chinatown

You know, to be farm land, you need something. Let me think. Oh yeah. Water!

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. Chinatown  *
  2. The Godfather Part II  *
  3. Day for Night  **
  4. Scenes from a Marriage  *
  5. The Conversation  *
  6. Badlands
  7. Young Frankenstein
  8. Blazing Saddles
  9. Lenny
  10. The Parallax View

Analysis:  Day for Night is the first film to win the Consensus without an Oscar nomination (only Mulholland Drive has done it since).  It does it by winning the NYFC, the NSFC (both in 1973) and the BAFTA.  Scenes from a Marriage also gets into the Top 5 without an Oscar nom (or even being Oscar eligible) by winning the NSFC Award.  Simply looking at Best Picture awards, Day for Night would be the most inexplicable Oscar snub to this point and is the only film until the 2000’s to win three awards and not earn an Oscar nom.
This is a fantastic group, even exceeding the year before.  The Top 5 is the best in five years and tied for the third best to date.  The Top 10 is the best in 12 years and is the third best to date.  All ten of these films are **** films.  And yet, with all of these amazing films to choose from, the final Oscar nominee for Best Picture was The Towering Inferno.
I should point out that Scenes from a Marriage wasn’t Oscar eligible because it had played on Swedish television.  But I count the film version of it as a film as did all the other awards groups (in spite of not being Oscar eligible, it finished in 9th in awards points).  Aside from Scenes, Badlands and The Parallax View also failed to earn any Oscar nominations.

  • Best Director
  1. Roman Polanski  (Chinatown)  *
  2. Francis Ford Coppola  (The Godfather Part II)  **
  3. Francois Truffaut  (Day for Night)  *
  4. Francis Ford Coppola  (The Conversation) *
  5. Ingmar Bergman  (Scenes from a Marriage)
  6. Terrence Malick  (Badlands)
  7. Alan J. Pakula  (The Parallax View)
  8. Sam Peckinpah  (Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia)
  9. Mel Brooks  (Young Frankenstein)
  10. Bob Fosse  (Lenny)  *

Analysis:  The fifth Consensus nominee is Sidney Lumet for Murder on the Orient Express, which is 13th on this list.  Coppola actually sets a new high in this category because he earns two nominations at the Globes and the DGA and I count them as one because of the way critics awards work (awarding both films).
It’s the first nomination for Malick (he earns a nomination because Coppola is nominated twice), the fourth for Truffaut (and, sadly, the last – he will not win a Nighthawk Award for Best Director), the fourth for Polanski (his only win), the third and fourth for Coppola and the eighth for Bergman, who moves up to 450 points and tie with Hitchcock and Lean for fourth place.  All of the directors in this Top 5 are in my Top 30 all-time.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. The Godfather Part II  **
  2. Young Frankenstein  *
  3. Murder on the Orient Express  *
  4. Lenny  *
  5. The Parallax View  *
  6. The Front Page  *
  7. The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz  *
  8. Thieves Like Us
  9. Sanshiro Sugata

Analysis:  I do like it when my top two films aren’t in the same screenplay categories so they both can win.  They both definitely deserve to win – this is only the second time that both the Oscar winners for Screenplay win the Nighthawk (1968 is the other).  Just remember – the Globes nominated the script for The Towering Inferno rather than all the other films on this list except Godfather.  It is certainly one of their more inexplicable choices.
The Godfather Part II won the Oscar and WGA and was Globe nominated.  Duddy won the WGA – Comedy and was Oscar nominated.  Lenny and Young Frankenstein were Oscar and WGA nominated.  But the fifth spot was shared among five films because while Murder was the final Oscar nominee, there were four other WGA nominees.
Mel Brooks earns his third nomination.  Coppola earns his third nomination and second win.
With all of the Oscar nominees in my Top 7, this category earns a score of 93.3, the second highest to-date.
I’ve read four of the sources here – The Godfather (which is just the source for the characters – the script itself is mostly original), Frankenstein (similar), Murder on the Orient Express and The Front Page (which I read when I did my Adapted Screenplay for 1931).

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Chinatown  **
  2. Scenes from a Marriage  *
  3. Day for Night
  4. The Conversation  *
  5. Blazing Saddles  *
  6. Badlands
  7. Playtime
  8. Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore  *
  9. A Woman Under the Influence
  10. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia

Analysis:  Chinatown sweeps the four awards groups (Oscar, WGA, Globes, BAFTA) but Scenes wins both the NYFC and NSFC.
This is, by a significant margin, the best Top 5 in this category to date and is easily one of the best of all-time.
Truffaut earns his fourth (and final) nomination.  Mel Brooks earns his fourth nomination (his third is above).  Coppola also earns his fourth (and his third is also above).  Bergman earns his 14th nomination; he’s up to 840 points and 2nd place overall.
The fifth Oscar nominee was the vastly over-rated Harry and Tonto.

  • Best Actor:
  1. Jack Nicholson  (Chinatown)
  2. Al Pacino  (The Godfather Part II)
  3. Gene Hackman  (The Conversation)
  4. Erland Josephson  (Scenes from a Marriage)
  5. Dustin Hoffman  (Lenny)
  6. Martin Sheen  (Badlands)
  7. Albert Finney  (Murder on the Orient Express)
  8. Warren Beatty  (The Parallax View)
  9. Gene Wilder  (Young Frankenstein)
  10. Warren Oates  (Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia)

Analysis:  Josephson earns his second nomination.  Hoffman earns his third nomination.  Pacino earns his third nomination in a row.  Hackman earns his fourth nomination, but it’s the first time he doesn’t win.  Nicholson earns his second win and his fourth nomination.
The best Top 5 since 1960 and tied for the 3rd best to-date.  Sheen would be a nominee in most years, as would Finney.
The actual Oscar winner was Art Carney in one of the more bizarre choices in Academy history.  He’s my #12, the lowest winner in five years and one of the few winners in this category to fall outside my Top 10.  In a year of such amazing performances, for Carney to win is just beyond me, especially since Nicholson would have to wait another year to win his Oscar, Hoffman would have to wait five years, Pacino would have to wait 18 (for one he didn’t deserve) and Finney has never won.  After only twice giving the Oscar to the worst choice in this category in the first 40 years, the Academy does it for the third time in 7 years.  Just a ridiculous choice.

  • Best Actress
  1. Faye Dunaway  (Chinatown)  *
  2. Liv Ullmann  (Scenes from a Marriage)  *
  3. Ellen Burstyn  (Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore)  *
  4. Sissy Spacek  (Badlands)
  5. Gena Rowlands  (A Woman Under the Influence)  *
  6. Valerie Perrine  (Lenny)  **
  7. Diahann Carroll  (Claudine)
  8. Charlotte Rampling  (The Night Porter)
  9. Diane Keaton  (The Godfather Part II)
  10. Jacqueline Bissett  (Day for Night)

Analysis:  Perrine actually wins the Consensus because she won the NYFC and NBR for Supporting Actress, though earned Oscar, Globe and BAFTA nominees in lead.  Ullmann, on the other hand, comes in second by winning the NYFC and NSFC and earning Globe and BAFTA nominations but wasn’t even Oscar eligible.
This Top 5 is not quite as high as the year before but is still a great Top 5.
It’s the only Nighthawk nomination for Rowlands, though some would find that blasphemous.  It’s the first nomination for Spacek, though she will very quickly have more.  It’s the third nomination for Burstyn in just four years.  It’s only the second nomination for Dunaway, but it’s also her second win.  It’s the sixth nomination for Ullmann in less than a decade – she’s now up to 245 points and is in sixth place.
With all five Oscar nominees in my Top 7 (really my Top 6 because, since Ullmann was ineligible for the Oscar, she doesn’t count towards the Oscar score), this category scores at a 93.9, the second highest since 1951.

  • deniroBest Supporting Actor:
  1. Robert De Niro  (The Godfather Part II)
  2. John Huston  (Chinatown)
  3. Michael Gazzo  (The Godfather Part II)
  4. Lee Strasberg  (The Godfather Part II)
  5. Gene Wilder  (Blazing Saddles)
  6. Robert Duvall  (The Godfather Part II)
  7. John Cazale  (The Godfather Part II)
  8. John Geilgud  (Murder on the Orient Express)
  9. Harvey Korman  (Blazing Saddles)
  10. Peter Boyle  (Young Frankenstein)

Analysis:  Gazzo and Stasberg earn their only nominations.  Huston earns his only acting nomination.  Wilder earns his second nomination.  A year after earning his first win and first two nominations, De Niro wins again.

  • Day for Night 3Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Valentina Cortese  (Day for Night)  **
  2. Ingrid Bergman  (Murder on the Orient Express)  *
  3. Talia Shire  (The Godfather Part II)
  4. Madeline Kahn  (Blazing Saddles)  *
  5. Diane Ladd  (Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore)  *
  6. Isela Vega  (Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia)
  7. Terri Garr  (Young Frankenstein)
  8. Louise Fletcher  (Thieves Like Us)
  9. Madeline Kahn  (Young Frankenstein)
  10. Cloris Leachmann  (Young Frankenstein)

Analysis:  Cortese actually sets a new record for Consensus points in Supporting Actress in spite of not winning the Oscar.  I definitely thought she should have won, as indeed did Ingrid Bergman, who apologized to Cortese from the podium for winning.  Cortese had won the NYFC, NSFC and BAFTA and was nominated for the Globe.
Cortese, Kahn, Ladd and Shire all earn their only nominations.  Bergman, on the other hand, 18 years after her last nomination, finally earns her 8th.  She’s now at 380 points and is in fourth place.
For the third time, this category has a perfect Oscar score of 100%, the only acting category to have three so far.

  • Best Editing:
  1. Chinatown
  2. The Godfather Part II
  3. Day for Night
  4. The Conversation
  5. Young Frankenstein
  6. Blazing Saddles
  7. The Parallax View
  8. Badlands
  9. Scenes from a Marriage
  10. Lenny

Analysis:  This is the best Top 5 to date, so of course only one of those Top 5 was actually nominated for the Oscar.  After four improving years, this is a setback in this category, with a score of 38.1, the lowest of the decade.  The winner was The Towering Inferno, which wasn’t on my list at all.

  • Best Cinematography:
  1. Chinatown  *
  2. The Godfather Part II  *
  3. The Parallax View  *
  4. Badlands
  5. Young Frankenstein
  6. The Conversation
  7. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia
  8. Lenny
  9. Day for Night
  10. Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

Analysis:  The Towering Inferno won the Oscar and earned a BAFTA nom, so it was the Consensus winner; it’s the fourth best among the Oscar nominees, the worst choice in this category since 1954.  Yes – it won the Oscar while The Godfather Part II wasn’t even nominated.  Actually, The Godfather Part II for a Best Picture winner with 11 nominations didn’t do that great among the Tech categories.
Two years after winning his first Nighthawk, Gordon Willis earns two nominations, coming in 2nd and 3rd, resulting of course, in no Oscar nominations.
A slight dip from the year before, but still one of the best Top 5 to-date.

  • Best Original Score:
  1. Chinatown
  2. The Godfather Part II
  3. Murder on the Orient Express
  4. Earthquake
  5. The Parallax View
  6. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
  7. The Sugarland Express
  8. Young Frankenstein
  9. Sanshiro Sugata
  10. The Three Musketeers

Analysis:  Jerry Goldsmith earns his third nomination and his first win.  But far more important is the first nomination for John Williams, this one for Earthquake.  By the end of the decade he’ll be in the Top 5 in Nighthawk points and by the end of the 80’s he’ll be #1 by quite a ways.  He also comes in 7th place.

  • Best Sound:
  1. The Conversation
  2. Chinatown
  3. The Godfather Part II
  4. Young Frankenstein
  5. Earthquake
  6. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia
  7. The Parallax View
  8. Sanshiro Sugata
  9. The Towering Inferno
  10. Badlands

Analysis:  With all five nominees in my Top 10, this year scores at a 85.3, the highest to-date and only the third time the score has broken 60.  It won’t be beaten until 1986.
This illustrates how far this category has come: since 1950, when the category settled in at five nominees, Earthquake is only the third film to come in fourth among my ranking of the nominees and yet win the Oscar (no last-place film has done it to this point).  Yet, Earthquake makes my Top 5 while 11 of the Oscar winners in that same stretch couldn’t make my Top 10.  After this year, it will be even better – the next 11 winners will all be my #1 or #2.

  • chinatown-adBest Art Direction:
  1. Chinatown
  2. The Godfather Part II
  3. Young Frankenstein
  4. Murder on the Orient Express
  5. The Conversation
  6. The Great Gatsby
  7. Playtime
  8. The Three Musketeers
  9. Scenes from a Marriage
  10. Day for Night

Analysis:  This Top 5 is tied with several other years for the second best to-date.  If this category had gone for the costume dramas like Murder and Gatsby like Costume Design did rather than the disaster epics (they nominated both Earthquake and The Towering Inferno) this category would have scored a lot better than a 47.4.

  • Best Visual Effects
  1. The Golden Voyage of Sinbad
  2. Earthquake
  3. The Towering Inferno

Analysis:  I griped above about how Gordon Willis couldn’t ever manage Oscar nominations for his brilliant Cinematography.  How about Ray Harryhausen?  I wrote a lot about him here, and this is just another time where he should have won the Oscar and couldn’t even manage a nomination.

  • Best Sound Editing
  1. The Conversation
  2. Chinatown
  3. Earthquake
  4. Young Frankenstein
  5. The Godfather Part II
  6. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia
  7. The Towering Inferno
  • Best Costume Design:
  1. Chinatown
  2. The Godfather Part II
  3. The Great Gatsby
  4. Murder on the Orient Express
  5. The Three Musketeers
  6. Sanshiro Sugata
  7. Thieves Like Us
  8. Daisy Miller
  9. Blazing Saddles
  10. The Front Page

Analysis:  The best Top 5 since 1956 and the second best to-date.  The Academy mostly got this one right.  It scores at a 94.4, the highest in seven years and the third highest to-date.

  • young-frankenstein-peter-boyleBest Makeup
  1. Young Frankenstein
  2. The Godfather Part II

Analysis:  I tried to find a picture of Madeline Kahn with the awesome hair and Boyle in the same shot, but couldn’t.  Still, aside from those, there’s also the amusing ever-moving hump on Marty Feldman.

  • Best Original Song:
  1. “Blazing Saddles”  (Blazing Saddles)
  2. “Ballad of Rock Ridge”  (Blazing Saddles)
  3. “The French Mistake”  (Blazing Saddles)
  4. “We May Never Love Like This Again”  (The Towering Inferno)

Analysis:  The semi-finalists are in orange.  Obviously none of them make my list.  It’s really just a pretty weak year for songs.  This is the worst group in this category since 1960.  But, sadly because two of these songs are Oscar nominees while the Academy usually by-passes the best songs, this year scores at a 58.8, the highest score in five years.

  • Best Animated Film:
  1. none

Analysis:  There are three films eligible in this year.  The best is Fantastic Planet, a French film from the year before.  It’s a mid-range ***.   Then there is Dunderklumpen, a **.5 Swedish Kids film – surprisingly, the only one of the three films that is for kids.  The last is The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat.  It’s a pretty terrible sequel to Fritz the Cat and I rate it at *.

  • amarcord-movie-poster-1974-1020435757Best Foreign Film:
  1. Amarcord  **
  2. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul
  3. The Phantom of Liberty
  4. And Now My Love  **

note:  Films in green were submitted to the Academy but not nominated (none this year among my list).

Analysis:  Constant readers will know that I am not a huge fan of Fellini, especially later Fellini.  I admire his direction but his films often go too far off the deep end.  But there’s no question to me that Amarcord is my winner.  It’s not even close.
The reason there are two winners is that And Now My Love was Globe nominated and won the LAFC, both in 1975, so I have it in that year for the Consensus, even though it’s eligible here.
West Germany earns its second nomination with the first for Fassbinder.  Fellini earns his first nomination in 11 years and his second win.  This will be his last nomination, finishing him with 140 points and in 7th place.  He had the bad luck to lose with three of his best films to Bergman in 1957, 1960 and 1963.  Luis Buñuel earns his 10th nomination, his sixth within the last decade.  He’s now at 240 points.
Overall, this is a massive drop from the year before.  The Top 5 are 32 points lower and only four of them make my list (my #5, Lacombe Lucien, I have as a high ***).

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.

  • Chinatown  (700)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound, Art Direction, Sound Editing, Costume Design
  • The Godfather Part II   (520)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound, Art Direction, Sound Editing, Costume Design, Makeup
  • The Conversation  (295)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Editing, Sound, Art Direction, Sound Editing
  • Day for Night  (260)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actress, Editing, Foreign Film (1973)
  • Scenes from a Marriage  (225)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Foreign Film (1973)
  • Young Frankenstein  (170)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Editing, Cinematography, Sound, Art Direction, Sound Editing, Makeup
  • Blazing Saddles  (140)
    • Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Original Song, Original Song, Original Song
  • Murder on the Orient Express  (130)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actress, Original Score, Art Direction, Costume Design
  • Badlands  (105)
    • Director, Actress, Cinematography
  • The Parallax View  (90)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Original Score
  • Earthquake  (85)
    • Original Score, Sound, Visual Effects, Sound Editing
  • Lenny  (75)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor
  • Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore  (65)
    • Actress, Supporting Actress
  • The Golden Voyage of Sinbad  (40)
    • Visual Effects
  • A Woman Under the Influence  (35)
    • Actress
  • The Towering Inferno  (30)
    • Visual Effects, Original Song
  • Sanshiro Sugata  (20)
    • Foreign Film (1943)
  • Playtime  (20)
    • Foreign Film (1967)
  • The Great Gatsby  (15)
    • Costume Design
  • The Three Musketeers  (15)
    • Costume Design

Analysis:  With several films dominating the nominations, there are 12 fewer films than the year before.  The Godfather Part II sets a new record for most points without winning Best Picture.  It also joins Mary Poppins as the only films with more than 13 nominations to not win Best Picture.  It even sets a new record with 9 2nd place finishes.

Best Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia

Analysis:  A very good Peckinpah film which would have earned nominations in most years.  Even in this very good year it has three 6th place finishes (Supporting Actress, Sound, Sound Editing) and seven Top 10 finishes.

Biggest Awards Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • Harry and Tonto

Analysis:  Nominated for Screenplay at the Oscars, nominated for the WGA and nominated for Picture – Comedy at the Globes, but it won Best Actor – Comedy at the Globes (in a weak year) and Best Actor at the Oscars (a terrible choice).  It’s my #49 film of the year, a lower range *** film.

Nighthawk Golden Globes:

Drama:

  • Best Picture
  1. Chinatown
  2. The Godfather Part II
  3. Day for Night
  4. Scenes from a Marriage
  5. The Conversation

Analysis:  The win for Scenes and nomination for Day for Night are both in Foreign Film (and Day for Night‘s was in 1973).  This is the best Top 5 in this category since 1946 and the second best to-date – just a magnificent group of films.

  • Best Director
  1. Roman Polanski  (Chinatown)
  2. Francis Ford Coppola  (The Godfather Part II)
  3. Francois Truffaut  (Day for Night)
  4. Francis Ford Coppola  (The Conversation)
  5. Ingmar Bergman  (Scenes from a Marriage)

Analysis:  It’s the third nomination for Polanski, the fourth (and last) for Truffaut and the second and third for Coppola.  It’s the seventh for Bergman and he goes up to 405 points and a tie for 6th place.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. The Godfather Part II
  2. Murder on the Orient Express
  3. Lenny
  4. The Parallax View
  5. Thieves Like Us

Analysis:  Coppola earns his second Drama win for writing (and third nomination).

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Chinatown
  2. Scenes from a Marriage
  3. Day for Night
  4. The Conversation
  5. Badlands

Analysis:  Truffaut earns his sixth (and final) Drama nomination for writing and sadly never manages to win the Nighthawk.  Coppola earns his fourth nomination (his third is above).  Bergman earns his 16th Drama writing nomination; he’s at 920 points and is in 1st place by a long way.
This is, by a long way, the best Top 5 in this category to date and certainly one of the best of all-time.

  • chinatown (1)Best Actor:
  1. Jack Nicholson  (Chinatown)
  2. Al Pacino  (The Godfather Part II)
  3. Gene Hackman  (The Conversation)
  4. Erland Josephson  (Scenes from a Marriage)
  5. Dustin Hoffman  (Lenny)

Analysis:  It’s the second straight nomination for Josephson.  It’s the second nomination for Hoffman.  It’s the third of four straight nominations for Pacino.  It’s the fourth nomination for Hackman and the first time that he doesn’t win.  It’s the fourth nomination for Nicholson and his second win.
The fifth Globe nominee was James Caan for The Gambler who is #14 on my Drama list.
This is the best Top 5 in this category since 1951 and the second best to-date.

  • Best Actress
  1. Faye Dunaway  (Chinatown)
  2. Liv Ullmann  (Scenes from a Marriage)
  3. Ellen Burstyn  (Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore)
  4. Sissy Spacek  (Badlands)
  5. Gena Rowlands  (A Woman Under the Influence)

Analysis:  It’s the only nomination for Rowlands.  It’s the first nomination for Spacek, the third for Burstyn and the second for Dunaway (but the first of three straight).  Ullmann is earning her third straight (after two wins) and her seventh overall, giving her 315 Drama points and putting her in a tie for 5th place.  The fifth Globe nominee is Valerie Perrine, who is my #6.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Robert De Niro  (The Godfather Part II)
  2. John Huston  (Chinatown)
  3. Michael Gazzo  (The Godfather Part II)
  4. Lee Strasberg  (The Godfather Part II)
  5. Robert Duvall  (The Godfather Part II)

Analysis:  Gazzo and Strasberg earn their only nominations.  Huston earns his only acting nomination.  It’s the second nomination for Duvall.  It’s the second win and third nomination for De Niro.  The Globes didn’t nominate anyone from The Godfather Part II but gave two nominations in this category to The Great Gatsby.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Valentina Cortese  (Day for Night)
  2. Ingrid Bergman  (Murder on the Orient Express)
  3. Talia Shire  (The Godfather Part II)
  4. Diane Ladd  (Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore)
  5. Isela Vega  (Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia)

Analysis:  These are the only nominations for Cortese, Ladd and Vega.  It’s the first nomination for Shire.  Bergman, meanwhile, earns her ninth nomination and is at 415 points and in fourth place.  Cortese was actually Globe nominated the year before.

Points:

  • Chinatown  (440)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor
  • The Godfather Part II  (390)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Scenes from a Marriage  (205)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Actress
  • Day for Night  (195)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actress
  • The Conversation  (125)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor
  • Lenny  (75)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor
  • Badlands  (75)
    • Original Screenplay, Actress
  • Murder on the Orient Express  (70)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actress
  • Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore  (65)
    • Actress, Supporting Actress
  • The Parallax View  (40)
    • Adapted Screenplay
  • Thieves Like Us  (40)
    • Adapted Screenplay
  • A Woman Under the Influence  (35)
    • Actress
  • Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia  (30)
    • Supporting Actress

Analysis:  Overall, the eight Drama categories in this year are the best since 1946 and the second best to-date.  They’re just really strong all across the board.  The Godfather Part II has the second most points for a film that doesn’t win best Picture – Drama, behind only The Lion in Winter.  It also ties From Here to Eternity and The Godfather for the most Drama noms.

Best Drama Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • Sanshiro Sugata

Analysis:  Kurosawa’s first film, finally getting a U.S. release 30 years later.  It’s my #15 film of the year, which makes it my #12 among Dramas.

Comedy / Musical:

  • Best Picture
  1. Young Frankenstein
  2. Blazing Saddles
  3. Playtime
  4. The Front Page

Analysis:  The weakest Top 5 in this category since 1965 (the fifth film was The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, which came close to making my list).  The difference in the average Top 5 in Drama (96.6) and Comedy (84.0) is 12.6, the highest since 1965.  The Globes totally botched this, as I discuss below.

  • Best Director
  1. Mel Brooks  (Young Frankenstein)
  2. Mel Brooks  (Blazing Saddles)
  3. Jacques Tati  (Playtime)
  4. Billy Wilder  (The Front Page)

Analysis:  Tati earns his third nomination.  Brooks earns his third and fourth nominations and moves up to 225 points and a tie for 10th place.  Billy Wilder earns his seventh nomination, but with three wins, he’s up to 450 points and into 2nd place behind only Charlie Chaplin.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Young Frankenstein
  2. The Front Page
  3. The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz

Analysis:  Mel Brooks wins his second award.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Blazing Saddles
  2. Playtime

Analysis:  After a gap of 16 years, Jacques Tati finally earns his fourth Comedy writing nom.  Mel Brooks wins his third award with his fourth nomination – he’s at 280 points and tied for fourth in Comedy writing.

  • young-frankensteinBest Actor:
  1. Gene Wilder  (Young Frankenstein)
  2. Art Carney  (Harry and Tonto)
  3. Walter Matthau  (The Front Page)
  4. Richard Dreyfuss  (The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz)
  5. Gene Wilder  (Rhinocerous)

Analysis:  It’s the only nomination for Carney.  Dreyfuss earns his first nomination, but it’s also the first of three in four years.  Matthau earns his third nomination.  Wilder earns his second win and his second and third nominations – he is the dominant comedic actor of this year.  I’m appalled that he wasn’t nominated at the Globes.  The Globes nominated James Earl Jones for Claudine (my #7), Jack Lemmon for The Front Page (my #8) and Burt Reynolds for The Longest Yard (not even on my list).

  • carrollBest Actress
  1. Diahann Carroll  (Claudine)

Analysis:  This is the only nomination for Carroll.  The Globe went to Raquel Welch for The Three Musketeers, so right away you can tell how bad a year it was.  It was a male dominated year, as I had a list of 8 in Best Actor and only have one on this list.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Gene Wilder  (Blazing Saddles)
  2. Harvey Korman  (Blazing Saddles)
  3. Peter Boyle  (Young Frankenstein)
  4. Marty Feldman  (Young Frankenstein)
  5. Zero Mostel  (Rhinocerous)

Analysis:  It’s the only nomination for Korman, Boyle and Feldman.  It’s the second nomination for Mostel.  Wilder earns his third win and his fourth nomination, earning that rare double win in the same year.  All of this puts him at 225 Comedy points which leaps him all the way up to 7th place all-time.
This is the best of the Comedy acting categories and the best in this category in four years.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Madeline Kahn  (Blazing Saddles)
  2. Terri Garr  (Young Frankenstein)
  3. Madeline Kahn  (Young Frankenstein)
  4. Cloris Leachmann  (Young Frankenstein)

Analysis:  This gives Kahn three nominations in two years.  It’s the only nomination for Leachmann but Garr will earn another eight years later.  Leachmann was actually nominated as a lead which is rather ridiculous.

Points:

  • Young Frankenstein  (300)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress
  • Blazing Saddles  (300)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • The Front Page  (170)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor
  • Playtime  (135)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay
  • The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz  (75)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor
  • Claudine  (70)
    • Actress
  • Rhinocerous  (65)
    • Actor, Supporting Actor
  • Harry and Tonto  (35)
    • Actor

Analysis:  Young Frankenstein has the most nominations in Comedy in 11 years and ties for the second-most ever.

Best Comedy Not Nominated for any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • The Three Musketeers

Analysis:  It’s good (my #25 of the year, my #7 Comedy, high level ***), but not good enough to earn any of my awards, even if it was nominated for Best Picture and won Best Actress at the Globes.

Roundup for the Year in Film:

Eligible Films I Have Seen:  140

By Stars:

  • ****:  10
  • ***.5:  7
  • ***:  47
  • **.5:  37
  • **:  25
  • *.5:  5
  • *:  8
  • .5:  1
  • Average Film Score for the Year, out of 100:  58.5

Analysis:  The average drops five points from the year before.  That’s because there is a huge drop in the number of *** films.  While the films above *** account for 12% of the total (around the same as previous years), the *** films only account for a 1/3, by a long way the lowest total.  That means, for only the second time (1970 was the first), over half the films are less than ***.

Oscar-Nominated Films I Have Not Seen:

  • none

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

  • none

Oscar Quality:

Best Picture:  There are two ways of looking at this year.  You could say, hey this is 12 spots lower than the year before, with an average nominee four points lower than the year before and it has a film in the bottom 20 of all-time.  Or, you could say this year has four great nominees, its winner is among the Top 20 winners (a big improvement over the year before) and this year ranks not only at 19th all-time (pretty damn good), but the second best to-date, behind only the year before.  Yes, The Towering Inferno was a terrible choice, and if they had gone with Best Director and Screenplay nominee Day for Night instead this year would rank 2nd all-time.  This is still only the third time in the 5 BP nominee era that there have been four **** nominees, and that’s a great thing.

The Winners:  The winners were not great choices, namely because Chinatown dominates my awards and only won one Oscar.  I only agree with four winners – the two Screenplay awards (for only the second time), Supporting Actor and Foreign Film.  The Tech winners averaged a 3 among nominees which is the worst since 1942.  Overall, the winners averaged a 2.35 among nominees (the worst since 1965).  Among all films, it wasn’t as bad since The Godfather Part II was in second place in most of my categories – only 3 Oscar winners won the Nighthawk, but 7 were second place Nighthawk finishers.  That lead to a 4.39 average among films, still the weakest in three years, but not nearly as bad.  In fact, only three winners (Actor, Editing, Cinematography) failed to earn a Nighthawk nominee and that’s reflected in the nominee scores.

The Nominees:  Overall, the score is a 74.5, setting another new high (which will be broken the next year).  The Tech score is a 63.6, which actually ties the high to-date, in spite of scores below 50 in Editing, Cinematography and Art Direction.  The acting is a strong 88.1, with a perfect 100 score in Supporting Actress.  In the major categories, the score is a 79.9, the second highest score to-date behind only the year before, lead by a 93.3 in Adapted Screenplay, the best score since 1951.

Golden Globe Best Picture – Comedy / Musical:  The Academy did fairly well, but in this category at least, the Globes completely botched it.  In a year with Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles, two absolutely brilliant Comedies, they earned two acting nominations from the Globes and that was it (and neither was for Gene Wilder).  There’s no excuse for nominating tripe like The Little Prince or giving the award to The Longest Yard when you have two films like that not even getting nominated.  They at least got one nominee right (The Front Page).  And nominating the fun The Three Musketeers is at least tolerable.  But, like the Academy they over-rated Harry and Tonto.  They couldn’t nominate Playtime, as it was French, but they nominated The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz as a Foreign Film (it was from Canada).  They still could have gone with Claudine, which is better than four of their nominees, including the winner, or even with Rhinoceros (again, ignoring Wilder).  This year ranks at #60, the worst year in five years and even now still the sixth worst all-time.

Top 5 Films of the Year:

1  –  Chinatown  (reviewed here and here)

2  –  The Godfather Part II  (reviewed here)

3  –  Day for Night  (reviewed here)

Bergman’s brilliant meditation on marriage. Loved by the critics. Declared ineligible by the Academy.

4  –  Scenes from a Marriage  (dir. Ingmar Bergman)

Gene Siskel used to have a famous question about films: is this as interesting as watching a documentary of the same people eating dinner?  That was put to the test, of course, with My Dinner with Andre, which is is those two people eating dinner.  But, before we get to that, we have Scenes from a Marriage.

Scenes from a Marriage was a massive critical hit.  It would win Best Foreign Film and be nominated for Best Actress at the Globes.  It would earn a BAFTA nom for Best Actress.  It would win Best Actress and Screenplay at the NYFC.  But the biggest plaudits came from the NSFC, which would honor it with Actress, Supporting Actress, Screenplay and Best Picture.  But the Oscars were having none of it: “The Academy disqualified [Bergman’s] movie because of a rule stating that a TV show had to play in theaters the same calendar year it was telecast.  The film’s American distributor, Don Rugoff, wrote the Academy, charging, ‘This is a technical rule which hampers the Academy’s recognition of quality,’ and then asked why they hadn’t been so picky in 1971 when they nominated The Sorrow and the Pity after it had been shown the year before on French TV.”  (Inside Oscar, p 500).  A number of actresses would protest the decision, including three who would have been Liv Ullmann’s competition had she been eligible: Ellen Burstyn, Gena Rowlands and Diahann Carroll.

Scenes illustrates two things: that you can watch things in two different ways and they can be just as artistically satisfying, and that you can take the kind of minutiae as two people having dinner and make it into great art.  It had begun as a six-hour television series (six one hour parts) and then Bergman re-edited it into a little less than three hours for a cinematic release.  Both versions of the film are extremely moving.  If you watch the shorter version you won’t feel like anything is missing, but if you watch the longer version it doesn’t overstay its welcome.  That’s because Bergman worked so well with his two primary actors, Erland Josephson and Liv Ullmann.  They feel like a real married couple, in their arguments, in their love-making, in the way they pick at each other’s wounds, yet lick them clean again.  They are both fantastic performances and easily deserved to be nominated at the Oscars.  If you find yourself too afraid of devoting six hours to this film, think of it as binge-watching a good show.  Yes, it’s heavy and it leaves you weary at the end, but that’s what relationships do and that’s part of why this film is so moving.

5  –  The Conversation  (reviewed here)

5 Worst Films  (#1 being the worst):

  1. Death Wish
  2. Airport 1975
  3. Macunaima
  4. Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat
  5. 99 and 44/100% Dead

note:  New Line and AIP are still on this list (with #3 and #4).  But the bottom two films are both from major studios: Paramount and Universal.  There is a 10 point difference between Death Wish and Airport 1975.

As distasteful as The Punisher and a bad sign of things to come.

As distasteful as The Punisher and a bad sign of things to come.

Death Wish  (dir. Michael Winner)

As I have mentioned in a couple of posts, I regularly read ChronicMegaMonkey, a website about Marvel Comics written by fnord.  I enjoy it, partially because fnord writes hilarious reviews, partially because it brings me back to hours and hours of reading those comics when I owned them, and partially because I enjoy interacting with several of the regular commentators.  That does not mean I read everything on the website, because while fnord is worth reading, some of the comics aren’t.  There are certain ones I completely skip over and The Punisher, in all of his different titles, is one of them.

The Punisher first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #129, cover-dated February 1974, several months before Death Wish came out (though Death Wish was based on a 1972 novel, so I’m not saying the film was influenced by the comic).  It’s interesting that they came out at the same time, because it took a long time for The Punisher to really become popular (he’s hard to fit it with the Comic Code) – he would have less than two dozen appearances before he finally got his own ongoing series, at a time when Death Wish was on its fourth film.  But I find both to be distasteful in the same way; that people flock to both of them (Death Wish was a big success and The Punisher became so popular in the early 90’s he had several concurrent ongoing series) I find distressing.  That’s not to say I oppose a good entertaining film in which the right people get blown away – I love both Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained after all – it’s just that there’s a more serious tone to this film and to The Punisher that I find deeply disturbing.  I’m a man, after all, who doesn’t believe that anyone has a right to even own a gun and who believes that Tsarnaev should not have received the death penalty.  In other words, I find Tarantino to be fun, while The Punisher and Death Wish point out aspects of American society that I find to be deeply disturbing.

All of that aside, the reason this film sits down at the bottom of the list for 1974 is not because of its politics but its aesthetics.  Or, more precisely, its complete lack of any.  Charles Bronson had once been, if not a good actor, at least one who was right for certain roles in films like The Great Escape and The Magnificent Seven.  But here, he’s not acting – he’s just brutally walking around with a scowl killing who he wants.  The film is brutal in ways that are unnecessary.  It is written at a level that goes beyond simplicity – it’s not that the film argues for the main character’s actions, but that it doesn’t actually provide any argument at all other than that it feels right.  This is, quite frankly, a bad film, poorly written, with terrible direction.  And yet, having seen the fourth Death Wish film (it, along with several other terrible Bronson 80’s films were directed by former Oscar nominee J. Lee Thompson), this isn’t even the worst in the series.

Points:

  • Most Nighthawk Nominations:   The Godfather Part II  (16)
  • Most Nighthawk Awards:  Chinatown  (10)
  • Most Nighthawk Points:  Chinatown  (700)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Award:  Earthquake
  • 2nd Place Award:  The Godfather Part II  (Picture, Director, Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Art Direction, Costume Design, Makeup)
  • 6th Place Award:  Badlands  (Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Nominations:  The Godfather Part II  (9)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Awards:  Chinatown   (5)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Points:  Chinatown   (440)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Drama Award:  A Woman Under the Influence
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Nominations:  Young Frankenstein  (9)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Awards:  Young Frankenstein  (4)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Points:  Young Frankenstein  (490)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Comedy Award:  Harry and Tonto

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

Note:  A Woman Under the Influence is actually a good film, my #24 of the year, but the Drama films are so dominated by great films, that it is the weakest of the 13 films nominated there.

Note:  The Godfather Part II sets a new record with 9 2nd place finishes.

Progressive Leaders:

  • Most Nighthawk Nominations:  The Wizard of Oz  /  The Godfather  (18)
  • Most Nighthawk Awards:  The Wizard of Oz  /  Bonnie and Clyde  (14)
  • Most Nighthawk Points:  Bonnie and Clyde  (865)
  • 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:  Katharine Hepburn  (560)
  • Director:   Billy Wilder  (585)
  • Writer:  Billy Wilder  (960)
  • Cinematographer:  Arthur Edeson  /  Gregg Toland / Sven Nykvist  (200)
  • Composer:  Max Steiner  (450)
  • Foreign Film:  Akira Kurosawa  (440)

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

  • Foreign:  48  –  Day for Night  (62.9)
  • Drama:  44 (23)  –Day for Night  (61.1)
  • Comedy:  22 (8)  –  Young Frankenstein  (66.2)
  • Horror:  17 (1)  –  Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell  (42.5)
  • Crime:  15 (3)  –  The Godfather Part II  (61.6)
  • Action:  11 (4)  –  Sanshiro Sugata  (53.8)
  • Musical:  9 (2)  –  That’ll Be the Day  (52.4)
  • Kids:  6 (2)  –  The Hideaways  (54.3)
  • Suspense:  3  –  The Conversation  (85.3)
  • Adventure:  3  –  The Three Musketeers  (63.7)
  • Western:  3 (2)  –  My Name is Nobody  (54.3)
  • Fantasy:  3 (1)  –  Zardoz  (28)
  • Mystery:  2  –  Chinatown  (92)
  • Sci-Fi:  1 (1)  –  Fantastic Planet  (65)
  • War:  1 (1)  –  Reed: Insurgent Mexico  (64)

Analysis:  The 11 Action films are tied for the most to-date.  The 15 Crime films are tied for the most to-date.  Even the 6 Kids films are tied for the most to-date.  The 17 Horror films are the second most to-date.  The 44 Dramas, on the other hand, are the fewest in 7 years.
For the first time since 1963, there are multiple Suspense films in the Top 10; for the first time since 1947, there are multiple Suspense films in the Top 10 without one of time being a Hitchcock film.  There are 5 Crime films in the Top 20 – a new high.  There are 2 Mysteries in the Top 20 for the first time since 1959.  There are only 4 Foreign films in the Top 20, the lowest since 1957.  Chinatown becomes just the third Mystery to win the Nighthawk.

Paramount_1974_ws2Studio Note:  For the first time since 1966 only one studio has more than 10 films – Paramount, lead in its new Golden Age by Robert Evans, has 15 and they include my #1, #2, #5 and #10.  It’s the first studio in 17 years to have four Top 10 films and the first since 1941 to have 6 Top 20 films.  It does equally well at the Oscars, with three Best Picture nominees, including the winner, and earning 10 wins and 39 nominations.  It wins 7 Globes (including both Best Picture awards) and earns 28 of the 65 feature film nominations.  Chinatown is the sixth Paramount film to win the Nighthawk, making it the third studio to reach six wins.
Aside from Paramount, there are three Warners films in my Top 10 (Day for Night, Badlands, Blazing Saddles), making this the first time since 1944 that two studios have accounted for so much of the Top 10.
MGM basically dies out at this point – they only release four films in the year, one of which was eligible in 1973, two of which I haven’t seen and one of which was a documentary.  So, MGM, the studio which had the most films that I had seen in the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s and the second most in the 60’s, had 0 films on my list in this year and won’t go above 5 again before the merger with UA, after which it gets confusing.  Other studios also fall in production – I’ve only seen 7 Columbia films (lowest since 1961) and 8 UA films (lowest since 1953).  Overall, the majors only account for 41% of the films I’ve seen, by far the lowest to this point.  In spite of that, the majors account for 9 of the Top 10 and 16 of the Top 20.

55 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):

  • Ali: Fear Eats the Soul  (Fassbinder, West Germany)
  • Alice in the Cities  (Wenders, West Germany)
  • Allonsanfan  (Taviani, Italy)
  • Amarcord  (Fellini, Italy)  ***
  • And Now My Love  (Lelouch, France)
  • Ankur  (Benegal, India)
  • Arabian Nights  (Pasolini, Italy)
  • At Home Among Strangers, a Stranger Among His Own  (Mikhalkov, USSR)
  • Battles Without Honour or Humanity: Final Episode  (Fukasaku, Japan)
  • Calzonin Inspector  (Arau, Mexico)  *
  • The Castle of Sand  (Nomura, Japan)
  • Cats Play  (Makk, Hungary)  **
  • Celine and Julie Go Boating  (Rivette, France)
  • The Clockmaker of Saint Paul  (Tavernier, France)
  • Conversation Piece  (Visconti, Italy)
  • The Deluge  (Hoffman, Poland)  **
  • The Dervish and Death  (Velmirovic, Yugoslavia)  *
  • Dunderklumpen  (Ahlin, Sweden)
  • Effi Briest  (Fassbinder, West Germany)
  • The Ferocious One  (Okeyev, USSR)
  • Going Places  (Blief, France)
  • Help! The Doctor is Drowning  (ven der Heyde, Netherlands)  *
  • Immoral Tales  (Borowczyk, France)
  • In Search of a Wall  (Bracho, Mexico)
  • Karl May  (Syberberg, West Germany)
  • Kazablan  (Golan, India)
  • Lacombe Lucien  (Malle, France)  **
  • The Last Summer  (Hristov, Bulgaria)
  • Launcelot du Lac  (Bresson, France)
  • Let Sleeping Corpses Lie  (Grau, Italy)
  • The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob  (Oury, France)
  • The Magic Flute  (Bergman, Sweden)
  • Master of the Flying Guillotine  (Wang, Taiwan)
  • The Nada Gang  (Chabrol, France)
  • The Night Porter  (Cavani, Italy)
  • The Olsen Gang’s Last Escapade  (Balling, Denmark)
  • Les Ordres  (Brault, Canada)
  • Un Partie de Plaisir  (Chabrol, France)
  • The Phantom of Liberty  (Buñuel, France)
  • Return of the Streetfighter  (Ozawa, Japan)
  • The Scarecrow’s Night  (Ricardo, Brazil)  *
  • Scorching Winds  (Sathyu, India)  *
  • Seemabaddha  (Ray, India)
  • Stavisky  (Resnais, France)
  • The Street Fighter’s Last Revenge  (Ozawa, Japan)
  • The Streetfighter  (Ozawa, Japan)
  • Sweet Movie  (Makavejev, Yugoslavia)
  • Swept Away  (Wertmuller, Italy)
  • Tears of Happiness  (Mouradian, Turkey)
  • Three, Two, One  (Brocka, Colombia)
  • Till Marriage Do Us Part  (Comencini, Italy)
  • The Truce  (Renan, Argentina)
  • Vincent, Francois, Paul and the Others  (Sautet, France)
  • We All Loved Each Other So Much  (Scola, Italy)
  • Xala  (Sembene, Senegal)

Note:  I have my first film from Colombia.  I have only my second from Turkey and the first in a decade.  I have my first film from Denmark in eight years (even better, my first submitted film from Denmark in eight years).  I’m missing the Egyptian submission, so, for the first time in six years I haven’t seen any films from Egypt.  With Argentina submitting for the first time in nine years, I have my first film from Argentina in nine years.  For the first time in five years I have seen no films from Spain.  Mexico gets up to 69 total films, passing Germany (which, of course, hasn’t had a film since 1945); this is because I have multiple Mexican films for the first time in 12 years.  France is the grand winner, with 13 films, the most by any country in five years.  The 55 total films is also the most in five years.  Italy is in second place with 9 films.  There are five Action films on the list – the most to date in one year.

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

  • Belgium:  The Conscript  (dir. Verhavert)
  • Czechoslovakia:  Lovers in the Year One  (dir. Balik)
  • Egypt:  Enslaved by the Past  (dir. unknown)
  • Japan:  The Fossil  (dir. Kobayashi)
  • Spain:  La Prima Angelica  (dir. Saura)
  • Switzerland:  The Middle of the World  (dir. Tanner)
  • West Germany  One or the Other  (dir. Petersen)

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 13 for 20.
This is the fifth submission from Belgium and I am missing four of them.  It’s the first time I’m missing a Czech submission, though sadly it’s the first of a streak of three missing years.  It’s only the third time I’m missing the Egyptian submission and the first I’m missing in nine years.  It’s the sixth Japanese submission I haven’t seen, but one of the most frustrating as Kobayashi is a major director.  Spain continues to be a problem, as this is the eighth time I have missed their submission.  It’s only the second Swiss submission I’m missing but it’s also only the fifth time they’ve submitted.  It’s the fourth submission I’m missing from West Germany but possibly the most frustrating as I tried to get it once already for my Best Director Nominee project, since Wolfgang Petersen would later be nominated for an Oscar.
It’s the same number of submissions as the year before, but I’m missing four more, so I have 65%, my lowest between 1970 and 1980.  Five countries submit that didn’t the year before, with Italy winning the year after the only time they didn’t submit a film.  The oddity is Israel, who after three straight years of being nominated, doesn’t submit a film.  Argentina submits for the first time since 1965 and earns its first nomination.

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

  • Sanshiro Sugata  (1943)
  • Sanshiro Sugata Part II  (1945)
  • Early Spring  (1956)
  • A King in New York  (1957)
  • I basilischi  (1963)
  • The Guns  (1964)
  • Nayak: The Hero  (1966)
  • Playtime  (1967)
  • Boot Hill  (1968)
  • The Golden Swallow  (1968)
  • Partner  (1968)
  • The Cow  (1969)
  • It’s Tough Being a Man  (1969)
  • The Jackal of Naheultoro  (1969)
  • Macunaima  (1969)
  • Bombay Talkie  (1970)
  • Pippi in the South Seas  (1970)
  • Three Sisters  (1970)
  • The Blood Spattered Bride  (1972)
  • Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter  (1972)
  • Dead of Night  (1972)
  • The Goat Horn  (1972)
  • Horror Express  (1972)
  • Lovin Molly  (1972)
  • The Seduction of Mimi  (1972)
  • Silent Night, Bloody Night  (1972)
  • Alvin Purple  (1973)
  • Badlands  (1973)
  • Day for Night  (1973)
  • Don Quixote  (1973)
  • Fantastic Planet  (1973)
  • Flesh for Frankenstein  (1973)
  • La Grande Bouffe  (1973)
  • Happy New Year  (1973)
  • I Monster  (1973)
  • Love and Anarchy  (1973)
  • The Mother and the Whore  (1973)
  • The Pedestrian  (1973)
  • Reed: Insurgent Mexico  (1973)
  • Scenes from a Marriage  (1973)
  • That’ll Be the Day  (1973)
  • Trinity is Still My Name  (1973)
  • Turkish Delight  (1973)

Note:  These 43 films average a 61.8.  They account for a remarkable 17 Nighthawk nominations, including two for Picture and three for Director.  Day for Night, Scenes from a Marriage and Badlands make this a much more competitive year than if I just went by original release date.

Films Not Listed at Oscars.org:

  • Alvin Purple
  • At Home Among Strangers, a Stranger Among His Own
  • The Blood Spattered Bride
  • Calzonzin Inspector
  • Cats Play
  • The Cow
  • Dead Cert
  • Dead of Night
  • The Dervish and Death
  • Don’t Touch the White Woman
  • Early Spring
  • The Ferocious One
  • The Goat Horn
  • The Guns
  • Help! The Doctor is Drowning
  • I basilischi
  • In Search of a Wall
  • It’s Touch Being a Man
  • The Jackal of Naheultoro
  • Karl May
  • The Last Summer
  • Nayak: The Hero
  • The Olsen’s Gang Last Escapade
  • Pippi in the South Seas
  • Reed: Insurgent Mexico
  • Sanshiro Sugata
  • Sanshiro Sugata Part II
  • The Scarecrow’s Night
  • Scorching Winds
  • Silent Night, Bloody Night
  • Stone
  • The Truce

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 is usually the case, most of these are Foreign films which never get an L.A. release.  For the third year in a row there are a few early Japanese films which finally made it to the States.  It includes a whopping 12 films that were submitted the Academy for the Best Foreign Film award (Calzonin Inspector, Cats Play, The Dervish and Death, The Ferocious One, The Goat Horn, Help! The Doctor is Drowning, The Last Summer, The Olsen Gang’s Last Escapade, Reed: Insurgent Mexico, The Scarecrow’s Night, Scorching Winds, The Truce), a list that will only continue to grow as more countries submit their films.  Two of those films (The Goat Horn, Reed: Insurgent Mexico) are from previous years.  But it still leaves only three films from this year that were submitted and that I’ve seen that are in the database and none of those three are even listed in this year (Amarcord and Lacombe Lucien are in 1975, The Deluge in 1999).  As it is, none of the seven films mentioned above that were submitted that I haven’t seen are listed either, which means that none of the submitted Foreign films actually had an L.A. release in 1974.

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

  • Amarcord  (1975)
  • And Now My Love  (1975)
  • Battles Without Honour or Humanity: Final Episode  (1975)
  • Betty Boop Scandals  (1975)
  • Beyond the Door  (1975)
  • The Castle of Sand  (1975)
  • Dark Star  (1975)
  • Female Trouble  (1975)
  • Journey Back to Oz  (1975)
  • Lacombe Lucien  (1975)
  • Launcelot du Lac  (1975)
  • Lemora: A Child’s Tale of the Supernatural  (1975)
  • Let Sleeping Corpses Lie  (1975)
  • The Magic Flute  (1975)
  • Mahler  (1975)
  • The Nada Gang  (1975)
  • The Nickel Ride  (1975)
  • The Phantom of Liberty  (1975)
  • The Return of the Pink Panther  (1975)
  • Return of the Streetfighter  (1975)
  • Stardust  (1975)
  • Stavisky  (1975)
  • The Streetfighter  (1975)
  • Swept Away  (1975)
  • Ali: Fear Eats the Soul  (1976)
  • The Clockmaker of Saint Paul  (1976)
  • Cockfighter  (1976)
  • Jack and the Beanstalk  (1976)
  • Un Partie de Plaisir  (1976)
  • Sweet Movie  (1976)
  • Vincent, Francois, Paul and the Others  (1976)
  • Alice in the Cities  (1977)
  • Ankur  (1977)
  • Conversation Piece  (1977)
  • Effi Briest  (1977)
  • Immoral Tales  (1977)
  • Les Ordres  (1977)
  • We All Loved Each Other So Much  (1977)
  • Celine and Julie Go Boating  (1978)
  • Master of the Flying Guillotine  (1978)
  • The Street Fighter’s Last Revenge  (1979)
  • Till Marriage Do Us Part  (1979)
  • Arabian Nights  (1980)
  • The Cars That Ate Paris  (1980)
  • Allonsanfan  (1985)
  • Barry MacKenzie Holds His Own  (1985)
  • Xala  (1995)
  • The Deluge  (1999)
  • Three, Two, One  (2010)

Note:  These 49 films average a 59.1. There is only one great film (Amarcord) while there are four films that are * or worse (Lemora, Beyond the Door, Sweet Movie, Female Trouble).  This year definitely benefits from the Oscar eligibility rule.

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