"You're gonna need a bigger boat."

My Top 20:

  1. Jaws
  2. Dog Day Afternoon
  3. One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  4. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  5. The Man Who Would Be King
  6. Korol Lir
  7. Amarcord
  8. Barry Lyndon
  9. The Sunshine Boys
  10. The Mystery of Kaspar Hauser
  11. Three Days of the Condor
  12. Shampoo
  13. Love and Death
  14. And Now My Love
  15. The French Connection II
  16. The Story of Adele H
  17. L’Invitation
  18. Day of the Locust
  19. The Great Waldo Pepper
  20. A Brief Vacation

Academy Awards:

  • Best Picture:  One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • Best Director:  Milos Forman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)
  • Best Actor:  Jack Nicholson  (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)
  • Best Actress:  Louise Fletcher  (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  George Burns  (The Sunshine Boys)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Lee Grant  (Shampoo)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Dog Day Afternoon
  • Best Foreign Film:  Dersu Uzala

Consensus Awards:

  • Best Picture:  One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • Best Director:  Robert Altman (Nashville)
  • Best Actor:  Jack Nicholson  (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)
  • Best Actress:  Isabelle Adjani  (The Story of Adele H)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Brad Dourif  (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Lily Tomlin  (Nashville)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Dog Day Afternoon

Henry Gibson in Robert Altman's critically acclaimed Nashville (1975)

Top 10 Films  (Top 1000):

  1. Nashville –  #67
  2. Amarcord –  #82
  3. Barry Lyndon –  #92
  4. Jaws –  #106
  5. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest –  #131
  6. The Passenger –  #243
  7. Salo or 120 Days of Sodom –  #244
  8. The Mystery of Kaspar Hauser –  #284
  9. Dog Day Afternoon –  #472
  10. Monty Python and the Holy Grail –  #498

Note:  A true oddity in that all five Oscar nominees for Best Picture make the list.

Top 5 Films  (Consensus 1975 Best Picture Awards):

  1. One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  2. Nashville
  3. Dog Day Afternoon
  4. Barry Lyndon
  5. Jaws

Top 10 Films  (Awards Points):

  1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest –  1858
  2. Nashville –  1445
  3. Dog Day Afternoon –  1145
  4. Barry Lyndon –  900
  5. Jaws –  725
  6. The Sunshine Boys –  546
  7. Shampoo –  472
  8. Amarcord –  363
  9. The Story of Adele H –  336
  10. Funny Lady –  204

Top 5 Films  (Box Office Gross):

  1. Jaws –  $260.00 mil
  2. Rocky Horror Picture Show –  $139.87 mil
  3. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest –  $108.98 mil
  4. Shampoo –  $49.40 mil
  5. Dog Day Afternoon –  $46.66 mil

AFI Top 100:

  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest –  #20  (1998)  /  #33  (2007)
  • Jaws –  #48  (1998)  /  #56  (2007)
  • Nashville –  #59  (2007)

Ebert Great Films:

  • Nashville
  • Jaws
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • Amarcord
  • Night Moves
  • The Mystery of Kaspar Hauser
  • Barry Lyndon
  • Dog Day Afternoon

Nighthawk Golden Globes:

Jack wins pretty much everything but Brad Dourif only ends up an Oscar and Nighthawk nominee.

Drama:

  • Picture:  Jaws
  • Director:  Steven Spielberg  (Jaws)
  • Actor:  Jack Nicholson  (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)
  • Actress:  Louise Fletcher  (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)
  • Supporting Actor:  John Cazale  (Dog Day Afternoon)
  • Supporting Actress:  Karen Black  (Day of the Locust)
  • Adapted Screenplay:  One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • Original Screenplay:  Dog Day Afternoon

Comedy:

  • Picture:  Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • Director:  Federico Fellini  (Amarcord)
  • Actor:  Walter Matthau  (The Sunshine Boys)
  • Actress:  Ann-Margret  (Tommy)
  • Supporting Actor:  Jack Warden  (Shampoo)
  • Supporting Actress:  Lee Grant  (Shampoo)
  • Adapted Screenplay:  The Sunshine Boys
  • Original Screenplay:  Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Warren Beatty with Oscar and Nighthawk winner Lee Grant in Shampoo (1975)

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Picture:  Jaws
  • Director:  Steven Spielberg (Jaws)
  • Actor:  Jack Nicholson  (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)
  • Actress:  Louise Fletcher  (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)
  • Supporting Actor:  Jack Warden  (Shampoo)
  • Supporting Actress:  Lee Grant  (Shampoo)
  • Adapted Screenplay:  One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • Original Screenplay:  Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • Editing:  Jaws
  • Cinematography:  Barry Lyndon
  • Original Score:  Jaws
  • Sound:  Jaws
  • Art Direction:  Barry Lyndon
  • Visual Effects:  Jaws
  • Sound Editing:  Jaws
  • Costume Design:  Barry Lyndon
  • Makeup:  Barry Lyndon
  • Original Song:  “I’m Easy”  (Nashville)
  • Foreign Film:  The Mystery of Kaspar Hauser

"It's only a flesh wound."

Nighthawk Notables:

  • Best Film to Watch Over and Over:  Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • Best Line  (Comedic):  “How do you tell if she is made out of wood?”  “Build a bridge out of her!”  (Terry Jones and Eric Idle in Monty Python and the Holy Grail)
  • Best Line  (Dramatic):  “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”  (Roy Scheider in Jaws)
  • Best Opening:  Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • Best Ending:  One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • Best Scene:  duel with the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • Best Ensemble:  Dog Day Afternoon
  • Sexiest Performance:  Julie Christie in Shampoo
  • Performance to Fall in Love With:  Faye Dunaway in Three Days of the Condor
  • Best Soundtrack:  Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • See the Film, SKIP the Book:  Jaws
  • Funniest Film:  Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • Worst Film:  Foreplay

Film History: Sneak Previews, the first television show featuring film critics, premieres hosted by Chicago Sun-Times writer Roger Ebert and Chicago Tribune writer Gene Siskel.  In order to provide the special effects necessary for his film Star Wars, George Lucas forms Industrial Light and Magic.  Jaws becomes the first film to ever exceed $100 million in theatrical rentals and the first film to gross over $200 million at the box office.  Sony introduces the Betamax, a $2000 home videotape machine.  Michael Ovitz forms CAA with several colleagues from the William Morris Agency.  Dalton Trumbo finally receives his 1956 Oscar for writing The Brave One.  George Burns appears in his first film in 36 years and wins the Oscar.  Pier Paolo Pasolini is murdered in Bologna, Italy.  The Birth of a Nation is declared out of copyright.  Bernard Herrmann, composer for Orson Welles and Hitchcock, dies on 25 December.  George Stevens dies in March, Frederic March in April and William Wellman in December.  Chronicle of the Burning Years wins the Golden Palm at Cannes.  The Rocky Horror Picture Show opens and never closes.

Academy Awards: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest becomes the second film to ever win the big 5 (Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor, Actress).  It becomes the first Best Picture to get nominated for Best Actress since 1965 and the first one to win Best Actress since 1942 (during the same stretch 15 films won Best Picture and Best Actor).  Al Pacino is nominated for the fourth straight year.  Pacino and Jack Nicholson face off against each other for the third straight year, with Nicholson finally winning.  Jaws becomes the first film in 21 years to win all of its nominations except Best Picture, something that would not happen again until 2000.  For a third time Stanley Kubrick is nominated for Picture, Director and Screenplay and fails to win any of them.  For the third time Federico Fellini is nominated for Director and Screenplay but not Picture.  For the first time since 1969, Italy and France don’t win Best Foreign Film.  Akira Kurosawa finally has a film win Best Foreign Film and it is submitted by the Soviet Union because he can’t get funding in Japan.  Four Foreign Language films are nominated for Screenplay.

I still find it odd that they denied Spielberg for a film that was so clearly the vision of the director.  Of course, they would do the same thing the next year to Scorsese.  But to also pass Jaws over for Cinematography in favor of Funny Lady and The Hindenburg?  Bizarre.  In fact, most of the technical nominations were terrible, though they did a great job with the winners (one of the few years when I agreed with the winners on the big 5 technical).  They would also, once again, fail to give Woody Allen an Original Screenplay nomination (this time for Love and Death).  The acting awards were fairly solid except for the rather odd nominations for Whitmore and Schell which could have easily gone to Beatty (Shampoo), Michael Caine or Sean Connery (Man Who Would Be King), Gene Hackman (Night Moves) or Robert Redford (Three Days of the Condor).  Perhaps the biggest shame is that they finally gave a Kurosawa film the Oscar and it didn’t deserve it because the best Foreign film of the year was the one they didn’t nominate – The Mystery of Kaspar Hauser.

  • Worst Oscar:  Best Visual Effects for The Hindenberg (Special Award)
  • Worst Oscar Nomination:  Best Cinematography for Funny Lady
  • Worst Oscar Omission:  Best Director for Steven Spielberg  (Jaws)
  • Worst Oscar-Nominated Film:  Once is Not Enough
  • Best Eligible Film with No Oscar Nominations:  Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • Best Foreign Film Submitted But Not Nominated:  The Mystery of Kaspar Hauser
  • Worst Oscar Category:  Best Foreign Language Film
  • Best Oscar Category:  Best Editing
  • Oscar / Nighthawk Award Agreements:  Best Screenplay Adapted From Other Material, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound, Art Direction, Costume Design, Original Song

Golden Globes: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest becomes the only film in history to sweep the big 5 at the Golden Globes.  For the only time in history all five of the eventual Oscar Best Picture nominees are nominated at the Globes for Picture and Director.  For the first time, all five of the DGA nominees and Golden Globe nominees for Best Director are the same.  Cuckoo ties the record by winning 5 Globes and becomes the only film between 1966 and 1987 to win Picture, Director and Screenplay at both the Globes and the Oscars.  Nashville sets the (still standing) record with 9 nominations, but only manages to win Best Song.  The 9 nominations include 4 different nominees for Best Supporting Actress, all of whom lose.  Dog Day Afternoon goes 0 for 6, losing Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor and two Supporting Actor nominations.

Awards: The National Board of Review was first out of the gate and split their Best Picture and Best Director with a tie in each category between Nashville and Barry Lyndon.  Their Best Actor was Jack Nicholson for Cuckoo and their Best Actress was Isabelle Adjani for The Story of Adele H.  This would be the standard as Nashville, Altman, Nicholson and Adjani would also win the New York Film Critics and National Society of Film Critics (with Nashville becoming the first film to ever win all three).  But there was a new gang in town, the L.A. Film Critics and they would instead choose Dog Day Afternoon and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in a tie for Best Picture, Sidney Lumet for Best Director, Al Pacino for Best Actor (both for Dog Day) and Florinda Bolkan Best Actress for A Brief Vacation.

For the first time ever, all five films nominated at the DGA (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Nashville, Dog Day Afternoon, Barry Lyndon, Jaws) would end up nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, though Steven Spielberg would be left out of the Best Director race.  The guilds also predicted Oscar success, with One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest winning Director and Screenplay, Dog Day Afternoon winning Original Screenplay and Jaws winning the ACE for Best Editing (over Cuckoo and The Hindenberg).  All five DGA films would also be up for WGA awards but all in the drama categories.  It would be The Sunshine Boys and Shampoo that would take home the two comedy writing awards.  Breakout and Three Days of the Condor would win the Motion Picture Sound Editors Guild awards.

At the BAFTA’s a 1974 film, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, would win Best Picture, Actress and Screenplay over three 1975 Oscar nominees: Dog Day Afternoon, Barry Lyndon and Jaws.  All four would receive Best Director nominations with Barry Lyndon winning Director, but the only one of the four not nominated for Best Screenplay.  Also nominated in various categories would be four other Oscar nominees: Nashville (4 nominations including Screenplay) and three films from the previous year, Lenny (Actor, Actress), The Godfather Part II (3 nominations including winning Best Actor) and The Towering Inferno (4 nominations and a win for Supporting Actor).  Nine films would win at least one award but only Alice with its 4 wins would manage to win more than two.

Korol Lir - Grigori Kozintsev's magnificent film version of King Lear

Under-appreciated Film of 1975

Korol Lir (dir. Grigori Kozintsev)

There is a rather incredible scene near the end of Korol Lir.  Edmund has been declared as a traitor and the herald is ordered to blow the trumpet three times and someone must challenge him before the end of the third call.  I expected a brief little dum-da-da-dum.  But what came out of the trumpet was an incredible call and in that is kind of a microcosm of this entire film.  It is so much more than you would expect.

In one sense it is the most under-appreciated film of 1975 – one that did not win any awards, has not achieved cult status, has never been released by Criterion.  But it’s not actually from 1975.  It is actually from 1971, but the fact that it would not play in the United States until 1975 (in spite of Kozintsev’s impressive Hamlet from the mid’60’s) and that it would disappear without barely a notice shows that it is not properly given its place.

This is Shakespeare at some of his grittiest best.  While I love the Kurosawa Shakespeare films, they are the stories.  This is Shakespeare itself and if I can not hear it in English, I would most like to listen to it in Russian, the beauty of the language overcoming the barrier.  We feel the power of the language even when it must be translated at the bottom of the screen.

In some ways, the only comparable film to this is Chimes at Midnight.  This isn’t Elizabethan Shakespeare with beautiful costumes and sumptuous art direction.  It is King Lear as it must have been lived – in the mud and the rain and the fields, dressed in furs for warmth, in castles of bare stone.  Kozintsev knows when the bring in the fog, when to let the elements loose and when to rely simply upon his actors.  While most versions of Lear live and die upon whoever is playing the title role (and in Juri Jarvet he finds a perfect Lear), this film does much better with the supporting performances.  One of the reasons that I didn’t take to King Lear the first time I read it was that I wasn’t that interested in the primary story – that of the king and his daughters.  I found Cordelia too perfectly innocent and Regan and Goneril too sinister.  But I was always drawn in by the story of the brothers fighting for their father’s title – the bastard Edmund and the wrong Edgar.  Kozintsev makes good use of their story through a good performance from Leonhard Marzin and a fantastic performance from Regimantis Adomaitis as Edmund.  He even adds in a nice touch by casting actresses as Regan and Goneril who aren’t particularly attractive – thus emphasizing that Edmund’s lust is for power rather than for the women themselves.

There are a lot of Shakespeare films out there, more than you would ever think.  A lot of them aren’t worth remembering (even Olivier starred in an early film version of As You Like It that is fairly unmemorable).  But, first in his Hamlet, then in his take on King Lear, Kozintsev made two of the best Shakespeare adaptations – films that deserve to be remembered much more than some of the more well known films.  If you haven’t seen it, and you probably haven’t, see it.

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