The darkness of the winter light perhaps lit by the illumination of God, depending on how you look at it.

The darkness of the winter light perhaps lit by the illumination of God, depending on how you look at it.

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 (or Globe, in the Globes section).  Films in blue were nominated.  Films with an asterisk (*) were Consensus nominees (a scale I put together based on the various awards) while those with a double asterisk (**) were the Consensus winners.

I’m listing the top 10 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Winter Light
  2. The Great Escape
  3. Stray Dog
  4. Tom Jones  **
  5. Ivan’s Childhood
  6. The Bad Sleep Well
  7. Shoot the Piano Player
  8. Knife in the Water
  9. 8 1/2
  10. Hud  *

Analysis:  In one sense a very strong year, as there are three more **** films: White Nights, The Leopard and The Birds.  On the other hand, notice anything about those films?  Of those 13 films, 9 of them are Foreign films.  There are only 4 English Language films (my #14 is an English Language film: Love with the Proper Stranger).  This doesn’t get a lot better in my ***.5 films that round out my Best Picture list: Love with the Proper Stranger, Sundays and Cybele, The Four Days of Naples, This Sporting Life, The Sword in the Stone and Death in the Garden.  That’s 19 films, 12 of which are Foreign films, and another two (Tom Jones, This Sporting Life) which are British, so it’s really a damn weak year for Hollywood.  And 7 of these films aren’t originally from 1963 (the full list is way down below).
Tom Jones doesn’t just win the Consensus Best Picture – it sweeps the awards, the last film to win all the available awards until Schindler’s List.

  • Best Director
  1. Akira Kurosawa  (Stray Dog)
  2. John Sturges  (The Great Escape)
  3. Ingmar Bergman  (Winter Light)
  4. Andrei Tarkovsky  (Ivan’s Childhood)
  5. Akira Kurosawa  (The Bad Sleep Well)
  6. Roman Polanski  (Knife in the Water)
  7. Tony Richardson  (Tom Jones)  **
  8. Francois Truffaut  (Shoot the Piano Player)
  9. Federico Fellini  (8 1/2)  *
  10. Alfred Hitchcock  (The Birds)

Analysis:  Two of these things are not like the others, two of these things don’t belong.  Those two things, of course, are John Sturges and Tony Richardson.  Both of them are Oscar-nominated directors and neither could even make the list of Top 100 Oscar nominated directors (they ranked, respectively, at #114 and #140).  The other eight directors listed are all Top 100 directors, and except for Tarkovsky are all Top 40.  But this list, of course, is based on a particular film, not on their whole body of work.  Polanski actually earns a Nighthawk nomination because of the two appearances of Kurosawa in the Top 5.
These are the first nominations for Polanski and Tarkovsky and the second for Sturges.  It’s the fifth for Bergman and it moves him into a tie with several other directors for 10th place (270 pts).  But Kurosawa, with a win and a nomination, leaps over Wyler and Hitchcock and moves from 4th place to 2nd, with 495 points.  Because of the release pattern of Kurosawa’s films in the States this is his fourth straight year with a nomination (a record) and there will be three more before he’s done.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Tom Jones  *
  2. The Bad Sleep Well
  3. Shoot the Piano Player
  4. White Nights
  5. Hud  **
  6. The Great Escape  *
  7. The Leopard
  8. Captain Newman M.D.  *
  9. Sundays and Cybele  *
  10. Irma La Douce

Analysis:  I’ve only read two of the original sources – Tom Jones (which I struggled to get through) and White Nights (a fantastic Dostoevsky short story).  Because of how packed this year is, this is the only nomination for White Nights, a great Visconti film that often gets over-looked.  Tom Jones wasn’t eligible for the WGA – if it had been, it almost certainly would have tied Hud for the Consensus if not winning out-right.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Winter Light
  2. Stray Dog
  3. Ivan’s Childhood
  4. Knife in the Water
  5. Love with the Proper Stranger  **
  6. The Four Days of Naples  *
  7. 8 1/2  *
  8. Port of Call
  9. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Analysis:  Kurosawa manages to come in 2nd place in both writing categories; it really shows his range for both adaptation and originality.  That moves him up to 3rd place with 480 points, but Bergman’s win moves him up to 2nd place with 560 points.
Because the WGA didn’t separate by Adapted and Original at this time, no original script won at the WGA.  This means the Consensus winner was a three-way tie between How the West Was Won (Oscar winner), America America and Love with the Proper Stranger (both were Oscar and WGA nominees).
Winter Light is one of those scripts that make you realize how dumb it was of the Nobel committee to never give the Nobel Prize for Literature to Ingmar Bergman (more on that below).

  • Best Actor:
  1. Gunnar Bjornstrand  (Winter Light)
  2. Toshiro Mifune  (Stray Dog)
  3. Paul Newman  (Hud)  *
  4. Albert Finney  (Tom Jones)  **
  5. Burt Lancaster  (The Leopard)
  6. Marcello Mastroianni  (8 1/2)
  7. Sidney Poitier  (Lilies of the Field)  *
  8. Marcello Mastrioianni  (White Nights)
  9. Toshiro Mifune  (The Bad Sleep Well)
  10. Richard Harris  (This Sporting Life)  *

Analysis:  This is a solid group – it’s Finney’s first nomination but the third for Bjornstrand and Newman, the fourth for Mifune and the fifth for Lancaster.  It’s ironic for Mifune, of course, as this was his first starring role just now getting a U.S. release.  I don’t like having to push Lancaster down to fifth, but this really a quite strong Top 5.  Indeed, Richard Harris is down at #10 and his Oscar nomination was fairly well deserved.
Poitier is only the second actor to win the Oscar and Globe but not win the Consensus, because Finney wins the NYFC and earns Oscar, BAFTA and Globe noms.

  • Best Actress
  1. Patricia Neal  (Hud)  **
  2. Ingrid Thulin  (Winter Light)
  3. Natalie Wood  (Love with the Proper Stranger)
  4. Jolanta Umecka  (Knife in the Water)
  5. Leslie Caron  (The L-Shaped Room)  *
  6. Rachel Roberts  (This Sporting Life)  *
  7. Maria Schell  (White Nights)
  8. Shirley MacLaine  (Irma La Douce)  *
  9. Susannah York  (Tom Jones)
  10. Audrey Hepburn  (Charade)  *

Analysis:  The two female acting categories are where the Academy got it most right in this year – Actress comes in at 90.6 and Supporting Actress at 96.0 – the two male acting categories (76.9 for lead, 88.9 for supporting) are the only other two categories that earn above a 63.
Neal, to me, is the easy winner.  She is to most everybody – she is the first actress to win the NYFC and NBR in eight years, starting a trend (it will be another five years before someone won’t win both), yet the Globes not only wouldn’t give her their award, they nominate her in Supporting.  Because of the two awards at BAFTA (British Actress, Foreign Actress) and because of different eligibility dates (Caron in 1962, Hepburn in 1964), Neal, Caron, Roberts and Hepburn all win the BAFTA.
These are the only Nighthawk nominations for Neal, Umecka and Caron; it’s the third each for Thulin and Wood.

  • tomjonesgriffithBest Supporting Actor:
  1. Hugh Griffith  (Tom Jones)  *
  2. Tony Curtis  (Captain Newman M.D.)
  3. Melvyn Douglas  (Hud)  **
  4. Bobby Darin  (Captain Newman M.D.)  *
  5. Takashi Shimura  (Stray Dog)
  6. Claude Rains  (Twilight of Honor)
  7. Orson Welles  (The Trial)
  8. Nick Adams  (Twilight of Honor)  *
  9. John Huston  (The Cardinal)  *
  10. Brandon de Wilde  (Hud)

Analysis:  Unlike the nominees for Actor, these are actors with relatively few Nighthawk noms.  These are the first nominations for Douglas and Darin, the second for the other three.  Only Shimura and Douglas will earn any more noms.
Notice that there are two instances where I think an un-nominated performance is better than the nominated performance from the same film.  Curtis really gives one of his best performances in Newman and Rains gives his final really good performance in Twilight.  I also should point out Brandon de Wilde, whose un-nominated performance is miles above his nominated performance from 10 years earlier in Shane.

  • tomjonesedithevansBest Supporting Actress:
  1. Edith Evans  (Tom Jones)  *
  2. Joyce Redman  (Tom Jones)  *
  3. Joan Greenwood  (Tom Jones)
  4. Margaret Rutherford  (The V.I.P.’s)  **
  5. Lilia Skala  (Lilies of the Field)  *
  6. Diane Cilento  (Tom Jones)  *
  7. Simone Signoret  (Term of Trial)

Analysis:  Though the Oscars would nominate three actresses for Tom Jones, Joan Greenwood, the only nominee from Tom Jones at the Globes wouldn’t be one of them.  Evans is the easy #1 for me – she blows the competition away with a performance for the ages.  In spite of that, Rutherford becomes the first person to sweep the supporting awards – with no BAFTA or NYFC award yet, Rutherford wins the Oscar, Globe and NBR.  Winning all three is such a rare combination that it won’t happen again until 1979.
These are the only nominations for Greenwood, Rutherford and Skala, the first of two for Redman and the first of three for Evans.

  • Best Editing:
  1. The Great Escape
  2. Stray Dog
  3. Knife in the Water
  4. Ivan’s Childhood
  5. Shoot the Piano Player
  6. Winter Light
  7. Tom Jones
  8. The Bad Sleep Well
  9. This Sporting Life
  10. The Birds

Analysis:  The Great Escape is not just the only Oscar nominee in my Top 10, it’s the only one on my entire list of 18.  The Academy does a shockingly bad job with all the Tech categories in this year (total score of 29.2 and only Color Art Direction and Black-and-White Costume Design earn scores of more than 50).  Aside from The Great Escape, the other nominees are all massively over-bloated films: Cleopatra, The Cardinal, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and How the West Was Won (which won).  It’s ironic that The Great Escape, at three hours, shows how crisp and smooth editing can make a picture feel much shorter.

  • Best Cinematography:
  1. Winter Light
  2. Stray Dog
  3. Knife in the Water
  4. 8 1/2
  5. The Bad Sleep Well
  6. The Great Escape
  7. Ivan’s Childhood
  8. Shoot the Piano Player
  9. White Nights
  10. Hud

Analysis:  Asakazu Nakai earns his 4th nomination working with Kurosawa, although it’s for Stray Dog, one of his earliest films with Kurosawa.  Nakai did much of the cinematography in Kurosawa’s early films, but then didn’t work with him between 1957 and 1963 (thus no nomination for him on The Bad Sleep Well – that was Yuzuru Aizama), but would then go back to work with Kurosawa for another couple of decades.  Sven Nykvist earns his fourth nomination and second win working with Bergman and moves up to 150 points and a tie for 4th place.
Only two Oscar nominees make my list at all: Hud at #10 and Love with the Proper Stranger at #23.  The Color category actually earns a score of 0 from me.  Just a terrible, terrible year.

  • Best Original Score:
  1. The Great Escape
  2. Dr. No
  3. Tom Jones
  4. The Leopard
  5. The Bad Sleep Well
  6. Jason and the Argonauts
  7. King Kong vs. Godzilla
  8. Stray Dog
  9. Corridors of Blood
  10. 8 1/2

Analysis:  John Barry earns his first nomination, but Monty Norman is the one who actually writes the iconic James Bond theme.  Nino Rota earns his fourth Nighthawk nomination, but for the first time it’s not for a Fellini film (it’s for The Leopard).  Elmer Bernstein earns his fourth nomination but his first win (for a score the constantly runs through my head, which is why it wins over the Bond theme, though just barely).  Masaru Sato earns his fourth straight nomination, all for Kurosawa films.

  • Best Sound:
  1. The Great Escape
  2. Stray Dog
  3. Ivan’s Childhood
  4. The Birds
  5. Jason and the Argonauts
  6. This Sporting Life
  7. Knife in the Water
  8. The Four Days of Naples
  9. Dr. No
  10. The Bad Sleep Well

Analysis:  At my final two spots on my list (#15 and 16) are the Oscar winner How the West Was Won and Oscar nominee It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.  I’m really rather surprised that the Academy didn’t go for The Great Escape or The Birds.  Stray Dog also has amazing sound work in the heart of Tokyo.

  • TomJones1963DvdripDivxCd2Best Art Direction:
  1. Tom Jones
  2. The Leopard
  3. Cleopatra
  4. 8 1/2
  5. The Bad Sleep Well
  6. Irma La Douce
  7. The Trial
  8. Chushingura
  9. Corridors of Blood
  10. White Nights

Analysis:  Tom Jones and The Leopard both have absolutely incredible sets and costumes; the former wasn’t nominated for Costume Design, the latter wasn’t nominated for Art Direction and Cleopatra won both awards.  Certainly the sets and costumes are where Cleopatra excelled, but still, I’m going with Tom Jones.  The Trial shouldn’t be ignored here; the sets are probably the best thing about Welles’ uneven adaptation of the Kafka novel.

  • Best Visual Effects
  1. Jason and the Argonauts
  2. The Birds
  3. Dr. No

Analysis:  Here is an established trend combined with a new trend: the ignoring, by the Academy of the work by Ray Harryhausen as well as the insistence on the Academy of ignoring the visual effects of the James Bond films (1 Oscar and one other nomination total over 50+ years).  The Oscar winner was Cleopatra.

  • Best Sound Editing
  1. The Great Escape
  2. Jason and the Argonauts
  3. The Birds
  4. Ivan’s Childhood
  5. Dr. No
  6. The Four Days of Naples

Analysis:  With the split of Special Effects, for the first time, we have a new category, Sound Effects, to go along with Special Visual Effects.  There will be more on this when I cover the decade as a whole, but this is the first year of the category and they nominate A Gathering of Eagles and give the Oscar to It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.  Again, they don’t think much of the Bond films (2 Oscars, no other nominations).

  • Best Costume Design:
  1. Tom Jones
  2. The Leopard
  3. Cleopatra
  4. 8 1/2
  5. Chushingura
  6. Irma La Douce
  7. Jason and the Argonauts
  8. Ivan’s Childhood
  9. Corridors of Blood
  10. The Cardinal

Analysis:  I just cannot fathom how in any universe you don’t at least nominate Tom Jones.  Possibly the worst oversight in the history of this category.  But the one nominee that least deserved to be there was A New Kind of Love, with costumes by Edith Head, who never failed to be nominated.  The Black-and-White category actually earns a score above 50 (60.0), not because it was that good, but because they got the winner very right and because I have only seen four of the nominees, so I can only use my top four films to give it a grade.  It also wasn’t a great year for black-and-white costumes as is clear from the majority of films here that were in color.

  • Best Makeup
  1. Tom Jones
  2. 8 1/2
  3. Jason and the Argonauts
  4. Corridors of Blood
  • Best Original Song:
  1. “Ugly Bug Ball”  (Summer Magic)
  2. “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”  (It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World)
  3. “Higgitus Figgitus”  (The Sword in the Stone)
  4. “El Toro”  (Fun in Acapulco)
  5. “Fun in Acapulco”  (Fun in Acapulco)
  6. “Jamaica Jump Up”  (Dr. No)
  7. “Charade”  (Charade)
  8. “Call Me Irresponsible”  (Papa’s Delicate Condition)

Analysis:  This is, for the most part, a pretty awful year.  There is one definite exception: “Ugly Bug Ball”.  That song is wonderful, but the source is problematic.  I first got the song on Classic Disney Volume I, which I bought in early 1995, but for a long time I didn’t pay attention to it.  Then, when Veronica and I were first dating, she heard it and we decided we really liked it.  It became one of our songs.  So, eventually, I decided to hunt down Summer Magic, the film it was from so we could watch it (which didn’t happen until after we were married).  Summer Magic is not a good film; it barely makes it to **.5 and is at #120 for the year.  I always imagined a cute animated scene like in the video down below of bugs dancing but that’s not what is in the film.  The film is just the Burl Ives scenes and this song is, by a long long ways, the best thing in the film.  Just skip the film and enjoy the song.
This year has five semi-finalists.  None of them make my list.  Oscars.org lists 128 songs of which I have seen the film for 76 of them; the only films with more than three listed songs which I have not seen are Follow the Boys and The Young Swingers.

  • sword_in_the_stone_ver3Best Animated Film:
  1. The Sword in the Stone

Analysis:  Only three films in the decade will earn Nighthawk nominations in this decade, all of them lower ***.5 Disney films.  This is the weakest of the three.  This is actually the only Animated film for the year at all, let alone the only one good enough to qualify.

  • NattvardsgästernaBest Foreign Film:
  1. Winter Light
  2. High and Low
  3. Ivan’s Childhood
  4. Knife in the Water  *
  5. 8 1/2  **
  6. The Leopard
  7. Il Diavolo

note:  Films in green were submitted to the Academy but not nominated.

Analysis:  8 1/2 becomes the first film since Bicycle Thieves to win three Foreign Film Awards and the first since Open City to win the NYFC and NBR.
The Leopard becomes just the fourth **** film to fail to earn a Best Foreign Film nomination, joining White Nights (1957), The Last Laugh and Crainquebille (1926 both).  So that means Luchino Visconti has made two of the four **** films to not earn a nomination in this category.  This is a great year for this category, the third best to date.  But there is a big drop-off.  While The Leopard is the third best #6 film in this category, Il Diavolo, at a low-level ***.5 is only the 9th best #7 film.
Bergman wins this award for the fifth time in less than a decade.  It is also the fifth straight year that either Bergman or Truffaut has won the award.  It’s also the third time in 5 years that Kurosawa has finished in 2nd place behind Bergman.  With Harakari in the other year, it’s the fourth year in a row that a Japanese film comes in second.  This is Bergman’s 9th nomination (280 points, 2nd place), Kurosawa’s 14th (380 pts, 1st place), Fellini’s 4th (100 pts, tied for 6th place) and the first for Tarkovsky and Polanski.
This is the first time since 1957 that no French films are among my Top 5.  It’s also the final year of 13 straight years with a nominee from Japan.  It’s the first Soviet nominee in five years and the first Polish nominee at all.

By Film:

note:  They’re in points order.  You get twice as many points for a win as for a nomination.  Hopefully your math skills will let you figure out the system.

  • Tom Jones  (460)
    • Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress, Original Score, Art Direction, Costume Design, Makeup
  • Winter Light  (420)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Cinematography, Foreign Film
  • Stray Dog  (335)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Sound, Foreign Film (1949)
  • The Great Escape  (275)
    • Picture, Director, Editing, Original Score, Sound, Sound Editing
  • Ivan’s Childhood  (220)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Editing, Sound, Sound Editing, Foreign Film
  • Knife in the Water  (190)
    • Director, Original Screenplay, Actress, Editing, Cinematography, Foreign Film
  • The Bad Sleep Well  (175)
    • Director, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Original Score, Art Direction, Foreign Film (1960)
  • Hud  (175)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor
  • The Leopard  (95)
    • Actor, Original Score, Art Direction, Costume Design
  • 8 1/2  (90)
    • Cinematography, Art Direction, Costume Design, Makeup, Foreign Film
  • Jason and the Argonauts  (90)
    • Sound, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Makeup
  • Shoot the Piano Player  (85)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Editing, Foreign Film (1960)
  • Love with the Proper Stranger  (75)
    • Original Screenplay, Actress
  • Dr. No  (65)
    • Original Score, Visual Effects, Sound Editing
  • Captain Newman M.D.  (60)
    • Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor
  • The Birds  (60)
    • Sound, Visual Effects, Sound Editing
  • The Sword in the Stone  (50)
    • Original Song, Animated Film
  • White Nights  (40)
    • Adapted Screenplay
  • The L-Shaped Room  (35)
    • Actress
  • Cleopatra  (35)
    • Art Direction, Costume Design
  • Lilies of the Field  (30)
    • Supporting Actress
  • The V.I.P.’s  (30)
    • Supporting Actress
  • Summer Magic  (20)
    • Original Song
  • Fun in Acapulco  (20)
    • Original Song, Original Song
  • Sundays in Cybele  (20)
    • Foreign Film (1962)
  • The Four Days of Naples  (20)
    • Foreign Film (1962)
  • Death in the Garden  (20)
    • Foreign Film (1956)
  • Chushingura  (15)
    • Costume Design
  • Corridors of Blood  (10)
    • Makeup
  • It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World  (10)
    • Original Song

Analysis:  Some bad luck here for White Nights.  It already was the best Foreign Film since 1926 to not earn a nomination, because it’s in 1957, the best year ever for Foreign films.  Now, it keeps ending up in the Top 10 (6 top finishes, plus three more at #11) but only manages one nomination, for Adapted Screenplay.  But it’s a great film and deserves to be seen.

Best Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • This Sporting Life

Analysis:  A very good film, my #17 of the year, and it comes in 6th place in Actress and Sound, as well as 10th place in Actor, but just can’t manage to crack the Top 5 anywhere.

Biggest Awards Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • America America

Analysis: This is actually one of two Best Picture nominees without any Nighthawk nominations (How the West Was Won is the other, and two others, of course, Lilies of the Field and Cleopatra, don’t do well either because, as noted below, this is a terrible year for Best Picture at the Oscars).  America America would win Art Direction and earn Picture, Director and Screenplay noms at the Oscars.  It would earn DGA and WGA noms.  It would have its best success at the Globes, winning Best Director and earning Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress nominations.  In spite of being a Kazan fan, it has never worked for me and I wasn’t impressed with any of the acting.  It’s my #58 film of the year and makes it into my Top 20 twice – an 11th place finish in Costume Design and 20th place in Score.

Nighthawk Golden Globes:

Drama:

  • Best Picture
  1. Winter Light
  2. The Great Escape
  3. Stray Dog
  4. Ivan’s Childhood
  5. The Bad Sleep Well

Analysis:  A very tight group here – Winter Light wouldn’t be #1 (or even #2) in most years, but The Bad Sleep Well would make the Top 5 in most years.

  • Best Director
  1. Akira Kurosawa  (Stray Dog)
  2. John Sturges  (The Great Escape)
  3. Ingmar Bergman  (Winter Light)
  4. Andrei Tarkovsky  (Ivan’s Childhood)
  5. Akira Kurosawa  (The Bad Sleep Well)

Analysis:  Though Bergman is just making it into the Top 10, Kurosawa’s win and nomination move him into a tie with William Wyler for 1st place, with 495 points.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. The Bad Sleep Well
  2. Shoot the Piano Player
  3. White Nights
  4. Hud
  5. The Great Escape

Analysis:  This is the first time since 1956 that I think the adapted nominees are a weaker group than the original nominees.  This marks the second time in four years that Kurosawa has earned nominations in both writing categories in Drama (and won one of them).

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Winter Light
  2. Stray Dog
  3. Ivan’s Childhood
  4. Knife in the Water
  5. Love with the Proper Stranger

Analysis:  Kurosawa and Bergman move into a tie for 1st place with 520 Drama points, passing Billy Wilder.  This group of nominees ties with 1950 as the best in this category to date.

  • Nattvardsgästerna (1963) Filmografinr: 1963/03Best Actor:
  1. Gunnar Bjornstrand  (Winter Light)
  2. Toshiro Mifune  (Stray Dog)
  3. Paul Newman  (Hud)
  4. Burt Lancaster  (The Leopard)
  5. Sidney Poitier  (Lilies of the Field)

Analysis:  While this is Lancaster’s sixth Drama nom and only Mifune’s fifth, Mifune moves into the Top 10 in points because of his two wins.  This group ties 1960 as the fourth best group of nominees in this category to date.  It’s the third time in five years that a foreign performance has won in this category.

  • HudBest Actress
  1. Patricia Neal  (Hud)
  2. Ingrid Thulin  (Winter Light)
  3. Natalie Wood  (Love with the Proper Stranger)
  4. Jolanta Umecka  (Knife in the Water)
  5. Leslie Caron  (The L-Shaped Room)

Analysis:  Neal was actually nominated in Supporting Actress at the Globes.  While weaker than the year before, this group of nominees is better than any year from 1951-1961.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Tony Curtis  (Captain Newman M.D.)
  2. Melvyn Douglas  (Hud)
  3. Bobby Darin  (Captain Newman M.D.)
  4. Takashi Shimura  (Stray Dog)
  5. Claude Rains  (Twilight of Honor)

Analysis:  Rains earns his 11th and final Drama nomination, ending his career with 425 points and in 2nd place (behind Bogart).  This is the weakest group of nominees in this category since 1942.  John Huston would win the Globe but he’s only my #8 in Drama.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Margaret Rutherford  (The V.I.P.’s)
  2. Lilia Skala  (Lilies of the Field)
  3. Simone Signoret  (Term of Trial)

Analysis:  This is the sixth (and final) nomination for Signoret, getting her up to 240 points and 8th place in Drama.  While the Comedy category will be the best to date, this ties 1956 as the worst in this category since 1938.

  • Winter Light  (330)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Actress
  • Stray Dog  (245)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor
  • The Bad Sleep Well  (175)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay
  • Hud  (175)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor
  • The Great Escape  (135)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay
  • Ivan’s Childhood  (135)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay
  • Captain Newman M.D.  (90)
    • Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor
  • Knife in the Water  (75)
    • Original Screenplay, Actress
  • Love with the Proper Stranger  (75)
    • Original Screenplay, Actress
  • Lilies of the Field  (65)
    • Actor, Supporting Actress
  • The V.I.P.’s  (60)
    • Supporting Actress
  • Shoot the Piano Player  (40)
    • Adapted Screenplay
  • White Nights  (40)
    • Adapted Screenplay
  • The Leopard  (35)
    • Actor
  • The L-Shaped Room  (35)
    • Actress
  • Twilight of Honor  (30)
    • Supporting Actor
  • Term of Trial  (30)
    • Supporting Actress

Analysis:  With 11 **** films some of them don’t do so well.  The Birds doesn’t get any nominations and three films, Shoot the Piano Player, White Nights and The Leopard each only earn one nomination.

Best Drama Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • The Birds

Analysis:  The strengths of this great Horror film are in the directing, where it finishes 8th in Drama.  It’s not strong enough in its writing or acting to come anywhere close in a year as crowded as this and it finishes in 11th in Picture.

Comedy / Musical:

  • Best Picture
  1. Tom Jones
  2. 8 1/2
  3. The Sword in the Stone
  4. Death in the Garden

Analysis:  Tom Jones actually won the Globe for Picture – Comedy as well as the English Language Foreign Film – an oddity, since films eligible for the latter weren’t generally eligible for the former.
This is a strange top group, as Tom Jones and The Sword in the Stone are the weakest winner and #3 in five years, but 8 1/2 is better than 5 of the previous 7 #2 films.

  • Best Director
  1. Tony Richardson  (Tom Jones)
  2. Federico Fellini  (8 1/2)
  3. Luis Buñuel  (Death in the Garden)

Analysis:  This is Richardson’s only nomination.  This is Buñuel’s third nomination.  Fellini earns his 4th nomination, moving him into a large tie for 8th place, at 180 points.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Tom Jones
  2. Irma La Douce
  3. Charade
  4. Dr. No
  5. The Sword in the Stone

Analysis:  Billy Wilder extends his lead in Comedy points with 640.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. 8 1/2
  2. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Analysis:  Fellini moves into 4th place in Comedy points with 240.

  • albertfinneyBest Actor:
  1. Albert Finney  (Tom Jones)
  2. Marcello Mastroianni  (8 1/2)
  3. Jack Lemmon  (Irma La Douce)
  4. Cary Grant  (Charade)
  5. James Garner  (The Wheeler Dealers)

Analysis:  Jack Lemmon moves into 5th place in points with his fourth nomination (though it’s the first time in Comedy he doesn’t win).  Grant earns his 10th and final Comedy nomination, ending with 480 points, just 10 short of Chaplin.  Mastroianni becomes the first person since Edward Everett Horton (33-35) to earn three straight Comedy noms but he actually won’t earn any more.
The Globe winner is Albert Sordi for Il Diavolo, but it wasn’t Oscar eligible until 1964.  He’s good, but nowhere near as good as Finney.

  • irmaBest Actress
  1. Shirley MacLaine  (Irma La Douce)
  2. Susannah York  (Tom Jones)
  3. Audrey Hepburn  (Charade)

Analysis:  MacLaine earns her fourth Comedy nomination (and second win) and goes up to 210 points and 5th place.  But Hepburn earns her 6th nomination (plus 3 wins) and is up to 315 points and second place.  MacLaine is the easy winner here.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Hugh Griffith  (Tom Jones)

Analysis:  Griffith’s performance is so great it almost makes up for the fact that there wasn’t a single worthy performance from any other Comedy in this category.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Edith Evans  (Tom Jones)
  2. Joyce Redman  (Tom Jones)
  3. Joan Greenwood  (Tom Jones)
  4. Diane Caliento  (Tom Jones)

Analysis:  This is where this year really shines.  Many previous years can’t even get the four nominees (some don’t have any at all), and these are solid.  The best group of nominees in this category to date, and it’ll be a while before any year beats it.

  • Tom Jones  (585)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress
  • 8 1/2  (210)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor
  • Irma la Douce  (145)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress
  • Charade  (110)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress
  • Death in the Garden  (95)
    • Picture, Director
  • The Sword in the Stone  (90)
    • Picture, Adapted Screenplay
  • Dr. No  (40)
    • Adapted Screenplay
  • It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • The Wheeler Dealers  (35)
    • Actor

Analysis:  Tom Jones is not only a great film in a year lacking them in Comedy, but has a lot of strong acting performances.  That leads to a record 10 nominations and a record 585 points (both of which still stand).  Just with Supporting Actress alone it earned more points than any Comedy in this year except 8 1/2.

Best Comedy Not Nominated for any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • Mexican Bus Ride

Analysis:  Another surreal Buñuel film that can’t crack the Top 5 anywhere – my 8th best Comedy but only my #33 of the year.

Roundup for the Year in Film:

Eligible Films I Have Seen:  144

By Stars:

  • ****:  13
  • ***.5:  6
  • ***:  73
  • **.5:  30
  • **:  15
  • *.5:  1
  • *:  5
  • .5:  1
  • Average Film Score for the Year, out of 100:  62.9

Analysis:  A big drop of over two points.  The 13 **** films tie 1960 for the most in a single year and won’t be matched for a long time.  On the other hand, the 15 ** films are the most to date and are the first time in 9 years that ** films account for more than 10% of the films I’ve seen.  Overall, more than 4% of the films I’ve seen are worse than *.5 and over 15% are worse than **.5, both new highs (or lows, depending on how you want to look at it).

Oscar-Nominated Films I Have Not Seen:

  • The Stripper  (Best Costume Design)

Other Award Nominated Films I Have Not Seen (in descending order of points total):

  • none

Oscar Quality:

Best Picture:  Quite simply, this is a terrible year.  It ranks 84th out of 87 years and is the worst year after 1934.  The five nominees average a 64.6, a low-level *** and a drop of 16 points from the year before.  Tom Jones is the only nominee to rank above #360 and Cleopatra is the second worst nominee in history.  At least they got it right in picking Tom Jones as the winner – at a 94, it’s 29.4 points above the average nominee, the second highest rate of difference behind 1930.  Lilies of the Field is the second best nominee and it’s the fourth worst second best nominee.

The Winners:  Among the nominees, the Oscars don’t do such a bad job, averaging a 1.95 and only picking the worst film once (Original Screenplay).  But, their nominees aren’t very good so the winners don’t do so well overall, averaging a 6.86 among all films, worse than the previous four years.  In two categories, Black-and-White Art Direction (12th) and Sound (15th) their winner doesn’t make my Top 10 and in two others, Editing (21st) and Original Screenplay (23rd) they don’t even make my Top 20 (in fact, they don’t make my list at all).  I only completely agree with three winners (Adapted Screenplay, Actress, Black-and-White Costume Design) and they choose my #2 once (Scoring of Music – Adaptation or Treatment), the worst since 1958.  It’s the tech categories that are the worst, averaging a 7.33, the worst in seven years.

The Nominees:  It’s a bad year.  The overall score is a 45.5 and the Tech score is a 29.2, both the worst in five years and the Tech score is the second worst since 1934.  The major categories score a 41.7, the worst in five years and the third worst since 1942.  The acting is the saving grace, scoring an 87.0, the third best to date.
In the major categories, Picture scores a 20.6, the second worst since 1932 and Director scores a 47.2, the third worst since 1943.  Original Screenplay scores a 38.7, the third worst since 1947.
In the Tech categories, Color Cinematography scores a 0 and Black-and-White scores a 15.4, the first time both have been below 20 since 1948.  Sound scores a 7.1, an especially low score in a category where the score is usually low.  Black-and-White Costume Design has the best Tech score and it’s only a 60.

Golden Globe Best Picture – Comedy / Musical:  There isn’t a whole lot that can be done with this year.  Even dropping the Best Musical category and recombining it into Comedy doesn’t help that much.  This year ranks 49th out of 65 years.  Tom Jones, of course, is the easy winner – there are few years in which the winner is so much better than the average nominee.  The Globes are hampered by how they choose films again – the other nominees for my award were either ineligible (8 1/2, Death in the Garden) or quite unlikely (The Sword in the Stone).  My next best Comedy is Dr. No, which they probably wouldn’t have considered a Comedy.  Now we’re into *** territory, so films that aren’t even eligible for my list.  My next Comedy is Charade, which they really should have nominated (it, along with Come Blow Your Horn, would be nominated for Actor and Actress but not Picture, the first Comedies to have that happen).  The next two they did nominate – Irma La Douce and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.  So far they haven’t done so bad given the available films.  But their last three nominees (they nominated 6) are A Ticklish Affair, Under the Yum Yum Tree and Bye Bye Birdie, all low-level *** films and my #27, 28 and 33 films in this category.  They had better films available (not great, but better), like Move Along Darling, The Wheeler Dealers and Come Blow Your Horn, all of which earned acting nominations, but were all passed over for Picture.

Top 5 Films of the Year:

One of Bergman's masterpieces - not the first and not the last time he wins my Best Picture.

One of Bergman’s masterpieces – not the first and not the last time he wins my Best Picture.

1  –  Winter Light  (dir. Ingmar Bergman)

You can look at some of Bergman’s earlier films and wonder what they would have looked like in color – films with glorious costumes and sets like Smiles of a Summer Night or The Magician.  But some films belong in black and white.  Winter Light belongs in black and white, as much because the content of the film makes it so clear that it is not always easy to think in terms of black and white.

I never had more than a marginal belief in God, so, in spite of the forceful impact that brought about my complete atheism (discussed in the third review here), I wasn’t exactly what you would call shattered.  But for those who grow up in belief, for whom belief is an integral part of their lives, the tremendous experience of losing one’s faith can shatter the soul.  That is at the heart of several conversations at the center of this film, a film that revolves around a pastor who finds he can only deal with the notion of God’s silence by pushing it back from his conscious, one of his parishioners who, faced with the ever growing threat of the nuclear bomb finds himself in despair, the parishioner’s young wife who must be told of what happens and the former mistress of the pastor, an atheist who finds herself unable to believe in anything given the cruel circumstances that arise out of the end of the relationship.

All of these interactions are set against a stark winter day.  “There is a certain slant of light” Emily Dickinson once wrote, certainly the only thing she ever wrote that I have bothered to remember, and I partially remember it because I read it the same semester I first watched this film.  The Swedish title (Nattvardsgästerna) literally translates to “The Communicants” but, for once, I think the English language title captures the spirit perfectly.  That winter light that shines down, that lights the scene but fails to illuminate anything for the central characters, who find themselves as much alone in the absence of God’s voice as they are in their individual pain, makes for a quiet beauty that only Sven Nykvist, one of the most talented cinematographers in film history, could properly bring us.  Winter Light would be a brilliant script even if the rest of the film could not bear the weight of its depth.  But the film is brilliantly made, with great direction, fantastic cinematography, an excellent performance from Ingrid Thulin as the mistress and, most importantly, the best performance of Gunnar Björnstrand’s career, racked with doubt, uncertain of what to provide in the way of reassurance, and yet, stumbling forward and trying to provide something that will illuminate.

The Nobel Committee lost a chance to do something revolutionary back in 2007 with the death of Ingmar Bergman.  He was not only one of the great directors of all-time, but certainly the greatest and deepest screenwriter.  His films explore our humanity, our lack of knowledge about what lies beyond our lives and the very question of what we believe, and more importantly, why we believe.  He created real characters and fascinating stories and deserved the Nobel Prize for Literature more than almost anyone who was ever actually awarded the prize.  Hopefully, someday, the Nobel Prize will go to a screenwriter and the committee will realize that screenwriting is a form of literature and there is greatness to be found there.  That Bergman never won it reflects on the prize, not on him.

2  –  The Great Escape  (reviewed here)

Akira Kurosawa's first classic finally reaches the States, 14 years later.

Akira Kurosawa’s first classic finally reaches the States, 14 years later.

3  –  Stray Dog  (dir. Akira Kurosawa)

This film is so much more than what it seems to be, so much more than we would expect given the bare basics.  At its heart it is what would later be called a police procedural, and the plot would often be re-used as a “buddy cop” film.  But this film is far too intense to ever be thought of in that sense and far too good to deserve to be over-looked in any way, shape or form.

By the time this film was released in the United States, the public might have already had an idea what to expect.  They had already seen Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura in Seven Samurai and Rashomon and, individually, in Yojimbo and Ikiru.  But this was the film where the dynamic changed.  Shimura had been making films with Kurosawa for several years, dating back to during the war.  But in his 1948 film, Drunken Angel, Kurosawa brought in a new actor named Toshiro Mifune.  Shimura was the star of the film, the alcoholic doctor, but Mifune stole the show as the gangster the doctor must patch up.  For this film, it was Mifune who was the star as an intense young policeman (and war vet) whose gun is stolen on a bus and who must end up getting help from the veteran Shimura.  Both fall into their roles perfectly – Mifune not only is intense in his dedication to right the wrong he has committed in letting his gun get stolen, but also recognizes that with a little bit worse luck he might have been the thief looking for stolen goods in his desperate days after the war rather than on the right side of the law; Shimura is caustic and a bit cynical but is also determined to help the young man out and the two form a quick bond.  After Shimura is shot (another trope that was new when this film was released and would not be considered so today), Mifune’s intensity goes off the charts as he screams for his partner to survive, and indeed, even donates the blood that helps to ensure that he does.

This is so much better than a normal police film precisely because of the talent involved.  Not just Mifune and Shimura, of course, and I’m not even just talking about Kurosawa.  Look at the way the sets are done, with small, squalid little conditions opening up into other spaces, or how the camera finds the spaces between passageways.  Kurosawa was one of the greatest, if not the greatest director ever, but he had considerable talent around him and it was as a team that all of these people continually produced such masterpieces.

What is important to remember here is the placement of this in the proper place in history.  Kurosawa directed many films, he started with very good films (Sanshiro Sugata) and got better.  Drunken Angel was his first **** film, but this was his first real masterpiece, and though it ends up in 1963, it’s easy to see how this was the real breakthrough for all involved, the warm-up before Rashomon would catapult all of the people involved to world stardom.

4  –  Tom Jones  (reviewed here)

Andrei Tarkovsky joins the growing list of great Foreign directors.

Andrei Tarkovsky joins the growing list of great Foreign directors.

5  –  Ivan’s Childhood  (dir. Andrei Tarkovsky)

If you watch a film like Europa Europa or read a book like The Painted Bird, you can see the true cost of war upon the life of a child.  Childhood is shattered, innocence is lost, and the child can spend the rest of their life trying to remember what it was like before these things happened.  But Ivan’s Childhood, one of the very best films made about the cost of warfare, tells a very different kind of story.

Ivan, like Solek in Europa Europa and the boy in The Painted Bird, finds his life shattered by the Nazis.  He is a Russian whose family has been murdered.  But unlike Solek and the boy, Ivan’s is not a story of desperate survival as the Nazis press on.  It is a story of revenge.  Ivan’s childhood is shattered, yes, but rather than than run from that, rather than hide from it, he runs head-on towards those who have done the shattering, determined to exact a price from the brutal enemies.

There is no question that great films were made in the first 35 years of the Soviet Union, one simply has to look at the work of Eisenstein to know that.  But a great shift was allowed to occur in Soviet filmmaking after the death of Stalin in March of 1953.  From this point on, there was a realistic approach to war (the films showed realism in war before, but did not deal with the human cost of war) and we started to get films with a deeper level of story-telling in the cost, films like The Cranes are Flying and Ivan’s Childhood.

Ivan is still young but he is absolutely no longer a boy.  After the death of his parents, he fights with a group of partisans, and when they are captured, he goes to work for the army in reconnaissance.  His youth is helpful, as his lack of size allows him to often go unnoticed.  He is played with a burning intensity by Nikolai Burlyayev, determined to exact his payment from the Nazis.

This was the first film of Andrei Tarkovsky, who would become a major director of world cinema.  Sadly, Tarkovsky would die at the age of 54 having only made seven films.  This is the best, a dark look at the human cost of war, with first-rate direction, excellent cinematography and a story that never shies away from what the cost of such destruction is.

5 Worst Films  (#1 being the worst):

  1. 13 Frightened Girls
  2. Hercules and the Captive Women
  3. Battle of the Worlds
  4. Captain Sindbad
  5. Atom Age Vampire
More gimmicks, more crap.

More gimmicks, more crap.

13 Frightened Girls  (dir. William Castle)

There are several different reasons that film become “cult classics.”  There are films that don’t do well financially but are later revered as great films (Fantasia, say).  There are films of variable quality which are firmly beloved by a specific group of people (Rocky Horror Picture Show).  But there are also films that are quite bad which people love simply because they are bad (Roger Corman and Ed Wood, for example).  But there are also the gimmick films – the films that found an audience at some point for a specific reason that has nothing to do with the quality of the film.  William Castle was the master of the gimmick.  Sadly, he was not a master of quality.

Through the years, Castle would hook buzzers up to the chairs, have 3-D ghosts that flew off the screen and offer a refund if you were too frightened to finish watching the film.  The gimmick for this ridiculous film was that he had done a worldwide search to find 13 beautiful girls from 13 different countries, as they would be playing daughters of diplomats.  That there were 15 girls, that they did not accurately represent the countries and that not a single one had an ounce of acting talent never seems to have bothered him.

This is, quite frankly, a terrible film.  On a scale of 100, I have given it a 5 (.5 stars) and I have perhaps been too generous.  The plot has something to do with daughters of diplomats, one of them falling in love with an intelligence agent and some completely idiotic plot against the United States.  I can’t be bothered to remember what the hell the actual storyline was.  If you want an idea of what the plot is, feel free to go here and watch the trailer, except that the trailer is just an incoherent as the film is and you won’t really have any idea what the film is about.

Points:

  • Most Nighthawk Nominations:  Tom Jones  (11)
  • Most Nighthawk Awards:  Tom Jones  (16)
  • Most Nighthawk Points:  Tom Jones  (460)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Award:  Cleopatra
  • 2nd Place Award:  Stray Dog  (Original Screenplay, Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Sound, Foreign Film (1949))
  • 6th Place Award:  The Great Escape  (Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Nominations:  Winter Light / Stray Dog  (5)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Awards:  Winter Light  (3)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Points:  Winter Light  (330)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Drama Award:  Twilight of Honor
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Nominations:  Tom Jones  (10)  *
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Awards:  Tom Jones  (6)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Points:  Tom Jones  (585)  *
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Comedy Award:  The Wheeler Dealers

Note:  * means a Nighthawk record up to this point; ** ties a Nighthawk record

Progressive Leaders:

  • Most Nighthawk Nominations:  The Wizard of Oz  (18)
  • Most Nighthawk Awards:  The Wizard of Oz  (14)
  • Most Nighthawk Points:  The Wizard of Oz  (795)
  • Most Nighthawk Awards without winning Best Picture:  Frankenstein  /  The Magnificent Ambersons  (6)
  • Most Nighthawk Nominations without a Best Picture Nomination:  Yojimbo  (11)
  • Most Nighthawk Nominations without a Nighthawk Award:  Throne of Blood (13)
  • Actor:  Humphrey Bogart  (475)
  • Actress:  Bette Davis  (555)
  • Director:   Billy Wilder  (585)
  • Writer:  Billy Wilder  (880)
  • Cinematographer:  Arthur Edeson  /  Gregg Toland  (200)
  • Composer:  Max Steiner  (450)
  • Foreign Film:  Akira Kurosawa  (360)

Breakdown by Genre  (Foreign in parenthesis, best film in genre following, avg. score is afterwards, in parenthesis):

  • Drama:  57 (20)  –  Winter Light  (65.5)
  • Foreign:  43  –  Winter Light  (72.5)
  • Comedy:  32 (7)  –  Tom Jones  (61.8)
  • Horror:  10 (2)  –  The Birds  (60.1)
  • War:  9 (6)  –  The Great Escape  (75.4)
  • Musical:  6  –  All Night Long  (55.5)
  • Kids:  5  –  The Sword in the Stone  (58)
  • Suspense:  4  (2)  –  Stray Dog  (79.3)
  • Crime:  4  (3)  –  Shoot the Piano Player  (74.3)
  • Adventure:  4 (1)  –  The Loves of Salammbo  (57.5)
  • Fantasy:  4  –  Jason and the Argonauts  (36)
  • Sci-Fi:  4  (1)  –  X: The Man with X-Ray Eyes  (31.3)
  • Action:  2  (1)  –  Dr. No  (70.5)
  • Western:  2  –  McLintock  (59)
  • Mystery:  1  –  Charade  (72)

Analysis:  The 32 Comedies are by far a new high; the 61.8 average, however, is the lowest since 1945.  The 6 Musicals are the fewest since 1932; the 55.5 average is the lowest since 1929.  Foreign films have their highest average since 1954.
In spite of being only the second **** Horror film since the 1930’s, The Birds can’t make the Top 10.  There are 7 Foreign Films in the Top 10 – a new record; there are 12 in the Top 20 – also a new record.  Winter Light becomes the third Foreign Drama in five years to win Best Picture.

Studio Note:  United Artists leads the way with 17 films, the studio’s second highest total to date.  It is followed by MGM with 16 films.  The majors account for 58% of the films I’ve seen, the last gasp before the bottom falls out.  Of the majors, only UA and Universal average above a 63 (which means they average a *** film).  AIP continues to expand – I’ve seen 7 films in this year.
For the first time since 1930, only 3 of the Top 10 films come from the major studios and it’s for the same reason – the large number of Foreign films in the Top 10.  Only 8 of the Top 20 are from the majors – matching the all-time low from the year before.  With its second Bergman film to win my Best Picture, Janus Films becomes the first non-major to have two Nighthawk winners.

40 Films Eligible for Best Foreign Film (alphabetical, with director and country in parenthesis – red are ****, blue are ***.5 – both those colors qualify for my Best Foreign Film Award; an asterisk means it was the Official selection for the Oscar, two asterisks were nominated, three asterisks won the Oscar):

  • Adieu Philippine  (Rozier, France)
  • Alone on the Pacific  (Ichikawa, Japan)
  • Any Number Can Win  (Vernuil, France)
  • Barren Lives  (Dos Santos, Brazil)
  • Bay of the Angels  (Demy, France)
  • Black Sabbath  (Bava, Italy)
  • The Conjugal Bed  (Fererri, Italy)
  • Contempt  (Godard, France)
  • Il Diavolo  (Polidoro, Italy)
  • 8 1/2  (Fellini, Italy)  ***
  • The Fire Within  (Malle, France)  *
  • The Green Years  (Rocha, Portugal)
  • Hands Over the City  (Rosi, Italy)
  • High and Low  (Kurosawa, Japan)
  • Horror Castle  (Margheriti, Italy)
  • How to Be Loved  (Has, Poland)
  • I basilischi  (Wertmuller, Italy)
  • Ivan’s Childhood  (Tarkovsky, USSR)  *
  • A King Without Distraction  (Leterrier, France)
  • Knife in the Water  (Polanski, Poland)  **
  • Kozara  (Bulajic, Yugoslavia)  *
  • The Leopard  (Visconti, Italy)
  • The Little Prince and the Eight-Headed Dragon  (Serikawa, Japan)
  • The Love Eterne  (Li, Hong Kong)  *
  • Mahangar  (Ray, India)  *
  • Muriel  (Resnais, France)
  • The Organizer  (Monicelli, Italy)
  • Paper Man  (Rodriguez, Mexico)  *
  • Le Petit Soldat  (Godard, France)
  • The Playgirls and the Vampire  (Regnoli, Italy)
  • The Pram  (Widerberg, Sweden)
  • The Red Lanterns  (Georgiadis, Greece)  **
  • Rite of Spring  (de Oliveira, Portugal)
  • The Silence  (Bergman, Sweden)  *
  • Los Tarantos  (Rovira Beleta, Spain)  **
  • Twin Sisters of Kyoto  (Nakamura, Japan)  **
  • The Whip and the Body  (Bava, Italy)
  • Winter Light  (Bergman, Sweden)
  • Youth of the Beast  (Suzuki, Japan)
  • Zatoichi on the Road  (Yasuda, Japan)

Note:  For the third year in a row, Italy is the highest country, with 11 films this time, followed by France (8) and Japan (6).  After only having 1 Portuguese film prior to this, there are 2 in this year.

Foreign Films Submitted for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars That I Haven’t Seen:

  • Netherlands:  Like Two Drops of Water  (dir. Rademakers)
  • Pakistan:  The Veil  (dir. Anwar)

note:  At this point I am making a concerted effort to see as many submitted films as I can.  The full list can be found here.  This year I am 12 for 14, the best to this date.

Films Eligible in This Year But Originally Released in a Different Year:

  • Night is My Future  (1948)
  • Port of Call  (1948)
  • The Devil’s Wanton  (1949)
  • Stray Dog  (1949)
  • Mexican Bus Ride  (1952)
  • The Swindle  (1955)
  • Death in the Garden  (1956)
  • Il Grido  (1957)
  • White Nights  (1957)
  • Corridors of Blood  (1958)
  • Battle Beyond the Sun  (1959)
  • Fires on the Plain  (1959)
  • Atom Age Vampire  (1960)
  • The Bad Sleep Well  (1960)
  • Candide  (1960)
  • Classe Tous Risques  (1960)
  • Good Soldier Schweik  (1960)
  • Lady with the Little Dog  (1960)
  • Mill of the Stone Women  (1960)
  • Shoot the Piano Player  (1960)
  • The Tell-Tale Heart  (1960)
  • Battle of the Worlds  (1961)
  • Cleo from 5 to 7  (1961)
  • The Hellfire Club  (1961)
  • Hercules and the Captive Women  (1961)
  • Samson and the Seven Miracles of the World  (1961)
  • All Night Long  (1962)
  • Antigone  (1962)
  • Beauty and the Beast  (1962)
  • Chushingura  (1962)
  • The Condemned of Altona  (1962)
  • Dr. No  (1962)
  • The Elusive Corporal  (1962)
  • Five Miles to Midnight  (1962)
  • The Four Days of Naples  (1962)
  • A Girl Named Tamiko  (1962)
  • Joseph and His Brethren  (1962)
  • King Kong vs. Godzilla  (1962)
  • The L-Shaped Room  (1962)
  • Last Days of Sodom and Gomorrah  (1962)
  • The Lion  (1962)
  • Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner  (1962)
  • Love at Twenty  (1962)
  • The Loves of Salammbo  (1962)
  • Sundays and Cybele  (1962)
  • Term of Trial  (1962)
  • Therese Desqueyroux  (1962)
  • Three Daughters  (1962)
  • The Trial  (1962)

Note:  These 49 films only average a 64.2 because this list includes three of the six worst films and 8 of the 14 worst.  However, it also includes 3 of the Top 10 and 8 of the Top 20.  This list accounts for 11 films that earn a combined 28 Nighthawk nominations in this year, though the only win is Best Director.

Films Not Listed at Oscars.org:

  • Classe Tous Risques
  • The Good Soldier Schweik
  • Hands Over the City
  • The Hellfire Club
  • Paper Man
  • Port of Call
  • The Pram
  • Rite of Spring
  • Therese Desqueyroux
  • Youth of the Beast

Note:  I use the list at Oscars.org for deciding which year films are eligible in.  Some films, however, don’t appear in that database.  For those films, I use the IMDb.  These are the films that aren’t listed in the Oscars.org database but that end up in this year.
As usual, these are almost all Foreign films, the one exception being The Hellfire Club.  There is about an even split, with about half of them being films from 1963 that I can’t find a U.S. release date for, with the other half being films from earlier years that the IMDb lists a 1963 U.S. release date but may not have played Los Angeles and so doesn’t appear in the Academy database.  As none of them earn any awards attention from me, I’m not particularly worried about any of them.

Films Released This Year Originally But Eligible in a Different Year:

  • Alone on the Pacific  (1964)
  • Any Number Can Win  (1964)
  • Billy Liar  (1964)
  • Black Sabbath  (1964)
  • Blood Feast  (1964)
  • The Cool World  (1964)
  • Il Diavolo  (1964)
  • From Russia With Love  (1964)
  • High and Low  (1964)
  • The Little Prince and the Eight-Headed Dragon  (1964)
  • The Organizer  (1964)
  • The Playgirls and the Vampire  (1964)
  • The Servant  (1964)
  • The Silence  (1964)
  • Summer Holiday  (1964)
  • Sunday in New York  (1964)
  • Tamahine  (1964)
  • Los Tarantos  (1964)
  • Twin Sisters of Kyoto  (1964)
  • Bay of the Angels  (1965)
  • Contempt  (1965)
  • The Damned  (1965)
  • Horror Castle  (1965)
  • The Love Eterne  (1965)
  • Muriel  (1965)
  • The Red Lanterns  (1965)
  • Sammy Going South  (1965)
  • Station Six-Sahara  (1965)
  • The Whip and the Body  (1965)
  • Zatoichi on the Road  (1967)
  • Mahangar  (1968)
  • Le Petit Soldat  (1968)
  • Barren Lives  (1969)
  • The Fire Within  (1969)
  • Adieu Philippine  (1973)
  • I basilischi  (1974)

Note:  These 36 films average a 62.4.  There are two truly awful films (Blood Feast, The Playgirls and the Vampire) and only one great film (High and Low) and two very good films (From Russia with Love, Il Diavolo).  There’s no question that 1963 is a stronger year for using Academy eligibility, given all the great films added to this year and only one great film subtracted.  The Top 10 films on my list average a 92.7.  The top 10 films originally released in 1963 average a 91.7.  Ironically, Kurosawa still would have won Best Director, just for a different film.

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