nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

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. Hannah and Her Sisters  **
  2. Platoon  *
  3. A Room with a View  *
  4. Stand by Me
  5. Blue Velvet  *
  6. Mona Lisa
  7. My Beautiful Laundrette
  8. Aliens
  9. Decline of the American Empire
  10. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Analysis:  Platoon actually comes in third at the Consensus Awards, the first Oscar winner not to come in 1st since 1976 and the first to come in 3rd since 1974.
This is both the best Top 5 and Top 10 since 1980, even though only the top 8 films are ****.

  • Best Director
  1. Woody Allen  (Hannah and Her Sisters)  *
  2. Oliver Stone  (Platoon)  **
  3. David Lynch  (Blue Velvet)  *
  4. James Ivory  (A Room with a View)  *
  5. Neil Jordan  (Mona Lisa)
  6. Rob Reiner  (Stand by Me)
  7. James Cameron  (Aliens)
  8. Jonathan Demme  (Something Wild)
  9. Oliver Stone  (Salvador)  **
  10. Martin Scorsese  (The Color of Money)

Analysis:  Stone is the best #2 winner in this category since 1979, which, ironically was Francis Ford Coppola, also for a Vietnam film that at one point I had as the winner in its year.  The Top 5 in this category are the best to-date and on the very short list for the best Top 5 ever.
These are the first nominations for Stone, Ivory and Jordan.  It’s the second nom for Lynch.  It’s the sixth nomination (and only win) for Woody Allen; he goes up to 315 points.
Stone sets a new high at the Consensus Awards which will only stand until 1990.
By going with Lynch, the Academy earns a score of 86.0, the highest in four years and the second highest since 1973.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. A Room with a View  **
  2. Stand by Me  *
  3. The Color of Money  *
  4. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  5. Little Shop of Horrors  *
  6. Children of a Lesser God  *
  7. Manhunter
  8. Crimes of the Heart  *
  9. Aliens
  10. The Name of the Rose

Analysis:  If you count the Star Trek and Alien characters I have read six of the source materials (Room, Stand, Manhunter, Rose).
This is the second year in a row and third time in four years that a rather weak Adapted Screenplay category is contrasted against a quite strong Original Screenplay category.
Ruth Prawer Jhabvalla earns her first writing nomination.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Hannah and Her Sisters  **
  2. My Beautiful Laundrette  *
  3. Mona Lisa  *
  4. Platoon  *
  5. Blue Velvet
  6. Decline of the American Empire
  7. Something Wild
  8. The Sacrifice
  9. Peggy Sue Got Married
  10. True Stories

Analysis:  The Top 7 here are a lot better than the Top 7 in Adapted.
Hannah has five wins (the most since 1980) and 424 Consensus points (the most since 1982); its only loss is at the Globes.  The fifth Consensus nominee was The Mission, which won the Globe and earned a BAFTA nomination.  It’s one of only two original scripts to win the Globe and not earn an Oscar nom (The People vs. Larry Flynt is the other).  The writing is the weakness of the film, so it’s a real surprise that it won.  Unlike Adapted, where only three films earned more than one Consensus nom, here there were eight films that earned two or more noms.
Neil Jordan earns his first writing nomination.  Oliver Stone earns his second.  Woody Allen wins his second in a row and his sixth overall.  It’s his 13th nomination and he goes up to 760 points, passing Akira Kurosawa and moving into 3rd place.
This is the first time in 10 years that I have agreed with the Oscar winners in both writing categories.

  • Best Actor:
  1. Bob Hoskins  (Mona Lisa)  **
  2. William Hurt  (Children of a Lesser God)  *
  3. Paul Newman  (The Color of Money)  *
  4. Harrison Ford  (The Mosquito Coast)
  5. James Woods  (Salvador)
  6. Jeremy Irons  (The Mission)
  7. Dexter Gordon  (‘Round Midnight)  *
  8. Gene Hackman  (Hoosiers)
  9. River Phoenix  (Stand by Me)
  10. Erland Josephson  (The Sacrifice)

Analysis:  The strength of the Best Picture doesn’t carry over into the lead categories – this is a rather weak year.
This is the first nomination for James Woods.  It’s the second straight nomination and third overall for Harrison Ford.  It’s the second nom for Bob Hoskins.  It’s the third nom in four years for William Hurt.  It’s the seventh nom for Paul Newman and he goes up to 315 points.
Hoskins ties the all-time lead for most Consensus wins (6) and noms (7) and sets a new record for points (424).  Basically, he wins everything but the Oscar.
With all five nominees in my Top 7, the Oscar score is a fantastic 97.1, the highest since 1979.

  • Best Actress
  1. Marlee Matlin  (Children of a Lesser God)  *
  2. Sigourney Weaver  (Aliens)
  3. Kathleen Turner  (Peggy Sue Got Married)  *
  4. Melanie Griffith  (Something Wild)
  5. Giuletta Masina  (Ginger and Fred)
  6. Sissy Spacek  (Crimes of the Heart)  **
  7. Sissy Spacek  (‘Night Mother)  **
  8. Bette Midler  (Ruthless People)
  9. Helena Bonham-Carter  (A Room with a View)
  10. Jane Fonda  (The Morning After)

Analysis:  This is the weakest Top 5 since 1975.  Combined with Best Actor it’s the weakest year for the lead categories since 1976 and tied for the weakest year since 1949.
Even though she will be Oscar nominated in 1988, this is the only Nighthawk nomination for Melanie Griffith.  It’s also the only nomination for Marlee Matlin.  It’s the second nomination for Masina, 28 years after her first.  It’s the second nomination for Weaver and the third nomination for Turner.
There was very little consensus in this year, with no actress earning more than 3 noms or winning more than 2 awards.  It’s the third straight year where no actress wins more than two awards and no one earns more than 20% of the Consensus total.

  • Michael-Caine-Elliot-Hannah-and-Her-SistersBest Supporting Actor:
  1. Michael Caine  (Hannah and Her Sisters)
  2. Dennis Hopper  (Blue Velvet)  **
  3. Denholm Elliott  (A Room with a View)
  4. Daniel Day-Lewis  (A Room with a View)  *
  5. Daniel Day-Lewis  (My Beautiful Laundrette)  *
  6. Michael Caine  (Mona Lisa)  *
  7. Willem DaFoe  (Platoon)
  8. Ray Liotta  (Something Wild)  *
  9. Tom Berenger  (Platoon)  *
  10. Dennis Hopper  (Hoosiers)  **

Analysis:  The year of the double list actors.  Aside from the three listed twice above, my #11 is Denholm Elliott in Defence of the Realm.  Because of my rules of giving nominations to five different actors (since the Oscars require five different actors), Caine earns two nominations and DaFoe earns a nomination.  This makes for a tricky question of what do with the Oscar score.  I obviously don’t dock the Oscars for not nominating Daniel Day-Lewis in My Beautiful Laundrette because they couldn’t have nominated him twice.  But do I dock the Oscars for nominating Dennis Hopper for the weaker performance?  It’s a big question because it’s the difference between an Oscar score of 82.5 or 91.7 and if I go with the latter, it pushes the acting overall over 90.  In the end, I do ding them for not nominating the better performance.
Hopper’s performance is the best not to win the Nighthawk since 1950 and one of the best ever.  That spreads throughout the list – while the lead categories are weak, the supporting are very strong.  This is the best Top 5 to-date and like Director, on the short list for the best ever.
These are the first nominations for Hopper and DaFoe.  It’s the second straight nomination for Elliott.  These are the first two nominations for Daniel Day-Lewis and the start of an impressive Nighthawk career.  It’s the sixth and seventh noms for Caine (and third win) and he goes up to 330 points and moves into the Top 10.

  • smithBest Supporting Actress:
  1. Maggie Smith  (A Room with a View)  *
  2. Dianne Wiest  (Hannah and Her Sisters)  **
  3. Cathy Tyson  (Mona Lisa)  *
  4. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio  (The Color of Money)  *
  5. Judi Dench  (A Room with a View)  *
  6. Piper Laurie  (Children of a Lesser God)
  7. Tess Harper  (Crimes of the Heart)
  8. Winona Ryder  (Lucas)
  9. Barbara Hershey  (Hannah and Her Sisters)
  10. Carrie Fisher  (Hannah and Her Sisters)

Analysis:  As I will point out again when I cover the whole decade, I rank Smith and Wiest as the two best supporting performances of the decade.  Just bad luck then that they come in the same year and I can’t just give the award to both.  Wiest’s performance is the best not to win the Nighthawk since 1973 and only the second time my highest rating has gone to a a second place finisher.  Like with Supporting Actor, this carries down the list, with this year being tied for the best Top 5 to-date.
These are the only nominations for Tyson and Mastrantonio.  It’s the first nominations for Wiest and Dench.  Smith, on the other hand, is earning her sixth nomination and her third win; she goes up to 285 points and into the Top 10.
This is a rare year in that I agree with the five Consensus nominees but only three of them earn Oscar noms.

  • Best Editing:
  1. Hannah and Her Sisters
  2. Platoon
  3. A Room with a View
  4. Stand by Me
  5. Blue Velvet
  6. Mona Lisa
  7. Something Wild
  8. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  9. Aliens
  10. Salvador

Analysis:  This is the other category, aside from Picture and Director, where I used to give my award to Platoon and then I ended up pushing Hannah just a little bit higher.

  • Best Cinematography:
  1. Platoon
  2. The Mission  **
  3. A Room with a View  *
  4. Blue Velvet  *
  5. Mona Lisa
  6. Aliens
  7. Salvador
  8. Stand by Me
  9. The Color of Money
  10. Hannah and Her Sisters

Analysis:  The American Society of Cinematographers begin their award this year, adding more heft to the Consensus, though their award goes to Peggy Sue Got Married, which doesn’t even make my Top 10.  It won’t be until 1990 that the ASC and Oscars will agree on a winner.
Chris Menges (The Mission) and Roger Pratt (Mona Lisa) earns their second nominations.  Robert Richardson earns his first nom (and win).

  • Best Original Score:
  1. The Mission
  2. Top Gun
  3. Blue Velvet
  4. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  5. A Room with a View
  6. ‘Round Midnight
  7. Aliens
  8. Legend
  9. Hoosiers
  10. The Mosquito Coast

Analysis:  The Mission is actually the weakest winner in this category since 1976 but if you want, you can chalk that up to my love of John Williams, who won most of the awards during those years in between.  The Top 5 is the weakest since 1978.
For the first time since 1972-73, it’s the second straight year without a John Williams nomination.  It won’t happen again this century.  Ennio Morricone, however, wins his fourth award and earns his 8th nomination, going up to 300 points and 6th place.
With all five nominees in my Top 9, the Oscar score is an 85.7, the second highest score in the category to-date.

  • Best Sound:
  1. Platoon
  2. Aliens
  3. Top Gun
  4. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  5. Blue Velvet
  6. Heartbreak Ridge
  7. The Color of Money
  8. Salvador
  9. The Mosquito Coast
  10. F/X

Analysis:  Even though I go with Blue Velvet over Heartbreak Ridge, I rate them the same, so the Oscar score is a perfect 100, the first time in this category it has exceeded 90.

  • Best Art Direction:
  1. A Room with a View
  2. Aliens
  3. Blue Velvet
  4. Hannah and Her Sisters
  5. The Color of Money
  6. The Mission
  7. My Beautiful Laundrette
  8. Peggy Sue Got Married
  9. Labyrinth
  10. Little Shop of Horrors

Analysis:  A huge drop from the last two years, though Room is still an excellent winner.
With all five nominees in my Top 6, the Oscar score is a fantastic 96.8, the highest since 1948 and the second highest to-date.

  • Best Visual Effects
  1. Aliens
  2. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  3. Poltergeist II: The Other Side
  4. Legend
  5. Little Shop of Horrors
  6. Labyrinth
  7. Top Gun
  8. F/X
  9. The Fly

Analysis:  Star Trek is the weakest #2 finisher since 1980.

  • Best Sound Editing
  1. Aliens
  2. Top Gun
  3. Platoon
  4. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  5. The Fly
  6. F/X
  7. Legend
  8. Little Shop of Horrors
  9. Labyrinth
  • roomBest Costume Design:
  1. A Room with a View
  2. Legend
  3. The Mission
  4. Lady Jane
  5. The Name of the Rose
  6. Peggy Sue Got Married
  7. Pirates
  8. Otello
  9. Labyrinth
  10. Ginger and Fred

Analysis:  The weakest Top 5 in seven years.  But the Academy chooses well, with all the nominees in my Top 8 and the score (85.2) is the highest in five years.

  • Best Makeup
  1. Aliens
  2. The Fly
  3. Legend
  4. Labyrinth
  5. F/X
  6. Blue Velvet
  7. Platoon
  8. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  9. Little Shop of Horrors
  • Best Original Song:
  1. “If You Leave”  (Pretty in Pink)
  2. Wild Wild Life”  (True Stories)
  3. In Too Deep”  (Mona Lisa)
  4. Take My Breath Away”  (Top Gun)
  5. It’s in the Way That You Use It”  (The Color of Money)
  6. Live to Tell”  (At Close Range)
  7. City of Dreams”  (True Stories)
  8. People Like Us”  (True Stories)
  9. Glory of Love”  (The Karate Kid II)
  10. Somewhere Out There”  (An American Tail)

Analysis: lists songs from different films.  It lists 216 total songs from 91 films.  I have seen 56 of those films, covering 146 songs.  That includes 7 of the 8 films with more than 5 songs (all except American Anthem).
A fantastic group of songs, tied with 1964 for the best Top 5 to-date.
It feels a little strange to have a song in my Top 10 (“Somewhere Out There”) that I don’t have on my Itunes before four more songs that I do: “Danger Zone”, “Dream Operator”, “Love for Sale”, “Mighty Wings”, the middle two, two more songs from True Stories and the other two from Top Gun.  That also reminds me that because the Oscars don’t nominate more than five songs, I don’t list more than five songs from any particular film.  This has rarely been an issue outside of years with Beatles films, but it’s relevant here with True Stories, the film directed by David Byrne that had eight original Talking Heads songs.
Once again, I have asked Veronica to give her opinion on my Top 10 list.  She put the songs in this order: “If You Leave”, “Glory of Love”, “Take My Breath Away”, “Wild Wild Life”, “People Like Us”, “Live to Tell”, “It’s in the Way That You Use It”, “Somewhere Out There”, “City of Dreams” and “In Too Deep”, although I should once again point out that Veronica hates Phil Collins.

  • Best Animated Film:
  1. none

Analysis:  There are  eligible films (listed below).

  • manon_of_the_springBest Foreign Film:
  1. Manon of the Spring  *
  2. Jean de Florette  *
  3. Castle in the Sky
  4. Decline of the American Empire  *
  5. The Sacrifice
  6. The Assault  *
  7. My Sweet Little Village
  8. Matador

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

Analysis:  Canada earns its first nomination.  All the other nominations go to countries in the midst of streaks: France (fifth straight year), Japan (third straight year), Sweden (fourth straight year; first time with consecutive non-Bergman nominations).
It’s the first nomination for Denys Arcand, the second and third for Claude Berri (19 years after his first), the second for Hayao Miyazaki and the fourth (and final) nom for Andrei Tarkovsky.  Pedro Almodovar has his first finish in the Top 10.
Jean de Florette is the first **** film to come in 2nd place since 1977.  Castle in the Sky is the first **** film to come in 3rd place since 1973.  Decline of the American Empire is the best #4 film since 1963.  The Top 5 and Top 10 are both the best since 1973.
The Consensus winner was Betty Blue which I thought was a terrible film (**).

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.

  • A Room with a View  (470)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Art Direction, Costume Design
  • Hannah and Her Sisters   (430)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Editing, Art Direction
  • Platoon  (300)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Sound, Sound Editing
  • Blue Velvet  (280)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound, Art Direction
  • Mona Lisa  (250)
    • Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Cinematography, Original Song
  • Aliens  (175)
    • Actress, Sound, Art Direction, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Makeup
  • The Color of Money  (135)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actress, Art Direction, Original Song
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home  (125)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Original Score, Sound, Visual Effects, Sound Editing
  • Stand by Me  (115)
    • Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Editing
  • Children of a Lesser God  (105)
    • Actor, Actress
  • The Mission  (90)
    • Cinematography, Original Score, Costume Design
  • Top Gun  (75)
    • Original Score, Sound, Sound Editing, Original Song
  • My Beautiful Laundrette  (70)
    • Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor
  • Little Shop of Horrors  (60)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Visual Effects
  • Legend  (45)
    • Visual Effects, Costume Design, Makeup
  • The Mosquito Coast  (35)
    • Actor
  • Salvador  (35)
    • Actor
  • Peggy Sue Got Married  (35)
    • Actress
  • Something Wild  (35)
    • Actress
  • Ginger and Fred  (35)
    • Actress
  • The Fly  (30)
    • Sound Editing, Makeup
  • Poltergeist II: The Other Side  (20)
    • Visual Effects
  • Pretty in Pink  (20)
    • Original Song
  • Vagabond  (20)
    • Foreign Film (1985)
  • Decline of the American Empire  (20)
    • Foreign Film
  • The Sacrifice  (20)
    • Foreign Film
  • The Name of the Rose  (15)
    • Costume Design
  • Lady Jane  (15)
    • Costume Design
  • F/X  (10)
    • Makeup
  • Labyrinth  (10)
    • Makeup
  • True Stories  (10)
    • Original Song

Analysis: It is extremely odd to have five films that earn a lead acting nomination and nothing else.

Best Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • Hoosiers

Analysis:  My #20 film of the year.  This is the first year in a while where no film that qualifies for my Best Picture list (**** / ***.5) is in this spot.  Hoosiers is a high-level ***.

Biggest Awards Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • Crimes of the Heart

Analysis:  Nominated for six awards (three Oscars, two Globes, a critics award) and winner of two (both Best Actress for Sissy Spacek).  It’s a good film and it comes in 6th (Actress), 7th (Supporting Actress) and 8th (Adapted Screenplay) in the same categories that it earned Oscar nominations but can’t manage anything higher than that.

Nighthawk Golden Globes:


  • Best Picture
  1. Platoon
  2. A Room with a View
  3. Stand by Me
  4. Blue Velvet
  5. Mona Lisa

Analysis:  The best Top 5 in six years.  All five of these films are ****, as are My Beautiful Laundrette and Aliens.  The rest of my Best Picture list (***.5 films) are, in order: The Sacrifice, Salvador, The Color of Money and Vagabond.

  • Best Director
  1. Oliver Stone  (Platoon)
  2. David Lynch  (Blue Velvet)
  3. James Ivory  (A Room with a View)
  4. Neil Jordan  (Mona Lisa)
  5. Rob Reiner  (Stand by Me)

Analysis:  These are the first Drama noms for Stone, Ivory, Jordan and Reiner.  It’s the second nom for Lynch.
This is the best Top 5 since 1980.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. A Room with a View
  2. Stand by Me
  3. The Color of Money
  4. Children of a Lesser God
  5. Manhunter

Analysis:  Ruth Prawer Jhabvala earns her first Drama win.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. My Beautiful Laundrette
  2. Mona Lisa
  3. Platoon
  4. Blue Velvet
  5. The Sacrifice

Analysis:  Neil Jordan earns his first Drama nom while Oliver Stone earns his second.
This is the best Top 5 in this category since 1974.

  • monalisaBest Actor:
  1. Bob Hoskins  (Mona Lisa)
  2. William Hurt  (Children of a Lesser God)
  3. Paul Newman  (The Color of Money)
  4. Harrison Ford  (The Mosquito Coast)
  5. James Woods  (Salvador)

Analysis:  This is the second Drama nom for Bob Hoskins, William Hurt, Harrison Ford and James Woods.  Paul Newman, on the other hand, is earning his 7th nom.

  • Movies-Marlee-MatlinBest Actress
  1. Marlee Matlin  (Children of a Lesser God)
  2. Sigourney Weaver  (Aliens)
  3. Sissy Spacek  (‘Night Mother)
  4. Helena Bonham-Carter  (A Room with a View)
  5. Jane Fonda  (The Morning After)

Analysis:  This is the weakest Top 5 in this category since 1977.  Yet, the Globes passed up Spacek, Bonham-Carter and (eventual Oscar nominee) Fonda for the likes of Farrah Fawcett.  You are reading that correctly: Farah Fawcett.
This is the only Drama nomination for Matlin.  It’s the first for Bonham-Carter, the second for Weaver and the sixth for Spacek.  It’s the seventh for Fonda, who, because of her four wins, is now up to 380 points and sixth place.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Dennis Hopper  (Blue Velvet)
  2. Denholm Elliott  (A Room with a View)
  3. Daniel Day-Lewis  (A Room with a View)
  4. Daniel Day-Lewis  (My Beautiful Laundrette)
  5. Michael Caine  (Mona Lisa)

Analysis:  Tom Berenger (Platoon) won the Globe, but my list is too full for him to make it on (he’s 7th in Drama on my list).
These are the only Drama noms for Dennis Hopper and Denholm Elliott.  It’s the first two noms for Daniel Day-Lewis.  It’s the fourth Drama nom for Michael Caine.
The best Top 5 to-date and there won’t be a better one until at least the 2000’s, if at all.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Maggie Smith  (A Room with a View)
  2. Cathy Tyson  (Mona Lisa)
  3. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio  (The Color of Money)
  4. Judi Dench  (A Room with a View)
  5. Piper Laurie  (Children of a Lesser God)

Analysis:  This is the best Top 5 in this category in five years.  Smith is the best winner in this category in seven years.
These are the only nominations for Mastrantonio and Tyson and the first for Dench.  It’s the third nom for Laurie, with at least a decade between each.  It’s the fourth nom for Smith and her second Drama win.


  • A Room with a View  (360)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress
  • Mona Lisa  (265)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Platoon  (230)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay
  • Blue Velvet  (195)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor
  • Children of a Lesser God  (175)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress
  • Stand by Me  (135)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay
  • My Beautiful Laundrette  (120)
    • Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor
  • The Color of Money  (105)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Manhunter  (40)
    • Adapted Screenplay
  • The Sacrifice  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • Salvador  (40)
    • Actor
  • The Mosquito Coast  (40)
    • Actor
  • Aliens  (35)
    • Actress
  • ‘Night Mother  (35)
    • Actress
  • The Morning After  (35)
    • Actress

Analysis:  Platoon is a real rarity for the Drama winner, to not earn a single acting nomination.  Overall, the acting in Drama is the best in five years and the second best since 1974.  The major categories (Picture, Director, Screenplay) are the best since 1974.

Best Drama Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • Vagabond

Analysis:  The #18 film of the year and #11 Drama, this film is at the bottom end of ***.5 and is the only film good enough to make my Best Picture list not to be nominated in any Globe category for either Drama or Comedy.

Comedy / Musical:

  • Best Picture
  1. Hannah and Her Sisters
  2. Decline of the American Empire
  3. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  4. Something Wild
  5. Little Shop of Horrors

Analysis:  Bizarrely, while Hannah is the best winner in this category in five years, Decline is the weakest #2 in five years.  Hannah is the only **** on the list.  The other four are all high ***.5.  Also on my list, at lower ***.5 are Peggy Sue Got Married and True Stories.

  • Best Director
  1. Woody Allen  (Hannah and Her Sisters)
  2. Jonathan Demme  (Something Wild)
  3. Leonard Nimoy  (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)
  4. Francis Ford Coppola  (Peggy Sue Got Married)

Analysis:  This is the only nomination for Nimoy and the second Comedy noms for Demme and Coppola.  It’s the ninth Comedy nom and third win for Allen; he goes up to 540 points and ties Luis Buñuel for 2nd place.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  2. Little Shop of Horrors
  3. Crimes of the Heart


  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Hannah and Her Sisters
  2. Decline of the American Empire
  3. Something Wild
  4. Peggy Sue Got Married
  5. True Stories

Analysis:  Woody Allen earns his six Comedy win.  He moves up to 800 points, just 40 behind Billy Wilder for 1st place.
This is the only category where Comedy really shines.  Though it is weaker than the year before, it is the 5th best Top 5 to-date and scores a lot better than any of the other Comedy categories.

  • roundmidnight-gordonBest Actor:
  1. Dexter Gordon  (‘Round Midnight)
  2. Paul Hogan  (Crocodile Dundee)
  3. Woody Allen  (Hannah and Her Sisters)
  4. Jeff Daniels  (Something Wild)
  5. Danny DeVito  (Ruthless People)

Analysis:  Gordon was nominated in Drama at the Globes.
These are the only Comedy noms for Gordan, Horgan, Daniels and DeVito.  Woody Allen doubles them all combined, earning his 8th nomination.  He goes up to 315 points and 5th place, behind Chaplin, Cary Grant, Cagney and Alec Guinness.
This is the weakest Top 5 in this category since 1975.  I don’t think that Daniels’ performance is any better than his one the year before in The Purple Rose of Cairo, when he finished 7th in this category.  Gordon is the weakest winner in this category in eight years.

  • Peggy-Sue-Got-Married-kathleen-turner-31239596-1024-768Best Actress
  1. Kathleen Turner  (Peggy Sue Got Married)
  2. Melanie Griffith  (Something Wild)
  3. Giuletta Masina  (Ginger and Fred)
  4. Sissy Spacek  (Crimes of the Heart)
  5. Bette Midler  (Ruthless People)

Analysis:  What does it say that five of the top 8 performances in Best Actress were from Comedies while only 1 of the Top 10 in Actor was?  The Top 5 in Comedy scores only one point lower than the Top 5 in Drama, their closest finish in 14 years.  Turner, though, is the weakest winner in this category in eight years.
Midler was nominated at the Globes, but for Down and Out in Beverly Hills instead.
This is the only Comedy nom for Masina, the first for Griffit, the second for Spacek and Midler.  It’s the third nom and second win in a row for Turner.  It’s odd that she had won the two previous Globes but didn’t win the Globe this year, while this was the only one of the three years for which she earned an Oscar nom.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Michael Caine  (Hannah and Her Sisters)
  2. Ray Liotta  (Something Wild)
  3. Steve Martin  (Little Shop of Horrors)

Analysis:  It’s the only Comedy nom for Ray Liotta, who isn’t known for comedic work.  It’s only the third nom for Michael Caine, but it’s also his third win (two in Supporting, one in lead).  It’s the fourth Comedy nom for Steve Martin in six years.  Caine is the best winner in this category since 1968.  The only other winners I rate to this point as highly are Jack Lemmon (1955), Sterling Hayden (1964) and Gene Wilder (1968).  It’s the beginning, though, of a stretch of fantastic winners in this category.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Dianne Wiest  (Hannah and Her Sisters)
  2. Tess Harper  (Crimes of the Heart)
  3. Winona Ryder  (Lucas)
  4. Barbara Hershey  (Hannah and Her Sisters)
  5. Carrie Fisher  (Hannah and Her Sisters)

Analysis:  The best Top 5 in this category in four years, mainly because of Wiest; the only other winner of this category I rate highly as Wiest to this point is Harriet Andersson in 1958.  The next winner to rate this highly will again be Wiest, in 1994.
These are the only Comedy noms for Harper and Hershey, the first for Wiest, Fisher and Ryder.


  • Hannah and Her Sisters  (485)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress
  • Something Wild  (235)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home  (175)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay
  • Peggy Sue Got Married  (155)
    • Director, Original Screenplay, Actress
  • Little Shop of Horrors  (120)
    • Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor
  • Crimes of the Heart  (105)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actress
  • Decline of the American Empire  (90)
    • Picture, Original Screenplay
  • ‘Round Midnight  (70)
    • Actor
  • Ruthless People  (70)
    • Actor, Actress
  • True Stories  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • Crocodile Dundee  (35)
    • Actor
  • Ginger and Fred  (35)
    • Actress
  • Lucas  (30)
    • Supporting Actress

Analysis: After the off year with no film above 400 we have the fifth time in six years with a film with over 470 points.  While the nominees in this year aren’t all that strong, the winners, as a whole, are the best since 1979.  It’s the first year where there are 5 winners that earn my highest rating (all from Hannah and Her Sisters); no previous year has had more than three.

Best Comedy Not Nominated for any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Analysis:  The #24 film of the year and the #9 Comedy.  It’s on my list for both Actor and Screenplay but can’t make the Top 5.  I have seen it like 50 times or so though.

Roundup for the Year in Film:

Eligible Films I Have Seen:  169

By Stars:

  • ****:  8
  • ***.5:  10
  • ***:  75
  • **.5:  21
  • **:  30
  • *.5:  7
  • *:  10
  • .5:  8
  • 0:  0
  • Average Film Score for the Year, out of 100:  57.25

Analysis:  A drop of over a point and a half from the year before, leading to the lowest average since 1980 and the third lowest to-date.  That’s because there are 8 fewer ***.5 films than the year before.  Ironically, with five more *** films while having six fewer overall films, there is a slightly higher percentage of films that are *** or better than the year before.  However, there are also 18 films that are * or lower, only the fourth time the total has been more than 10% of the total films.  Also, it’s only the third time that more than 20% of the films are “bad” (** or *.5).

Oscar-Nominated Films I Have Not Seen:

  • none

Oscar Quality:

Best Picture:  It’s 15th all-time and the 5th best to this point, so they did a good job.  While they did nominate two films that don’t make my list (Children of a Lesser God, The Mission), they also had three of the Top 80 nominees.  How good is that?  Well, it’s the first year to do it, it won’t happen again for over 15 years and only two other years have managed it (2002, 2005).  It’s also one of only five years to have two Top 50 nominees.

The Winners:  How good a job did they do with this year?  The second best to-date, that’s how good, and that’s with my changing three categories over the last several years from the Oscar winner taking home the Nighthawk to ending up in second (Picture, Director, Editing).  But the winners are just great, all across the board.  Score and Foreign Film are the only categories where the Oscar winner doesn’t earn a Nighthawk nominee and in both cases they come in 6th.  The average among the Tech categories is 1.78 (6th best to-date), the Acting categories are 1.75 and the major categories are 1.50 (tied for best to-date).  The overall winners average 2.05.  I agree with 10 categories and in 5 more the Oscar winner is my #2.  Among the nominees, the average winner comes in at 1.58, the best since 1975 (that it’s not one of the best to-date reflects that the Oscar nominees are better than in earlier years – see the Nominees below).  Only two categories have an Oscar winner that isn’t the best or second best nominee (Actor, Score).

The Nominees:  The Nominees are also the second best to-date, with an overall score of 80.2.  The Tech categories set a new high with 81.0, including the first time Sound (100) breaks 90 and six of the nine Tech categories earning scores above 85.  The acting is an 89.1, with all four categories breaking 80 and Actor at a phenomenal 97.1.  The major categories are at 78.8, lead by Original Screenplay at 91.9.

Golden Globe Best Picture – Comedy / Musical:  This year isn’t great, but that’s really a reflection of what was available and not the fault of the Globe voters.  I only list one **** film and it won the Globe (Hannah and Her Sisters).  I list six ***.5 films, two of which were nominated (Little Shop of Horrors, Peggy Sue Got Married), one of which wasn’t eligible (Decline of the American Empire).  That leaves Star Trek IV (not exactly Globe fare), Something Wild (which earned Actor and Actress noms so looks bad for being overlooked) and True Stories (probably too weird for Globe voters).  Something Wild will be the last film to make the Globes look really bad, by earning noms for both leads but being left out of the Picture race even though it deserved to be nominated until Jackie Brown in 1997.  Instead, the Globes nominated three solid *** films (yes they nominated six films): Crocodile Dundee, Crimes of the Heart and Down and Out in Beverly Hills.  That leaves this year at #19 overall (third best to-date), which isn’t bad.  But, even aside from Something Wild, they could have done better.  Also nominated for Actor but not Picture are two other films I think are better than those last three nominees: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Ruthless People.  Hell, if your six nominees are Hannah, Horrors, Peggy Sue, Something Wild, Ferris Bueller and Ruthless People this year would move up to #12 while only nominating films that earned Globe – Comedy noms.

Top 5 Films of the Year:

1  –  Hannah and Her Sisters  (reviewed here)

2  –  Platoon  (reviewed here)

3  –  A Room with a View  (reviewed here)

Recommendation: don't see this with your mom.

Recommendation: don’t see this with your mom.

4  –  Blue Velvet  (dir. David Lynch)

At the end of the 1980’s, there was a lot of talk about what were the best films of the decade.  There were several lists, but most of them seemed to agree that the best film of the decade was Raging Bull, followed by Blue Velvet.  Well, my mother wasn’t about to watch a boxing biopic, but there was a copy of Blue Velvet at her work (she worked at a library) and she brought it home, saying “This is supposed to be one of the best films of the decade.”  Now, have you seen Blue Velvet?  Can you imagine being 15 years old and watching it for the first time with your mom?  Awkward somehow just doesn’t seem a big enough word to encompass that night.

I guess I can be glad that I saw Blue Velvet at 15 and instantly grasped how brilliant it was, how dark, seductive and destructive are the forces that lurk just beneath the grass, just behind the white picket fence, just on the other side of the closet door.  Looking back now, it’s clear that this is one of the quintessential Lynch films, one which takes his bizarre, ironic, disturbing take on humanity matched with a story that unravels and then ravels back up and leaves you wondering what the hell just happened.  Ever since then it has been the mark of his films, whether they exceed this one for sheer quality (Mulholland Drive), whether they stumble along with at least a somewhat satisfying whole (Wild at Heart), whether they unravel (Inland Empire) or whether they somehow manage to do all of these things at once (Twin Peaks, Lost Highway).  Yet, at this point, there wasn’t much to point that way – Eraserhead had been disturbing and strange but had lacked focus and the next two Lynch films, though brilliant (The Elephant Man) and flawed (Dune) had both been works for hire and didn’t really show what he could do when fully unleashed.

I could give you the bare bones of the story: a young man returns home after his father’s heart attack and when walking through a field finds a severed ear that leads him into the mystery of a seductive, dangerous woman and one of the most unnerving, violent men ever put on film.  But what would that tell you?  Would that tell you about the brilliant shot that opens the film of a man watering the lawn and the way the camera lingers upon him with the water still flowing.  Would it let you know about the insects crawling along the ear and the horror, yet intrigue in the eyes of Kyle MacLachlan when he finds it?  Would you be prepared for the young man who meets the pretty blonde All-American girl and instead finds himself drawn to the older, darker beauty who pulls a knife on him when she finds him hiding in her closet, forces him to have sex with her and then gets abandoned naked on his lawn for all the world to witness her humiliation?  What would you choose?  Would you go with the pretty, innocent blonde or would you seek the darkness and sensuality of the damaged brunette?

The plot moves around in strange circles yet never becomes incoherent (part of what makes this superior to almost all of Lynch’s other films).  The performances stay focused (MacLachlan, except in Twin Peaks, has never shown since that anyone but Lynch can tap into his ability) and memorable (what do you think of when you think of Hopper, who is so much better in this film than he ever has been on film before or since, him threatening Rossellini with the oxygen mask on his face or when he trashes on Heineken and instead extols the “virtues” of Pabst Blue Ribbon?).  Blue Velvet is not a movie for everyone, as my mother quickly discovered (and Roger Ebert is clearly in that camp).  But it is for me, and maybe that says all you need to know about me.  I still prefer Mulholland Drive though.

The public suddenly realizes that Stephen King is not just about horror.

The public suddenly realizes that Stephen King is not just about horror.

5  –  Stand by Me  (dir. Rob Reiner)

In the summer and fall of 1986, if you heard a boy singing songs from 25 years before, songs like “Yakety Yak”, “Get a Job”, “Lollipop” or “Everyday”, odds were that he had seen Stand by Me.  It was a film that spoke to kids my age (I was about to turn 12 when the film was released – the same age that the boys are in the film) and it was a fantastic introduction to the soundtrack of another era.  I don’t think I knew any Buddy Holly songs before I saw Stand by Me, but for years now he’s been by far my favorite artist of the 1950’s.

Stand by Me has long been a film that people take with unabashed love.  Indeed, think of TCM host Robert Osborne, and then read this quote from Inside Oscar about the morning the Oscar nominations were announced: “Robert Osborne of the CBS Morning Show ‘held his peace until the reading of the nominations was completed, and then almost started to cry since his favorite, Stand by Me, had received just one nomination.'” (p 690)  Some people love it because it brings them back to their childhood, to those days in the late 1950’s when you could talk about how big Annette Funicello’s breasts were (“I’ve been noticing the A and E are starting to bend around the sides.”) or argue about a fight between Mighty Mouse and Superman (“Mighty Mouse is a cartoon.  Superman’s a real guy.”) or just walk along and sing some of the greatest rock songs of all-time.  Some people love it because of their age.  These four boys are still boys, just about the leave elementary school and head into the wonder of junior high, when you’re not together with your friends all the time and you start meeting different people.  This film was released in August of 1986, the same month that I began junior high school.  Some people just love it because it is such a good film.  It is fantastically directed, it is extremely well written, it is funny (the argument about Goofy), it is heart-felt (the feelings of loss in Gordie for his brother while not understanding what his parents are going through, the pain in Chris because he knows that he has already been typed and it doesn’t matter what he does to try and beat that typing), it is funny to kids while painful to adults (mailbox baseball isn’t so funny when you’ve had your mailbox destroyed three times like happened to me in the mid-90’s), it is somber to adults who have gone through events that most kids haven’t had to live through yet (seeing a dead body for the first time).

It’s interesting to look back at the cast of this film.  All four boys perfectly fit into the types of characters: the more nerdy writer who’s too smart to be hanging around with these other kids, the son of the town lowlife and younger brother to another lowlife, the son of the crazy dad, the fat kid.  They cast these roles perfectly and you might have thought these kids had fantastic futures in front of them.  Just because it didn’t work out that way, with the one by far blessed with the most talent dying young, with another descending into a world of tabloids and drugs, with one becoming the most irritating character in the history of Star Trek (“No he’s not!” Veronica screams from behind me.  “Tasha Yar is far more annoying than Westey Crusher!”) and the last at least growing out of his childhood fat and becoming a television star.  Even the director, making his third film here was in the midst of making what still holds up as one of the best (if not the best) stretch of five films to begin a directorial career (This is Spinal Tap, The Sure Thing, Stand by Me, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally) would eventually crater in 1994 with one of the worst films ever made by a talented director and never really recover properly.  With Kiefer Sutherland also mostly plying his trade on television, it seems the most successful film career to come out of this film is that of John Cusack and most people forget he’s even in the film.

But perhaps the real talent shining through here is the man least likely to be thought of for this kind of film before it was made: Stephen King.  I was already reading Stephen King when this film was released (I had already read The Stand), but this film was a revelation for a lot of people my age.  We all ended up buying Different Seasons (it is one of the very few books in my library with a movie cover) and realizing that King was much more than just a horror author.  For years, I tried my hand at writing scripts of the other two brilliant novellas in the collection, until they were finally made without my input in 1994 (The Shawshank Redemption) and 1998 (Apt Pupil).  This film worked for some of the reason that King’s writing always works – because, in spite of the horror elements in so many of his books, he looks back at his life and finds moments to illuminate his stories.  He remembered what it was like to be young and he wrote about it in a genuinely heartfelt way.  Which is why we get that brilliant line that in the story, was just the end to the chapter in the dump and that the narrator says as a post-script to his dig at Teddy when he leaves.  The screenwriters realized it was the key to the whole film, and so they wisely decided to move it to the end: “I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?”  I turned 12 in the fall of 1986, just after this film was released.  But, hey last month, I took a trip back to Oregon so my son could be the ringbearer in a wedding.  The person getting married was my friend when I was 12 and we’re still friends.

The Razzies:  The Razzies do better in this year, but they’re still averaging a 19, which is a mid-range * and they could be picking worse films.  Granted, they gave the award to two films, one of which, Howard the Duck, is my second-worst film of the year.  The other, Under the Cherry Moon, is a * film.  The other three nominees are either *.5 (Blue City), or * (Shanghai Surprise, Cobra).  They still prefer not to attack Comedies, possibly because a bad Comedy is too easy to pick on, which leaves out a lot of the films towards the bottom of my list.  What’s more, this time only two films that were worse than any of the Worst Picture nominees ended up earning nominations in other categories: Tai-Pan (Worst New Star) and King Kong Lives (Worst Visual Effects).

5 Worst Films  (#1 being the worst):

  1. Murphy’s Law
  2. Howard the Duck
  3. Wildcats
  4. Solarbabies
  5. Police Academy 3: Back in Training

note:  Thanks to Cannon making the Bronson / Thompson films (see below), it will start appearing a lot in these bottom 5 lists.  It makes the worst film of the year here.  Surprisingly, the other four are all from major distributors (in order, Universal, Warner Bros, MGM, Warner Bros again).

Who would have thought an Oscar nominee could sink so low.

Who would have thought an Oscar nominee could sink so low.

Murphy’s Law  (dir. J. Lee Thompson)

In a sense, I have disappointed myself with this pick.  I would, I think, rather have to go back and rewatch Howard the Duck, which I haven’t seen since I was a kid, but which I have a different take on now that I have read all of the things that fnord has written about the character over at his comics site.  Instead, I am forcing myself to review this hideous revenge film, one of a number of similar films I forced myself to endure when I was going through my Oscar Nominated Best Director project because, 25 years after earning an Oscar nomination for The Guns of Navarone, J. Lee Thompson started teaming up with Charles Bronson for these reprehensible films.  While there are four of these horrid, disgusting films, thankfully two of them come in second-to-last in their respective years (thank you Leonard Part 6 and Hot to Trot) and so I only have to review two of them, this one and Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects.

Is it necessary for me to give a plot review for this type of film?  It basically runs like this: for some reason, Charles Bronson shoots a lot of people and the law is only something to get in his way and at the end, he won’t be dead or in jail, but usually hailed as a hero for taking the law into his hands.  You can get the whole story from the trailer.  But the story is just a bunch of bullshit to hang their stupid revenge fantasy around him.

Now, let’s look at that term: revenge fantasy.  Like so many loaded terms, there is nothing inherently wrong in the term itself.  In some ways, a revenge fantasy can be a useful way to express rage over something that you had no power to do anything about.  Two great films have been made by Quentin Tarantino that are revenge fantasies aimed at horrific aspects of human history that deserved to have vengeance wrecked upon it: Nazism and slavery.  But, in the way that Tarantino made them, deliberately exaggerating human affects, we actually get the word fantasy in there.  Those are simply fantasies – what we wished we could have done to right horrible wrongs.  The Brosnon / Thompson films aren’t really fantasies: they’re gun owners creeds for what they wish they could do against someone who has done something personal against them.  You know what I think of that?  Fuck them.  I will point you to what I wrote in April of 2013 after the Marathon Bomber was caught (yes I know his name – but like the state senator from Arkansas, he doesn’t deserve to have his name in print – that’s part of the whole point).  This film is an embarrassment to any actual worthwhile law enforcement unit.  It’s an excuse for Bronson to run around and shoot whoever the hell they want him to shoot with no price to ever be paid.  It’s like a feature-length commercial for the NRA.

It’s a shame, because a long time before, Charles Bronson was actually a worthwhile presence on film.  I’m not saying that he was that much of an actor.  But he had presence and he was a vital part of such films as The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape, films in which he actually played a character and had actual emotions beyond just revenge.  J. Lee Thompson was once the director of exciting, under-appreciated British films like Ice Cold in Alex, North West Frontier and Tiger Bay before heading off to make The Guns of Navarone, still one of the all-time fun, thrilling films.  Let’s look back at what they both did well and ignore these hideous, horrifying films.


  • Most Nighthawk Nominations:   A Room with a View  (12)
  • Most Nighthawk Awards:  Hannah and Her Sisters  (5)
  • Most Nighthawk Points:   A Room with a View  (470)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Award:  Poltergeist II: The Other Side
  • 2nd Place Award:  Platoon  (Picture, Director, Editing)
  • 6th Place Award:  Mona Lisa  (Picture, Supporting Actor, Editing)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Nominations:   A Room with a View  (8)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Awards:   A Room with a View  /  Platoon  (2)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Points:   A Room with a View  (360)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Drama Award:  The Morning After
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Nominations:  Hannah and Her Sisters  (8)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Awards:  Hannah and Her Sisters  (5)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Points:  Hannah and Her Sisters  (485)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Comedy Award:  Crimes of the Heart

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

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  (765)
  • 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:  61 (28)  –  A Room with a View  (63.7)
  • Foreign:  46  –  Decline of the American Empire  (63.8)
  • Comedy:  45 (10)  –  Hannah and Her Sisters  (57.9)
  • Kids:  12 (2)  –  Labyrinth  (53.1)
  • Horror:  11 (1)  –  The Fly  (38.6)
  • Musical:  8 (1)  –  Little Shop of Horrors  (62.5)
  • Action:  6 (1)  –  Top Gun  (30)
  • Suspense:  5  –  F/X  (58.4)
  • Crime:  4  –  At Close Range  (60.3)
  • Sci-Fi:  4  –  Aliens  (56.5)
  • Fantasy:  4 (1)  –  Legend  (36.3)
  • War:  3 (1)  –  Platoon  (83.3)
  • Mystery:  3  –  Blue Velvet  (63.7)
  • Adventure:  3 (1)  –  Ronia the Robber’s Daughter  (32.7)
  • Western:  0

Analysis:  Dramas only account for 36% of the films, the lowest in five years (and have their lowest average in six years).  The Comedies, on the other hand, have a new high for total films and for only the third time account for more than 1/4 of all films.  It’s the second highest percentage of Comedies to Dramas, almost 3/4 as many whereas usually it’s less than 1/2.  With the influx of Animated films, Kids films break into double digits for the first time.  Action films just barely escape being as bad as the year before (the films, in descending order are Top Gun, Heroes Shed No Tears, Iron Eagle, Cobra, Let’s Get Harry, Murphy’s Law).  Foreign films have their lowest average in eight years.  Thanks mainly to Platoon, War films have their highest ever average in a year with multiple films.
Blue Velvet becomes the first Mystery to break into the Top 10 since Chinatown in 1974.  There are two War films in the Top 20 for the first time since 1979 (Platoon, Salvador).  Hannah and Her Sisters is the first straight Comedy to win the Nighthawk since 1964 (other films have fallen into the Comedy side of the Globes split but Comedy hasn’t been considered their primary genre).

Studio Note:  For the fourth straight year, Warner Bros leads the major studios, this time with 14 films.  But for only the second time, it’s not a major studio that has the most films.  This time, for the first of consecutive years and the first of three times in four years, it’s Orion that leads the way with 15 films.  Except for the oddity year of 1977 when New Yorker films distributed a crapload of Foreign films, this is the most films ever released by a non-major in one year (that I have seen anyway).  The only other major with more than 10 films that I have seen is Paramount with 11.  The majors only account for 36% of the films I have seen, the lowest to-date, but what will quickly become the new normal.  They are also not very good, as Disney is the only major distributor whose films average above **.5.  MGM is especially pathetic, with 4 films that average 32.5 (mid-range *.5); their films are Running Scared, Poltergeist II: The Other Side, Shanghai Surprise and Solarbabies.  Aside from Orion, Tristar also breaks the double-digit barrier, with 11 films, though their films are also terrible (46.2 average).
Orion is the king of the heap, not just in quantity, but also in quality.  It has the two best films of the year, 5 of the Top 12 and 7 of the Top 20 (in order, Hannah and Her Sisters, Platoon, My Beautiful Laundrette, Something Wild, The Sacrifice, F/X, Hoosiers).  It becomes the first studio to win three straight Nighthawk Awards (New Line will do it from 2001-2003, but that’s with a trilogy of films).  Only three films in the Top 10 are from major studios, the lowest total since 1968 and tied for the lowest to-date.  Only 6 of the Top 20 are from the majors, the lowest since 1968 and the second lowest to-date.  It’s the first time since 1979 that Universal doesn’t have a Top 20 film (the best Universal film is An American Tail, down at #41).  On the other hand, thanks to Touchstone Pictures distributing more adult films, The Color of Money becomes the first Disney film to land in the Top 20 since 1981.  With more films from Touchstone on the way and the Disney Renaissance ready to hit in 1989, it will start to regularly feature in both the Top 20 and Top 10.

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

  1. An American Tail  (***, Bluth, Universal)
  2. The Great Mouse Detective  (***, Clements / Mattinson, Disney)
  3. Night on the Galactic Railroad  (***, Suggi, Herald Ace)
  4. Asterix in Britain  (***, Van Lamsweerde, Gaumont)
  5. Heathcliff – The Movie  (**, Bianchi, Atlantic Releasing)
  6. Transformers  (**, Shin, DEG)
  7. Cat City  (**, Ternovsk / Deyries, Pannonia)
  8. The Adventures of Mark Twain  (**, Vinton, Atlantic Releasing)
  9. My Little Pony: The Movie  (**, Joens, DEG)
  10. Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation  (*.5, Scott, Columbia)
  11. The Adventures of the American Rabbit  (*.5, Wolf, Atlantic Releasing)
  12. Gobots: Battle of the Rock Lords  (*, Patterson, Atlantic Releasing)

Note: doesn’t list Night on the Galactic Railroad, Asterix in Britain or Cat City (even though Cat City was submitted for Best Foreign Film from Hungary.
This is second of the two big years for Atlantic Releasing, which specialized in feature length versions of television shows.  None of their films are any better than **.5.  The 4 films from Atlantic are the most for a single studio in a single year until 2003.  This gives Atlantic 8 total films which is tied for 3rd most to this point, but there won’t be anymore.  It is not only the most for any studio this decade, it’s the second most for any studio in a decade to this point, behind only Disney in the 40’s.
This isn’t the last year where no film wins my award; 1987 will actually be worse, as no film will exceed **.5.
I feel I should point out that I saw none of these films as a kid.  The top two I saw over the years as an adult.  All of the rest I had never seen until I started trying to watch every eligible Animated film for this project.  So these are the judgments of an adult at work here.  If you were a kid in 1986 and love these, you have my apologies for not having better Animated films for your childhood.

47 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):

  • 38: Vienna Before the Fall  (Gluck, Austria)  **
  • El Amor Brujo  (Saura, Spain)
  • The Assault  (Rademakers, Netherlands)  ***
  • Asterix in Britain  (Van Lamsweerde, France)
  • Avanti popolo  (Bukai, Israel)  *
  • Axiliad  (Lesczynski, Poland)  *
  • Betty Blue  (Beineix, France)  **
  • The Black Cannon Incident  (Huang, China)
  • Castle in the Sky  (Miyazaki, Japan)
  • Cat City  (Ternovszk, Hungary)  *
  • The Children of the Noisy Village  (Hallstrom, Sweden)
  • Decline of the American Empire  (Arcand, Canada)  **
  • Devil in the Flesh  (Bellocchio, Italy)
  • Esther  (Gitai, Israel)
  • Family Business  (Costa-Gavras, France)
  • Fist of the North Star  (Ashida, Japan)
  • Ginger and Fred  (Fellini, Italy)
  • Half of Heaven  (Gutierrez, Spain)
  • Hard Asphalt  (Skagen, Norway)  *
  • Heroes Shed No Tears  (Woo, Hong Kong)
  • The Horse Thief  (Tian, China)
  • Hour of the Star  (Amaral, Brazil)  *
  • In a Glass Cage  (Villaronga, Spain)
  • Jean de Florette  (Berri, France)
  • The Last Assault  (Nicolaescu, Romania)  *
  • Love is a Dog from Hell  (Deruddere, Belgium)
  • A Man and a Woman: 20 Years Later  (Lelouch, France)
  • Man of Ashes  (Bouzid, Tunisia)
  • Manner  (Dorrie, West Germany)
  • Manon of the Spring  (Berri, France)
  • Matador  (Almodovar, Spain)
  • Mauvais sang  (Carax, France)
  • Max mon amour  (Oshima, Japan)
  • Men  (Dorrie, West Germany)  *
  • Menage  (Blier, France)
  • My Sweet Little Village  (Menzel, Czechoslovakia)  **
  • The Pearl  (Viswanath, India)  *
  • The Realm of Fortune  (Ripstein, Mexico)  *
  • Rosa Luxemburg  (von Trotta, West Germany)
  • The Sacrifice  (Tarkovsky, Sweden)  *
  • Shadows in Paradise  (Kaurismaki, Finaldn)
  • Summer  (Rohmer, France)
  • Summer Night  (Wertmuller, Italy)  *
  • Tangos: The Exile of Gardel  (Solanas, Argentina)  *
  • Therese  (Cavalier, France)
  • Time to Die  (Triana, Colombia)  *
  • The Wild Pigeon  (Solvyov, USSR)  *

Note:  For the first time in 8 years I haven’t seen any Swiss films while it’s the first time in 7 years there are no films from Taiwan and the first time in 9 years there are no films from Yugoslavia (more on that below).  I have two Israeli films for the first time.  There are 4 films from Spain, the second most; it’s the first time in 4 years that a country other than France or Japan has finished in 1st or 2nd place.  In 1st place, as usual, is France, with 10 films.  Japan only has 3 films, its lowest total in four years.

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

  • Algeria:  The Last Image  (dir.  Lakhdar-Hamina)
  • Belgium:  Jumping  (dir.  De Decker)
  • China:  Sun Zhongshan  (dir.  Yinnan)
  • Denmark:  Dark Side of the Moon  (dir.  Clausen)
  • Finland:  The Unknown Soldier  (dir. Mollberg)
  • Iceland:  The Beast  (dir.  Oddsson)
  • Japan:  Final Take  (dir.  Yamada)
  • Puerto Rico:  La Gran Fiesta  (dir.  Zurinaga)
  • South Korea:  Eunuch  (dir.  Lee)
  • Switzerland:  Tanner  (dir.  Koller)
  • Taiwan:  The Heroic Pioneers  (dir.  Lee)
  • Yugoslavia:  Happy New Year ’49  (dir.  Popov)

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 32 (63%).  Four of these are the same countries I was missing in 1985 (with one of them in the midst of a long streak).
There are five countries submitting that didn’t in 1985 (Algeria, China, Colombia, Finland, Puerto Rico).  The countries that are out from the year before are Peru, The Philippines, Portugal and Venezuela.
Of the missing submissions, this is my 1st miss (China, but also Puerto Rico with its first submission) 2nd miss (Algeria, Yugoslavia, which I only missed 2 in the 29 total submission it made before its dissolution), 4th miss in 5 submissions (Finland), 5th miss (Iceland, Switzerland, South Korea), 6th overall and 4th in a row (Taiwan), 9th (Belgium, Japan) and, sadly, 19th miss in 25 submission (Denmark).  After this year, Denmark will have three straight nominations (all of which I have seen) and after that, I’ve been able to see at least half of its submissions.  Being nominated makes a film much easier to find – of the five countries that earned nominations in this year, four of them I was missing the year before and two of them I will be missing in 1987.  In fact, of the 151 submissions all-time from those four countries (Netherlands, Austria, Canada, Czechoslovakia), I have only seen 84 and none of them are over 66%.

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

  • Angry Harvest  (1985)
  • The Berlin Affair  (1985)
  • Caravaggio  (1985)
  • Defence of the Realm  (1985)
  • Demons  (1985)
  • Dust  (1985)
  • L’Effrontee  (1985)
  • Legend  (1985)
  • Letter to Brezhnev  (1985)
  • My Beautiful Laundrette  (1985)
  • Night on the Galactic Railroad  (1985)
  • Restless Natives  (1985)
  • Ronia the Robber’s Daughter  (1985)
  • Screamplay  (1985)
  • Three Men and a Cradle  (1985)
  • Twist and Shout  (1985)
  • Vagabond  (1985)
  • A Year of the Quiet Sun  (1985)

Note:  These 40 films average a 66.8.  They account for a total of 19 Nighthawk nominations which is quite a lot.  Only three of the films make the Top 19 (Blood Simple, A Private Function, Queen Kelly), but they dominate the lower end of the ***.5 films in this year.  Seven of the eight films from #20-27 for the year are on this list: The Hit, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Dangerous Moves, Late Chrysanthemums, A Sunday in the Country, Beyond the Walls, The Company of Wolves.

Films Not Listed at

  • Axiliad
  • The Black Cannon Incident
  • Cat City
  • The Children of the Noisy Village
  • Dust
  • L’Effrontee
  • Funny Dirty Little War
  • Hard Asphalt
  • Heroes Shed No Tears
  • In the Name of the Pope King
  • The Last Assault
  • Let’s Get Harry
  • Manner
  • Max mon amour
  • Night of the Creeps
  • Night on the Galactic Railroad
  • On Top of the Whale
  • The Pearl
  • Realm of Fortune
  • Ronia the Robber’s Daughter
  • Shadows in Paradise
  • Time to Die
  • The Wild Pigeon

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 (not necessarily in this year).

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

  • The Assault  (1987)
  • The Chipmunk Adventure  (1987)
  • Devil in the Flesh  (1987)
  • Family Business  (1987)
  • The Fringe Dwellers  (1987)
  • Half of Heaven  (1987)
  • Hour of the Star  (1987)
  • Jean de Florette  (1987)
  • Kangaroo  (1987)
  • Love is a Dog From Hell  (1987)
  • Manon of the Spring  (1987)
  • My Sweet Little Village  (1987)
  • River’s Edge  (1987)
  • Rosa Luxemburg  (1987)
  • Summer Night  (1987)
  • Tangos: The Exile of Gardel  (1987)
  • Therese  (1987)
  • 38: Vienna Before the Fall  (1986)
  • Avanti popolo  (1988)
  • Bravestarr: The Movie  (1988)
  • The Horse Thief  (1988)
  • Matador  (1988)
  • When the Wind Blows  (1988)
  • Castle in the Sky  (1989)
  • Esther  (1989)
  • In a Glass Cage  (1989)
  • Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer  (1990)
  • Fist of the North Star  (1991)
  • Man of Ashes  (1997)
  • Mauvais sang  (2013)

Note:  These 30 films average a 66.8.  It includes three **** films: Jean de Florette, Manon of the Spring and Castle in the Sky.