Whether you go with the 3 hour theatrical release or the 6 hour television version, Fanny and Alexander is the best film of the year.

Whether you go with the 3 hour theatrical release or the 6 hour television version, Fanny and Alexander is the best film of the year.

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 (or directors) in olive are links to earlier posts that I don’t want to have show up in blue and be mistaken for a nominee.  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. Fanny & Alexander  *
  2. Terms of Endearment  **
  3. The Big Chill
  4. Zelig
  5. The Right Stuff
  6. Betrayal
  7. Star Wars Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi
  8. Educating Rita  *
  9. Miss Europe
  10. Danton

Analysis:  With three critics awards, the Oscar and the Globe, Terms of Endearment ties the Consensus record of 460 points set by The Bridge on the River Kwai and A Man for All Seasons.  It won’t be broken until 1990.
The Top 5 is better than the two previous years but the Top 10 is weaker than the year before.  That’s because there are only 7 **** films.
The film that might seem out of place and is quite possibly on no other Top 10 list for this year is Miss Europe.  It was the first sound film to star Louise Brooks, but it wouldn’t finally get a U.S. release until 1983.

  • bergmand-and-fannyBest Director
  1. Ingmar Bergman  (Fanny & Alexander)  *
  2. James L. Brooks  (Terms of Endearment)  **
  3. Lawrence Kasdan  (The Big Chill)
  4. Philip Kaufman  (The Right Stuff)  *
  5. Woody Allen  (Zelig)
  6. Martin Scorsese  (King of Comedy)
  7. Mike Nichols  (Silkwood)
  8. Peter Weir  (The Year of Living Dangerously)
  9. Augusto Genina  (Miss Europe)
  10. Andrei Tarkovsky  (The Mirror)

Analysis:  This is the only nomination for Kasdan.  It’s the first nomination for Brooks and Kaufman.  Allen, on the other hand, is earning his fourth nomination.  Bergman blows them all away, earning his 10th and final nomination, as well as his third win.  He finishes with 585 points and tied with Billy Wilder for 2nd place.
With Oscar nominations for Bruce Beresford (Tender Mercies) and Peter Yates (The Dresser), but not Kasdan or Kaufman, the Oscar score is a 56.8, the first time since 1965 that the Oscar score in this category has fallen below 60.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Terms of Endearment  **
  2. Betrayal  *
  3. Educating Rita  *
  4. The Right Stuff
  5. The Year of Living Dangerously
  6. The Dresser  *
  7. Reuben Reuben  *
  8. Star Wars Epsiode VI: Return of the Jedi

Analysis:  James L. Brooks wins his first Nighthawk.  With all five nominees in my Top 7, the Oscar score is a fantastic 96.2, the third highest to-date in this category.
The lack of an Oscar nomination for The Right Stuff was pretty odd; it was the only Picture nominee between 1976 and 1991 to not earn either a Director or Screenplay nomination.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Fanny & Alexander
  2. The Big Chill  **
  3. Zelig  *
  4. Local Hero  **
  5. Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life
  6. The Return of Martin Guerre
  7. Wargames  *
  8. Silkwood  *
  9. King of Comedy  *
  10. Trading Places

Analysis:  Local Hero, tying The Big Chill for the Consensus win, becomes the only Consensus winner in Original Screenplay to ever win without either a WGA or Oscar nomination (it’s also the only one to ever win without an Oscar nom).  It does it because of a lack of consensus.  The Big Chill wins the WGA and loses the Oscar, Globe and BAFTA.  Tender Mercies wins the WGA and Oscar but earns no other nominations (the last film to date to do that, probably in part thanks to the WGA dropping its Comedy / Drama distinctions after this year).  The Big Chill is the only original script to earn a Globe nom and Local Hero wins two critics awards but the only other original script to win a critics award is Pauline at the Beach.  King of Comedy wins the BAFTA but earns no other noms while Zelig earns WGA and BAFTA noms, so they both tie Silkwood and Wargames (Oscar / WGA noms) for fourth place.
Ingmar Bergman wins his 8th Nighthawk for writing.  It’s also his 17th nomination, giving him 1000 points and tying him with Billy Wilder for 1st place.  After a two year break, Woody Allen is back with his 10th nomination and the start of a second four year streak.  He’s now up to 560 points.  Lawrence Kasdan earns his third nomination in four years.
The Big Chill is the best #2 finisher in this category since Day for Night in 1974.  That helps lead to the overall score being tied for the second best to-date, behind only 1974.

  • Best Actor:
  1. Michael Caine  (Educating Rita)  *
  2. Robert De Niro  (King of Comedy)
  3. Jeremy Irons  (Betrayal)
  4. Tom Courteney  (The Dresser)  *
  5. Albert Finney  (The Dresser)  *
  6. Robert Duvall  (Tender Mercies)  **
  7. Gerard Depardieu  (The Return of Martin Guerre)
  8. Kevin Kline  (The Big Chill)
  9. Woody Allen  (Zelig)
  10. Gerard Depardieu  (Danton)

Analysis:  It’s the second nomination for Irons, the second for Finney, the third for Courteney, the fifth for Caine (and second win) and the seventh for De Niro (but only his second loss).  De Niro goes up to 395 points and moves into fifth place, just a decade after he starts earning points.
De Niro is the weakest #2 in this category since 1968.  This is the weakest top 5 in five years and tied for the weakest since 1949.  Caine would have been the only one here to earn a nomination in either 1982 or 1980.

  • Best Actress
  1. Shirley MacLaine  (Terms of Endearment)  **
  2. Debra Winger  (Terms of Endearment)  *
  3. Meryl Streep  (Silkwood)  *
  4. Julie Walters  (Educating Rita)  *
  5. Patricia Hodge  (Betrayal)
  6. Mia Farrow  (Zelig)
  7. Jane Alexander  (Testament)  *
  8. Barbra Streisand  (Yentl)
  9. Louise Brooks  (Miss Europe)
  10. Angela Punch McGregor  (We of the Never Never)

Analysis:  These are the only nominations for Walters and Hodge and the first for Winger.  MacLaine wins her second Nighthawk in her sixth nomination and moves up to 275 points.  But Streep, in just a handful of years in films, has already passed her and is now at 290 points and seventh place with seventh nomination (and third in a row).
In a contrast to Best Actor, this is the best Top 5 in 10 years and tied for the second best Top 5 to-date.

  • TERMS OF ENDEARMENT, Jack Nicholson, 1983Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Jack Nicholson  (Terms of Endearment)  **
  2. William Hurt  (The Big Chill)
  3. Jan Malmsjo  (Fanny & Alexander)
  4. Sam Shepard  (The Right Stuff)  *
  5. Jerry Lewis  (King of Comedy)  *
  6. Burt Lancaster  (Local Hero)  *
  7. Jeff Daniels  (Terms of Endearment)
  8. Ben Kingsley  (Betrayal)
  9. Mandy Patinken  (Yentl)
  10. Denholm Elliott  (Trading Places)  *

Analysis:  Because there was no crossover between the Oscars and the BAFTAs and because I weigh them the same, there were actually 10 Consensus nominees (the Globes only had two the same as the Oscars).  But while there was almost no consensus about the nominees, there was a massive consensus about the winner – Nicholson took home 7 awards (everything but the BAFTA)  His 7 awards, 384 points and 49% of the Consensus would all stand as records until 1992.  Obviously, I didn’t much side with the Academy, as only two of their nominees even make my Top 10 and the Oscar score is a 74.3, the only acting category in this year to score below a 90.
These are the only nominations for Malmsjo, Shepard and Lewis.  It’s the first nomination for Hurt.  But it’s the eighth nomination and fourth win for Nicholson and he moves up t0 400 points, behind only Bogart, Olivier and Rains.
Though there have been a number of years with the same score, no year has had a better Top 5 than this one since 1972.

  • the-year-of-living-dangerouslyBest Supporting Actress:
  1. Linda Hunt  (The Year of Living Dangerously)  **
  2. Glenn Close  (The Big Chill)  *
  3. Harriet Andersson  (Fanny & Alexander)
  4. Cher  (Silkwood)  *
  5. Sandra Bernhard  (King of Comedy)  *
  6. Amy Irving  (Yentl)  *
  7. Alfre Woodard  (Cross Creek)  *
  8. Mary Kay Place  (The Big Chill)
  9. Jamie Lee Curtis  (Trading Places)  *
  10. Meg Tilly  (The Big Chill)

Analysis:  Like with Supporting Actor, there is very little Consensus on the nominees (only Cher earns both Oscar and BAFTA noms and only Cher and Hunt earn Oscar and Globe noms) but a lot for the winner.  Hunt loses the Globe, but wins four critics awards and the Oscar.
This is the only nomination for both Bernhard and Hunt.  They are the first nominations for Close and Cher.  Andersson, however, earns her fifth nomination, all working with Bergman.
This is only the fourth time to this point where I have agreed with the Oscar winners in both supporting acting categories.

  • Best Editing:
  1. Terms of Endearment
  2. The Big Chill
  3. Zelig
  4. Fanny & Alexander
  5. The Right Stuff
  6. Betrayal
  7. Silkwood
  8. Under Fire
  9. Koyannisqatsi
  10. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Analysis:  I couldn’t find a clip, but just watch the first few minutes of Terms of Endearment to get an idea of why it wins this.

  • Best Cinematography:
  1. Fanny & Alexander  **
  2. The Right Stuff  *
  3. Zelig  *
  4. Danton
  5. King of Comedy
  6. Silkwood
  7. Star 80
  8. The Big Chill
  9. Never Cry Wolf
  10. We of the Never Never

Analysis:  The Academy’s Cinematographers Branch finally pulls its head out of its collective ass and nominates Gordon Willis (Zelig).  It’s his sixth Nighthawk nomination and he’s at 225 points and in second place all-time.  Ahead of him on the list is Sven Nykvist, who wins his fourth Nighthawk (to go along with five other noms) and is at 325 points.

  • Best Original Score:
  1. Terms of Endearment
  2. The Right Stuff
  3. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  4. Koyaanisqatsi
  5. Local Hero
  6. We of the Never Never
  7. The Night of the Shooting Stars
  8. Under Fire
  9. Videodrome
  10. The Year of Living Dangerously

Analysis:  This is an interesting year.  In first place, we have one of my all-time favorite scores, certainly one of my absolute favorites that’s not written by John Williams.  In second place we have another amazing score, and I don’t fault the Academy for giving it an Oscar – the track “Yeager’s Triumph” is the 5th most played song on my Itunes (dating back to 2009), with 136 plays.  Very few pieces of film music feel like what is happening in the film (someone taking flight) as that one does.  In fourth place, we have Philip Glass, who I don’t normally like, but whose music here is so good, especially when it was re-used in The Truman Show.  In fifth place, there is Mark Knopfler, lead singer and songwriter for one of my all-time favorite bands and the man who wrote the score my wife walked into our wedding to.  In third place, of course, is the man who wrote the music I walked into our wedding to, earning his seventh straight nomination and moving up to 375 points, now second behind only Max Steiner.
This makes the third time in five years where I would just as happily give the Nighthawk to my #2 finisher.  Before that, the only #2 as good as any of these was Gone with the Wind.  Overall, that will lead to the best Top 5 to-date, although that will only last for two years.
All of this adds up to an Oscar score of 80.5, the third highest score in this category to this point.

  • Best Sound:
  1. The Right Stuff
  2. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  3. Miss Europe
  4. Wargames
  5. The Evil Dead
  6. Silkwood
  7. Under Fire
  8. King of Comedy
  9. The Mirror
  10. Scarface

Analysis:  Return of the Jedi might be the best #2 to this point, rivaling only 1980, when Empire Strikes Back was the #2 to Raging Bull.  But after the top two, there’s a big drop-off and overall this is the weakest Top 5 in five years and there won’t be a weaker one until 1994.  The Oscar score is a 73.3, the fourth straight year it has gone up and the fifth highest score in the category to-date, part of the category finally getting a better group of nominees.  I must point out the early smart use of sound in Miss Europe.

  • Best Art Direction:
  1. Fanny & Alexander
  2. Zelig
  3. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  4. Yentl
  5. Danton
  6. The Dresser
  7. Star 80
  8. The Return of Martin Guerre
  9. Terms of Endearment
  10. Betrayal

Analysis:  Overall, this is the weakest Top 5 post-1978.  But the Oscars made good choices, so the score is an 86.7, the highest in this category since the Color and Black-White combination in 1967.

  • Best Visual Effects
  1. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  2. The Right Stuff

Analysis:  Jedi actually won a special award, not a competitive Oscar.

  • Best Sound Editing
  1. The Right Stuff
  2. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  3. The Evil Dead
  4. Wargames
  5. Miss Europe
  6. Never Say Never Again

Analysis:  Return of the Jedi joins Close Encounters as the only films in this category to earn my highest rating and not win the Nighthawk.  It won’t happen again for well over a decade.

  • Fanny och Alexander sŠnds i SVT2 lšrdag 28 december 1996. Del 1:4. Foto: SF. Bildtext: Fanny och Alexander. Bilden fŒr endast anvŠndas i programpresenterande sammanhang. Fotografens namn, Sveriges Television samt programmets titel skall alltid anges.Best Costume Design:
  1. Fanny & Alexander
  2. The Return of Martin Guerre
  3. Danton
  4. The Dresser
  5. Zelig
  6. Yentl
  7. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  8. The Draughtsman’s Contract
  9. The Pirates of Penzance
  10. We of the Never Never

Analysis:  The Foreign films were definitely dominating in this year.  Fanny easily wins this, and I suspect it easily won the Oscar as well.

  • Luke-DL18Best Makeup
  1. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  2. The Evil Dead
  3. Videodrome
  4. The Dresser
  5. Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life
  6. Danton
  7. Zelig

Analysis:  The third best Top 5 to-date.

  • Best Original Song:
  1. “Every Sperm is Sacred”  (Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life)
  2. On the Dark Side”  (Eddie and the Cruisers)
  3. Galaxy Song”  (Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life)
  4. Penis Song”  (Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life)
  5. “Papa Can You Hear Me”  (Yentl)
  6. “The Meaning of Life”  (Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life)
  7. “Doin’ the Chameleon”  (Zelig)
  8. “Flashdance”  (Flashdance)
  9. “Maniac”  (Flashdance)
  10. “The Way He Makes Me Feel”  (Yentl)

Analysis:  Oscars.org lists songs from different films.  This year, it lists 143, coming from 47 different films.  With the decline of the musical, the number of songs will continue to drop and only 7 films have more than 6 songs (all of which I have seen – Staying Alive, Two of a Kind, Yentl, Scarface, D.C. Cab, Doctor Detroit, Flashdance).  I have seen 31 of the films, covering 113 songs.
It says something about both my musical and my humor tastes that four of my top six songs are from The Meaning of Life, including my #1 and #4.

  • Best Animated Film:
  1. none

Analysis:  There are 7 eligible films (listed below), but none of them are any better than ***.

  • Fanny&AlexanderBest Foreign Film:
  1. Fanny & Alexander  **
  2. Danton  *
  3. Entre Nous  *
  4. L’Argent
  5. El Norte

note:  Films in green were submitted to the Academy but not nominated.  Since three of the films on my list are French and one is American, there are no films in green this year.

Analysis:  El Norte becomes the first US made Foreign language film to earn a nomination (there won’t be another for the rest of the century).  Sweden earns its 10th win (all by Bergman).  France earns three nominations for the 12th time.  Bergman earns his 10th win and 17th nomination.  He goes up to 540 points and again takes over 1st place by himself.  The Top 5 is a big improvement over the year before, but, even with Fanny, is still down from 1980.
Fanny crushes all the Consensus records, with 5 wins, 6 noms (it loses the BAFTA) and 204 points.  Ran will match all of those marks in two years, but it will take until 1993 before any other film comes close.
Fanny and Alexander is the best winner in this category since Cries and Whispers.  It’s also the first time since 1974 that I have agreed with the Oscar winner.

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.

  • Fanny & Alexander  (515)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Editing, Cinematography, Art Direction, Costume Design, Foreign Film
  • Terms of Endearment   (440)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actress, Actress, Supporting Actor, Editing, Original Score
  • The Right Stuff  (340)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound, Visual Effects, Sound Editing
  • The Big Chill  (220)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Editing
  • Zelig  (220)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Editing, Cinematography, Art Direction, Costume Design
  • Educating Rita  (145)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress
  • Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi  (145)
    • Original Score, Sound, Art Direction, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Makeup
  • King of Comedy  (120)
    • Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Cinematography
  • Betrayal  (110)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress
  • The Year of Living Dangerously  (100)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actress
  • The Dresser  (95)
    • Actor, Actor, Costume Design, Makeup
  • Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life  (90)
    • Original Screenplay, Makeup, Original Song, Original Song, Original Song
  • Danton  (80)
    • Cinematography, Art Direction, Costume Design, Foreign Film
  • Local Hero  (65)
    • Original Screenplay, Original Score
  • Silkwood  (65)
    • Actress, Supporting Actress
  • Miss Europe  (60)
    • Sound, Sound Editing, Foreign Film (1930)
  • The Evil Dead  (50)
    • Sound, Sound Editing, Makeup
  • Wargames  (40)
    • Sound, Sound Editing
  • The Return of Martin Guerre  (35)
    • Costume Design, Foreign Film (1982)
  • Yentl  (30)
    • Art Direction, Original Song
  • Koyaanisqatsi  (25)
    • Original Score
  • The Mirror  (20)
    • Foreign Film (1975)
  • Videodrome  (10)
    • Makeup
  • Eddie and the Cruisers  (10)
    • Original Song

Analysis:  There are only 24 films that earn nominations, which is far below average and 8 fewer than the year before.  1982 had 14 films with only one nomination while this year has only 4.

Best Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • Trading Places

Analysis:  The #18 film of the year.  It’s a ***.5 Comedy, maybe the best of the big hits that Eddie Murphy made in the early 80’s.  It does have three Top 10 finishes but none of them are any higher than 9th.

Best Film Not to Earn Any Top 10 Nighthawk Awards Finishes:

  • El Bruto

Analysis:  Luis Buñuel’s 1952 film that finally earned a U.S. release.  It’s a low-level ***.5 but its only Top 20 finishes are for Best Foreign Film (#12 – in 1952, a much tougher year) and Best Picture (#19).

Biggest Awards Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • Tender Mercies

Analysis:  The film with the most awards points since 1964 to earn this spot and the third highest to-date.  You can read a full review of it here, since it was a Best Picture nominee at the Oscars.  Overall, between the Oscars, Critics, Globes and Guilds, it won 6 awards (mostly for Robert Duvall, although it also won an Oscar for its script, which is appalling since Bergman was nominated) and earned 14 nominations.  It does earn a 6th place finish for Actor but that is its only Top 10 finish at the Nighthawks.

Nighthawk Golden Globes:

Drama:

  • Best Picture
  1. Fanny & Alexander
  2. Terms of Endearment
  3. The Right Stuff
  4. Betrayal
  5. Star Wars Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi

Analysis:  Fanny won the Globe for Best Foreign Film, making it ineligible for Best Picture.  Jedi is one of those rare films to earn a Picture – Drama nomination with no other nominations.

  • Best Director
  1. Ingmar Bergman  (Fanny & Alexander)
  2. James L. Brooks  (Terms of Endearment)
  3. Philip Kaufman  (The Right Stuff)
  4. Martin Scorsese  (King of Comedy)
  5. Mike Nichols  (Silkwood)

Analysis:  Brooks earns his only nomination, Kaufman earns his first, Nichols his second and Scorsese his fourth.  Bergman earns his 9th nomination and his third win and finishes in a three-way tie for 2nd place with William Wyler and David Lean with 540 points.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Terms of Endearment
  2. Betrayal
  3. The Right Stuff
  4. The Year of Living Dangerously
  5. The Dresser

Analysis:  This is the first year since 1969 where both my Drama Screenplay winners earn my highest score.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Fanny & Alexander
  2. The Return of Martin Guerre
  3. Wargames
  4. Silkwood
  5. King of Comedy

Analysis:  Like with the regular Nighthawks, this is Bergman’s 8th win; unlike the regular awards, this is his 20th Drama nomination and he goes up to 1140 points, far more than any other writer.  In the past 30 years, he’s never gone more than two years in a row without a nomination.
Fanny and Alexander is the best winner in this category since Chinatown in 1974.

  • king-of-comedy-2Best Actor:
  1. Robert De Niro  (King of Comedy)
  2. Jeremy Irons  (Betrayal)
  3. Tom Courteney  (The Dresser)
  4. Albert Finney  (The Dresser)
  5. Robert Duvall  (Tender Mercies)

Analysis:  This is rare, to have my top two Best Actor – Drama performances both be passed over by the Globes when they are both English language performances.  And yes, there was a tie at the Globes, which is why there are two winners.
Surprisingly, this is the first Drama nomination for Finney.  It’s the second nom for Irons and the third for Courteney.  But it’s the fifth nom for Duvall and the seventh for De Niro (and his sixth win).  De Niro goes up to 435 points and moves into third place in Drama, behind only Bogart and Olivier.
Overall, this is the weakest Top 5 since 1944 and De Niro’s is the weakest winning performance since 1942.

  • shirley-maclaine-terms-of-endearmentBest Actress
  1. Shirley MacLaine  (Terms of Endearment)
  2. Debra Winger  (Terms of Endearment)
  3. Meryl Streep  (Silkwood)
  4. Patricia Hodge  (Betrayal)
  5. Jane Alexander  (Testament)

Analysis:  This is the only nomination for Hodge.  Winger earns her second Drama nom in a row.  Alexander earns her fourth nom.  With most of her best work in Comedy, MacLaine earns only her fourth Drama nom and only win.  Streep earns her third nomination in a row and her sixth overall; she’s now at 290 points.
This is the strongest Top 5 in nine years.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Jack Nicholson  (Terms of Endearment)
  2. Jan Malmsjo  (Fanny & Alexander)
  3. Sam Shepard  (The Right Stuff)
  4. Jerry Lewis  (King of Comedy)
  5. Jeff Daniels  (Terms of Endearment)

Analysis:  Malmsjo, Shepard, Lewis and Daniels all earn their only Drama nominations.  Nicholson, on the other hand, is earning fourth win and eighth nomination and is at 400 points and in fifth place in Drama.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Linda Hunt  (The Year of Living Dangerously)
  2. Harriet Andersson  (Fanny & Alexander)
  3. Cher  (Silkwood)
  4. Sandra Bernhard  (King of Comedy)
  5. Alfre Woodard  (Cross Creek)

Analysis:  Hunt, Bernhard and Woodard earn their only Drama nominations while Cher earns her second in a row.  Andersson earns her fifth (and last).

Points:

  • Terms of Endearment  (370)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actress, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor
  • Fanny & Alexander  (330)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • King of Comedy  (215)
    • Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • The Right Stuff  (165)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor
  • Betrayal  (160)
    • Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress
  • Silkwood  (150)
    • Director, Original Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actress
  • The Dresser  (110)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actor
  • The Year of Living Dangerously  (100)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actress
  • Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi  (50)
    • Picture
  • The Return of Martin Guerre  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • Wargames  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • Tender Mercies  (35)
    • Actor
  • Testament  (35)
    • Actress
  • Cross Creek  (30)
    • Supporting Actress

Best Drama Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • Miss Europe

Analysis:  It’s the #6 Drama of the year, but can’t land high enough on any of the lists to break into the Top 5.  It’s a very good film, but in a better year it wouldn’t be anywhere close to this spot.

Comedy / Musical:

  • Best Picture
  1. The Big Chill
  2. Zelig
  3. Educating Rita
  4. Local Hero
  5. Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life

Analysis:  Educating Rita was nominated as Best Foreign Film.  The Globe winner was Yentl, which I have as a high ***.  This is the best Top 5 in four years and the third best since 1969, even if only the top two films are **** (the other three are all high ***.5).

  • Best Director
  1. Lawrence Kasdan  (The Big Chill)
  2. Woody Allen  (Zelig)
  3. Barbra Streisand  (Yentl)
  4. Bill Forsyth  (Local Hero)

Analysis:  These are the only Comedy nominations for Kasdan, Streisand and Forsyth.  Allen, on the other hand, earns his sixth Comedy nom with the first in a five-year streak of being nominated.  He’s now at 360 points and in fifth place, but by the end of the streak he will be tied for 1st.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Educating Rita
  2. Reuben Reuben

Analysis:  Now here’s a rarity – when my only two Adapted Comedies are both Globe nominated, when the Globes only nominate five screenplays in total.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. The Big Chill
  2. Zelig
  3. Local Hero
  4. Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life
  5. Trading Places

Analysis:  Lawrence Kasdan wins his second Comedy award in three years.  Woody Allen, on the other hand, earns his 11th nomination and goes up to 600 Comedy points, second now only to Billy Wilder.  It’s also the start of a five year streak of nominations for Allen.
This is the second best Top 5 to date in Comedy, but it’s part of a rising trend of better original scripts and it will be passed by many upcoming years.

  • Educating-Rita-michael-caine-5249104-550-305Best Actor:
  1. Michael Caine  (Educating Rita)
  2. Kevin Kline  (The Big Chill)
  3. Woody Allen  (Zelig)
  4. Tom Conti  (Reuben Reuben)
  5. Tom Cruise  (Risky Business)

Analysis:  Conti was nominated at the Globes in Drama.  This is the only nomination for Conti.  It’s the first nomination for both Kline and Cruise.  It’s the second Comedy nomination (and win) for Caine.  It’s the sixth nomination for Allen and he’s now at 245 points.
Overall, this is the best Top 5 in four years and the fourth best of the last 20.

  • educatingBest Actress
  1. Julie Walters  (Educating Rita)
  2. Mia Farrow  (Zelig)
  3. Barbra Streisand  (Yentl)
  4. Anne Bancroft  (To Be or Not to Be)

Analysis:  Walters earns her first Comedy nom, Bancroft her second, Farrow her second (the first of a three-year streak) and Streisand her fourth.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. William Hurt  (The Big Chill)
  2. Burt Lancaster  (Local Hero)
  3. Mandy Patinken  (Yentl)
  4. Denholm Elliott  (Trading Places)
  5. Charles Durning  (To Be or Not to Be)

Analysis:  Patinken was nominated at the Globes as a lead.  Patinken and Hurt earn their first nominations.  Elliott earns his second.  Durning earns his second in a row.  Lancaster earns his second Comedy nom, 17 years after his first.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Glenn Close  (The Big Chill)
  2. Amy Irving  (Yentl)
  3. Mary Kay Place  (The Big Chill)
  4. Jamie Lee Curtis  (Trading Places)
  5. Meg Tilly  (The Big Chill)

Analysis:  These are the only nominations for Place and Tilly.  It’s the first Comedy noms for Irving and Curtis while it’s the second in a row for Close.

Points:

  • The Big Chill  (485)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress
  • Educating Rita  (270)
    • Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress
  • Zelig  (205)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Actress
  • Local Hero  (165)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor
  • Yentl  (140)
    • Director, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Trading Places  (100)
    • Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life  (90)
    • Picture, Original Screenplay
  • Reuben Reuben  (75)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor
  • To Be or Not to Be  (65)
    • Actress, Supporting Actor
  • Risky Business  (35)
    • Actor

Analysis:  It’s the third year in a row with a film finishing with at least 470 points.

Best Comedy Not Nominated for any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • Daffy Duck’s Fantastic Island

Analysis:  You are, in fact, reading that correctly.  It’s my #25 film of the year and my #8 Comedy, with all seven films above it earning nominations.

Roundup for the Year in Film:

Eligible Films I Have Seen:  164

By Stars:

  • ****:  7
  • ***.5:  13
  • ***:  65
  • **.5:  33
  • **:  25
  • *.5:  4
  • *:  11
  • .5:  4
  • 0:  2
  • Average Film Score for the Year, out of 100:  58.09

Analysis:  The most films since 1970 and the second most to date, yet there will never again be a year with this few films.  It’s a three and a half point drop from the year before.  That’s because for only the third time, more than 10% of the films are awful (* or lower) and only 51.8% of the films are *** or better, the fifth lowest total so far.  This is also only the seventh year to have multiple 0 star films and it won’t happen again for well over a decade.  In fact, there won’t even be another 0 star film until 1990.

Oscar-Nominated Films I Have Not Seen:

  • none

Oscar Quality:

Best Picture:  This year ranks at #29 overall, which is weaker than the year before or the year after, but is still better than the vast majority of years up to this point (9th best to this point).  It is a balanced year, with two films high on the list (Terms – #59, The Big Chill – #108) and two films on the lower end (The Dresser – #370, Tender Mercies – #389) and one more in the middle (The Right Stuff – #186).

The Winners:  Among all films, the winners earn a 2.68, which is the best score since 1977.  That includes 12 categories where I agree completely with the winner, the most since 1961.  In only four categories do the Oscar winner rank lower than 2nd on my list and Original Screenplay, which ranks at 14th, is the only one that is lower than 8th.  This includes a rank of 1.40 among the Tech winners, the third best rank to this date.  Among the nominees, the average winner ranks at 1.61, which is the best since 1975.

The Nominees:  The overall score is a 75.8, five points lower than the year before, but still the second best up to this point.  It includes a 70.4 among the major categories, an 87.8 among the acting categories (with three of them scoring over 90) and a 76.3 among the Tech categories (again, a slight drop from the year before but higher than any other year to this point).

Golden Globe Best Picture – Comedy / Musical:  This year ranks at #28 overall, so it’s pretty similar to the Oscar nominees for Best Picture, especially since it ranks below both the year before and year after, yet is fourth best up to this point.  I absolutely can’t fathom what Flashdance is doing being nominated (it’s in the bottom 10 of all-time among nominees and there wouldn’t be a worse nominee for over a decade).  But The Big Chill and Zelig were absolutely the right choices for nominees and Trading Places is as well, being the third best eligible nominee (my #3, 4 and 5 Comedy films were all British and would have qualified as Best Foreign Film, and in fact, Educating Rita was nominated as such).  They did make a bad choice in giving the award to Yentl, my #11 film, and at ***, not on my list.  But it’s the choice of Flashdance that keeps this year as low as it is.  If they had picked one of their acting nominees (Risky Business, To Be or Not To Be) or had decided that Reuben Reuben was a Comedy rather than a Drama, this would have been the best year to-date.  But, no, they with Flashdance.

Top 5 Films of the Year:

Bergman's brilliant "swan song".

Bergman’s brilliant “swan song”.

1  –  Fanny & Alexander  (dir. Ingmar Bergman)

Does understanding of a lifetime of film come from this one?  I dislike biographical criticism, but if a writer points out that he has written something that reflects his own experience, can that really count as biographical criticism?  Bergman gave us this film, designed as his farewell (it wasn’t) to present us with a look back at where he came from, what experiences formed his worldview when he was a child and set him on a path towards making dark, brooding films with cold, distant father figures, all wrapped up in the mystery and pain of religion.

This is the story of two young children who find themselves lost in the pain of familial changes.  Their father dies and their mother, hoping for love, marries a distant, cold bishop.  The bishop is a stern, hateful man, one whose god does not seem to have any room for love.  His house is white and sparse and a drastic difference from the lively colorful Christmas that opens the film with the children surrounded by family.  The two children are Fanny and Alexander, with Alexander a stand-in for the young Bergman and the bishop for his step-father whose stern, cold moralizing view of the world would inform Bergman’s world-view and lead to most of the great films ever made that deal with faith and pain.  Their mother really did think she was doing something good for her children, but such mistakes have happened in the past and they will continue to happen.

Bergman’s film comes to life because of the way that he films it.  The cinematography is breath-taking and gorgeous.  The art direction is sumptuous and alive with color and life, even in Swedish winter, until we get to the bishop’s house and we feel the cold chill running through the house.  The costumes are magnificent.  All three things won the Oscar, a rarity for a Foreign film to win so many Oscars, but there was no question that this was the film that deserved to be winning all of these awards.

Fanny and Alexander can be a difficult film to watch.  It is long (3 hours in the feature film version, 6 hours in the version that Bergman made for television) and the bishop is so hateful that you want to turn away (though the performance by Jan Malmsjo is very good) but you keep watching because you hope that something better will come for these two children who just need some love.  This is a film that would have been a perfect send-off for Bergman, although it turned out not to be as his next television film would be released theatrically and some 20 years later he would make one final film.  That doesn’t make the greatness of this film any less though.

2  –  Terms of Endearment  (reviewed here)

3  –  The Big Chill  (reviewed here)

The other film Forrest Gump ripped off.

The other film Forrest Gump ripped off.

4  –  Zelig  (dir. Woody Allen)

When Forrest Gump came out in 1994, I had not yet seen Being There, so I didn’t realize how much the film ripped off the concept of the simplistic Forrest becoming important from that film (and novel).  My roommate, Jonathan, on the other hand, had not yet seen Zelig, and he didn’t know that the idea of placing the main character in to important historical footage wasn’t original to Gump either.  When we talked about it later, we pieced together that Gump was the product of two considerably superior films.

Poor Leonard Zelig just wants to be accepted.  He wants to be accepted so badly that he becomes part of whatever he is near.  We slowly learn about him in a magnificent mockumentary style (using actual people like Saul Bellow and Susan Sontag rather than all created characters) that places him an authentic documentary footage.  When among hasidic Jews, he grows a beard, starts to speak Yiddish and knows about the Torah.  Getting on the field with the Yankees, he suddenly can hit like Ruth.

Allen plays Zelig himself, and while much of the film involves people talking about him, we also get one of more interesting performances.  In so many films he just wants to be liked while at the same time managing to alienate people.  Here, he is so desperate for approval that he will become a chameleon and change into whatever culture is around him.  He falls in love with his psychiatrist (played by Mia Farrow) and eventually they are swept up in the larger events of the world.  In the perfect metaphor for the time, he goes off and joins the Nazis.

All of this makes for one of Allen’s most inventive films, with a little bit of his early films thrown in, some very good cinematography from Gordon Willis (finally earning him first Oscar nomination when he should have won multiple Oscars by this point), and most importantly, some truly incredible editing work.  The insertion of Forrest into scenes would later win Editing and Visual Effects Oscars for that film.  Zelig, which did it first, and does it just as well, wouldn’t even get a nomination for either.

I will say this: if you’re averse to watching Woody Allen films because of Allen’s persona, then this is one of the best films to start with.  His performance in the film is smaller than in most of his films (because of so much of the documentary footage) and even when he does appear, he is miles away from the persona that had been so well crafted in films like Annie Hall and Manhattan.

5  –  The Right Stuff  (reviewed here)

The Razzies:  Sadly (for my readers) but also thankfully (for me), I was unable to get hold of The Lonely Lady, the Razzie “winner” in order to watch it.  I can’t imagine it’s any worse than Night of the Ghouls, though.  Of the other nominees, only one makes my bottom five (Hercules) and one other makes my bottom 10 (Two of a Kind).  Jaws 3 is just outside my bottom 10 and is certainly a good choice for the Razzies.  Both the latter two are *, while Hercules is a .5 film.  But the fifth nominee is Stroker Ace, and it’s a bad film (low **), but at #142 out of 164 films, not nearly bad enough to merit being on the Razzie list.  Even aside from my bottom 5, there are films like The Hunger (yes, I know it’s a cult film, but it’s terrible), Superman III (which I have reviewed here) or Yellowbeard (not all Monty Python alums make good films) which would have been better choices.

5 Worst Films  (#1 being the worst):

  1. Night of the Ghouls
  2. 10 to Midnight
  3. Hercules
  4. Spring Break
  5. Piranha II: The Spawning

note:  The worst film of the year is the final of four Ed Wood films to merit that distinction.  Almost as bad, and also with 0 stars, is 10 to Midnight, the fourth collaboration between Charles Bronson and director J. Lee Thompson, but the first of a string of horrific, violent revenge films the two made, all of which are unbearably bad.  Not much better is Hercules, which earned a Razzie nomination, Spring Break (a crass teen comedy, the kind that became very popular after the success of Porky’s) and Piranha II, the first film directed by James Cameron, although he can’t bear all the blame because it was taken out of his hands.

Even in death, Ed Wood was still managing to make the worst film of the year.

Even in death, Ed Wood was still managing to make the worst film of the year.

Night of the Ghouls  (dir. Ed Wood)

I’ve seen five films directed by Ed Wood.  Four of them win the “Worst Film of the Year” award at the Nighthawks.  Another one, Orgy of the Dead, I have never seen, but Veronica has assured me that it would have won had I seen it.  Ed Wood made his films with sincerity and energy but without a single ounce of talent.  Sadly, none of the people that he enlisted in his effort to fill the world with film had any talent either.

Night of the Ghouls wasn’t his last film – it was actually made before Plan 9 from Outer Space – but because he couldn’t pay for the post-production work, the negative wasn’t released to him and it never found a theatrical release until 1983, five years after Wood’s death, when a film archivist found the film, paid the costs and released it, first in theaters, then on video.

It is, sadly, more proof that Wood was as untalented as they come.  Every line of dialogue is completely wooden, both in its conception and its delivery.  It’s about the dead rising, or about a haunted house, or maybe about a con man.  It doesn’t really matter, because unless you have a love for this kind of crap (and I understand that there are people who do, just not me), your eyes will glaze over and you will shut down because the acting, direction, script, and pretty much everything else about the script is so unbearably bad.

Points:

  • Most Nighthawk Nominations:   Fanny & Alexander  /  The Right Stuff  (10)
  • Most Nighthawk Awards:  Fanny & Alexander  (7)
  • Most Nighthawk Points:  Fanny & Alexander  (515)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Award:  Eddie and the Cruisers
  • 2nd Place Award:  Terms of Endearment  (Picture, Director, Actress)
  • 6th Place Award:  Betrayal  (Picture, Editing)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Nominations:   Terms of Endearment  (7)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Awards:   Terms of Endearment  /  Fanny & Alexander  (3)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Points:  Terms of Endearment  (370)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Drama Award:  Cross Creek
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Nominations:  The Big Chill  (8)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Awards:  The Big Chill  (5)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Points:  The Big Chill  (485)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Comedy Award:  To Be or Not to Be

Note:  * means a Nighthawk record up to this point; ** ties a Nighthawk record
Note:  The Big Chill actually has the most 2nd place finishes, but the points for its 4 2nd place finishes (Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Editing) tally up to 5 less than the points for Terms‘ 3 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:  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:  64 (31)  –  Fanny & Alexander  (66.9)
  • Foreign:  45  –  Fanny & Alexander  (64.9)
  • Comedy:  32 (4)  –  The Big Chill  (53)
  • Musical:  13 (3)  –  Yentl  (52.6)
  • Horror:  12 (1)  –  The Evil Dead  (39.1)
  • Sci-Fi:  8  –  Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi  (54)
  • Action:  8 (1)  –  Never Say Never Again  (43.9)
  • Crime:  5 (1)  –  Scarface  (60.6)
  • Fantasy:  5  –  Twilight Zone: The Movie  (46.2)
  • Suspense:  4 (1)  –  Wargames  (65)
  • Kids:  4 (1)  –  Daffy Duck’s Fantastic Island  (56.3)
  • Western:  3  –  We of the Never Never  (68)
  • War:  2 (1)  –  Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence  (68.5)
  • Mystery:  2  –  Gorky Park  (64)
  • Adventure:  2 (1)  –  High Road to China  (63.5)

Analysis:  The 32 Comedies are the most since 1966.  Almost every genre is down in quality from the year before, with Action, Horror and Fantasy all mired in ** range, Horror sinking almost down to *.5.  The one thing that is up, surprisingly, is Drama, which goes up to 66.86, its highest average since 1967.  Stephen King films start to really become a sub-genre of Horror films, with three of them in this year, although, unlike a lot of later ones, these are mostly pretty good (The Dead Zone, Christine, Cujo).
There are almost no genre films in the Top 10 – 9 of them are either Drama or Comedy for the first time since 1970.  Of the Top 20, 18 of them are either Drama or Comedy, the most ever.  Three of the Top 10 are Foreign Films, the most in five years, and there won’t be this many again for a long time.

Studio Note:  Warner Bros has 20 films, the most by any studio in one year since 1957.  It kicks off an unprecedented run of 12 straight years where Warners will have the most films of any of the majors.  It’s followed by 18 films each from Universal and United Artists as well as 16 from Fox.  Overall, the majors account for 57% of all films, the most since 1963, and it won’t ever be that high again.  Among the minors, Orion is starting to rise, with 8 films.  Having a lot of films doesn’t guarantee quality, as Universal averages a 57 and UA a terrible 49.9.  Even Orion only averages a 55.
With Bergman winning the Nighthawk, it’s the first time that a major hasn’t won Best Picture since, well, since the last Bergman won, in 1973.  The big thing is that this year is the first year since 1950 where no there is no United Artists film is in the Top 10.  They don’t even have a film in the Top 20, with their best film being Wargames, down at #23 (and their second best Yentl, at #44).  Fox and Warners both manage to have 4 of the Top 20 each, though.  A grand total of 7 of the Top 10 and 14 of the Top 20 films are from the majors, numbers that will rarely be seen again, thanks to the rise of, first, Orion, in 1984, and then, at the end of the decade, Miramax.

7 Films Eligible for Best Animated Film  (ranked, with ***, director and studio in parenthesis)

  1. Daffy Duck’s Fantastic Island  (***, Jones / Frelong, Warner Bros)
  2. The Plague Dogs  (***, Rosen, United Artists)
  3. The Smurfs and the Magic Flute  (**.5, Dutilleau, Atlantic Releasing)
  4. Fire and Ice  (**.5, Bakshi, 20th Century-Fox)
  5. Twice Upon a Time  (**, Korty / Swenson, Ladd Company)
  6. Hey Good Lookin’  (**, Bakshi, Warner Bros)
  7. Rock & Rule  (*, Smith, MGM/UA)

Note:  Oscars.org only lists four eligible films under their Animated classification for this year.  It doesn’t list The Plague Dogs or Rock & Rule, and more surprisingly, doesn’t list Daffy Duck’s Fantastic Island, but it’s not the only Looney Tunes clip movie to not be listed on the website.  This is a pretty weak year, although much better than the next year will be.  The Smurfs and the Magic Flute is the first animated feature film to be released by Atlantic Releasing, but they will release a slough of films in 1985 and 1986 before disappearing and none of them will be any better then Smurfs.  This will thankfully be it from Ralph Bakshi for a while; Fire and Ice is actually his best film in my opinion.  Martin Rosen had also directed the brilliant Watership Down, but that had better source material (by the same author), which is part of why it is so much a better film than Plague Dogs.

63 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):

  • The 4th Man  (Verhoeven, Netherlands)  *
  • And the Ship Sails On  (Fellini, Italy)  *
  • Antarctica  (Kurahara, Japan)  *
  • Ardh sutya  (Nihalani, India)
  • Le Bal  (Scola, Algeria)  **
  • The Ballad of Narayama  (Imamura, Japan)
  • Barefoot Gen  (Masaki, Japan)
  • Broken Marriage  (Bernal, Philippines)
  • Carmen  (Rosi, Italy)
  • Carmen  (Saura, Spain)  **
  • Confidentially Yours  (Truffaut, France)
  • Danton  (Wajda, France)
  • Dark Habits  (Almodovar, Spain)
  • Le Dernier Combat  (Besson, France)
  • Entre Nous  (Kurys, France)  **
  • Erendira  (Guerra, Mexico)  *
  • Fall Guy  (Fukasaku, Japan)
  • The Family Game  (Morita, Japan)
  • Fanny & Alexander  (Bergman, Sweden)  ***
  • First Name: Carmen  (Godard, France)
  • Funny Dirty Little War  (Olivera, Argentina)
  • Great Transport  (Bulajic, Yugoslavia)  *
  • Growing Up  (Chen, Taiwan)
  • Guaguasi  (Ulla, Dominican Republic)  *
  • Henry IV  (Bellocchio, Italy)
  • L’Homme blesse  (Chereau, France)
  • In the White City  (Tanner, Switzerland)  *
  • Incomplete Eclipse  (Jires, Czechoslovakia)  *
  • The Inheritors  (Bannert, Austria)
  • Inocencia  (Lima Jr, Brazil)
  • Kamikaze 1989  (Gremm, West Germany)
  • L’Argent  (Bresson, France)
  • Life is a Bed of Roses  (Resnais, France)
  • The Lift  (Mass, Netherlands)
  • The Makioka Sisters  (Ichikawa, Japan)
  • Maruja in Hell  (Jose Lombardi, Peru)  *
  • Masoom  (Kapur, India)
  • The Moon in the Gutter  (Beineix, France)
  • My Memories of Old Beijing  (Wu, China)  *
  • El Norte  (Nava, USA)
  • A Nos Amours  (Pialat, France)
  • Nostalghia  (Tarkovsky, USSR)
  • One Deadly Summer  (Becker, France)
  • Parsifal  (Syberberg, West Germany)
  • Pauline at the Beach  (Rohmer, France)
  • Pieces  (Simon, Spain)
  • Reign Behind the Curtain  (Li, China)
  • Rembetiko  (Ferris, Greece)
  • Return from Hell  (Margineanu, Romania)  *
  • The Revolt of Job  (Gyongossy, Hungary)  **
  • The Sandwich Man  (Hou, Taiwan)
  • Sugar Cane Alley  (Palcy, France)
  • El Sur  (Erice, Spain)
  • Three Crowns of the Sailor  (Ruiz, Chile)
  • The Turning Point  (Beyer, East Germany)
  • Vassa  (Panfilov, USSR)
  • The Wall  (Guney, Turkey)
  • Wend Kuuni  (Kabore, Burkina Faso)
  • Without Witness  (Mikhalkov, USSR)
  • A Woman in Flames  (van Ackeren, West Germany)  *
  • You Disturb Me  (Benigni, Italy)
  • Zappa  (August, Denmark)  *
  • Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain  (Tsui, Hong Kong)

Note:  The 63 total films are the most to-date; no previous year had more than 59 and there won’t be another year with more than 60 until at least the late 90’s.  I have my first films from the Dominican Republic and Burkina Faso.  El Norte is only the second USA made film in a language other than English.  I have my first Romanian film in 7 years, my first Algerian film in 8, my first Turkish film in 9 and my first Peruvian films in 11.  This is the only year where I have seen multiple Dutch films and the first time I have seen multiple Taiwanese films.  It’s the first time since 1950 I have seen multiple Chinese films.  The 4 Spanish films are the most since 1968 and tied for the most to-date.  France has the most films (13), the most from any country since 1976.  Japan is second with 6, the most for Japan since 1969.  Seven of these films are Musicals, the highest number ever, but that’s partially because there are, bizarrely, three versions of Carmen.

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

  • Austria:  Tramps  (dir. Patzak)
  • Canada:  Tin Flute  (dir. Fournier)
  • Iceland:  The House  (dir. Edversson)
  • Israel:  A Married Couple  (dir. Yeshurun)
  • Portugal:  No Trace of Sin  (dir. Fonseca e Costa)
  • Taiwan:  Growing Up  (dir. Kunhou)

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 20 for 26 (77%), my best mark since 1976.  Three of my missing countries are the same as 1982, including the end of my five year streak of missing all the Israeli submissions.
There are seven countries submitting that didn’t in 1982 (Austria, China, East Germany, Mexico, Peru, Romania and the first submission from the Dominican Republic).  The countries that are out from the year before are Argentina, Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Nicaragua and Norway.
Of the missing submissions, this is the fourth time I’ve missed Austria, the third time I’ve missed Canada, the second in a row for Iceland (and three of its four submissions to-date), the fifth in a row and 10th overall I’ve missed from Israel (at this point, I’ve only seen one Israeli submission that wasn’t nominated), the second time I’ve missed Portugal and the third time I’ve missed Taiwan.

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

  • Miss Europe  (1930)
  • El Bruto  (1952)
  • Night of the Ghouls  (1959)
  • The Mirror  (1975)
  • The Smurfs and the Magic Flute  (1975)
  • Illustrious Corpses  (1976)
  • Sleeping Dogs  (1977)
  • The Stationmaster’s Wife  (1977)
  • Camera Buff  (1979)
  • The Nest  (1980)
  • The Evil Dead  (1981)
  • Hey Good Lookin’  (1981)
  • Marianne and Juliane  (1981)
  • Muddy River  (1981)
  • Piranha II: The Spawning  (1981)
  • Puberty Blues  (1981)
  • 1990: The Bronx Warriors  (1982)
  • Alsino and the Condor  (1982)
  • Angel  (1982)
  • La Balance  (1982)
  • The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez  (1982)
  • Britannia Hospital  (1982)
  • The Draughtman’s Contract  (1982)
  • The Flight of the Eagle  (1982)
  • The Grey Fox  (1982)
  • Hammett  (1982)
  • A Night in Heaven  (1982)
  • The Night of the Shooting Stars  (1982)
  • La Nuit de Varennes  (1982)
  • The Plague Dogs  (1982)
  • Private Life  (1982)
  • Querelle  (1982)
  • The Return of Martin Guerre  (1982)
  • The Return of the Soldier  (1982)
  • Smithereens  (1982)
  • Starstruck  (1982)
  • The State of Things  (1982)
  • Volver a Empezar  (1982)
  • We of the Never Never  (1982)
  • The Year of Living Dangerously  (1982)

Note:  These 43 films average exactly a 63, but if you remove Night of the Ghouls and Piranha II, that average goes up to a 65.98.  No film reaches ****, but there are several ***.5 (Miss Europe, El Bruto, The Evil Dead, The Mirror, The Return of Martin Guerre, The Year of Living Dangerously).  They do combine for 11 Nighthawk nominations (only three of which are for Foreign Film) and the win for Supporting Actress.

Films Not Listed at Oscars.org:

  • Angel
  • Ardh sutya
  • Broken Marriage
  • El Bruto
  • Camera Buff
  • Cracking Up
  • Daffy Duck’s Fantastic Island
  • Great Transport
  • Growing Up
  • Guaguasi
  • Incomplete Eclipse
  • Kamikaze 1989
  • Maruja in Hell
  • Masoom
  • The Mirror
  • Miss Europe
  • Night of the Ghouls
  • The Plague Dogs
  • Reign Behind the Curtain
  • Return from Hell
  • Rock & Rule
  • The Sandwich Man
  • Three Crowns of the Sailor
  • The Turning Point
  • Wend Kuuni
  • You Disturb Me

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 got an L.A. release.  The films marked in orange were those that were submitted for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars.

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

  • The 4th Man  (1984)
  • And the Ship Sails On  (1984)
  • Another Time, Another Place  (1984)
  • Antarctica  (1984)
  • The Ballad of Narayama  (1984)
  • Le Bal  (1984)
  • Born in Flames  (1984)
  • Carmen  (1984)
  • Confidentially Yours  (1984)
  • Le Dernier Combat  (1984)
  • Entre Nous  (1984)
  • Erendira  (1984)
  • Eureka  (1984)
  • The Family Game  (1984)
  • First Name: Carmen  (1984)
  • In the White City  (1984)
  • L’Argent  (1984)
  • Last Night at the Alamo  (1984)
  • Life is a Bed of Roses  (1984)
  • My Memories of Old Beijing  (1984)
  • El Norte  (1984)
  • Nos Amours  (1984)
  • One Deadly Summer  (1984)
  • Phar Lap  (1984)
  • The Revolt of Job  (1984)
  • Sugar Cane Alley  (1984)
  • Utu  (1984)
  • Vassa  (1984)
  • Without Witness  (1984)
  • A Woman in Flames  (1984)
  • Zappa  (1984)
  • Henry IV  (1985)
  • L’Homme Blesse  (1985)
  • The Inheritors  (1985)
  • The Lift  (1985)
  • Rembetiko  (1985)
  • The Wall  (1985)
  • The Wild Duck  (1985)
  • Funny Dirty Little War  (1986)
  • Dark Habits  (1988)
  • El Sur  (1988)
  • Inocencia  (1990)
  • Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain  (1990)
  • My Brother’s Wedding  (1991)
  • Barefoot Gen  (1992)
  • Nostalghia  (1992)
  • White Dog  (1992)
  • Project A  (1994)

Note:  These 48 films average a 64.1.  That’s a pretty solid average considering that no film on this list is better than a 78 and only three even earn ***.5 (Entre Nous, L’Argent, El Norte).  It’s counter-balanced in that no film is lower than ** and only four of them are even ** (The 4th Man, Eureka, Last Night at the Alamo, The Lift).

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