caravaggio (UK, Derek Jarman)
Extremities (US, Robert M. Young)
"Crocodile" Dundee (Australia, Peter Faiman)
Down and Out in Beverly Hills (US, Paul Mazursky)
The Best of Times (US, Roger Spottiswoode)
Highlander (UK, Russell Mulcahy)
Howard the Duck (US, Willard Huyck)
9 1/2 Weeks (US, Adrian Lyne)
Cobra (US, Geogre Pan Cosmatos)
Under the Cherry Moon (US, Prince))

ACTOR: Dexter Gordon, ROUND MIDNIGHT (2nd: Yves Montand, Jean De Florette/Manon of the Spring, followed by: Jeff Goldblum, The Fly; Bob Hoskins, Mona Lisa; Gary Oldman, Sid and Nancy; Harrison Ford, The Mosquito Coast; James Woods, Salvador; Paul Newman, The Color of Money)

ACTRESS: Marie Riviere, THE GREEN RAY (2nd: Chloe Webb, Sid and Nancy, followed by: Sigourney Weaver, Aliens; Melanie Griffith, Something Wild; Marlee Matlin, Children of a Lesser God; Beatrice Dalle, Betty Blue; Sissy Spacek, ‘night Mother; Martha Henry, Dancing in the Dark) 

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Dennis Hopper, BLUE VELVET (2nd: Daniel Autuil, Jean De Florette/Manon of the Spring, followed by: Ray Liotta, Something Wild; Brian Cox, Manhunter; Michael Caine, Hannah and Her Sisters; Tom Cruise, The Color of Money; Dennis Hopper, Hoosiers; Willem Dafoe, Platoon)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Dianne Wiest, HANNAH AND HER SISTERS (2nd: Isabella Rossellini, Blue Velvet, followed by: Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, The Color of Money; Cathy Tyson, Mona Lisa; Laura Dern, Blue Velvet; Barbara Hershey, Hannah and Her Sisters; Annie Potts, Pretty in Pink; Tess Harper, Crimes of the Heart)

DIRECTOR: David Lynch, BLUE VELVET (2nd: Ross McElwee, Sherman’s March, followed by: Claude Berri, Jean De Florette/Manon of the Spring; Eric Rohmer, The Green Ray; Andrei Tarkovsky, The Sacrifice; Woody Allen, Hannah and Her Sisters; Bertrand Tavernier, Round Midnight; Alex Cox, Sid and Nancy)

NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE FILM: JEAN DE FLORETTE/MANON OF THE SPRING (France, Claude Berri) (2nd: The Green Ray (France, Eric Rohmer), followed by: The Sacrifice (USSR, Andrei Tarkovsky); Betty Blue (France, Jean-Jacques Beineix); The Decline of the American Empire (Canada, Denys Arcand); A Better Tomorrow (Hong Kong, John Woo); Man Facing Southeast (Argentina, Elisio Subiela); Doña Herlinda and Her Son (Mexico, Jaime Humberto Hermosillo); 36 Fillette (France, Catherine Breillat); Castle in the Sky (Japan, Hayao Miyazaki); Matador (Spain, Pedro Almodovar); Mauvais Sang (France, Leos Carax); Ginger and Fred (Italy, Federico Fellini); Thérèse (France, Alain Cavalier))

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: SHERMAN’S MARCH (US, Ross McElwee) (2nd: Home of the Brave (US, Laurie Anderson), followed by: What Happened to Kerouac? (US, Richard Lerner and Lewis McAdams); Down and Out in America (US, Lee Grant))

ANIMATED FEATURE: WHEN THE WIND BLOWS (UK, Jimmy T. Murakami) (2nd: The Adventures of Mark Twain (US, Will Vinton))

ANIMATED SHORT FILM: THE STREET OF CROCODILES (UK, Stephen and Timothy Quay) (2nd: Sledgehammer (US, Stephen R. Johnson); Luxo Jr. (US, John Lasseter), followed by: Bring Me The Head of Charlie Brown (US, Jim Reardon)

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: HEAVY METAL PARKING LOT (US, Jeff Krulik and John Heyn) (2nd: Precious Images (US, Chuck Workman), followed by: Coffee and Cigarettes (US, Jim Jarmusch))

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Woody Allen, HANNAH AND HER SISTERS (2nd: David Lynch, Blue Velvet, followed by: Eric Rohmer, The Green Ray; Oliver Stone and Richard Boyle, Salvador; John Hughes, Ferris Buller's Day Off)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Claude Berri and Gerard Brach, JEAN DE FLORETTE/MANON OF THE SPRING (2nd: Richard Price, The Color of Money, followed by: Charles Edward Pogue and David Cronenberg, The Fly; Raynold Gideon and Bruce A. Evans, Stand By Me; Paul Schrader, The Mosquito Coast)

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Frederick Elmes, BLUE VELVET (2nd: Chris Menges, The Mission, followed by: Bruno Nuytten, Jean De Florette/Manon of the Spring; Jordan Cronenweth, Peggy Sue Got Married; Sven Nykvist, The Sacrifice)

ART DIRECTION: ALIENS, Blue Velvet, Hannah and Her Sisters, Jean De Florette/Manon of the Spring, The Mission 

COSTUME DESIGN: PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED, Jean De Florette/Manon of the Spring, Pretty in Pink, Absolute Beginners, The Mission

FILM EDITING: ALIENS, Blue Velvet, The Color of Money, Hannah and Her Sisters, Platoon

SOUND: BLUE VELVET, Aliens, Platoon, Round Midnight, Top Gun

SOUND EFFECTS: ALIENS, The Color of Money, Platoon

ORIGINAL SCORE: Ennio Morricone, THE MISSION (2nd: Angelo Badalamenti, Blue Velvet, followed by: Maurice Jarre, The Mosquito Coast; James Horner, Aliens; Jerry Goldsmith, Hoosiers)

ADAPTATION SCORE/SCORING OF A MUSICAL: Herbie Hancock, ROUND MIDNIGHT (won as Original Score) (2nd: Jean-Claude Petit, Jean De Florette/Manon of the Spring, followed by: David Byrne, True Stories; Prince, Under the Cherry Moon; Miles Goodman, Little Shop of Horrors)

ORIGINAL SONG: “Blue Shadows” from THREE AMIGOS! (Music and lyrics by Randy Newman) (2nd: “City of Dreams“ from True Stories (Music and lyrics by David Byrne), followed by: “Absolute Beginners” from Absolute Beginners (Music and lyrics by David Bowie); “Wild Wild Life” from True Stories (Music and lyrics by David Byrne); “Live to Tell” from At Close Range (Music and lyrics by Patrick Leonard and Madonna); “Take My Breath Away” from Top Gun (Music and lyrics by Girogio Moroder and Tom Whitlock); “Love Kills” from Sid and Nancy (Music and lyrics by Joe Strummer); "Kiss" from Under The Cherry Moon (Music and lyrics by Prince); “Mysteries of Love” from Blue Velvet (Music by Angelo Badalamenti, lyrics by David Lynch); "Do U Lie" from Under The Cherry Moon (Music and lyrics by Prince); “Let Yourself In For It” from The Color of Money (Music and lyrics by Robert Palmer); "Sometimes It Snows in April" from Under The Cherry Moon (Music and lyrics by Prince); "It's In The Way That You Use It" from The Color of Money (Music by Eric Clapton, lyrics by Eric Clapton and Robbie Robertson); "Mean Green Mother from Outer Space" from Little Shop of Horrors (Music and lyrics by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman); "Nothing in Common" from Nothing in Common (Music and lyrics by Tom Bailey and Alannah Currie); "Sweet Freedom" from Running Scared (Music and lyrics by Rod Templeton))

SPECIAL EFFECTS: ALIENS, Little Shop of Horrors, Labyrinth

MAKEUP: THE FLY, The Clan of the Cave Bear, Sid and Nancy

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

1985--The Year in Review

A big, big drop down in overall oomph now that we are firmly in the 1980s. But the top 15 are all superb films (my top two really battled it out for the #1 spot yet, in the end, the winner was inevitable--and here we are, in the midst of its worldwide re-release in a 4K restoration). Still, 1985 is a lackluster year. The big Oscar winner, Sydney Pollack's Out of Africa, certainly ranks as among the most boring Best Picture winners, even if its score and photography are exquisite. But no way does it outrank Kurosawa's brilliant retelling of King Lear--it's the Japanese autuer's last great masterpiece. I should note that, otherwise, it's a remarkable year for comedy--just look at my top ten for proof! 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: RAN (Japan, Akira Kurosawa)
(2nd: Brazil (UK, Terry Gilliam)
followed by: The Purple Rose of Cairo (US, Woody Allen)
After Hours (US, Martin Scorsese)
Lost in America (US, Albert Brooks)
Prizzi’s Honor (US, John Huston)
My Life as a Dog (Sweden, Lasse Hallström)
Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (US, Tim Burton)
The Official Story (Argentina, Luis Puenza)
Shoah (France/UK, Claude Lanzmann)
Come and See (USSR, Elem Klimov)
Witness (US, Peter Weir)
A Room With a View (UK, James Ivory)
Vagabonde (France, Agnès Varda)
To Live and Die in L.A. (US, William Friedkin)
Heaven Help Us (US, Michael Dinner)
The Quiet Earth (New Zealand, Geoff Murphy)
Smooth Talk (US, Joyce Chopra)
The Falcon and the Snowman (US, John Schlesinger)
Tampopo (Japan, Juzo Itami)
Insignificance (UK, Nicolas Roeg)
Dance With a Stranger (UK, Mike Newell)
Death of a Salesman (US, Volker Schlondorff)
Back to the Future (US, Robert Zemeckis)
The Stuff (US, Larry Cohen)
The Emerald Forest (UK, John Boorman)
The Color Purple (US, Steven Spielberg)
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (Japan/US, Paul Schrader)
The Breakfast Club (US, John Hughes)
A Zed and Two Noughts (UK, Peter Greenaway)
My Beautiful Laundrette (UK, Stephen Frears)
Chronos (US, Ron Fricke)
Pumping Iron II: The Women (US, George Butler)
The Trip to Bountiful (US, Peter Masterson)
The Boys Next Door (US, Penelope Spheeris)
Out of Africa (US, Sydney Pollack)
Year of the Dragon (US, Michael Cimino)
The Statue of Liberty (US, Ken Burns)
My Sweet Little Village (Czechlosovakia, Jiri Menzel)
Wetherby (UK, David Hare)
Police Story (Hong Kong, Jackie Chan and Chi-Hwa Chen)
Return to Oz (US, Walter Murch)
Dreamchild (US, Gavin Millar)
Creator (US, Ivan Passer)
Marie (US, Roger Donaldson)
The Good Father (UK, Mike Newell)
Las Madres: The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo (Argentina, Susana Blaustein Muñoz, Lourdes Portillo)
Legend (US/UK, Ridley Scott)
Fletch (US, Michael Richie)
Desert Hearts (US, Donna Deitch)
Mask (US, Peter Bogdanovich)
Clue (US, Jonathan Lynn)
Twice in a Lifetime (US, Bud Yorkin)
The Sure Thing (US, Rob Reiner)
Young Sherlock Holmes (US, Barry Levinson)
Real Genius (US, Martha Coolidge)
The Return of the Living Dead (US, Dan O'Bannon)
Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (US, Guy Hamilton)
Cocoon (US, Ron Howard)
Kiss of the Spider Woman (US, Hector Babenco)
Day of the Dead (US, George A. Romero)
The Mean Season (US, Philip Borsos)
Re-Animator (US, Stuart Gordon)
Sweet Dreams (US, Karel Reisz)
Commando (US, Mark L. Lester)
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (Australia, George Miller and George Ogilvie)
Plenty (US, Fred Schepisi)
Hail Mary (France, Jean-Luc Godard)
The Goonies (US, Richard Donner)
Weird Science (US, John Hughes)
A Chorus Line (US, Richard Attenbourough)
Ladyhawke (US, Richard Donner)
Rambo: First Blood Part II (US, George Pan Cosmatos)
Gymkata (US, Robert Klause))

ACTOR: Jack Nicholson, PRIZZI’S HONOR (2nd: Albert Brooks, Lost in America, followed by Tasuya Nakadai, Ran; Harrison Ford, Witness; Griffin Dunne, After Hours; Dustin Hoffman, Death of a Salesman; Sean Penn, The Falcon and the Snowman; William Hurt, Kiss of the Spider Woman)

ACTRESS: Norma Aleandro, THE OFFICIAL STORY (2nd: Mia Farrow, The Purple Rose of Cairo, followed by: Sandrine Bonnaire, Vagabonde; Geraldine Page, The Trip to Bountiful; Miranda Richardson, Dance with a Stranger; Theresa Russell, Insignificance; Whoopi Goldberg, The Color Purple; Kathleen Turner, Prizzi‘s Honor)

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Daniel Day-Lewis, A ROOM WITH A VIEW (2nd: William Hickey, Prizzi’s Honor, followed by: Ian Holm, Brazil; Christopher Lloyd, Back to the Future; Jay Patterson, Heaven Help Us; Peter, Ran; Denholm Elliott, A Room With a View; Treat Williams, Smooth Talk)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Mieko Harada, RAN (2nd: Angelica Huston, Prizzi’s Honor, followed by: Rosanna Arquette, After Hours; Katherine Helmond, Brazil; Maggie Smith, A Room With a View; Margaret Avery, The Color Purple; Meg Tilly, Agnes of God; Kate Reid, Death of a Salesman)

DIRECTOR: Akira Kurosawa, RAN (2nd: Terry Gilliam, Brazil, followed by: Martin Scorsese, After Hours; Woody Allen, The Purple Rose of Cairo; John Huston, Prizzi’s Honor; Albert Brooks, Lost in America; Lasse Hallstrom, My Life as a Dog; Tim Burton, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure) 

NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE FILM: RAN (Japan, Akira Kurosawa) (2nd: The Official Story (Argentina, Luis Puenzo), followed by: My Life as a Dog (Sweden, Lasse Hallstrom); Shoah (France/UK, Claude Lanzmann); Come and See (USSR, Elem Klimov); Vagabonde (France, Agnes Varda); Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (Japan/US, Paul Schrader); Tampopo (Japan, Juzo Itami); My Sweet Little Village (Czechlosovakia, Jiri Menzel); Police Story (Hong Kong, Jackie Chan and Chi-Hwa Chen))

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: SHOAH (France/UK, Claude Lanzmann) (2nd: Chronos (US, Ron Fricke), followed by: Pumping Iron II: The Women (US, George Butler); The Statue of Liberty (US, Ken Burns); Las Madres: The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo (Argentina, Susana Blaustein Muñoz and Lourdes Portillo))

ANIMATED SHORT: THE BIG SNIT (Canada, Richard Condie) (2nd: Prehistoric Beast (US, Phil Tippett), followed by: Money for Nothing (US, Steve Barron); Second Class Mail (Canada, Allison Snowden))

LIVE ACTION SHORT: RAINBOW WAR (Canada, Bob Rogers) (2nd: Cry (US, Kevin Godley and Lol Creme), followed by: Don’t Come Around Here No More (US, Jeff Stein))

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Terry Gilliam, Tom Stoppard and Charles McKeown, BRAZIL (2nd: Albert Brooks and Monica Johnson, Lost in America, followed by: Woody Allen, The Purple Rose of Cairo; Luis Puenzo and Aida Bortnik, The Official Story; Joseph Minion, After Hours)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Richard Condon and Janet Roach, PRIZZI‘S HONOR (2nd: Akira Kurosawa, Hideo Oguni and Masato Ide, Ran, followed by: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, A Room With a View (won in 1986); Lasse Hallstrom, Reidar Jonsson, Brasse Branstrom and Per Berglund, My Life as a Dog; William Friedkin and Gerald Petievich, To Live and Die in L.A.)

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Takao Saito, Masaharu Ueda and Asakazu Nakai, RAN (2nd: Phillippe Rousselot, The Emerald Forest, followed by: John Seale, Witness; David Watkin, Out of Africa; Gordon Willis, The Purple Rose of Cairo)

ART DIRECTION: BRAZIL, Ran, Legend, Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, The Purple Rose of Cairo 

COSTUME DESIGN: RAN, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Brazil, A Room With a View (won in 1986), The Color Purple 

FILM EDITING: RAN, After Hours, Witness, Brazil, Prizzi’s Honor 

SOUND: BACK TO THE FUTURE, Ran, After Hours, Witness, Silverado 

SOUND EFFECTS: BACK TO THE FUTURE, Brazil, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure 

ORIGINAL SCORE: Danny Elfman, PEE-WEE‘S BIG ADVENTURE (2nd: John Barry, Out of Africa, followed by: Maurice Jarre, Witness; Toru Takemitsu, Ran; Alex North, Prizzi’s Honor)

ADAPTATION SCORE/SCORING OF A MUSICAL: Michael Kamen, BRAZIL (2nd: Quincy Jones, Jeremy Lubbock, Rod Temperton, Caiphus Semenya, Andrae Crouch, Chris Boardman, Jorge Calandrelli, Joel Rosenbaum, Fred Steiner, Jack Hayes, Jerry Hey, and Randy Kerber, The Color Purple, followed by: Ralph Burns, A Chorus Line)

ORIGINAL SONG: “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” from THE BREAKFAST CLUB (Music and lyrics by Keith Forsey and Steve Schiff) (2nd: “Crazy For You” from Vision Quest (Music by Jon Lind, lyrics by John Bettis), followed by: “To Live and Die in L.A.” from To Live and Die in L.A. (Music and lyrics by Jack Hues and Nick Feldman); “Invincible“ from The Legend of Billie Jean (Music and lyrics by Holly Knight and Simon Climie); “Miss Celie’s Blues (Sister)” from The Color Purple (Music by Quincy Jones and Rod Temperton, lyrics by Quincy Jones, Rod Temperton and Lionel Richie); “Goonies R Good Enough” from The Goonies (Music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, Steve Lunt and Arthur Stead); "The Power of Love" from Back to the Future (Music by Chris Hayes and Johnny Colla, lyrics by Huey Lewis); "Say You, Say Me" from White Nights (Music and lyrics by Lionel Richie); "Separate Lives" from White Nights (Music and lyrics by Phil Collins); "We Don't Need Another Hero" from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (Music and lyrics by Terry Britten and Graham Lyle))

SPECIAL EFFECTS: BRAZIL, Back to the Future, Return to Oz, Young Sherlock Holmes, Cocoon

MAKEUP: MASK, Legend, Ran, Brazil, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins