Martin Scorsese directing Robert De Niro on the set of Raging Bull (1980)

My Top 20:

  1. Raging Bull
  2. Breaker Morant
  3. The Elephant Man
  4. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  5. Ordinary People
  6. The Shining
  7. Kagemusha
  8. Tess
  9. Stardust Memories
  10. Airplane!
  11. The Stunt Man
  12. My Brilliant Career
  13. Melvin and Howard
  14. The Last Metro
  15. No Regrets for Our Youth
  16. Return of the Secaucus Seven
  17. Mon Oncle D’Amerique
  18. Vengeance is Mine
  19. The Master and Margaret
  20. Christ Stopped at Eboli

note:  Not your average top 20.  The Top 10 includes a Sci-Fi film, a Horror film, a Parody and a Samurai film.  Then the second 10 includes 6 Foreign films, only 2 of which (Metro, Oncle) are actually from 1980.

Academy Awards:

  • Best Picture:  Ordinary People
  • Best Director:  Robert Redford  (Ordinary People)
  • Best Actor:  Robert De Niro  (Raging Bull)
  • Best Actress:  Sissy Spacek  (Coal Miner’s Daughter)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Timothy Hutton  (Ordinary People)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Mary Steenburgen  (Melvin and Howard)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  Ordinary People
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Melvin and Howard
  • Best Foreign Film:  Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears

Consensus Awards:

  • Best Picture:  Ordinary People
  • Best Director:  Robert Redford  (Ordinary People)
  • Best Actor:  Robert De Niro  (Raging Bull)
  • Best Actress:  Sissy Spacek  (Coal Miner’s Daughter)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Joe Pesci  (Raging Bull)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Mary Steenburgen  (Melvin and Howard)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  Ordinary People
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Melvin and Howard

Top 10 Films  (Top 1000):

  1. Raging Bull –  #18
  2. The Shining –  #148
  3. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back –  #306
  4. The Colour of Pomegrante –  #382
  5. The Elephant Man –  #544
  6. Kagemusha –  #547
  7. Mon Oncle D’Amerique –  #603
  8. The Tin Drum –  #641
  9. American Gigolo –  #815
  10. Bad Timing –  #926

Top 5 Films  (1980 Best Picture Awards):

  1. Ordinary People
  2. Raging Bull
  3. The Elephant Man
  4. Melvin and Howard
  5. Coal Miner’s Daughter

Top 10 Films  (1980 Awards Points):

  1. Raging Bull –  1485
  2. Ordinary People –  1235
  3. Melvin and Howard –  1028
  4. Coal Miner’s Daughter –  851
  5. The Elephant Man –  813
  6. Tess –  692
  7. Fame –  445
  8. The Stunt Man –  436
  9. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back –  271
  10. Kagemusha –  251

The Empire Strikes Back - the biggest box office hit of 1980

Top 10 Films  (Box Office Gross):

  1. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back –  $209.39 mil
  2. 9 to 5 –  $103.29 mil
  3. Stir Crazy –  $101.30 mil
  4. Airplane! –  $83.45 mil
  5. Any Which Way You Can –  $70.68 mil
  6. Private Benjamin –  $69.84 mil
  7. Coal Miner’s Daughter –  $67.18 mil
  8. Smokey and the Bandit II –  $66.13 mil
  9. The Blue Lagoon –  $58.85 mil
  10. The Blues Brothers –  $57.22 mil

AFI Top 100 Films:

  • Raging Bull –  #24  (1998)  /  #4  (2007)

Ebert Great Films:

  • Raging Bull
  • The Shining

Nighthawk Golden Globes:

Drama:

  • Best Picture:  Raging Bull
  • Best Director:  Martin Scorsese  (Raging Bull)
  • Best Actor:  Robert De Niro  (Raging Bull)
  • Best Actress:  Mary Tyler Moore  (Ordinary People)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Joe Pesci  (Raging Bull)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Cathy Moriarty  (Raging Bull)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  Breaker Morant
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Kagemusha

Comedy / Musical:

  • Best Picture:  Stardust Memories
  • Best Director:  Woody Allen  (Stardust Memories)
  • Best Actor:  Woody Allen  (Stardust Memories)
  • Best Actress:  Sissy Spacek  (Coal Miner’s Daughter)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Jason Robards  (Melvin and Howard)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Mary Steenburgen  (Melvin and Howard)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  Hopscotch
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Stardust Memories

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture:  Raging Bull
  • Best Director:  Martin Scorsese  (Raging Bull)
  • Best Actor:  Robert De Niro  (Raging Bull)
  • Best Actress:  Mary Tyler Moore  (Ordinary People)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Joe Pesci  (Raging Bull)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Cathy Moriarty  (Raging Bull)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  Breaker Morant
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Stardust Memories
  • Best Editing:  Raging Bull
  • Best Cinematography:  Raging Bull
  • Best Original Score:  Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Best Sound:  Raging Bull
  • Best Art Direction:  Kagemusha
  • Best Visual Effects:  Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Best Sound Editing:  Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Best Costume Design:  Kagemusha
  • Best Makeup:  The Elephant Man
  • Best Original Song:  “Late in the Evening”  (One Trick Pony)
  • Best Foreign Film:  Kagemusha

Carrie Fisher during a lighter moment on the set of The Empire Strikes Back

Nighthawk Notables:

  • Best Film to Watch Over and Over:  Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Best Line (Dramatic):  “I am your father.”  (James Earl Jones in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)
  • Best Line (Comedic):  “They won’t catch us.  We’re on a mission from God.”  (Dan Aykroyd in The Blues Brothers)
  • Best Ending (most heartbreaking):  Breaker Morant
  • Best Scene:  the lightsaber duel in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Performance to Fall in Love With:  Carrie Fisher in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Best Ensemble:  Breaker Morant
  • Best Use of a Song: “Rawhide” in The Blues Brothers
  • Best Soundtrack:  The Blues Brothers
  • Funniest Film:  Airplane!
  • Best Guilty Pleasure:  Flash Gordon
  • Watch the Film, SKIP the Book:  Ordinary People
  • Worst Film:  Caligula

My Top 10 Lines of the Year:

  1. “They won’t catch us.  We’re on a mission from God.”  (The Blues Brothers)
  2. “Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1”  (Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)
  3. “To you, I’m an athiest.  To God, I’m the loyal opposition.”  (Stardust Memories)
  4. “Joey, have you ever been in a Turkish prison?”  (Airplane!)
  5. “It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark… and we’re wearing sunglasses.”  (The Blues Brothers)
  6. “Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.”  (Airplane!)
  7. “Bring me four fried chickens and a coke.”  (The Blues Brothers)
  8. “Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac… It’s in the hole!”  (Caddyshack)
  9. “I ran out of gas. I… I had a flat tire. I didn’t have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn’t come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts! IT WASN’T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD!”  (The Blues Brothers)
  10. “I’m perfectly serious.  And don’t call me Shirley.”  (Airplane!)

Film History: Sherry Lansing takes over at 20th Century-Fox, becoming the first female to head a major film studio.  The Screen Actors Guild has a strike that lasts for 10 weeks.  The Rank Organization ceases film production.  Alfred Hitchcock is knighted on 3 January and dies on 29 April.  Francis Ford Coppola founds Zoetrope, buying Hollywood General Studios.  Peter Sellers dies on 24 July and Steve McQueen dies on 7 November.  The Empire Strikes Back becomes the most successful sequel in film history.  Kagemusha and All That Jazz share the Golden Palm at Cannes.  Atlantic City and Gloria share the Golden Lion at Venice.

Academy Awards: Ordinary People becomes the last film to date to win Best Picture without any technical nominations and also the last to win without a nomination for Best Editing.  It also becomes the first film to win Best Picture without a Best Actor nomination since 1965 and the first non-musical to do so since 1956.  For the fourth time in six years the Best Picture winner wins no technical awards – it would take another 24 years for the next four times this would happen.  For the first time in six years a black-and-white film is nominated for Best Picture.  For the only time since 1965, two black-and-white films are nominated for Best Picture.  Tess becomes the second consecutive film to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture with no Best Picture precursors – something that will not happen again until 1988.  Martin Scorsese earns his first Oscar nominations and loses to an actor making his directorial debut.  For the first time in 8 years none of the Best Picture nominees are nominated for Original Screenplay.  For the first time in 12 years only two films are nominated for Picture, Director and Screenplay.  For the third time, France submits a Truffaut film for Best Foreign Film and for the third time it gets nominated.  For the first time in 7 years, Italy does not get a Best Foreign Film nomination.

Well, at least they nominated Marty this time, even if they gave it to the actor turned director, just like they would do again later.  And at least Ordinary People is a great film.  On the other hand, they nominated both Truffaut and Kurosawa for Best Foreign Film and didn’t give the award to either.  They managed to notice Breaker Morant‘s writing but not the acting, directing or the film itself.  They threw in an Art Direction nomination for Kagemusha but somehow thought the costumes in When Time Ran Out, the Editing in The Competition and the Cinematography in The Formula were better.  They so badly screwed up by not giving a special Makeup award to The Elephant Man that they finally instituted a permanent award the next year.  And remember this: When Time Ran Out, The Formula, Resurrection, The Blue Lagoon and 9 to 5 are forever enshrined as Oscar nominated films while The Shining and Stardust Memories are not.  And somehow, they gave the Oscar for Best Original Score to Fame rather than the music that is both my ring-tone and the music I walked into my wedding to: The Imperial March.

  • Worst Oscar:  Best Original Score for Fame
  • Worst Oscar Nomination:  Best Costume Design for When Time Ran Out
  • Worst Oscar Omission:  Best Cinematography for The Elephant Man
  • Worst Oscar-Nominated Film:  When Time Ran Out
  • Best Eligible Film with No Oscar Nominations:  The Shining
  • Worst Oscar Category:  Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
  • Best Oscar Category:  Best Supporting Actor
  • Oscar / Nighthawk Award Agreements:  Best Actor, Editing, Visual Effects

Golden Globes: Ordinary People wins Picture, Director, Actress and Supporting Actor out of its 7 nominations.  With Robert De Niro and Sissy Spacek also winning Globes, for the first time in 5 years, the Oscar winners for Picture, Director, Actor and Actress all win the Globe first.  The Ninth Configuration, in spite of terrible reviews, gets three nominations and wins Best Screenplay – the only film other than Charley to win the Globe for Screenplay without getting any other nominations or wins for its screenplay.  Raging Bull, The Elephant Man and The Stunt Man all are nominated for Picture, Director and Screenplay, though they only win 2 Globes (Stunt Man wins Score) out of their combined 15 nominations.  Tess is nominated for Director and wins Foreign Film.  Coal Miner’s Daughter takes home Picture (Comedy / Musical) to go along with Actress.

Awards: Though the critics groups split Best Picture three ways (Ordinary People wins New York Film Critics and National Board of Review, Melvin and Howard wins National Society of Film Critics, Raging Bull wins LA Film Critics and the new Boston Film Critics), Ordinary People finishes a distant third overall, only taking home a Director from the NBR and Supporting Actor from LA.  Raging Bull takes home four Best Actor awards (all but NSFC), Supporting Actor from NBR, NYFC and NSFC, Director from NSFC and Cinematography from NSFC and BSFC.  Melvin and Howard wins Director from NYFC, Supporting Actor from BSFC, Supporting Actress from all but NBR and Screenplay from NYFC, NSFC and BSFC.  Tess wins the remaining Director and Cinematography awards while Coal Miner’s Daughter wins four Best Actress awards (all but Boston).

Woody Allen becomes the fourth writer ever to earn four straight WGA nominations (following Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett and Neil Simon).  Raging Bull becomes the first film in four years to get a DGA but not a WGA nomination.  Ordinary People becomes the only one of the four WGA winners to earn a DGA nomination (also winning that).  Airplane, Private Benjamin and Melvin and Howard win the other three WGA awards while The Elephant Man and The Stunt Man lose both the DGA and WGA.  Coal Miner’s Daughter loses both and also loses the American Cinema Editors (to Raging Bull).  Fame also loses both the WGA and the ACE.  The two Motion Picture Sound Editors Awards go to The Blues Brothers and Brubaker.

After going 0 for 14 at the Oscars, Globes and Guilds, The Elephant Man wins Best Picture, Actor and Art Direction at the BAFTAs (also getting nominations for Director, Screenplay, Editing and Cinematography).  It beats out Kramer vs. Kramer (which goes 0 for 6), Being There (which wins Screenplay) and Kagemusha (which wins Director).  It is the first time since the establishment of the Director and Screenplay awards in 1968 that all three awards go to different films.  All That Jazz wins two awards (Editing and Cinematography) out of 6 nominations.  Ordinary People has to wait until the following year to earn its 1 nomination (Actress).

Woody Allen's second foray into black and white - Stardust Memories (1980)

Under-appreciated Film of 1980:

Stardust Memories (dir. Woody Allen)

“I love your films.  Especially your early funny ones.”  That is the line that keeps cycling back through this film, an ode to Fellini, a step towards introspection for Woody Allen and the least appreciated of his great films.  It has more anger than any film up to Deconstructing Harry, is as well-made as any film he has ever done, and following on the success of Annie Hall, Interiors and Manhattan, the only awards attention it received was a nomination from the Writers Guild.

In this film, made with artful care, he lashes out at the critics who don’t take him seriously, film critics who take themselves too seriously (“Libby just did a definitive cinematic study of Gummo Marx.”), studio heads who don’t understand the art in their hands and the fans who don’t want to take him seriously.  All they want is to laugh.  They don’t want his Fellini inspired films (the entire opening scene is a brilliant homage to 8 1/2).  They don’t want to see great art.  They want to be there to laugh.

And this film actually has a lot of laughs, which is the ironic thing.  In pushing back at those who only want to see him be a comedian, he gives some of his great stand-up lines (“I took one course in existential philosophy at, uh, at New York University, and on, uh, on the final… they gave me ten questions, and, uh, I couldn’t answer a single one of ’em. You know? I left ’em all blank… I got a hundred.”) and in the course of the film, delivers some of the best lines of his career (“To you, I’m an atheist.  To God, I’m the loyal opposition”).  Who else but Woody Allen would have a scene in a film where his anger comes to life – that of course, is in one of the films within a film, but in a great later moment, his anger rears its ugly head again at an unexpected but brilliant moment.

People turn away from this film.  Ebert and Variety didn’t like it.  It made only a quarter of what Annie Hall and Manhattan made and barely made back its budget.  Why?  Perhaps because it does clearly have so much anger, and so much of it is directed at those who profess to be fans?  Perhaps because of the Felliniesque style of it?

Ironically, the anger eventually turns inward and people ended up with what they wanted.  They screamed for funnier films.  And look at the films he would make following this: A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy, Zelig, Broadway Danny Rose, The Purple Rose of Cairo and Hannah and Her Sisters.  They are as funny as any other films being made in the same time period.  He discovered that he could do two things at once.  He listens to the advice of the Martians: “You’re a comedian.  You want to do mankind a real service?  Tell funnier jokes.”

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