Just read pages 360-62 of Kavalier and Clay and that says it all.

Just read pages 360-62 of Kavalier and Clay and that says it all.

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category.  Films in blue were nominated.  The Academy made only one change in this year, but it was a needed one – changing the two Score categories from Score and Original Score to Scoring of a Dramatic Picture and Scoring of a Musical Picture.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Citizen Kane
  2. The Maltese Falcon
  3. Fantasia
  4. The Lady Eve
  5. The Little Foxes

Analysis:  This is, in a sense, precisely how it should be – all five of these films are **** films and the next one on the list (High Sierra) isn’t.  It kills me, though, that The Maltese Falcon has to be in the same year as Citizen Kane.  They’ll be more on that down under points. (more…)

I though it would be nicer to just include the three Top 25 directors rather than explain that Lucas didn't get that high.  If you need these people identified you are at the wrong website.

I though it would be nicer to just include the version of the picture with three Top 25 directors rather than explain that Lucas didn’t get that high. If you need these people identified you are at the wrong website.

This is the final ranked list of those directors who have been nominated for Best Director by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.  This is part 9 of the series.  As always, you can find the previous eight posts in this series by going here.  There is also an introduction here, which explains the scope of the project as well as my scoring system.  I have made certain to finish this now for two reasons.  The first is that I wanted to get it done before another Oscar season begins and I had to add somebody (Alfonso Cuarón, perhaps?).  The second is because I intend to do a Top 100 Directors 3.0 list before too long and I wanted this out of the way; that list, originally intended for this month, will probably be pushed back into at least winter, if not early spring in order to get this year’s batch of late films from Top 100 directors watched (e.g. Inside Llewyn Davis, Wolf of Wall Street, The Hobbit, Captain Phillips, Gravity).

One thing to bear in mind about the top of the list.  On my point scale, there is only a 75 point difference between the #1 and #8 spots.  There is then a 58 point difference between #8 and #9, and an 83 point difference between #8 and #11.  So, if the director you really want to champion is among that top 7, that’s the elite of the elite. (more…)

The original Modern Library cover of Kafka’s The Trial.

The Trial  (Der Prozess)

  • Rank:  #6
  • Author:  Franz Kafka  (1883  -  1924)
  • Published:  1925
  • Publisher:  Verlag Die Schmiede
  • Pages:  341  (Vintage Definitive Edition)
  • First Line:  “Someone must have traduced Joseph K., for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one fine morning.”
  • Last Line:  ” ‘Like a dog!’ he said; it was as if the shame of it must outlive him.”
  • Acclaim:  Le Monde’s 100 Books of the Century
  • ML Version:  #318  (2 dust jackets – 1961, 1969)
  • Film:  1962  (*** – dir. Orson Welles); 1993
  • First Read:  Spring, 1995


George Lucas and Steven Spielberg present a special Oscar to their hero: Akira Kurosawa

So, does this supersede my original list?  Well, lists are always organic – they grow and evolve over time.  I’ve fiddled with some of the categories and new films have come out and I’ve seen more films from some directors.  So, my original list was what it was in October of 2009.  This is where I am now, two years later, and one year overdue.  The list will continue to evolve over time.  The list never quite stops.  But here’s where I put it up.

I will remind people again that if you don’t see a director and you’re wondering why, please check the Introduction first.  It became clear on the original list that people didn’t read that instruction.  Please don’t repeat that.  And don’t ask about Godard.  See the Intro.

Also, we’ll again find out who reads this part, the film in parenthesis is not necessarily their best film (hell, with Mankiewicz, it’s his worst).  But it is the film I chose to write about, for whatever reason. (more…)

Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty as Bonnie and Clyde: They're young, they're in love and they kill people.

My Top 20:

  1. Bonnie and Clyde
  2. Chimes at Midnight
  3. Persona
  4. In the Heat of the Night
  5. The Graduate
  6. In Cold Blood
  7. Point Blank
  8. Cool Hand Luke
  9. Two for the Road
  10. The Exterminating Angel
  11. A Fistful of Dollars
  12. Elvira Madigan
  13. La Guerre est Finie
  14. I Live in Fear
  15. The Comedians
  16. The Whisperers
  17. Deadly Affair
  18. Barefoot in the Park
  19. The Burmese Harp
  20. Wait Until Dark (more…)

the dancing mushrooms in Fantasia - the best animated film of the 1940's

Well, before I go into 1949, I’ll cover the decade as a whole.  Bear in mind the decade awards cover films by their original release date, so you might find films that haven’t shown up in individual years yet.

1940  -  1949

Total Films I’ve Seen:  617

Films That Make the Top 5 in a Category:  42

Best Film Not to Make the Top 5 in any Category:  The Best Years of Our Lives

Film of the Decade:  Children of Paradise

Worst Film of the Decade:  King of the Zombies

Worst Best Picture Nominee of the Decade:  All This and Heaven Too

Worst Film of the Decade Made by a Top 100 Director:  Under Capricorn (more…)

a pair of Oscar winners: Teresa Wright and Greer Garson in Best Picture winner Mrs. Miniver (1942)

The 15th Academy Awards, for the film year 1942.  The nominations were announced on February 8, 1943 and the awards were held on March 4, 1943.

Best Picture:  Mrs. Miniver

  • Yankee Doodle Dandy
  • The Magnificent Ambersons
  • Kings Row
  • Random Harvest
  • The Pride of the Yankees
  • The Talk of the Town
  • 49th Parallel
  • The Pied Piper
  • Wake Island

Most Surprising Omission:  Woman of the Year

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  Sullivan’s Travels

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #71


The mining family in How Green Was My Valley (1941)

The 14th Academy Awards, for the film year 1941.  The nominations were announced on February 3, 1942 and the awards were held on February 26, 1942.

Best Picture:  How Green Was My Valley

  • Citizen Kane
  • The Maltese Falcon
  • The Little Foxes
  • Here Comes Mr. Jordan
  • Suspicion
  • Hold Back the Dawn
  • One Foot in Heaven
  • Sergeant York
  • Blossoms in the Dust

Most Surprising Omission:  Ball of Fire

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  Fantasia

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #57 (more…)

Even at the end of Bergman's The Seventh Seal, life can find a way.

My Top 10:

  1. The Seventh Seal
  2. Touch of Evil
  3. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
  4. The Defiant Ones
  5. Vertigo
  6. Death of a Cyclist
  7. Pather Panchali
  8. Mon Oncle
  9. The Bravados
  10. Therese Raquin (more…)

My Top 10:

Sullivan's Travels

  1. Sullivan’s Travels
  2. Bambi
  3. Yankee Doodle Dandy
  4. The Magnificent Ambersons
  5. Kings Row
  6. To Be or Not To Be
  7. The Palm Beach Story
  8. Pride of the Yankees
  9. Now Voyager
  10. Woman of the Year (more…)

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