The greatest musical talent in history burns himself up.

The greatest musical talent in history burns himself up.

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. Amadeus  **
  2. A Passage to India  *
  3. The Killing Fields  *
  4. This is Spinal Tap
  5. Under the Volcano
  6. Ghostbusters
  7. Broadway Danny Rose
  8. Once Upon a Time in America
  9. The Cotton Club
  10. Gremlins

Analysis:  This is a difficult year to do.  For all intents and purposes, you can consider this a tie between Amadeus and A Passage to India.  You could say the same for Director and Adapted Screenplay.  There is a two point drop from #3 to #4 and a four point drop to #5.  It’s really all about the top three films.  Only the Top 7 films are ****.  There’s a 14 point difference between #1 and #10, which is a lot.  That #5 spot has also gone through changes almost every time I have gone through this year, with my most recent viewing of Under the Volcano bumping it up into the fifth spot.
Amadeus is the first film in six years to win the Oscar and the Nighthawk.  It is the fifth film (following Casablanca, The Lost Weekend, From Here to Eternity and The Bridge on the River Kwai) to sweep Picture, Director and Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars and the Nighthawks (On the Waterfront is the only film to this point to do that with Original Screenplay).  It will be another seven years before a film wins both the Oscar and Nighthawk again, though that will kick off a streak of three straight years.

  • amadeus-formanBest Director
  1. Milos Forman  (Amadeus)  **
  2. David Lean  (A Passage to India)  *
  3. Roland Joffe  (The Killing Fields)  *
  4. John Huston  (Under the Volcano)
  5. Sergio Leone  (Once Upon a Time in America)  *
  6. Francis Ford Coppola  (The Cotton Club)
  7. Woody Allen  (Broadway Danny Rose)
  8. Rob Reiner  (This is Spinal Tap)
  9. Roger Donaldson  (The Bounty)
  10. Steven Spielberg  (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom)

Analysis:  This will be Roland Joffe’s only nomination as most of the rest of his career will be utter crap – except for Michael Cimino there has never been a directorial career that looked so good in the first film and so bad afterwards.  The others are far more distinguished however.  Forman earns his second nomination and Leone earns his third.  Huston earns his seventh (and final) nomination, in his fifth different decade.  He finishes with 360 points and in a tie for 9th place.  Ahead of him on that list though, with one of the greatest final films in directorial history, is David Lean, earning his 8th nomination and just barely missing out on a 4th win.  He finishes with 495 points and in a tie for 4th place.  He doesn’t earn nominations in five decades because his only film in the 70’s earned a 7th place finish in 1970.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Amadeus  **
  2. A Passage to India  *
  3. The Killing Fields  *
  4. Under the Volcano
  5. A Soldier’s Story  *
  6. Nineteen Eighty-Four
  7. The Bounty
  8. The Bostonians
  9. Once Upon a Time in America
  10. Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes  *

Analysis:  Being made outside the rules of the WGA, Amadeus is the first Consensus winner since 1973 to not win the WGA and the first since 1966 to not earn a WGA nomination.
Like with 1977, a similar year, the two films that are essentially tied for 1st place are in the same screenplay category, which is always unfortunate.  A Passage to India, as a result, is the best #2 in this category since 1962.  Because of those strong top three, this is the best Top 5 in this category between 1980 and 1987.
I have actually read eight of the original sources already, which is a lot (all but A Soldier’s Story and Once Upon a Time in America).
With all five Oscar nominees in my Top 10, this is the third straight year where the Oscar score is over 90 (90.9).  That’s compared to Original, where the score is 55.6.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. This is Spinal Tap
  2. Ghostbusters
  3. Broadway Danny Rose  *
  4. After the Rehearsal
  5. Sixteen Candles
  6. Splash  *
  7. Micki & Maude
  8. Romancing the Stone
  9. L’Argent
  10. Beverly Hills Cop

Analysis:  Places in the Heart was the Consensus and Oscar winner but it finishes in 12th place on my list.
Woody Allen and Ingmar Bergman continue to rise up the all-time list.  Allen earns his 11th nomination and goes up to 600 points and 4th place.  But Bergman breaks his tie with Billy Wilder and goes up to 1040 points and 1st place all-time with his 18th nomination.  It’s also the fourth and final time they compete directly against each other with Bergman winning twice (1973, 1983), Allen once (1978) and this time neither winning.
Clearly I’m not the only one who prefers popular comedies in this year, as both Splash and Beverly Hills Cop earn Oscar noms.

  • Best Actor:
  1. Tom Hulce  (Amadeus)
  2. F. Murray Abraham  (Amadeus)  **
  3. Albert Finney  (Under the Volcano)  *
  4. Sam Waterston  (The Killing Fields)  *
  5. Victor Banerjee  (A Passage to India)  *
  6. Anthony Hopkins  (The Bounty)
  7. Howard Rollins  (A Soldier’s Story)
  8. Jeff Bridges  (Starman)
  9. Woody Allen  (Broadway Danny Rose)
  10. Steve Martin  (All of Me)  *

Analysis:  These are the only nominations for four of the five actors, with only Finney having been here before.  It’s Finney’s third nomination.
I have always gone against the grain by choosing Hulce, who, only earning Oscar and Globe noms fails to even make the Top 5 Consensus list.  But his performance has always seemed the more impressive one, even as Abraham’s has continued to grow on me.
The Oscar score is 94.7, with all five nominees in my Top 8, marking the third straight year where the score is above 90.

  • Best Actress
  1. Judy Davis  (A Passage to India)  *
  2. Mia Farrow  (Broadway Danny Rose)
  3. Jessica Lange  (Country)  *
  4. Sally Field  (Places in the Heart)  **
  5. Vanessa Redgrave  (The Bostonians)  **
  6. Sissy Spacek  (The River)  *
  7. Isabelle Huppert  (Entre Nous)
  8. Molly Ringwald  (Sixteen Candles)
  9. Kathleen Turner  (Romancing the Stone)  *
  10. Lily Tomlin  (All of Me)

Analysis:  These are the second nominations for Davis, Farrow and Field.  It’s the third nomination for Lange.  It’s the fourth nomination for Redgrave.  This is the first time since 1980 that Meryl Streep does not earn a nomination.
Yes, there is a tie among the Consensus.  Field wins the Oscar and Globe but gets nothing else.  Redgrave wins the NSFC and earns Oscar and Globe noms.  Kathleen Turner almost ties (it’s a tie in raw total, but not in weighted total), with LAFC and Globe – Comedy wins.  It’s the start of several very close races in this category.  There are six Consensus nominees because Lange and Spacek tie for 5th (both earn Oscar and Globe noms).  The tight race is affected by the Supporting Actress race (see below).
For me, this isn’t a close race – Davis wins by a mile.  Farrow is the weakest #2 in this category in five years and kicks off a streak of weak 2nd place finishers in this category.
It’s a weaker group than Best Actor, but the Oscars mostly get it right, with all the nominees in my Top 6, giving it an impressive score of 96.7.

  • Haing-S.-Ngor-as-Dith-Pran-in-The-Killing-FieldsBest Supporting Actor:
  1. Haing S. Ngor  (The Killing Fields)  *
  2. Richard Burton  (Nineteen Eighty-Four)
  3. Denzel Washington  (A Soldier’s Story)
  4. Adolph Caesar  (A Soldier’s Story)  *
  5. James Fox  (A Passage to India)
  6. Ralph Richardson  (Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes)  *
  7. Fred Gwynne  (The Cotton Club)
  8. Bob Hoskins  (The Cotton Club)
  9. John Malkovich  (The Killing Fields)  **
  10. Daniel Day-Lewis  (The Bounty)

Analysis:  These are the only nominations for Ngor, Caesar and Fox.  But the other two are at the opposite ends of their careers.  Denzel is earning his first nomination (he’ll earn two more including a win before the end of the decade).  Burton would die before the release of his film but it still earns him his seventh and final nomination and he finishes his career with 270 points and in 14th place.
The Consensus win for Malkovich is for both his performances in The Killing Fields and Places in the Heart, though he earned an Oscar nom for the latter (which ranks at #12 on my list).  The final Oscar nominee (and Consensus nominee) was Pat Morita for The Karate Kid who is my #11.
At times I have had both Burton and Washington as my winner here.  But the more I have watched The Killing Fields, the more it is apparent that he is the clear winner here.

  • ashcroftBest Supporting Actress:
  1. Peggy Ashcroft  (A Passage to India)  **
  2. Elizabeth Berridge  (Amadeus)
  3. Lena Olin  (After the Rehearsal)
  4. Susannah Hamilton  (Nineteen Eighty-Four)
  5. Christine Lahti  (Swing Shift)  *
  6. Ingrid Thulin  (After the Rehearsal)
  7. Glenn Close  (The Natural)  *
  8. Lindsay Crouse  (Places in the Heart)  *
  9. Jennifer Connelly  (Once Upon a Time in America)
  10. Amy Irving  (Micki & Maude)

Analysis:  These are the only nominations for Berridge and Hamilton (I’ve probably seen them in other films but none come to mind) and the first for Lahti.  It’s also the first for Olin, who will earn two more before the end of the decade.  It’s the second for Ashcroft, 49 years after her first.
Ashcroft crushes here, both on my list (she’s miles ahead of everyone else) and on the Consensus.  She sets new records in points (418) and wins (7).  The points will last until 2008 and the awards until 2009, by which time there will be more awards groups.  She’s also a major reason for the lack of consensus among Best Actress; had she been in lead she would have won the Consensus just with the awards given for her by groups that considered her a lead (NYFC, NBR, BAFTA).  But she also wins the LAFC, BSFC, Oscar and Globe, all for Supporting.  To be fair, I do consider her supporting and Davis the lead, so I don’t think this is category fraud.
Outside of Ashcroft there was no consensus.  No BAFTA nominee earned a nomination from any other group and the only person to earn both Oscar and Globe noms was Christine Lahti.  None of those nominations went to Berridge, which I don’t understand.  With so many of my nominees left out, the Oscar score is a 72.0, the lowest in seven years.
This is only the fifth time, but the second time in a row, that I agree with the Oscar winners in both supporting categories.

  • Best Editing:
  1. Amadeus
  2. A Passage to India
  3. The Killing Fields
  4. This is Spinal Tap
  5. Broadway Danny Rose
  6. Once Upon a Time in America
  7. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  8. Ghostbusters
  9. Under the Volcano
  10. Romancing the Stone

Analysis:  The fifth Oscar nominee was my #11 (The Cotton Club).  That leads to an Oscar score of 75.7, the best score in 9 years.  Again, because of the strong top three, this is the best Top 5 in five years and the second best since 1974.

  • Best Cinematography:
  1. A Passage to India  *
  2. Amadeus  *
  3. The Killing Fields  **
  4. Once Upon a Time in America
  5. Under the Volcano
  6. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom  *
  7. The Cotton Club
  8. The Bounty
  9. The River  *
  10. And the Ship Sails On

Analysis:  I apparently disagree with everyone in not giving the award to The Killing Fields, which swept all the existing awards (Oscar, BAFTA, NYFC, LAFC, NSFC, BSFC).  It is a really tight three-way race for me (Amadeus also wins the BAFTA because of different eligibility years).  The nomination and points records for The Killing Fields will stand until 1993 and the wins record will stand until 2011.  It has the second highest percentage of Consensus points behind only Barry Lyndon, which swept all the existing awards in 1975.

  • Best Original Score:
  1. The Natural
  2. A Passage to India
  3. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  4. Under the Volcano
  5. Once Upon a Time in America
  6. The Cotton Club
  7. The Killing Fields
  8. The Bounty
  9. The River
  10. Dune

Analysis:  Randy Newman wins his first Nighthawk 17 years before he would finally win his first Oscar (he still doesn’t have an Oscar for Score).  Alex North earns his fourth nomination (Under the Volcano).  The other three nominations go to the biggest of the post-Studio era heavyweights.  Ennio Morricone earns his 7th nomination (almost all with Sergio Leone) and is up to 250 points and 6th place.  Maurice Jarre earns his 8th nomination (most with David Lean) and is up to 300 points and 5th place.  John Williams earns his 11th nomination (6th with Spielberg) and his 8th in a row while moving up to 400 points and 2nd place.  But this is the end of the Williams streak, as the next two years will be the only back-to-back years without a Williams nomination from 1973 to 1994.
The Top 5 are actually one point weaker than the year before, but that’s still good enough to tie for 2nd best to-date.
With the the Top 4 all earning Oscar noms and the 5th Oscar nominee at #9, the Oscar score is 95.0, the highest to-date (10 points higher than the previous high, which was way back in 1960).

  • Best Sound:
  1. Amadeus
  2. A Passage to India
  3. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  4. The Bounty
  5. The Killing Fields
  6. Starman
  7. The Cotton Club
  8. Ghosbusters
  9. Once Upon a Time in America
  10. This is Spinal Tap

Analysis:  The other three Oscar nominees (The River, Dune, 2010) are all in my Top 20, leading to an Oscar score of 79.4, the highest in this category in six years.

  • amadeus-artdirectionBest Art Direction:
  1. Amadeus
  2. A Passage to India
  3. The Cotton Club
  4. Once Upon a Time in America
  5. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  6. And the Ship Sails On
  7. Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes
  8. The Bounty
  9. The Natural
  10. Broadway Danny Rose

Analysis:  The Top 5 is tied for the third best to-date and A Passage to India is one of the best #2 finishers in this category to date.  Amadeus is a strong contender for my all-time #1 in this category.  The Oscar score is an impressive 87.2, the best since the Black-and-White category was dropped in 1967.

  • Best Visual Effects
  1. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  2. Ghostbusters
  3. Dune
  4. 2010: The Year We Make Contact
  5. Dreamscape
  6. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
  7. Gremlins
  8. Starman
  9. The Terminator

Analysis:  Temple of Doom is the weakest winner since 1978 but still would be better than any pre-1977 winner except 2001.  In spite of that, the Top 5 is the second best to-date.  Temple of the Doom is the final film in a nine year streak where I agree with the Oscar winner for Visual Effects.

  • Best Sound Editing
  1. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  2. Ghostbusters
  3. Dune
  4. 2010: The Year We Make Contact
  5. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
  6. The Bounty
  7. Dreamscape
  8. Gremlins
  9. Starman
  10. The Terminator

Analysis:  The River won a special Oscar in this category, but it’s my #13, the worst finish ever in this category for an Oscar winner.

  • amadeus-costumesBest Costume Design:
  1. Amadeus
  2. A Passage to India
  3. The Cotton Club
  4. Once Upon a Time in America
  5. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  6. The Natural
  7. The Bostonians
  8. The Bounty
  9. Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes
  10. And the Ship Sails On

Analysis:  The Top 5 is tied for the second best to-date.  Amadeus is my all-time #1 in this category – the costumes are simply amazing.  I’m really rather stunned that Oscars nominated the costumes in 2010 and Places in the Heart but not The Cotton Club.

  • Best Makeup
  1. Amadeus
  2. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  3. Dune
  4. Ghostbusters
  5. Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes
  6. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
  7. The Killing Fields
  8. Once Upon a Time in America
  • Best Original Song:
  1. “Against All Odds”  (Against All Odds)
  2. Together Again”  (The Muppets Take Manhattan)
  3. Big Bottom”  (This is Spinal Tap)
  4. Stonehenge”  (This is Spinal Tap)
  5. Ghostbusters”  (Ghostbusters)
  6. When Doves Cry”  (Purple Rain)
  7. Footloose”  (Footloose)
  8. Axel F”  (Beverly Hills Cop)
  9. Right Where I Belong”  (The Muppets Take Manhattan)
  10. Jungle Love”  (Purple Rain)

Analysis: lists songs from different films.  Normally I go with those songs as the eligible ones but it didn’t list any of the songs from The Muppets Take Manhattan (and there have been some actual Oscar nominees not listed with other films), so I think they just missed entering those.  There are 73 films listed which account for 220 songs.  I have seen 40 of those films, accounting for 140 songs.  I have seen 8 of the 9 films with at least 8 songs, only missing Blame It On the Night.  The film with the most songs listed is Purple Rain and I should address the elephant in the room.
I started writing this post before Prince died and I knew it would be awkward to post it once he had died as there are large groups of people who are huge fans.  But I have never been a fan of Prince’s music (neither has Veronica – it’s something we have in common – if you looked at her Facebook in the 24 hours after Prince died you would think we’re the only two members of our generation who weren’t fans).  “When Doves Cry” is far and away my favorite Prince song and as you can see, it only makes it to #6.  If it makes you feel better, go with the Oscar list, declare the Muppet songs ineligible and declare it a nominee.  I could point out that the Oscars didn’t nominate any of the songs from Purple Rain either but look at their winner below and you can see their taste is questionable (and they did give Prince the Oscar for best Song Score).  For the record, I should point out that “Against All Odds” is probably my second favorite Phil Collins song (behind “Take Me Home”) but Veronica hates it, so we don’t agree on all music (she pretty much hates all Phil Collins and Genesis songs and can’t tell them apart).
The actual Oscar winner was “I Just Called to Say I Love You”, which is my #19 for the year, the worst finish to-date for an Oscar winner in this category (but not all-time, good lord, I can’t believe they gave an Oscar to that piece of crap “The Writing’s on the Wall”).  But, with three nominees in my Top 7, the Oscar score is 75.0, which is actually the highest in this category in eight years.
I considered making this list go to 11 but I would have had to move “Flower People” from #12 to 11 for the joke to work.  My actual #11 is “The Heat is On”.

  • Best Animated Film:
  1. none

Analysis:  There are only 2 eligible films (listed below), but neither of them is anywhere close to good enough to make this list.  Ironically, the winner of the next category would be the winner if it were eligible for other awards in this year (it’ll win the next year).

  • NausicaaposterBest Foreign Film:
  1. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
  2. Dangerous Moves  *
  3. After the Rehearsal
  4. A Sunday in the Country  **
  5. Beyond the Walls

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

Analysis:  Israel earns its first nomination in 12 years.  Japan has its first win in 4 years and its first win with a film not directed by Kurosawa since 1941.
Ingmar Bergman earns his 19th nomination, going up to 540 points.  On the other end of the scale, Hayao Miyazaki earns his first nomination (and first win).
In spite of not being submitted for the Oscars, A Sunday in the Country crushes everything else at the Consensus Awards, winning three critics awards and earning Globe and BAFTA noms while no other film wins more than one award or earns more than two nominations.
There are no **** films.  In fact, none of them are even very high ***.5.  Nausicaa is the weakest winner since 1942 and the Top 5 is the weakest since 1947 with the Top 10 the weakest since 1950.

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.

  • Amadeus  (610)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actor, Supporting Actress, Editing, Cinematography, Sound, Art Direction, Costume Design, Makeup
  • A Passage to India   (485)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound, Art Direction, Costume Design
  • The Killing Fields  (300)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Sound
  • Under the Volcano  (220)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Cinematography, Original Score
  • This is Spinal Tap  (175)
    • Picture, Original Screenplay, Editing, Original Song, Original Song
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom  (170)
    • Original Score, Sound, Art Direction, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Costume Design, Makeup
  • Once Upon a Time in America  (130)
    • Director, Cinematography, Original Score, Art Direction, Costume Design
  • A Soldier’s Story  (100)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor
  • Broadway Danny Rose  (100)
    • Original Screenplay, Actress, Editing
  • Ghostbusters  (100)
    • Original Screenplay, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Makeup, Original Song
  • After the Rehearsal  (90)
    • Original Screenplay, Supporting Actress, Foreign Film
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four  (60)
    • Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • The Natural  (50)
    • Original Score
  • Dune  (50)
    • Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Makeup
  • Sixteen Candles  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • 2010: The Year We Make Contact  (40)
    • Visual Effects, Sound Editing
  • The Bostonians  (35)
    • Actress
  • Places in the Heart  (35)
    • Actress
  • Country  (35)
    • Actress
  • The Cotton Club  (35)
    • Art Direction, Costume Design
  • Swing Shift  (30)
    • Supporting Actress
  • The Bounty  (20)
    • Sound
  • Dreamscape  (20)
    • Visual Effects
  • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock  (20)
    • Sound Editing
  • Against All Odds  (20)
    • Original Song
  • Entre Nous  (20)
    • Foreign Film (1983)
  • L’Argent  (20)
    • Foreign Film (1983)
  • El Norte  (20)
    • Foreign Film (1983)
  • Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes  (10)
    • Makeup
  • The Muppets Take Manhattan  (10)
    • Original Song

Analysis:  Back up to 30 films, with an astounding 15 of them only earning one nomination.  A Passage to India has the most points for a non-Picture winner in 10 years and the 5th most to-date.  It directly competes with Amadeus in 10 categories.

Best Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • Gremlins

Analysis:  My #10 film of the year.  Gremlins is a really good film and a very enjoyable one, but it doesn’t rank very high in any particular category.

Biggest Awards Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • Romancing the Stone

Analysis:  My #14 film.  It has 8 Top 20 finishes but nothing higher than 8th.  But it earned an Oscar nom (Editing), won a critics award (Best Actress – LAFC), was WGA and ACE nominated and won the MPSE and did well at the Globes (winning Picture – Comedy and Actress – Comedy).

Nighthawk Golden Globes:


  • Best Picture
  1. A Passage to India
  2. The Killing Fields
  3. Under the Volcano
  4. Once Upon a Time in America
  5. The Cotton Club

Analysis:  A Passage to India actually won for Best Foreign Film, which means it wasn’t eligible for Picture.
In spite of the great top two films, this is the weakest Top 5 since 1972.  That’s because this is the first year since 1972 that doesn’t even have four **** films and because Under the Volcano is the weakest #3 film since 1970.  Now, an easy argument can be made that Amadeus should have been included in Drama because it’s not a traditional Musical, in which case this Top 5 would be 12 points higher and better than the year before and The Killing Fields would be one of the best #3 films to-date.  That would also drastically affect Director, Adapted Screenplay and Actor.

  • Best Director
  1. David Lean  (A Passage to India)
  2. Roland Joffe  (The Killing Fields)
  3. John Huston  (Under the Volcano)
  4. Sergio Leone  (Once Upon a Time in America)
  5. Francis Ford Coppola  (The Cotton Club)

Analysis:  Again, this is the only nomination for Roland Joffe.  It’s the third for Leone and the fourth for Coppola.  Huston earns his seventh nomination (but not his last – he’ll earn one more Drama nom) and goes up to 360 points.  Lean wins his fourth award and earns his 8th nomination, finishing his career with 540 points and a tie with William Wyler and Ingmar Bergman for 2nd place in Drama.
If for not other reason to have Amadeus in the Comedy / Musical category, I like that it gives Lean the win here with his final, magnificent film.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. A Passage to India
  2. The Killing Fields
  3. Under the Volcano
  4. A Soldier’s Story
  5. Nineteen Eighty-Four

Analysis:  A solid Top 5 even without Amadeus and better than the next two years.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. After the Rehearsal
  2. L’Argent
  3. Places in the Heart
  4. Nightmare on Elm Street
  5. The Cotton Club

Analysis:  Francis Ford Coppola earns his sixth Drama nomination.  Ingmar Bergman, on the other hand, earns his 21st Drama nom and his 9th win and goes up to 1200 points, 240 more than any other writer.
Overall, this is the weakest Top 5 since 1972, which is especially amazing since it is a full category.  It just shows how much the Comedies were dominating in this category this year.

  • underthevolcanoBest Actor:
  1. Albert Finney  (Under the Volcano)
  2. Sam Waterston  (The Killing Fields)
  3. Victor Banerjee  (A Passage to India)
  4. Anthony Hopkins  (The Bounty)
  5. Howard Rollins  (A Soldier’s Story)

Analysis:  These are the only nominations for Waterston and Banerjee.  It’s the second nom for Rollins.  It’s only the second Drama nom for Finney, but his second in a row.  It’s the third nomination for Hopkins.
This is a solid group, and significantly better than the year before, but if I had included Amadeus, it would be a great Top 5.

  • passage-to-india-davisBest Actress
  1. Judy Davis  (A Passage to India)
  2. Jessica Lange  (Country)
  3. Sally Field  (Places in the Heart)
  4. Vanessa Redgrave  (The Bostonians)
  5. Sissy Spacek  (The River)

Analysis:  This is the second nomination for Field (and just like with her Oscar winning performance, she doesn’t even win my Drama award).  It’s also the second nom for Lange and Davis.  It’s the fifth nomination for Spacek.  It’s also the fifth for Redgrave, but she’s ahead in points because she has a win.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Haing S. Ngor  (The Killing Fields)
  2. Richard Burton  (Nineteen Eighty-Four)
  3. Denzel Washington  (A Soldier’s Story)
  4. Adolph Caesar  (A Soldier’s Story)
  5. James Fox  (A Passage to India)

Analysis:  These are the only nominations for Ngor, Caesar and Fox.  It’s the first of many for Denzel.  It’s the eighth and final nomination for Burton and he finishes his career with 305 Drama points.
This is actually the best Top 5 in this category in 7 years, partially because Amadeus didn’t have a Top 5 finisher to be moved to Comedy.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Peggy Ashcroft  (A Passage to India)
  2. Lena Olin  (After the Rehearsal)
  3. Susannah Hamilton  (Nineteen Eighty-Four)
  4. Ingrid Thulin  (After the Rehearsal)
  5. Glenn Close  (The Natural)

Analysis:  This is the only nomination for Hamilton.  It’s the first noms for Olin and Close.  It’s the second nomination for Ashcroft, some 49 years after her first one.  It’s the sixth and final nom for Thulin, the most for any actress in Drama without a win.


  • A Passage to India  (465)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • The Killing Fields  (230)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor
  • Under the Volcano  (205)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor
  • After the Rehearsal  (140)
    • Original Screenplay, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress
  • The Cotton Club  (135)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay
  • A Soldier’s Story  (135)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four  (100)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Once Upon a Time in America  (95)
    • Picture, Director
  • Places in the Heart  (50)
    • Original Screenplay, Actress
  • L’Argent  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • Nightmare on Elm Street  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • The Bounty  (35)
    • Actor
  • The Bostonians  (35)
    • Actress
  • Country  (35)
    • Actress
  • The River  (35)
    • Actress
  • The Natural  (30)
    • Supporting Actress

Analysis:  Without Amadeus, A Passage to India manages to dominate in Drama – in fact, it earns more points than any other Drama in the entire decade.

Best Drama Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Analysis:  My #13 film of the year, but actually one spot lower than the Comedy film in this spot below.  It’s #7 among Drama and #7 in Director.

Comedy / Musical:

  • Best Picture
  1. Amadeus
  2. This is Spinal Tap
  3. Ghostbusters
  4. Broadway Danny Rose
  5. Gremlins

Analysis:  Like I said above, it’s easy to make the argument that Amadeus doesn’t belong here and certainly the Globes didn’t put it here.  After all, it’s not a traditional Musical.  But I put all Musical biopics here and I like that it allows me to reward both Amadeus and A Passage to India, both of which richly deserve to be rewarded.
Because Amadeus is down here, a lot of these categories are much stronger than they would be otherwise.  That is especially true here, where the five films average a 90.6, only .2 below the average for Drama, the closest Comedy has come to Drama since 1964, when it was actually better than Drama.  It also means there are four **** films in Comedy for the first time in five years in the same year where there are only three in Drama.  There is a six point drop though between Broadway Danny Rose and Gremlins.

  • Best Director
  1. Milos Forman  (Amadeus)
  2. Woody Allen  (Broadway Danny Rose)
  3. Rob Reiner  (This is Spinal Tap)
  4. Robert Zemeckis  (Romancing the Stone)
  5. Ivan Reitman  (Ghostbusters)

Analysis:  This is the only nomination for Ivan Reitman, who makes enjoyable, but not necessarily award worthy films.  It’s also the only nomination for Forman who doesn’t made Comedies and whose inclusion here will probably cause gripes.  Reiner and Zemeckis are both earning their first nominations, but they’ll both win this award before the end of the decade.  For Woody Allen, it’s the second of five straight nominations and he’s now up to 405 points and moves into a tie for 4th place with Preston Sturges.
Even with Amadeus this is weaker than the Top 5 for the year before and without it, it would be a disaster.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Amadeus
  2. All of Me
  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. This is Spinal Tap
  2. Ghostbusters
  3. Broadway Danny Rose
  4. Sixteen Candles
  5. Splash

Analysis:  Woody Allen earns his 12th Comedy writing nomination, going up to 640 points, and now just 200 behind Billy Wilder for 1st place.
This is a far better group of nominees than in Drama.  This is only the fifth time that the Comedy category has been much stronger than the Drama category in Original Screenplay and it even does it without Amadeus.

  • amadeus-hulceBest Actor:
  1. Tom Hulce  (Amadeus)
  2. F. Murray Abraham  (Amadeus)
  3. Woody Allen  (Broadway Danny Rose)
  4. Steve Martin  (All of Me)
  5. Bill Murray  (Ghostbusters)

Analysis:  These are the only nominations for Hulce and Abraham.  The other three are at the other end of the spectrum.  It’s the second nom for Murray, but the first of many leading noms.  It’s the third nom in four years for Martin.  It’s the seventh nomination for Allen and the second of back-to-back.  He moves up to 280 points and 6th place in Comedy.
Thanks to the two performances from Amadeus, this is the best Top 5 in five years and the fifth best to-date.  Hulce ranks with James Cagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy and Jack Lemmon in The Apartment as the best winners ever in this category.

  • miaBest Actress
  1. Mia Farrow  (Broadway Danny Rose)
  2. Molly Ringwald  (Sixteen Candles)
  3. Kathleen Turner  (Romancing the Stone)
  4. Lily Tomlin  (All of Me)

Analysis:  This is the first of back-to-back nominations for Ringwald.  It’s the third nom for Tomlin.  It’s the second in a row and third overall for Farrow.  It’s the first of three straight noms for Turner and it’s ironic because she doesn’t win here even though she won the Globe and she’ll win the next two years (she’ll win the Globe in 1985 as well but lose in 1986 for the performance that finally earned her her only Oscar nomination).

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Jeffrey Jones  (Amadeus)
  2. Nick Apollo Forte  (Broadway Danny Rose)

Analysis:  These are the only nominations for Jones and Forte.  Jones is the weakest winner in this category in eight years.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Elizabeth Berridge  (Amadeus)
  2. Christine Lahti  (Swing Shift)
  3. Amy Irving  (Micki & Maude)

Analysis:  This is the only nomination for Berridge.  It’s the second (and last) for Irving and the first for Lahti.


  • Amadeus  (495)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Broadway Danny Rose  (270)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor
  • This is Spinal Tap  (175)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay
  • Ghostbusters  (170)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor
  • All of Me  (140)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress
  • Romancing the Stone  (80)
    • Director, Actress
  • Sixteen Candles  (75)
    • Original Screenplay, Actress
  • Gremlins  (50)
    • Picture
  • Splash  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • Micki & Maude  (35)
    • Supporting Actress
  • Swing Shift  (30)
    • Supporting Actress

Analysis:  Amadeus earns more Globe points than any other film in the decade, Comedy or Drama.  It earns the 6th most points to-date of any film in Comedy / Musical.

Best Comedy Not Nominated for any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • Beverly Hills Cop

Analysis:  The best film in a long time to end up in this spot and one of the few times that the Comedy film ranks higher in the year than the Drama film.  It came in 6th in Picture, 8th in Original Screenplay and 7th in Actor, but obviously couldn’t manage the Top 5 in anything.

Roundup for the Year in Film:

Eligible Films I Have Seen:  182

By Stars:

  • ****:  7
  • ***.5:  15
  • ***:  84
  • **.5:  32
  • **:  24
  • *.5:  7
  • *:  9
  • .5:  4
  • 0:  0
  • Average Film Score for the Year, out of 100:  59.65

Analysis:  Up over a point and a half from the year before, with a lot more *** films.  For the first time in five years, there isn’t a 0 star film (and there won’t be another until 1990).  Only 7.18% of the films are “awful” (* or worse), the best percentage in six years.  Also, 58.56% are *** or better, the second best since 1973 and the third best since 1968.

Oscar-Nominated Films I Have Not Seen:

  • none

Oscar Quality:

Best Picture:  This is the 3rd best year to-date and 12th best year overall.  It helps to have two great films (it’s one of only three years, joining 1950 and 1977 to have two Top 40 films).  It’s also one of only seven years to have three Top 100 films.  In fact, the only years to have a better third film than The Killing Fields are 1971 and 1986.  The only reason it doesn’t rank higher is because the final two films rank at #327 and #417.

The Winners:  The winners do well in this year, thanks to the all the Oscars that went to Amadeus.  The winners average a 3.60.  But that sounds lower than it really is.  All of the winners make the Top 4 (and most the Top 3) except for three categories that don’t even make the Top 10: Original Screenplay (12th), Sound Effects Editing (13th) and Original Song (19th).  Among the nominees, the average winner ranked at 1.79, which is worse than the year before, but better than any other year since 1977.  It’s also the first year since 1978 in which none of the winners was the worst in its category.  This is also only the second year since 1963 where the Picture, Director and Adapted Screenplay Oscars all went to the best choice among the nominees and only the second time since 1957 where they all went to my winner.

The Nominees:  Overall, the score is an 80.0, the second best to this date.  It’s lead by a 79.2 score among the Tech categories, almost three points better than any previous year.  That includes a 95.0 score for Best Original Score, a good 10 points higher than any previous year.  The acting is a solid 87.5 (a very slight dip from the year before), with two categories above 90 (Actor and Actress).  The major categories are a solid 75.4, with the high of Adapted Screenplay (90.9) balanced out by the low of Original Screenplay (55.6).

Golden Globe Best Picture – Comedy / Musical:  This is a solid year but it could have been a lot better.  The five nominees were Romancing the Stone (the winner), Ghostbusters, Beverly Hills Cop, Splash and Micki + Maude.  There are no duds, although Splash and Micki are slightly too low on my list to earn nominations (they’re both high ***).  It ranks 17th all-time which actually makes it the best to-date.  That’s especially surprising since no film is in the Top 60 while most years above it have multiple films in the Top 60.  But even the weakest film (Micki) ranks at #168.  Only four other years have a weakest film that’s better than that.  But think of how much better it could have been.  They didn’t nominate Broadway Danny Rose or All of Me, both of which earned acting nominations.  Worse, they didn’t nominate This is Spinal Tap.  If they had nominated Broadway Danny Rose and Spinal Tap instead of Splash and Micki, this year would rank 6th.

Top 5 Films of the Year:

1  –  Amadeus  (reviewed here and here)

2  –  A Passage to India  (reviewed here)

3  –  The Killing Fields  (reviewed here)

Comedy gets turned up to 11!

Comedy gets turned up to 11!

4  –  This is Spinal Tap  (dir. Rob Reiner)

When they were writing it, did they think it would just be another gag or did they know it would be comedy gold?  When they were filming it, were they thinking that this phrase was going to enter the lexicon or was it just something funny to show idiotic the character was?  In the end, it doesn’t matter, because they wrote it and then Christopher Guest and Rob Reiner had that brilliant exchange which any true film fan knows: “Why don’t you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?”  Pause.  “These go to eleven.”

That moment might have been enough to make everyone die of laughter.  But it didn’t need to be enough.  Not nearly enough.  There were so many other moments in the film, from start to finish.  There was the classic line about not worrying that the gig in Boston is cancelled because “it’s not a big college town.”  There was the brilliant name of the new song being composed at the piano and the deadpan delivery of its title, “Lick My Love Pump.”  There was the Stonehenge model that turned out to be a bit smaller than originally planned.  And of course, I should hope you enjoy the advertisement on the left, which will make perfect sense to any fan of the film.

Drummer adRob Reiner delivers brilliant deadpan for all the descriptions of the band and the reviews that decry their very existence: “This pretentious ponderous collection of religious rock psalms is enough to prompt the question, ‘What day did the Lord create Spinal Tap, and couldn’t he have rested on that day too?'”  But even that wouldn’t mean anything if they hadn’t been able to do the music.  Much as they would when the same writers would re-unite to satirize the folk music scene in A Mighty Wind, those three intrepid members of Spinal Tap understand the music that they are mocking and write pitch-perfect songs that embody those very characteristics.  And the songs are great fun.  Who couldn’t love a song like “Big Bottom” and the ridiculousness that goes along with it?  “Stonehenge” would just be an amusing set piece if the song wasn’t so enjoyable at the same time that they’re coping with the slightly out-of-scale model.  Even when they are charting their music history, they give us “Flower People”, a nice parody of the late 60’s peace scene, almost a rough draft at what they would later do in A Mighty Wind.

Bear in mind, that no matter crap was later to come in the directing career of Rob Reiner (and it is pretty bad, with films like North, The Story of Us and The Bucket List) that This is Spinal Tap is one of the most brilliantly written and deftly directed films ever made by a first-time director.  It heralded one of the greatest starts to a film career in history, as it was followed up by The Sure Thing, Stand By Me, The Princess Bride and When Harry Met Sally, a group of five films that could stand up to any other.  Most directors don’t get five films that good in their whole career, let alone in a row and especially not as the start to their career.

One of the best films ever made from an "unfilmable" novel.

One of the best films ever made from an “unfilmable” novel.

5  –  Under the Volcano  (dir. John Huston)

Alcoholics do not drink to get drunk.  They drink because drinking is what they do.  Some people can not stop and the only thing at the end of the bottle is a grave.

There is a poignant moment late in Under the Volcano, one of the very best novels about a man drinking himself to death (it covers the last day of his life) which was made into one of the very best films about a man drinking himself to death.  The man drinking himself to death is Geoffrey Firmin, who used to be British under-counsel in Mexico but couldn’t even hold on to that position.  He’s been accompanied through the day by his half-brother, and, part-way through the day, by his wife (more on that below).  Late in the day, they are talking and he suddenly is seized by excitement; he begins listing things that he think he might do.  It is the moment, as is pointed out in the commentary by the producers, where he might not plunge completely into darkness.  He still has a chance to make it through the day alive.  But then the moment fades and we can see in his eyes that there is nothing more left keeping him alive.

This moment works for the same reason that so many moments in this film work.  Yes, the film is exquisitely written, a difficult thing to do from anyone, let alone a young screenwriter with his only film credit from one of the more difficult novels to adapt to film (many writers and directors had already attempted to make the film and failed, stymied by the internal monologue that propels the book, while Guy Gallo decided to focus simply on the actions of the day and forgot all the moments of the past that go through Firmin’s mind through the day).  Yes, the music is expertly matched for every moment (this was the final Oscar nomination for Alex North).  The direction is magnificent; it is astounding to realize it was the work of a man almost 80 years old who couldn’t go certain places in Mexico because the altitude was a problem for his emphysema.  But the most important thing in this film is the performance of Albert Finney, possibly the best of a very impressive career.  It lacks any of the outlandish moments that a drunk performance usually calls for.  He is simply drinking, sinking into the bottle because there is nothing left.

We can see that descent earlier in the film when his long-absent wife suddenly walks back into his life.  She comes into the room and he slowly turns and sees her.  He turns back and continues talking.  There is no sudden realization.  There is no drastic moment.  He turns several times, only slowly allowing the realization of her existence sink through the haze of alcohol that is blunting his senses.  It might be Finney’s best moment on film and it is a credit to how it is written, how it is edited, how it is directed, and of course, the magnificent acting on display.

There is a lot talk about “unfilmable” novels.  There is really no such thing.  Hell, if you can film Ulysses, you can film anything.  But that doesn’t mean you should film it, however (like The House of the Spirits, which should not have been filmed).  Under the Volcano, for a long time, was a problem for writers and directors to tackle.  But when it was finally made, they found the exact right combination who could put it all together and turn a very difficult novel that had been deemed unfilmable and could have been a disaster and made an exquisite piece of art.

The Razzies:  Bolero “wins” the Razzie, and as it’s my second worst film of the year, I think they made a pretty good choice with that one.  One of the other nominees, Sheena, is also in my bottom 5.  The other two nominees I’ve seen are both pretty bad as well: Where the Boys Are ’84 (12th worst) and Rhinestone (14th worst).  The fifth nominee, Cannonball Run II I wasn’t able to see (ironic, since the first film is the subject of a future RCM post).  I also had to luck out and find Rhinestone on television, as I couldn’t get it on video either.  The two most blatant omissions (both of which were nominated in acting categories) are Conan the Destroyer (10th worst) and Supergirl (8th worst).

5 Worst Films  (#1 being the worst):

  1. Sleepaway Camp
  2. Bolero
  3. Hardbodies
  4. Sheena
  5. Hot Dog: The Movie

note:  It’s a little surprising to only have one Horror film in the bottom 5 (the next worst is C.H.U.D., my 9th worst).  What is strange is that three of these films are from major studios: Sheena and Hardbodies are both from Columbia and Hot Dog is from MGM/UA.

Just another crappy slasher film.

Just another crappy slasher film.

Sleepaway Camp  (dir. Robert Hilztik)

As I went through each year before doing this version of the Nighthawk Awards, I wanted to be as complete as possible.  To that end, I have watched as many films submitted to the Oscars for Best Foreign Film as possible.  I also went through the 13,000+ list of films “considered” by TSPDT for their Top 1000 list (I was able to track down and watch over 85% of the films).  I can’t really fathom how they came up that longer initial list because there are good films in each year left off and there is a lot of complete shit.  I suspect they might have gotten some from various “horror” lists and so the list is littered with truly awful slasher and splatter films.  This is a perfect example.

Sleepaway Camp begins with an idyllic setting – a man on a boat with his two kids and the boat overturns (in a pathetically filmed sequence).  Then, as they are trying to swim for shore (by trying to swim, I mean dog-paddling in-place), a boat being driven by two teens comes straight for them and manages to kill one of the kids.  This is, without a doubt, one of the most ineptly filmed sequences ever placed on film.  Now, I’m not talking about the fact that they want to hide who was killed in the accident.  Yes, I’ll give away the ending – you think the son died and that the daughter is traumatized and she goes around as a late teen, after being bullied at summer camp slaughtering everyone around her until we get to the “shocking” ending when it turns out she died and it’s her brother (fully nude and covered in blood) who has been doing the killing.  But just hiding which one was killed is no excuse for how badly the scene is filmed.

First of all, the father just treads water and doesn’t try to move with the boat coming straight at them.  He makes no attempt to move his children or even dunk them below the surface to avoid the boat.  They just sit there in the water and let this boat come straight at them.

Second, the shots make it clear that they are way too close to shore.  If the teens hadn’t piloted the boat into them, they would have piloted the boat straight up the bank.  The whole idea is just too ridiculous to be endured, especially when you consider that the kid water-skiing behind the boat can see the people waiting to be run over.

Third, we have the editing.  We keep bouncing back and forth between close-ups, probably because any wide shot would make it clear how absurd all of this is, and the close-ups just show how hideous the acting is from involved, most notably the water-skiing kid and the man on shore just standing there, waiting to be shocked when the accident happens.

It is one thing to try and make a scene work in a certain way so you can hide an event that will be shocking to uncover the truth about later in the film.  But to do it so ineptly is simply too much.  I could write more about the film, but really do I need to bother?  If you can make it past this pathetic and badly filmed scene, which is the opening of the film, then you get what you deserve in watching the rest of the film.


  • Most Nighthawk Nominations:   A Passage to India  (13)
  • Most Nighthawk Awards:  Amadeus  (9)
  • Most Nighthawk Points:  Amadeus  (610)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Award:  The Natural
  • 2nd Place Award:  A Passage to India  (Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Editing, Original Score, Sound, Art Direction, Costume Design)
  • 6th Place Award:  The Cotton Club  (Director, Original Score)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Nominations:  A Passage to India  (7)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Awards:  A Passage to India  (5)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Points:  A Passage to India  (465)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Drama Award:  The Natural
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Nominations:  Amadeus  (7)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Awards:  Amadeus  (6)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Points:  Amadeus  (495)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Comedy Award:  Swing Shift

Note:  * means a Nighthawk record up to this point; ** ties a Nighthawk record
Note:  If A Passage to India hadn’t been up against Amadeus, it would have won 10 awards and earned 700 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:   Akira Kurosawa  (675)
  • Writer:  Ingmar Bergman  (1040)
  • Cinematographer:  Sven Nykvist  (325)
  • Composer:  Max Steiner  (450)
  • Foreign Film:  Ingmar Bergman  (560)

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

  • Drama:  78 (42)  –  A Passage to India  (64.3)
  • Foreign:  63  –  Entre Nous  (65.1)
  • Comedy:  33 (6)  –  Broadway Danny Rose  (50.9)
  • Sci-Fi:  15 (1)  –  Ghostbusters  (63.3)
  • Musical:  13 (3)  –  Amadeus  (59.2)
  • Horror:  9 (2)  –  Gremlins  (43)
  • Adventure:  6 (2)  –  The Bounty  (47)
  • Suspense:  5 (1)  –  L’Argent  (62.2)
  • Action:  5  –  Beverly Hills Cop  (43.2)
  • Mystery:  4 (3)  –  A Soldier’s Story  (68.3)
  • Crime:  4  –  Once Upon a Time in America  (65.5)
  • Kids:  3 (1)  –  The Muppets Take Manhattan  (60.7)
  • Fantasy:  3 (1)  –  Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom  (48.3)
  • War:  2 (1)  –  The Killing Fields  (81.5)
  • Western:  0

Analysis:  The 6 Adventure films are the most since 1975 and the second most since 1965.  The 33 Comedies are the most since 1966.  The 78 Dramas are the most since 1933.  The 63 Foreign films are a new high and won’t be broken until 1990.  The 15 Sci-Fi films are a new high and won’t be broken at all.  The 43.2 average for Action is the lowest to-date.
Amadeus, of course, is not a traditional Musical, yet it is nonetheless, only the second Musical to win the Nighthawk (after West Side Story).  It joins Raging Bull as the second biopic to win the Nighthawk.  It also means that for the first time since 1964 there are two Musicals in the Top 10.  But this is the first time since 1945 that there are no Foreign films in the Top 10.  For the first time since 1975 and only the second time since 1939, there are two Adventure films in the Top 20.  In spite of the 78 Dramas, there are only 4 in the Top 20, the lowest number since 1953.  A Soldier’s Story is the first Mystery in the Top 20 since 1974.

Studio Note:  Warner Bros is again the top studio, with 16 films, followed by Fox and Universal with 15 each.  The major studio films are not good, with the highest average being Paramount with a 64.6.  They also plummet for overall films again, down to just 42%.  That’s partially because of the rise of Orion (12 films) and the arrival of Tristar (8 films).  The Tristar films are not good (a 48 average) but the Orion films are, including winning the Nighthawk and three others in the Top 11.  It will be the first of three straight years with an Orion film winning the Nighthawk, making it the first studio to do that.

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

  1. Uresei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer  (**.5, Oshii, Toho)
  2. Defenders of Space  (**, Jeong, IFD Films and Arts)

Note: doesn’t list any eligible films in this year.  It’s an odd year – the last year to date where there is no American made animated feature-length film (in fact, the last year without a feature-length film released by Disney).  After this year, the fewest films on this list will be six.

53 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):

  • After the Rehearsal  (Bergman, Sweden)
  • Ake and His World  (Edwall, Sweden)  *
  • Almanac of Fall  (Tarr, Hungary)
  • Army Brats  (van Hemert, Netherlands)  *
  • Beyond the Walls  (Barbash, Israel)  **
  • Las Bicicletas son para el verano  (Chavarri, Spain)
  • Boy Meets Girl  (Carax, France)
  • Camila  (Bemberg, Argentina)  **
  • Dangerous Moves  (Dembo, Switzerland)  ***
  • Dead Man’s Seat  (Vasoncelos, Portugal)  *
  • Defenders of Space  (Jeong, South Korea)
  • Dona Herlinda and Her Son  (Hermosillo, Mexico)
  • Double Feature  (Luis Garci, Spain)  **
  • The Element of Crime  (von Trier, Denmark)
  • The End of the War  (Kresoja, Yugoslavia)  *
  • Favorites of the Moon  (Iosseliani, France)
  • Full Moon in Paris  (Rohmer, France)
  • The Funeral  (Itami, Japan)
  • Glissando  (Daneliuc, Romania)  *
  • The Holy Innocents  (Camus, France)
  • The Home and the World  (Ray, India)
  • The House of Water  (Penzo, Venezuela)  *
  • Just the Way You Are  (Molinaro, France)
  • Kaos  (Taviani, Italy)
  • The Legend of the Suram Fortress  (Parajanov, USSR)
  • Life  (Tianming, China)  *
  • A Love in Germany  (Wajda, Poland)
  • Love Unto Death  (Resnais, France)
  • MacArthur’s Children  (Shinoda, Japan)  *
  • A Man of Principle  (Norden, Colombia)  *
  • Memoirs of Prison  (Pereira dos Santos, Brazil)  *
  • Mulleya Mulleya  (Lee, South Korea)  *
  • My Friend Ivan Lapshin  (German, USSR)
  • Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind  (Miyazaki, Japan)
  • Our Story  (Blier, France)
  • Police Story  (Chan, Hong Kong)
  • Quilombo  (Diegues, Brazil)
  • Saaransh  (Bhatt, India)  *
  • So Long, Stooge  (Berri, France)  *
  • Sonatine  (Lanctot, Canada)  *
  • Sotto Sotto  (Wertmuller, Italy)
  • A Summer at Grandpa’s  (Hou, Taiwan)
  • A Sunday in the Country  (Tavernier, France)
  • Swann in Love  (Schlondorff, West Germany)
  • Tricheurs  (Schroeder, France)
  • Uresei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer  (Oshii, Japan)
  • Wanderers of the Desert  (Khemir, Tunisia)
  • War-Time Romance  (Todorovsky, USSR)  **
  • What Have I Done to Deserve This  (Almodovar, Spain)
  • Where the Green Ants Dream  (Herzog, West Germany)
  • Where the Raven Flies  (Gunnlaugsson, Iceland)  *
  • Where’s Picone  (Loy, Italy)  *
  • Yellow Earth  (Chen, China)

Note:  I have my first film from Tunisia.  I have my first film from Venezuela in 7 years and my first from Israel in six years.  After not having a film from South Korea for 15 years, I have seen two in this year.  France leads (as usual) with 10 films while Japan is in second place with 4.  After there were 7 Musicals in 1983, there are no Musicals on this list for the first time in 5 years.

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

  • Austria:  Just Behind the Door  (dir. Madavi)
  • Czechoslovakia:  The Millennial Bee  (dir. Jakubisko)
  • Denmark:  Tukuma  (dir. Kjaerulff-Schmidt)
  • Finland:  Pessi and Illusia  (dir. Partanen)
  • Hong Kong:  Homecoming  (dir. Ho)
  • Hungary:  Yerma  (dir. Gyongyossy / Kabay)
  • Norway:  The Chieftain  (dir. Kristiansen)
  • Philippines:  Of the Flesh  (dir. Diaz-Abaya)
  • Taiwan:  Old Mao’s Second Spring  (dir. Lee)
  • Thailand:  The Story of Nampoo  (dir. Mukdasanit)
  • West Germany:  Man Under Suspicion  (dir. Kuckelmann)

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 21 for 32 (66%).  The number of submissions jumps this year (up from 26), breaking 30 for the first time.  There won’t be a year with more submissions until 1989, when there will be another big jump.  From here on out, as the number of submissions increase they get harder to find and my percentage goes down.  I won’t go over 70% again until 1988 and haven’t gone over 80% since.
In spite of the jump in submissions, there are still several countries that submitted a film in 1983 and don’t here (the full list for this year is here): Algeria, Dominican Republic, East Germany (done submitting completely), Mexico and Peru.  There are 10 countries that didn’t submit in 1983 that are represented in this year, though the only first-time submission is from Thailand.  Back from gaps are Norway (hasn’t missed a year since), Finland,  (making this the first time that all four Scandinavian countries submitted in the same year), Brazil, India, Colombia, Hong Kong, Venezuela, Philippines and South Korea.
Obviously this is the first Thai submission I am missing.  It’s also the first Philippino submission I am missing (in five submissions).  Among the others, it’s the 2nd (Norway), 3rd in 4 submissions (Finland), 4th (Hong Kong, Taiwan), 5th (Austria, Hungary), 6th (West Germany), 7th (Czechoslovakia) and 18th in 23 submissions (good lord, has Denmark been a thorn in my side).  The only ones I was also missing in 1983 are Austria (middle of 3 straight misses) and Taiwan (2nd of 5 straight I am missing).  I have seen the last five West German submissions, so this is the most recent one I am missing.

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

  • The Lonely One  (1951)
  • Nights and Days  (1976)
  • Le Crabe Tambour  (1977)
  • Elisa, Vida Mia  (1977)
  • That Sinking Feeling  (1979)
  • Germany, Pale Mother  (1980)
  • The Gods Must Be Crazy  (1980)
  • The Black Cat  (1981)
  • The Grass is Singing  (1981)
  • House by the Cemetery  (1981)
  • Android  (1982)
  • Boat People  (1982)
  • The Loveless  (1982)
  • A Question of Silence  (1982)
  • Rickshaw Boy  (1982)
  • The 4th Man  (1983)
  • And the Ship Sails On  (1983)
  • Another Time, Another Place  (1983)
  • Antarctica  (1983)
  • The Ballad of Narayama  (1983)
  • Le Bal  (1983)
  • Born in Flames  (1983)
  • Carmen  (1983)
  • Confidentially Yours  (1983)
  • Le Dernier Combat  (1983)
  • Entre Nous  (1983)
  • Erendira  (1983)
  • Eureka  (1983)
  • The Family Game  (1983)
  • First Name: Carmen  (1983)
  • In the White City  (1983)
  • L’Argent  (1983)
  • Last Night at the Alamo  (1983)
  • Life is a Bed of Roses  (1983)
  • My Memories of Old Beijing  (1983)
  • El Norte  (1983)
  • Nos Amours  (1983)
  • One Deadly Summer  (1983)
  • Phar Lap  (1983)
  • The Revolt of Job  (1983)
  • Sugar Cane Alley  (1983)
  • Utu  (1983)
  • Vassa  (1983)
  • Without Witness  (1983)
  • A Woman in Flames  (1983)
  • Zappa  (1983)

Note:  These 46 films average a 64.1.  For the high number of films, they have very little impact on the awards.  The highest film is only #15 (Entre Nous), no film is in the bottom 20 (The 4th Man is the worst, but only ranks at #160 out of 182 films) and the only nominations they earn above are three nominees for Best Foreign Film.

Films Not Listed at

  • Ake and His World
  • Almanac of Fall
  • Army Brats
  • Las Bicicletas son para el verano
  • The Black Cat
  • Camila
  • Dead Man’s Feast
  • Double Feature
  • The End of the War
  • Germany, Pale Mother
  • Glissando
  • The House of Water
  • Life
  • Life is a Bed of Roses
  • The Lonely One
  • Love Unto Death
  • A Man of Principle
  • Mulleya Mulleya
  • Next of Kin
  • Our Story
  • Rickshaw Boy
  • Saaransh
  • Second Time Lucky
  • Sonatine
  • A Summer at Grandpa’s
  • Tricheurs
  • Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer
  • Wanderers of the Desert
  • Without Witness
  • Zappa

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.  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:

  • Beyond the Walls  (1985)
  • Blood Simple  (1985)
  • The Company of Wolves  (1985)
  • Dangerous Moves  (1985)
  • Enormous Changes at the Last Minute  (1985)
  • Grace Quigley  (1985)
  • The Hit  (1985)
  • The Holy Innocents  (1985)
  • The Home and the World  (1985)
  • MacArthur’s Children  (1985)
  • Memoirs of Prison  (1985)
  • Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind  (1985)
  • The Ploughman’s Lunch  (1985)
  • A Private Function  (1985)
  • So Long, Stooge  (1985)
  • A Sunday in the Country  (1985)
  • War-Time Romance  (1985)
  • Where the Green Ants Dream  (1985)
  • Where the Raven Flies  (1985)
  • Where’s Picone?  (1985)
  • Wildrose  (1985)
  • Dona Herlinda and Her Son  (1986)
  • Favorites of the Moon  (1986)
  • Kaos  (1986)
  • Mixed Blood  (1986)
  • Quilombo  (1986)
  • Sotto Sotto  (1986)
  • What Have I Done to Deserve This  (1986)
  • The Funeral  (1987)
  • The Legend of the Suram Fortress  (1987)
  • My Friend Ivan Lapshin  (1987)
  • The Toxic Avenger  (1987)
  • Yellow Earth  (1988)
  • The Element of Crime  (1995)
  • Police Story  (1998)
  • Boy Meets Girl  (2000)

Note:  These 36 films average a 65.6 although if you take out The Toxic Avenger, they average a 66.7.  They have a major impact on the 1985 Nighthawk Awards, namely because of Blood Simple and A Private Function.  Blood Simple is the only **** film, but there are several ***.5 films (Function, Nausicaa, The Hit, Dangerous Moves, Sunday in the Country).