This is not gonna end well for anyone at the table.

This is not gonna end well for anyone at the table.

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. Alien
  2. Apocalypse Now  *
  3. All That Jazz
  4. Manhattan  *
  5. Picnic at Hanging Rock
  6. Being There
  7. Kramer vs. Kramer  **
  8. Breaking Away  *
  9. Love on the Run
  10. The Muppet Movie

Analysis:  Manhattan not only earns a Consensus nom but has the most Consensus points for any film to-date other than Day for Night to fail to earn an Oscar nomination (it won the BAFTA and NBR and earned a Globe nom).  It would be another 13 years before another film had more points without an Oscar nom (The Player) and it’s still tied for 8th most all-time.  All That Jazz is an oddity – the only film between 1974 and 1988 to earn an Oscar nom without any other Picture noms, but at least the Academy got that one right.
This is really a great group, especially the top 7.  The Top 10 is the 7th best to this date.  The first nine films are all **** and the #10 is a very high ***.5.  Actually, the list continues with three very high ***.5 (Life of Brian, Nosferatu, And Justice for All).

  • Sigourney_Weaver_Ridley_Scott_AlienBest Director
  1. Ridley Scott  (Alien)
  2. Francis Ford Coppola  (Apocalypse Now)  *
  3. Bob Fosse  (All That Jazz)
  4. Woody Allen  (Manhattan)  *
  5. Peter Weir  (Picnic at Hanging Rock)
  6. Hal Ashby  (Being There)
  7. Robert Benton  (Kramer vs. Kramer)  **
  8. Werner Herzog  (Nosferatu the Vampyre)
  9. Peter Yates  (Breaking Away)  *
  10. Francois Truffaut  (Love on the Run)

Analysis:  The fifth Consensus nominee was John Schlesinger for Yanks.  He was the third straight NBR winner to fail to earn a DGA or Oscar nom, but oddly did earn a BAFTA nom.  Ridley Scott, on the other hand, is the first Nighthawk winner to fail to earn a Consensus nom since 1969 and the last until 1989.
These are the first nominations for Scott and Weir, the second (and last) for Fosse and the fourth (and last) for Coppola.  It’s the third in a row for Allen.
Ironically, the last direction as good as Coppola’s to end up in the second spot was Coppola in 1974.  It’s the best Top 5 in six years.  But, because of that, it has the lowest Oscar score in 10 years, since the Academy didn’t nominate Scott, Allen or Weir.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Being There  *
  2. Kramer vs. Kramer  **
  3. Apocalypse Now  *
  4. Picnic at Hanging Rock
  5. Love on the Run
  6. Nosferatu the Vampyre
  7. La Cage Aux Folles
  8. Starting Over
  9. Wise Blood
  10. Woyzeck

Analysis:  Kramer joins A Man for All Seasons as the only adapted scripts to this date to win four awards (Oscar, WGA, Globe, LAFC).  It is the first to earn 5 nominations (BAFTA nom) and sets a new Consensus high with 344 points.  The 5 noms won’t be matched until 1990 and the points won’t be beaten until Schindler’s List goes 5 for 5 in 1993.
Francis Ford Coppola earns his fifth writing nomination.
The Academy earns its lowest score in seven years in this category.  How they could nominate Norma Rae but pass up Being There is utterly beyond me.
I have read six of the original sources (Being There, Kramer, Apocalypse Now, Love on the Run, Nosferatu, Wise Blood).

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Manhattan  *
  2. Breaking Away  **
  3. Alien
  4. Monty’s Python Life of Brian
  5. All That Jazz  *
  6. And Justice for All  *
  7. The Muppet Movie
  8. Get Out Your Handkerchiefs
  9. The China Syndrome  *
  10. A Quiet Duel

Analysis:  Breaking Away also goes 4 for 5 (Oscar, WGA, NYFC, NSFC wins, Globe nom) but that’s actually down from the previous two Consensus winners.
Woody Allen wins his third straight Nighthawk for Original Screenplay.  He’s already up to 440 points and a tie for 4th place.

  • Best Actor:
  1. Peter Sellers  (Being There)  *
  2. Roy Scheider  (All That Jazz)  *
  3. Dustin Hoffman  (Kramer vs. Kramer)  **
  4. Jack Lemmon  (The China Syndrome)  *
  5. Al Pacino  (And Justice for All)  *
  6. Martin Sheen  (Apocalypse Now)
  7. Woody Allen  (Manhattan)
  8. Brad Dourif  (Wise Blood)
  9. Jean-Pierre Leaud  (Love on the Run)
  10. Klaus Kinski  (Woyzeck)

Analysis:  It’s the second nomination for Scheider but the others are heavyweights.  It’s the fourth for Hoffman, the third for Sellers (and second win), the fifth for Pacino (in less than a decade) and the fifth for Lemmon.
For only the third time, but for the second year in a row, the Oscars earn a perfect score in this category.

  • Best Actress
  1. Bette Midler  (The Rose)  *
  2. Jane Fonda  (The China Syndrome)  *
  3. Hanna Schygulla  (The Marriage of Maria Braun)
  4. Sigourney Weaver  (Alien)
  5. Sally Field  (Norma Rae)  **
  6. Jill Clayburgh  (Starting Over)  *
  7. Vanessa Redgrave  (Agatha)
  8. Diane Keaton  (Manhattan)
  9. Marsha Mason  (Chapter Two)  *

Analysis:  Midler is the weakest winner in this category since 1952.  The Oscar score is also the lowest in six years.
In an oddity, Clayburgh and Mason were both nominated in both Comedy and Drama at the Globes, but the Academy and I agree that it’s their Comedy performances that were really worth the attention (their performances in Luna (Clayburgh) and Promises in the Dark (Mason) don’t even make my list).
This is the only nomination for Schygulla, the first nominations for Midler, Field and Weaver.    It’s the fifth for Fonda though and her third in a row.

  • Apocalypse_Now_Robert_DuvallBest Supporting Actor:
  1. Robert Duvall  (Apocalypse Now)  *
  2. Melvyn Douglas  (Being There)  **
  3. Ian Holm  (Alien)
  4. Paul Dooley  (Breaking Away)  *
  5. Klaus Kinski  (Nosferatu the Vampyre)
  6. James Woods  (The Onion Field)
  7. Jack Warden  (And Justice for All)
  8. Jack Warden  (Being There)
  9. Denholm Elliott  (Saint Jack)
  10. Frederic Forrest  (The Rose)  *

Analysis:  Douglas is very good, but there’s no question that this belonged to Duvall.
This category has its lowest Oscar score in nine years.
It’s the only nomination for Dooley, the first for Holm, the second for Kinski, the third for Douglas and the third for Duvall.
Dooley’s performance here is one of the two where he plays a genuinely caring father (the other is 16 Candles).  This is the better performance, but it’s so rare to see a realistically written father who embodies both failures and caring, it’s especially rare that two of the best of them were played by the same actor.

  • kramer-vs-kramerBest Supporting Actress:
  1. Meryl Streep  (Kramer vs. Kramer)  **
  2. Shirley MacLaine  (Being There)  *
  3. Meryl Streep  (Manhattan)  **
  4. Barbara Barrie  (Breaking Away)
  5. Jane Alexander  (Kramer vs. Kramer)  *
  6. Meryl Streep  (The Seduction of Joe Tynan)  **
  7. Muriel Hemingway  (Manhattan)  *
  8. Eva Mattes  (Woyzeck)
  9. Candace Bergen  (Starting Over)  *
  10. Jessica Lange  (All That Jazz)

Analysis:  Streep’s performance is the best in this category since 1973 and the best in this category not in a Bergman film since 1954.  The Top 5 ties 1973 for the best Top 5 to-date.
Streep also sets a new Consensus record with 395 points and is the first Supporting Actress to win six awards.  The Consensus goes to all three performances, which were noted by most of her four critics wins and she won the Oscar and Globe for Kramer and earned BAFTA noms for both Kramer (in lead) and Manhattan.
Because of Streep’s three performances, Hemingway also earns a Nighthawk nomination.  These are her second, third and fourth nominations and her first win.  This is where she really starts to take over as the greatest actress ever.
These are the only nominations for Barrie and Hemingway, the third for Alexander and the fifth for MacLaine (first in Supporting and the BAFTAs and Globes both put her in lead, but it’s my list and she stupidly wasn’t nominated at the Oscars, so I’m putting her here where I think she belongs).

  • Best Editing:
  1. Alien
  2. All That Jazz
  3. Manhattan
  4. Apocalypse Now
  5. Picnic at Hanging Rock
  6. Love on the Run
  7. Nosferatu the Vampyre
  8. Monty Python’s Life of Brian
  9. Being There
  10. Breaking Away

Analysis:  Kudos to the Academy for honoring the great editing in All That Jazz, given that it hadn’t all that well with other awards groups.  But I have to go with the work on Alien as the editing is part of what makes it such a well-constructed film.

  • Best Cinematography:
  1. Apocalypse Now  *
  2. Alien
  3. Manhattan
  4. Picnic at Hanging Rock  *
  5. All That Jazz  *
  6. Nosferatu the Vampyre
  7. Being There  *
  8. The Black Stallion  **
  9. The Onion Field
  10. And Justice for All

Analysis:  The Black Stallion becomes only the second film to win the Consensus without an Oscar nomination by winning the LAFC and NSFC and earning a BAFTA nom.
Vittorio Storaro, with his second nomination, wins his first Nighthawk.  Gordon Willis (Manhattan) earns his fifth nomination and moves up to 200 points and a three-way tie for 2nd place all-time.
This is the best Top 5 in this category in six years.

  • Best Original Score:
  1. Star Trek: The Motion Picture
  2. 1941
  3. La Vallee
  4. Battlestar Galactica
  5. Alien
  6. The Muppet Movie
  7. The Great Train Robbery
  8. Nosferatu the Vampyre
  9. Wise Blood
  10. The Prisoner of Zenda

Analysis:  This is the year where the music is much better than the films.  The top four films in this category average a 58.25, a mid-range **.5.  But the music is great – the Star Trek theme moved into iconic status once it became the theme for TNG, the 1941 score I listen to all the time, La Vallee has the music from the under-rated Pink Floyd album Obscured by Clouds and the music from Battlestar is probably the best thing about it, as I mentioned in my review.
The score from 1941 is the best second place finisher since 1939.  This year ties 1939 and 1960 for the best Top 5 to-date.  But, with most of them bypassed by the Oscars, the score (32.5) is the lowest since 1958.  The actual Oscar winner, A Little Romance, is my #13.
Jerry Goldsmith earns his fifth and sixth nominations (Star Trek, Alien) and earns his second win.  He’s now at 200 points and is in the Top 10.  John Williams, on the other hand, doesn’t win for the only time from 1977 to 1982; he does earn another nomination, though and is now up to 225 points.

  • Best Sound:
  1. Alien
  2. Apocalypse Now
  3. All That Jazz
  4. The Black Stallion
  5. The Rose
  6. Nosferatu the Vampyre
  7. Star Trek: The Motion Picture
  8. 1941
  9. Breaking Away
  10. Moonraker

Analysis:  Apocalypse Now is the best #2 in this category to date.  It’s a really tough choice between those two, as it was also in Cinematography.

  • Best Art Direction:
  1. Alien
  2. All That Jazz
  3. Nosferatu the Vampyre
  4. Being There
  5. Picnic at Hanging Rock
  6. Apocalypse Now
  7. Manhattan
  8. The Great Train Robbery
  9. La Cage Aux Folles
  10. Soldier of Orange

Analysis:  With the Oscars actually nominating the two brilliant works of Art Direction at the top of my list, this year earns a score of 85.7, the highest since the Art Direction categories were combined.  I love the work in All That Jazz, but the sets in Alien are so visionary there’s no way it doesn’t my award.

  • Best Visual Effects
  1. Alien
  2. Star Trek: The Motion Picture
  3. The Black Hole
  4. Battlestar Galactica
  5. Moonraker
  6. 1941
  7. Apocalypse Now
  8. Nosferatu the Vampyre

Analysis:  This is the best top 5 to-date, and with good reason.  As I mentioned in my review of Moonraker, this is the only year between 1945 and 2010 with five Oscar nominees.  After Star Wars, Sci-Fi really took off as a genre.

  • Best Sound Editing
  1. Alien
  2. Apocalypse Now
  3. Star Trek: The Motion Picture
  4. 1941
  5. The Black Hole
  6. Moonraker
  7. Battlestar Galactica
  8. The Black Stallion
  9. Nosferatu the Vampyre

Analysis:  Another category helped by Sci-Fi, this is the third best Top 5 to-date.  This was not a competitive category in this year – The Black Stallion won a special award.

  • Best Costume Design:
  1. Picnic at Hanging Rock
  2. Nosferatu the Vampyre
  3. All That Jazz
  4. Monty Python’s Life of Brian
  5. The Marriage of Maria Braun
  6. The Europeans
  7. The Great Train Robbery
  8. Soldier of Orange
  9. Agatha
  10. La Cage Aux Folles
  • Best Makeup
  1. Alien
  2. All That Jazz
  3. Nosferatu the Vampyre
  4. Monty Python’s Life of Brian
  5. La Cage Aux Folles
  6. Star Trek: The Motion Picture
  7. Apocalypse Now

Analysis:  The second best Top 5 to-date, behind only the original 1912-1926 when Lon Chaney was doing his own makeup.  I would have thought the work to create the alien would have merited a special award from the Academy.

  • Best Original Song:
  1. “The Rainbow Connection”  (The Muppet Movie)
  2. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”  (Monty Python’s Life of Brian)
  3. The Rose”  (The Rose)
  4. Movin’ Right Along”  (The Muppet Movie)
  5. Can You Picture That”  (The Muppet Movie)
  6. “Love on the Run”  (Love on the Run)
  7. Free Four”  (La Vallee)
  8. I Hope that Somethin’ Better Comes Along”  (The Muppet Movie)
  9. I Want You Around”  (Rock ‘n’ Roll High School)
  10. Rock ‘n’ Roll High School”  (Rock ‘n’ Roll High School)

Analysis:  The semi-finalists are in orange.  In an oddity, the worst song from The Muppet Movie “Never Before Never Again” was a semi-finalist but not the wonderful “Can You Picture That”.  Also, “Sold My Soul to Rock and Roll” from The Rose was a semi-finalist but not the title song.
“Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” is the best ever #2 in this category.  The last year to have a #2 song even close to this was in 1965.  This is the third best Top 5 to-date, behind only 1939 (The Wizard of Oz) and 1964 (Mary Poppins and A Hard Day’s Night).
The actual winner, “It Goes Like It Goes” from Norma Rae does make list, but it’s the last song on the list at #18.  The Globes did much better, giving their award to “The Rose”.

  • Best Animated Film:
  1. none


  • l-amour-en-fuite-posterBest Foreign Film:
  1. Love on the Run
  2. The Marriage of Maria Braun
  3. Nosferatu the Vampyre
  4. Woyzeck

note:  Films in green were submitted to the Academy but not nominated.  If you’ll notice that’s none.  My entire list consists for four films that weren’t even submitted.  Not a great year for the category.
Though it’s France that wins the award, West Germany becomes the first country to earn three nominations in a single year since France in 1969.  It’s the first win for France in six years, the country’s longest gap since 1953-59.  Herzog becomes the first director to earn multiple nominations since Bergman in 1968.  Truffaut earns his fifth win and goes up to 260 points.  Overall, the Top 5 (and Top 10) are both better than the previous two years.
The Tin Drum easily wins the Consensus, as its the first film in 11 years to win more than two awards (Oscar, NBR, LAFC), but I hate it.  That helps to contribute to an Oscar score of 0 in this category for the first time since it became a regular category in 1956.


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.

  • Alien  (575)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound, Art Direction, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Makeup
  • Apocalypse Now   (310)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Sound, Sound Editing
  • All That Jazz  (285)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Sound, Art Direction, Costume Design, Makeup
  • Manhattan  (285)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress, Editing, Cinematography
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock  (235)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Editing, Cinematography, Art Direction, Costume Design
  • Being There  (230)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Art Direction
  • Kramer vs. Kramer  (165)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress
  • Breaking Away  (100)
    • Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • The Rose  (100)
    • Actress, Sound, Original Song
  • Nosferatu the Vampyre  (95)
    • Supporting Actor, Art Direction, Costume Design, Makeup, Foreign Film
  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture  (90)
    • Original Score, Visual Effects, Sound Editing
  • Love on the Run  (80)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Foreign Film
  • Monty Python’s Life of Brian  (75)
    • Original Screenplay, Costume Design, Makeup, Original Song
  • The Marriage of Maria Braun  (70)
    • Actress, Costume Design, Foreign Film
  • The China Syndrome  (70)
    • Actor, Actress
  • Battlestar Gallactica  (45)
    • Original Score, Visual Effects
  • 1941  (45)
    • Original Score, Sound Editing
  • The Black Hole  (40)
    • Visual Effects, Sound Editing
  • The Muppet Movie  (40)
    • Original Song, Original Song, Original Song
  • And Justice for All  (35)
    • Actor
  • Norma Rae  (35)
    • Actress
  • The Seduction of Joe Tynan  (30)
    • Supporting Actress
  • La Cage Aux Folles  (30)
    • Makeup, Foreign Film (1978)
  • La Vallee  (25)
    • Original Score
  • The Black Stallion  (20)
    • Sound
  • Moonraker  (20)
    • Visual Effects
  • A Quiet Duel  (20)
    • Foreign Film (1949)
  • Soldier of Orange  (20)
    • Foreign Film (1977)
  • Get Out Your Handkerchiefs  (20)
    • Foreign Film (1978)
  • Woyzeck  (20)
    • Foreign Film

Best Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • The Onion Field

Analysis:  A solid ***.5 film, though a bit bleak.  Its highest finish is 6th, for Supporting Actor.

Biggest Awards Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • Yanks

Analysis:  A solid Drama from John Schlesinger.  It managed to win Best Director at the NBR and was nominated for 7 BAFTAs (winning two – Supporting Actress and Costume Design).  But it’s at #29 on my list and doesn’t have a single mention on my lists in any category.

Nighthawk Golden Globes:


  • Best Picture
  1. Alien
  2. Apocalypse Now
  3. Picnic at Hanging Rock
  4. Kramer vs. Kramer
  5. Nosferatu the Vampyre

Analysis:  There’s a seven point drop from the #4 to the #5 film, which is actually four points better than the drop was in 1977, but is larger than any drop will be again.  In most years after this, the drop from #1 to #5 won’t even be a full seven points.

  • Best Director
  1. Ridley Scott  (Alien)
  2. Francis Ford Coppola  (Apocalypse Now)
  3. Peter Weir  (Picnic at Hanging Rock)
  4. Robert Benton  (Kramer vs. Kramer)
  5. Werner Herzog  (Nosferatu the Vampyre)

Analysis:  This is the only nomination for Benton, the first for Scott and Weir, the second for Herzog and the third for Coppola.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Kramer vs. Kramer
  2. Apocalypse Now
  3. Picnic at Hanging Rock
  4. Nosferatu the Vampyre
  5. Wise Blood

Analysis:  Coppola earns his fifth writing nomination.  This is a rarity in that I’ve already four of the five sources here.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Alien
  2. Get Out Your Handkerchiefs
  3. The China Syndrome
  4. A Quiet Duel
  5. The Marriage of Maria Braun

Analysis:  Akira Kurosawa earns his 14th Drama writing nomination.  He’s up to 840 points but is still a long way behind Bergman.

  • kramer-vs-kramer-8Best Actor:
  1. Dustin Hoffman  (Kramer vs. Kramer)
  2. Jack Lemmon  (The China Syndrome)
  3. Al Pacino  (And Justice for All)
  4. Martin Sheen  (Apocalypse Now)
  5. Brad Dourif  (Wise Blood)

Analysis:  It’s the first nomination for Sheen, only the second Drama nom for Lemmon, the second for Dourif, the fourth for Hoffman (and first win) and the fifth for Pacino.  Rather than nominate Sheen, the Globes nominated Jon Voight for that piece of cheezy crap, The Champ.

  • chinaBest Actress
  1. Jane Fonda  (The China Syndrome)
  2. Hanna Schygulla  (The Marriage of Maria Braun)
  3. Sigourney Weaver  (Alien)
  4. Sally Field  (Norma Rae)
  5. Vanessa Redgrave  (Agatha)

Analysis:  This is the only nomination for Schygulla, the first for Field and Weaver and the fourth for Redgrave.  It’s the fifth nomination for Fonda and her fourth win; this puts her at 315 points and a tie for 6th place in Drama.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Robert Duvall  (Apocalypse Now)
  2. Ian Holm  (Alien)
  3. Klaus Kinski  (Nosferatu the Vampyre)
  4. James Woods  (The Onion Field)
  5. Jack Warden  (And Justice for All)

Analysis:  It’s the first nominations for Warden and Woods, the second for Holm and Kinski and the fourth for Duvall.  Woods was nominated as a lead at the Globes.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Meryl Streep  (Kramer vs. Kramer)
  2. Jane Alexander  (Kramer vs. Kramer)
  3. Meryl Streep  (The Seduction of Joe Tynan)
  4. Eva Mattes  (Woyzeck)
  5. Veronica Cartwright  (Alien)

Analysis:  These are the only nominations for Cartwright and Mattes, the third for Alexander and the second and third (and already the second win) for Streep.


  • Alien  (365)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Kramer vs. Kramer  (335)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress
  • Apocalypse Now  (230)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor
  • Nosferatu the Vampyre  (165)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor
  • The China Syndrome  (145)
    • Original Screenplay, Actor, Actress
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock  (135)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay
  • And Justice for All  (105)
    • Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor
  • Wise Blood  (75)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor
  • The Marriage of Maria Braun  (75)
    • Original Screenplay, Actress
  • A Quiet Duel  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • Norma Rae  (35)
    • Actress
  • Agatha  (35)
    • Actress
  • The Onion Field  (30)
    • Supporting Actor
  • Woyzeck  (30)
    • Supporting Actress
  • The Seduction of Joe Tynan  (30)
    • Supporting Actress

Analysis:  Kramer has a really impressive showing in Drama for a film that wasn’t nominated for Picture in the regular awards.

Best Drama Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • Soldier of Orange

Analysis:  A very good Dutch film from Paul Verhoeven before he moved to Hollywood and his talent evaporated.  It’s the #17 film which makes it the #9 Drama film.

Comedy / Musical:

  • Best Picture
  1. All That Jazz
  2. Manhattan
  3. Being There
  4. Breaking Away
  5. Love on the Run

Analysis:  This is the best top 5 since 1964 and the third best to-date.  It joins 1940 and 1964 as the only years with five **** films (it won’t happen again until 1988).  Manhattan was actually nominated at the Globes as a Drama.

  • Best Director
  1. Bob Fosse  (All That Jazz)
  2. Woody Allen  (Manhattan)
  3. Hal Ashby  (Being There)
  4. Peter Yates  (Breaking Away)
  5. Francois Truffaut  (Love on the Run)

Analysis:  This is the only nomination for Yates.  It’s the second (and last) Comedy nom for Truffaut and Fosse.  It’s the fourth for Ashby, in just nine years, but also the last and he didn’t ever win.  It’s already the fourth for Allen and he goes up to 225 points and enters the Top 10.
This is the best Top 5 to-date, by a considerable margin.  It won’t be surpassed until the 90’s.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Being There
  2. Love on the Run
  3. La Cage Aux Folles
  4. Starting Over
  5. Orchestra Rehearsal

Analysis:  Fellini earns his fifth Comedy writing nom and for the first time, he doesn’t win the award.  He’s at 360 points and has now tied Buñuel for 5th place.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Manhattan
  2. Breaking Away
  3. Monty’s Python Life of Brian
  4. All That Jazz
  5. The Muppet Movie

Analysis:  Woody Allen, on the other hand, earns his ninth nomination and his third win and is up to 480 points and now trails only Wilder and Chaplin.
This is the best Top 5 to-date and the only other year even close is 1942.

  • being there 3Best Actor:
  1. Peter Sellers  (Being There)
  2. Roy Scheider  (All That Jazz)
  3. Woody Allen  (Manhattan)
  4. Jean-Pierre Leaud  (Love on the Run)
  5. Burt Reynolds  (Starting Over)

Analysis:  These are the only Comedy nominations for Scheider and Reynolds, the second for Leaud and the fourth for Allen.  But Sellers bows out with his fifth nom and third win, going up to 270 points and finishing in 6th place in Comedy.
The second best Top 5 to-date and the best since 1964 (when Sellers also won).  It’s a terrific 1-2 punch and a career best performance from both.

  • BETTE_blogBest Actress
  1. Bette Midler  (The Rose)
  2. Jill Clayburgh  (Starting Over)
  3. Diane Keaton  (Manhattan)
  4. Marsha Mason  (Chapter Two)

Analysis:  This is the only nomination for Clayburgh and the first for Midler.  But Mason (3rd nomination) and Keaton (4th) continue to shine in films written by their respective romantic partners (Neil Simon and Woody Allen).

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Melvyn Douglas  (Being There)
  2. Paul Dooley  (Breaking Away)
  3. Jack Warden  (Being There)
  4. Frederic Forrest  (The Rose)
  5. Michael Murphy  (Manhattan)

Analysis:  These are the only nominations for Dooley, Forrest and Murphy, the third for Warden and the second (but second win) for Douglas.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Shirley MacLaine  (Being There)
  2. Meryl Streep  (Manhattan)
  3. Barbara Barrie  (Breaking Away)
  4. Muriel Hemingway  (Manhattan)
  5. Candace Bergen  (Starting Over)

Analysis:  This is the best Top 5 in this category by a long, long way.  It won’t be surpassed until at least the 90’s.  MacLaine was nominated as a lead at the Globes.
These are the only nominations for Barrie, Hemingway and Bergen.  It’s the first Comedy nomination for Streep.
MacLaine, on the other hand, earns her 8th nomination (first in Supporting) and third win and is now at 375 points and just 10 points behind Katharine Hepburn for 2nd place in Comedy.
Neither Streep nor MacLaine will earn a Comedy nomination during the 80’s.  Both will return (in the same film) next in 1990.


  • Being There  (395)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Manhattan  (335)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress
  • All That Jazz  (265)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor
  • Breaking Away  (195)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Love on the Run  (170)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor
  • Starting Over  (140)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress
  • The Rose  (100)
    • Actress, Supporting Actor
  • La Cage Aux Folles  (40)
    • Adapted Screenplay
  • Orchestra Rehearsal  (40)
    • Adapted Screenplay
  • Monty Python’s Life of Brian  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • The Muppet Movie  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • Chapter Two  (35)
    • Actress

Analysis:  The Comedy acting is by far the best to-date.  The total Comedy score is also by far the best to-date, even beating the great year of 1940.  Being There has the third most points (second in Comedy) for any film not to win Best Picture.

Best Comedy Not Nominated for any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • Get Out Your Handkerchiefs

Analysis:  Solid ***.5 French Comedy that won Best Foreign Film at the Oscars in 1978.  My #9 Comedy and my #19 overall.

Roundup for the Year in Film:

Eligible Films I Have Seen:  161

By Stars:

  • ****:  9
  • ***.5:  14
  • ***:  66
  • **.5:  28
  • **:  32
  • *.5:  0
  • *:  7
  • .5:  5
  • 0:  0
  • Average Film Score for the Year, out of 100:  59.73

Analysis:  A very slight drop (a quarter-point).  That’s because while the ** films double from the year before (almost hitting 20% – the highest to-date), the best films (**** / ***.5) account for over 14%, the second-highest of the decade.  Overall, over 55% of the films are *** or better, the highest in six years.

Oscar-Nominated Films I Have Not Seen:

  • none

Note:  In fact, there won’t be another missing film from any awards group until I get to 2012, and hopefully by then even that film I’ll have seen.

Oscar Quality:

Best Picture:  A vast improvement over the previous two years, the fourth best to-date and #21 overall (out of 87).  There are four great choices and one very mediocre choice (Norma Rae).  Breaking Away, the fourth best choice is better than any fourth best choice to this date in the 5 BP Era except 1973.  What keeps this year from being one of the top years, aside from the nomination of Norma Rae, is having a true top-tier film.  Most years to this point have a top film better than Apocalypse Now, the best of the nominees.

The Winners:  The overall score among the nominees is a 2.06, the highest in five years.  There’s only one last place choice (Foreign Film), but several categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Song) choose the third best among the nominees.  The Academy only chose the best of the nominees in seven categories (Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actress, Editing, Cinematography, Sound, Visual Effects, Costume Design), which, again, is the lowest in five years.
Among all films, the average winner ranks at 6.21, the worst since 1968.  This is a rarity in that Best Picture wasn’t a bad choice.  Of the 17 years with a worse average to this date, only four of them had a Best Picture winner that ranked among the Top 10 of the year.  That’s because it has two categories that don’t rank in the Top 10 (Score – 13th, Song – 18th).  But the real reason (aside from only 3 categories where they made the right choice – Supporting Actress, Cinematography, Visual Effects) is because Best Foreign Film, the only category where I do a complete ranking outside of Picture, ranks at 37th for the year, by far the worst to-date.

The Nominees:  The overall score is a 66.8, which would have been the third highest prior to this decade but is the third lowest of the decade itself.  That’s partially because the Tech score isn’t all that high (59.8).  The acting is a very solid 85.9 but the scores are quite varied.  Supporting Actor is the worst (71.4), followed by Actress (80.0) and Supporting Actress (90.9) with Actor at a perfect 100.  The major categories earn a 70.4, which is actually the second weakest score of the decade, though still far above the average prior to this decade.

Golden Globe Best Picture – Comedy / Musical:  This year is 29th out of 66, which makes it the 3rd best to-date, just barely behind 1977.  But the fact is, it should be a lot better.  Yes, there are two great choices (Being There, Breaking Away) and one worthwhile choice (The Rose – a high *** film).  But there is also “10” and Hair, neither of which remotely belong among the nominees.  If they had nominated All That Jazz (nominated for Actor) instead of “10”, this would rank in the Top 10.  If they had added Starting Over (nominated for Actor and Actress – the second year in a row a film nominated for both in Comedy was passed over for Picture) as well instead of Hair, it goes up to 6th.  That’s not even including better films than Starting Over, like Life of Brian or The Muppet Movie.  It also doesn’t account for the fact that the best Comedy of the year, Manhattan, was nominated as a Drama.  There’s a reason that this is the third best year to-date among my Globe – Comedy nominees and this group of nominees could have been a lot better.

Top 5 Films of the Year:

In space, no one can hear your Oscar snubs.

In space, no one can hear your Oscar snubs.

1  –  Alien  (dir. Ridley Scott)

Before the Alien franchise ran its well dry and had to be revitalized by Ridley Scott, it was a noteworthy franchise if for no other reason, than that the first three films were all essentially different genres.  Yes, I classify all three as Sci-Fi films, but when you look closer you can see the differences.  This one, the first, and by far the best, is a Horror film, with a creeping, deadly monster hunting down the crew of a ship.  The second one is an action film crossed with a war film of people making their last stand against invaders.  The third one is a strange combination of a prison film with a suspense film.  In a sense, they reflect the different sensibilities of the three directors, Ridley Scott, James Cameron and David Fincher.

Consider one of the best scenes in the film: when Tom Skerritt, as the captain, is trying to track and drive the creature.  He is crawling through a vent and is barely lit by the flashlight he is holding, often pointed straight at himself.  The device tracking the alien starts to beep more and more frequently.  The creature is closing in and they all know it – Skerritt in the vent, and the others keeping track of his progress from the bridge.  He can’t figure out what is going on.  The music builds.  The cinematography shows us all we need to be seeing, all that he can see.  He can’t find the alien but he keeps being told by his crew that it’s there.  They are terrified and telling him to get out of there.  He climbs down and sees nothing.  He turns, and with his light, we get out first glimpse of the full-bodied alien.  Then his tracker goes dead.

Scott is a good enough director to know that not every scene needs gore.  The earlier death of John Hurt, by far the most famous scene in the film, is gory beyond belief, with blood spurting all over the crew before the first look at the small creature bursting forth into movie history.  That scene works partially because the gore was so sudden and surprising (of the cast, only John Hurt knew what that scene was going to be like so those looks of shock are quite real).  But for Skerritt’s death scene, we don’t even need to see it.  They never even find his remains.  He’s just there, then gone.  That’s the horror of it.

There are so many things that contribute to the brilliance of this film.  The cast is perfect – seven actors, only two of whom (the females) are particularly young.  They seem just right as the crew of a ship in space and they work perfectly as an ensemble.  Weaver is the lead, of course, not because she’s more important than any other member of the ensemble, but because as the survivor, she’s in the film the longest.  Her performance made her a star and was the real start of a long and very impressive career.  But perhaps the best performance comes from Ian Holm.  In later films in the franchise we would come to expect the android to show up somewhere, but it begins here with Holm’s intelligent and menacing performance that takes a very dark turn when Weaver discovers his true mission.

No matter how you want to classify this film, as Horror, Sci-Fi, Suspense, it is one of the all-time greats.  It is incredibly designed, it is brilliantly constructed, it has a first-rate cast all working together in harmony (except for the disharmony that comes with the discovery of Holm’s real intentions).  This film could never have really hoped to be Star Wars at the box office – it is too dark, too violent, too disturbing.  But it has a level of artistry only rarely seen in Sci-Fi films before it and just as rarely since.

2  –  Apocalypse Now  (reviewed here)

3  –  All That Jazz  (reviewed here)


Poor Gordon Willis just couldn’t catch a break, no matter how amazing his cinematography was.

4  –  Manhattan  (dir. Woody Allen)

“Chapter One.  He adored New York City.  He idolized it all out of proportion.”  Those are the opening words of Woody Allen’s Manhattan.  I feel I should remind people here how I feel about his city: I fucking hate it.  There is, in the issue of The New Yorker that arrived yesterday, an ad for the new production of The Crucible starting at the end of this month starring Saoirse Ronan, Ben Whishaw, Ciarán Hinds and Sophie Okonedo.  Both Veronica and I would love to see that, but we know we won’t, because aside from the babysitter question, it involves going into the city.  Yes, even in Boston, if you refer to “the city”, you’re talking about Manhattan.  So, why is it this film moves me as much as it does?

Perhaps it is because, as little as I like the city, I am very much a Woody Allen type of person.  I’m an intellectual who still loves to watch sports.  I have that morbid sense of humor.  I talk about many of the same things that Allen’s characters talk about, at least when I have someone to talk about them with.  And this film is one of the most Woody Allen of his films – if I were trying to get people who don’t particularly like Woody Allen to watch one of his films this would not be one of the ones I would choose.  He whines a lot.  He’s dating a seventeen year old.  There are affairs abounding all over the place.  And yet, this film moves me because of its romanticism.

Allen says as much in the opening narration.  He romanticizes Manhattan all out of proportion.  He sees it as a metaphor for the decay of society.  This is a natural continuation of Annie Hall, with more of a focus on the city itself.  This film isn’t just a shallow look at the sex lives of intellectuals.  It develops the characters – understands them much better than they understand themselves.  Allen’s character claims that he will win a woman over with his personal vibrations and his friend Yale replies “That’s what you said about Jill, and under your personal vibrations she went from bisexuality to homosexuality.”  We hear constantly about the vibrant sexuality of Diane Keaton’s ex-husband and when he appears on screen, he’s played by Wallace Shawn, just about the only guy in Manhattan shorter than Woody Allen.

Yet, for all of this, this film is hopelessly romantic.  It has soaring Gershwin music that makes you wonder if this was the inspiration for its use in Fantasia 2000.  It has stunning black-and-white cinematography from Gordon Willis, perhaps the greatest man ever behind the camera.  All of the characters seem so hopelessly lost because they keep falling in love, often with the wrong person.  We watch Woody running down the street at the end of the film, desperate to hang on to the person that he knows he wants to be with and we fall in place with him because of the music and the editing and the cinematography.  This is not a film for everyone.  If you don’t much like Woody Allen you would likely hate it.  But good lord, no matter how I feel about that city, and believe me, I fucking hate it, I love this film.

The Aussies have arrived. And some of them are really talented.

The Aussies have arrived. And some of them are really talented.

5  –  Picnic at Hanging Rock  (dir. Peter Weir)

Hollywood has been a mainstay in the film industry since almost the beginning.  Ever since Hitchcock, we have also noticed the British film industry, though certain aspects stand out more than others (Ealing Comedies, Hammer Horror).   But it’s interesting how other countries have waves of films that seem to suddenly spring out of nowhere and flourish for a bit.  So now we have arrived at the Australian New Wave.  It had been building for a while – it really arrived with Walkabout in 1971 and this film was actually released in Australia in 1975 – but this is where it really soars to the heights.

This film moves in the same motions as Walkabout with a reminder of what is so fascinating and terrifying about Australia (digression: I tell everyone that everything in Australia can kill you and it really can – if you want to know how dangerous this country can be just read the opening of Bill Bryson’s In a Sunburned Country).  The land is so heart-wrenchingly beautiful that it makes you ache and if you are not careful then you will die.  That is the contradiction at the heart of many of the films to emerge from the New Wave and no film embodies it as much as this one.

A group of girls from a boarding school go on a day-trip to Hanging Rock, a natural geological formation out in the wild.  While they are there, something strange happens and several of them disappear.  They are never seen again.  There is no answer to this mystery and if you want a film that has a clear answer then this is not the film for you.  But not all things in life have clear answers and that is part of the mystery of the film.  They take off their stockings and go climbing on the rock and then they are simply gone.  I am reminded of the mystery that occurred when Adela Quested went into those caves in India in A Passage to India and Judy Davis’ response that won her the role from David Lean: “She can’t cope with her own sexuality, she just freaks out.”

These kind of things can happen to you out in nature.  The world breaks down the psychological barriers you have placed against things you can not possibly understand and the line between life and death starts to get thin.  It’s no wonder that Sofia Coppola used this film as inspiration when filming The Virgin Suicides.  Human sexuality is a difficult concept to cope with when reaching maturity and you might never know how you will react.

5 Worst Films  (#1 being the worst):

  1. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
  2. Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens
  3. The Brood
  4. Shape of Things to Come
  5. Zoltan: Hound of Dracula

note:  Does Wild Nature still count if it’s intended to be a Comedy?  Either way, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, a film I knew about even as a kid, including the song, is truly awful.  This is the entire list of .5 films.  The next year will be truly horrid, not only because there will be multiple 0 star films, but because of the Razzies.

Just start singing that song and watch your brain cells evaporate.

Just start singing that song and watch your brain cells evaporate.

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes  (dir. John De Bello)

I have a strange memory of my oldest brother, in the first years of us living in Orange, singing “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!”  For a long time, that was all I knew – that some movie existed by that title and it had a ridiculous song that went along with it.  Then, about a year ago or so, I watched it because it was on that list of 13,000+ starting films at TSPDT.  Oh good lord, is it bad.

At first you think it wants to be considered seriously.  It has a disclaimer about how people laughed at Hitchcock trying to frighten people with the horror of birds, but that after a later attack of birds no one laughed.  Then the film begins.  That this film is intended as a comedy, and a rather ridiculous one at that, could be taken to mean I should give it a grain of salt.  After all, birds can potentially be terrifying and Hitchcock’s film actually makes them so.  This film just wants to be funny.  After all, look at its ridiculous title.

It is certainly possible to make a genuine horror film out of something that isn’t generally considered to be scary.  That’s part of what the whole Wild Nature subgenre is all about.  But this film, of course, isn’t actually trying to be scary.  It’s just trying to be silly.  The problem is that it fails.  It fails on every level.  The film isn’t scary.  The film isn’t funny.  The film is just terrible – acting like you would expect from the worst of Roger Corman or Russ Meyer.  The script is simply terrible.  It looks terrible in every frame (budget is no excuse for that as there are plenty of films made with less money that look a lot better).

I am again going to be honest here – I don’t like camp.  There are plenty of people who do.  If you like camp, then this is probably a good film for you.  It’s terrible in the way that some people find enjoyable.  But to me, well, it’s just terrible.


  • Most Nighthawk Nominations:   Alien  (13)
  • Most Nighthawk Awards:   Alien  (8)
  • Most Nighthawk Points:   Alien  (575)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Award:  1941
  • 2nd Place Award:  Apocalypse Now  (Picture, Director, Sound, Sound Editing)
  • 6th Place Award:  Being There  (Picture, Director)  ***
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Nominations:   Alien / Kramer vs. Kramer  (6)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Awards:   Alien / Kramer vs. Kramer  (3)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Points:   Alien  (365)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Drama Award:  Norma Rae
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Nominations:  Manhattan  (8)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Awards:  Being There  (4)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Points:  Being There  (395)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Comedy Award:  Chapter Two

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

*** – Nosferatu has three (Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Sound) but they add up to fewer points.

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:  Sven Nykvist  (275)
  • Composer:  Max Steiner  (450)
  • Foreign Film:  Ingmar Bergman  (500)

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

  • Drama:  68 (33)  –  Picnic at Hanging Rock  (62.1)
  • Foreign:  55  –  Love on the Run  (64.8)
  • Comedy:  31 (10)  –  Manhattan  (61.6)
  • Horror:  15 (3)  –  Noseferatu: The Vampyre  (43)
  • Sci-Fi:  11 (1)  –  Alien  (53.2)
  • Action:  10 (5)  –  Moonraker  (53)
  • Musical:  6 (1)  –  All That Jazz  (69.3)
  • Crime:  5  –  The Onion Field  (64.2)
  • Kids:  4 (1)  –  The Muppet Movie  (67)
  • War:  3 (1)  –  Apocalypse Now  (73.3)
  • Western:  3  –  The Frisco Kid  (59.3)
  • Mystery:  2  –  Murder by Decree  (70)
  • Suspense:  2  –  Last Embrace  (66)
  • Adventure:  1  –  The 5th Musketeer  (48)
  • Fantasy:  0

Analysis:  Action films reach double-digits for only the fourth time; in spite of that, there is no Action film in the Top 20 for the first time in seven years.  Comedies have their most films since 1966 and the fourth most to-date.  Dramas have their most films since 1973.  The non-genre films (Drama / Comedy / Musical) account for 65% – the most since 1963.  This is in spite of Musicals being at an eight-year low (though the average is at an all-time high).  Even with fewer Musicals, All That Jazz becomes the first Musical in the Top 10 since 1972.  Sci-Fi films hit a new high and it’s only the second time there have even been more than six.  Alien becomes just the third Sci-Fi film to win the Nighthawk; there won’t be another until 2013.

Studio Note:  United Artists leads for the first time since before the merger with MGM, with 13 films.  It’s followed by Fox with 11 films.  Both studios will have three films in the Top 10.  It’s only the second time (after 1950) that Fox has had three Top 10 films.  Fox will also win its fifth Nighthawk and its third in the decade.  The majors only account for 39.13% of the films, the second lowest total to date.  This is the first year for Orion, a company made with former UA executives teaming up with Warner Bros.  There are only 5 Orion films but by the middle of the decade they will be one of the most prolific (and best) studios.  For the first time since 1963, Warners doesn’t have a Top 20 film.

39 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):

  • Afanti  (Xiao, China)  *
  • Alexandria Why  (Chahine, Egypt)  *
  • Angel Guts: Red Classroom  (Sone, Japan)
  • Angi Vera  (Gabor, Hungary)  *
  • Autumn Marathon  (Daneliya, USSR)  *
  • The Barrier  (Christov, Bulgaria)  *
  • Cadena perpetua  (Ripstein, Mexico)
  • Camera Buff  (Kieslowski, Poland)
  • The Castle of Cagliostro  (Miyazaki, Japan)
  • Cause Toujours  (Molinaro, France)
  • Christ Stopped at Eboli  (Rosi, Italy)
  • Fascination  (Rollin, France)
  • Five Deadly Venoms  (Chang, Hong Kong)
  • Gassan  (Murano, Japan)  *
  • The Island  (Doria, Argentina)  *
  • Junoon  (Benegal, India)
  • Love on the Run  (Truffaut, France)
  • The Maids of Wilko  (Wajda, Poland)  **
  • Mama Turns 100  (Saura, Spain)  **
  • The Man to Destroy  (Bulajic, Yugoslavia)
  • The Marriage of Maria Braun  (Fassbinder, West Germany)
  • Mary My Dearest  (Hermosillo, Mexico)
  • Messidor  (Tanner, Switzerland)
  • Nosferatu the Vampyre  (Herzog, West Germany)
  • Oblomov  (Mikhalkov, USSR)
  • Raining in the Mountain  (Hu, Hong Kong)  *
  • A Respectable Life  (Jarl, Sweden)  *
  • Seeking Asylum  (Ferreri, Italy)
  • Siberiade  (Konchalovsky, USSR)
  • A Simple Story  (Sautet, France)  **
  • Stalker  (Tarkovsky, USSR)
  • Tales from the Vienna Woods  (Schell, Austria)  *
  • The Third Generation  (Fassbinder, West Germany)
  • Those Wonderful Men with a Crank  (Menzel, Czechoslovakia)  *
  • The Tin Drum  (Schlondorff, West Germany)  ***
  • To Forget Venice  (Brusati, Italy)  **
  • Vengeance is Mine  (Imamura, Japan)
  • The Women with Red Hair  (Kumashiro, Japan)
  • Woyzeck  (Herzog, West Germany)

Note:  For the first time since 1968, France is not one of the top two countries.  For the first time since 1951 neither France or Italy is one of the top two countries.  Japan leads the way with 5 films (first time it has been on top since 1964) and is tied by West Germany, whose five is a new high.  Next is France, whose 4 films is the lowest for the country since 1957, USSR with 4 and Italy, whose 3 is its lowest since 1959.  I also have my first film from China since 1965 and my first from Austria since 1955.
After a year with the fewest percentage of Dramas, this year is 2/3 Dramas (26 for 39), the highest since 1951.

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

  • Belgium:  Woman in a Twilight Garden  (dir. Delvaux)
  • Canada:  A Scream from Silence  (dir. Poirer)
  • Denmark:  Johnny Larsen  (dir. Arnfred)
  • Israel:  Moments  (dir. Bat-Adam)
  • Netherlands:  A Woman Like Eve  (dir. van Brakel)
  • Switzerland:  Les Petites Fugues  (dir. Yersin)

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 17 for 23 (74%), the best I’ll do between 1976 and 1983.
The list of submitting countries is much different than the year before, with six countries not submitting that did in 1978 (India, Mexico, Cuba, Kuwait, Lebanon, and in a surprise, Brazil, which misses out for the first time since 1965).  Back in after a year off are Sweden, Argentina, Austria, Belgium and Canada.  Switzerland, Egypt and Hong Kong are back after two years off and Bulgaria after three.  In the meantime, China submits for the first time.  The full list can be found here.
I am missing submissions from six countries.  I am missing Canada for the first time, but the rest are all continual problems.  I am missing Switzerland for the 4th time, The Netherlands for the 5th time, Israel for the 6th time and the two worst offenders – Belgium for the 6th time (in only 8 submissions to this date) and Denmark for the 17th time in 20 submissions.  Thankfully, Denmark’s streak of five straight misses ends here as they won’t submit for the next two years.  Once they restart, except for a stretch in the early 90’s, I will have seen most of their submissions going forward.

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

  • Osaka Elegy  (1936)
  • Sisters of the Gion  (1936)
  • The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums  (1939)
  • The 47 Ronin  (1941)
  • My Love Has Been Burning  (1949)
  • A Quiet Duel  (1949)
  • A Japanese Tragedy  (1953)
  • Go, Go Second Time Virgin  (1969)
  • Diary of Forbidden Dreams  (1972)
  • King, Queen, Knave  (1972)
  • La Vallee  (1972)
  • The Wicker Man  (1973)
  • The Street Fighter’s Last Revenge  (1974)
  • Till Marriage Do Us Part  (1974)
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock  (1975)
  • Shame of the Jungle  (1975)
  • Blue Sunshine  (1976)
  • Down & Dirty  (1976)
  • Dracula and Son  (1976)
  • Gypsies Are Found Near Heaven  (1976)
  • Jana Aranya  (1976)
  • Max Havelaar  (1976)
  • Alambrista  (1977)
  • The Consequence  (1977)
  • Cosmos: War of the Planets  (1977)
  • The Cycle  (1977)
  • Jubilee  (1977)
  • The Last Wave  (1977)
  • Operation Thunderbolt  (1977)
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man  (1977)
  • The Psychic  (1977)
  • Soldier of Orange  (1977)
  • Tent of Miracles  (1977)
  • Attack of the Killer Tomatoes  (1978)
  • Battlestar Gallactica  (1978)
  • La Cage Aux Folles  (1978)
  • Despair  (1978)
  • Fedora  (1978)
  • Game of Death  (1978)
  • Get Out Your Handkerchiefs  (1978)
  • The Green Room  (1978)
  • Newsfront  (1978)
  • Orchestra Rehearsal  (1978)
  • Robert et Robert  (1978)
  • The Silent Partner  (1978)
  • The Tree of Wooden Clogs  (1978)
  • Zoltan: Hound of Dracula  (1978)

Note:  These 47 films average a 59.  They earn 15 Nighthawk nominations, 4 of which are for Best Foreign Film and 7 of which are for Picnic at Hanging Rock.  It’s the only film on this list in the Top 15, but there are three in the bottom 6 (Shame of the Jungle is the 6th worst film of the year).  The top of this list is an explanation for both the lengthy list of ineligible films and the lengthy list of Foreign films I have seen in this year.  A large number of Japanese films finally got a release in the States in this year.  The first 8 films on this list are Japanese and the first five are all Kenji Mizoguchi films.

Films Not Listed at

  • Afanti
  • Alambrista
  • Angel Guts: Red Classroom
  • The Barrier
  • Bush Mama
  • Cadena perpetua
  • Cause Toujours
  • Cosmos: War of the Planets
  • Diary of Forbidden Dreams
  • Dracula and Son
  • Fascination
  • Fast Company
  • The 47 Ronin
  • Gassan
  • Go, Go Second Time Virgin
  • Gypsies are Found Near Heaven
  • Heartland
  • The Island
  • Jana Aranya
  • A Japanese Tragedy
  • Junoon
  • Long Weekend
  • Mama Turns 100
  • The Man to Destroy
  • Mary My Dearest
  • Money Movers
  • My Love Has Been Burning
  • Osaka Elegy
  • Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  • A Quiet Duel
  • Raining in the Mountain
  • A Respectable Life
  • Seeking Asylum
  • Sisters of the Gion
  • Story of the Last Chrysanthemums
  • The Street Fighter’s Last Revenge
  • Tent of Miracles
  • Those Wonderful Men with a Crank
  • The Woman with Red Hair

Note:  I use the list at 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 database but that end up in this year.
As is usually the case, most of these are Foreign films which never got an L.A. release.  As this is a sizable list, rather than list all the films on the list that were submitted for Best Foreign Film (some of them in other years), they are marked in orange.

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

  • Angi Vera  (1980)
  • Breaker Morant  (1980)
  • Caligula  (1980)
  • Christ Stopped at Eboli  (1980)
  • Don Giovanni  (1980)
  • Eagle’s Wing  (1980)
  • A Force of One  (1980)
  • The Great Santini  (1980)
  • Mad Max  (1980)
  • My Brilliant Career  (1980)
  • Radio On  (1980)
  • Scum  (1980)
  • Tess  (1980)
  • The Third Generation  (1980)
  • The Tin Drum  (1980)
  • Twice a Woman  (1980)
  • Vengeance is Mine  (1980)
  • Zombie  (1980)
  • Messidor  (1981)
  • Oblomov  (1981)
  • Tales from the Vienna Woods  (1981)
  • Autumn Marathon  (1982)
  • Death Watch  (1982)
  • Siberiade  (1982)
  • Stalker  (1982)
  • Camera Buff  (1983)
  • That Sinking Feeling  (1984)
  • Alexandria Why  (1991)
  • The Castle of Cagliostro  (1994)

Note:  These 29 films average a 63.3.  If you take out Caligula (the worst film ever made) and A Force of One, they average a 68.  On the one hand, moving Breaker Morant and Tess to 1980 (where they earned Oscar noms) helps clear out this year, which is already very crowded with great films, but it just clogs up the next year, which is also very crowded with great films.