To have any other film as my #1 would be inconceivable.

To have any other film as my #1 would be inconceivable.

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. The Princess Bride
  2. Hope and Glory  **
  3. Broadcast News  *
  4. Au Revoir, Les Enfants
  5. Empire of the Sun  *
  6. Manon of the Spring
  7. The Dead
  8. Matewan
  9. The Last Emperor  *
  10. Jean de Florette  *

Analysis:  All of these are **** films (and there are three more: Full Metal Jacket, The Untouchables and House of Games).  But, outside of The Princess Bride, none of them are really high-level **** films.  It’s the year of lots of great films but only one of them is truly great.  As a result, we have a Top 5 that is lower than the year before but a Top 10 that is the highest in seven years.  Jean de Florette is the best #10 film since 1963.  And how did the Academy acknowledge this remarkable year?  By nominating Fatal Attraction, one of the worst films ever nominated for Best Picture.

  • Christian-Bale-and-Steven-Spielberg-on-Empire-of-the-Sun1Best Director
  1. Steven Spielberg  (Empire of the Sun)  *
  2. John Boorman  (Hope and Glory)  *
  3. James L. Brooks  (Broadcast News)  *
  4. Bernardo Bertolucci  (The Last Emperor)  **
  5. Rob Reiner  (The Princess Bride)
  6. Stanley Kubrick  (Full Metal Jacket)
  7. Louis Malle  (Au Revoir, Les Enfants)
  8. John Huston  (The Dead)
  9. Brian De Palma  (The Untouchables)
  10. Claude Berri  (Manon of the Spring)

Analysis:  With the Academy going with My Life as a Dog (a very good film, but Best Director?) and Fatal Attraction (terrible film) and passing up Spielberg and James L. Brooks, the Academy score is 47.2, the lowest since 1963.
Bertolucci only wins the Consensus by 9 points over Boorman (they have the same raw total but different weighted totals).  Bertolucci wins the Oscar, DGA and Globe and earns a BAFTA nom while Boorman wins the LAFC and NSFC and earns Oscar, BAFTA and Globe noms.  There hasn’t been another finish this close since and there have only been two others even within 30 points (2001, 2011).
Rob Reiner earns his first Nighthawk nomination.  Brooks and Bertolucci both earn their second noms.  Boorman earns his third nom.  Spielberg earns his fifth nom and third win, moving up to 360 points and entering the Top 10.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. The Princess Bride
  2. The Dead
  3. Manon of the Spring
  4. Full Metal Jacket  *
  5. Roxanne  *
  6. Jean de Florette  *
  7. The Untouchables
  8. Empire of the Sun
  9. My Life as a Dog
  10. Prick Up Your Ears

Analysis:  Lead by what is probably my favorite screenplay of all-time, the Top 5 here is the best since 1980.
The Last Emperor wins the Consensus (it’s my #13), though the WGA puts it in the Original category, but it doesn’t have a lot of Consensus – it would have been 4th in Original.
Stanley Kubrick earns his ninth nomination, moving him up to 480 points.  William Goldman earns only his third nom, but it’s also his third win.
The Academy totally botched this one, passing up WGA winner Roxanne and nominees The Princess Bride and The Untouchables for Fatal Attraction.  Roxanne remains the only Adapted Screenplay to win the WGA since the WGA lined up their categories like the Oscars in 1983 to fail to earn an Oscar nom.  The result is an Oscar score of 55.9, the lowest since 1979.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Broadcast News  *
  2. Au Revoir, Les Enfants  *
  3. Hope and Glory  **
  4. House of Games
  5. Matewan
  6. Radio Days  *
  7. Raising Arizona
  8. September
  9. Tin Men
  10. The Big Easy

Analysis:  David Mamet earns his second Nighthawk nom, his first for a film he directed.  John Sayles earned his second nom.  Louis Malle earns his third nom.  James L. Brooks earns his second nom (and win).
The Academy at least gets this one fairly right, earning a 91.4, the second highest score since 1959, even if their winner Moonstruck, is my #12.  This marks the first time since 1964 that neither Screenplay winner make my Top 10.

  • Best Actor:
  1. William Hurt  (Broadcast News)  *
  2. Michael Douglas  (Wall Street)  **
  3. Jack Nicholson  (Ironweed)  *
  4. Steve Martin  (Roxanne)  *
  5. Anthony Hopkins  (The Good Father)
  6. Yves Montand  (Jean de Florette)
  7. Robin Williams  (Good Morning Vietnam)  *
  8. Christian Bale  (Empire of the Sun)
  9. Yves Montand  (Manon of the Spring)
  10. Gary Oldman  (Prick Up Your Ears)

Analysis:  This is the first Nighthawk nomination for Michael Douglas, who won’t be back until 2000.  It’s also the first for Steve Martin.  It’s the third nomination for Hopkins, who will break through in the next decade.  It’s the third straight nom for Hurt, his fourth overall and his second win but who won’t earn any in the next decade.
Jack Nicholson earns his 10th Nighthawk nomination.  He moves up to 470 points and ties Laurence Olivier for 2nd place, just five points behind Bogart, though he’ll have to wait until 1992 before he passes Bogart.

  • Best Actress
  1. Holly Hunter  (Broadcast News)  **
  2. Cher  (Moonstruck)  *
  3. Maggie Smith  (The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne)  *
  4. Meryl Streep  (Ironweed)
  5. Judy Davis  (High Tide)
  6. Bette Davis  (Whales of August)
  7. Emily Lloyd  (Wish You Were Here)  *
  8. Julie Walters  (Personal Services)
  9. Anne Bancroft  (84 Charing Cross Road)
  10. Christine Lahti  (Housekeeping)

Analysis:  A lot of isolation here – six of these films receive no other acting Top 10 finishes.  But it’s the best Top 5 in four years and the start of an upwards trend in this category.
With four critics wins to Cher’s zero, Holly Hunter easily wins the Consensus in spite of losing to Cher at both the Oscars and Globes.
It’s the first nomination for Holly Hunter, the second nomination for Cher and the third for Judy Davis.  On the other hand, it’s the seventh nom for Maggie Smith (and third in a row) and she moves up to 320 points and 6th place all-time.  Meryl Streep goes up to 360 points with her ninth nomination.

  • princess-brideBest Supporting Actor:
  1. Mandy Patinkin  (The Princess Bride)
  2. Albert Brooks  (Broadcast News)
  3. Sean Connery  (The Untouchables)  *
  4. Morgan Freeman  (Street Smart)  **
  5. Denzel Washington  (Cry Freedom)  *
  6. Peter Falk  (The Princess Bride)
  7. Daniel Auteuil  (Manon of the Spring)  *
  8. James Earl Jones  (Matewan)
  9. Nicholas Cage  (Moonstruck)
  10. Wallace Shawn  (The Princess Bride)

Analysis:  If not for the year before, this would be the best Top 5 to-date.  Still, the second best Top 5 to-date and there won’t be a better Top 5 for the rest of the century.
Though they passed up Patinken, the Academy otherwise does a good job and earns an 87.8, the highest in this category since 1981.
These are the only nominations for Patinken, Brooks and Connery (though Connery has come really close on a few occasions).  It’s the first nom for Morgan Freeman and the second for Denzel Washington, both of whom will be back in 1989.

  • the_deadBest Supporting Actress:
  1. Anjelica Huston  (The Dead)
  2. Kathy Baker  (Street Smart)  *
  3. Olympia Dukakis  (Moonstruck)  **
  4. Vanessa Redgrave  (Prick Up Your Ears)  *
  5. Norma Aleandro  (Gaby – A True Story)  *
  6. Ann Sothern  (Whales of August)  *
  7. Dianne Wiest  (Radio Days)
  8. Dianne Wiest  (September)
  9. Sarah Miles  (Hope and Glory)
  10. Mary McDonnell  (Matewan)

Analysis:  Anjelica Huston is the weakest winner since 1977.  And the Top 5 as a whole is a lot weaker than Supporting Actor.  The Academy doesn’t do well with choosing, and the score, 64.3, is one of only three times since 1959 that it has fallen below 65.
Even though she wins five awards, Dukakis, with 34% of the Consensus points is the least dominant winner in this category since 1978.  Meanwhile, Redgrave finishes 2nd on the Consensus list and Baker finishes 3rd, making this the first time since 1968 that two of the top three Consensus picks fail to earn Oscar noms.  Clearly, I’m more with the Consensus list than the Oscar list.  After this, no actress who fails to earn an Oscar nom will finish higher than 3rd on the Consensus list.
These are the only noms for Kathy Baker and Olympia Dukakis.  It’s the second nomination for Norma Aleandro.  It’s the second nomination and first win for Anjelica Huston.  It’s the fifth nomination for Vanessa Redgrave.

  • Best Editing:
  1. The Princess Bride
  2. Broadcast News
  3. Hope and Glory
  4. The Untouchables
  5. Manon of the Spring
  6. Raising Arizona
  7. Au Revoir, Les Enfants
  8. Jean de Florette
  9. House of Games
  10. Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn

Analysis:  Broadcast News is the weakest #2 in this category since 1981.  The Top 5 as a whole is also the weakest since 1981.
The Oscar winner, The Last Emperor, is down at #22 on my list.  With only one Oscar nominee in my Top 10, the score is a dismal 36.4, the second lowest score since 1968.

  • Best Cinematography:
  1. Empire of the Sun  *
  2. The Last Emperor  **
  3. Full Metal Jacket
  4. Matewan  *
  5. Jean de Florette  *
  6. The Untouchables
  7. The Dead
  8. Hope and Glory  *
  9. Manon of the Spring
  10. Broadcast News

Analysis:  Though it loses the Oscar, Empire of the Sun wins the ASC and BAFTA, the only film to do that until 1987.
Haskell Wexler (Matewan) earns his third nom.  Allen Daviau earns his third nom and second win.  Vittorio Storaro (The Last Emperor) earns his fourth nom.
With all five Oscar nominees in my Top 10, the score is a fantastic 90, the highest since 1950.

  • Best Original Score:
  1. The Princess Bride
  2. The Untouchables
  3. Empire of the Sun
  4. The Last Emperor
  5. Cry Freedom
  6. Jean de Florette
  7. The Dead
  8. Manon of the Spring
  9. Matewan
  10. No Way Out

Analysis: The Top 5 ties 1985 for the best to-date, and it’s not just about John Williams being back because he only comes in third.
A year after earning an Original Song nomination, David Byrne earns a Best Original Score nomination (The Last Emperor).  He’s beaten by another rock star, Mark Knopfler, who earns his second Score nom and first win.  Ennio Morricone (The Untouchables) continues to rise, earning his 9th nomination and moving up to 325 points and a tie for 5th place, though it will also be his last nomination for quite a long time.  John Williams is back, after the only two year break he will have for a long time; he earns his 12th nomination and goes up to 425 points, just one nom behind Max Steiner for 1st place.
This is one of those rare years where John Williams does better at the Oscars than at the Nighthawks, as he earned a second nomination for The Witches of Eastwick (my #11).

  • Best Sound:
  1. Full Metal Jacket
  2. Empire of the Sun
  3. The Untouchables
  4. Hope and Glory
  5. The Last Emperor
  6. Broadcast News
  7. Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn
  8. The Princess Bride
  9. Robocop
  10. Lethal Weapon
  • the-last-emperorBest Art Direction:
  1. The Last Emperor
  2. The Princess Bride
  3. The Untouchables
  4. The Dead
  5. Empire of the Sun
  6. Broadcast News
  7. Hope and Glory
  8. Radio Days
  9. Jean de Florette
  10. Matewan

Analysis:  The third best Top 5 to-date.  A really magnificent looking bunch of films.  The Oscars also do well with a score of 90.  It’s the third straight year at 90 or higher, the first time this happened in one of the five main Tech categories.

  • Best Visual Effects
  1. Innerspace
  2. Predator
  3. Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn
  4. Empire of the Sun
  5. batteries not included
  6. The Living Daylights
  7. The Running Man
  8. Full Metal Jacket
  9. The Princess Bride

Analysis:  Predator is the weakest #2 in this category since 1980.  But, with the Academy going with the best two films of the year, we again have a perfect score of 100 in this category.

  • Best Sound Editing
  1. Full Metal Jacket
  2. Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn
  3. Empire of the Sun
  4. The Untouchables
  5. Hope and Glory
  6. Innerspace
  7. Robocop
  8. The Living Daylights
  9. Predator
  10. The Running Man

Analysis:  Full Metal Jacket is the weakest winner since 1978.  This also the weakest Top 5 since 1978.  But the Oscar choice (it was a special award and so there are no other nominees) leaves a score of just 33.3.

  • lastemperorBest Costume Design:
  1. The Last Emperor
  2. The Princess Bride
  3. The Untouchables
  4. The Dead
  5. Radio Days
  6. Empire of the Sun
  7. Matewan
  8. Jean de Florette
  9. Manon of the Spring
  10. Ironweed

Analysis:  The Princess Bride is the best 2nd place since 1974.  It is only the third 2nd place finisher in this category to earn my highest rating, joining The Wizard of Oz and The Godfather Part II.  This is the best Top 5 since 1956 and the second best to-date.

  • enhanced-23867-1409782297-2Best Makeup
  1. The Princess Bride
  2. The Last Emperor
  3. Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn
  4. Bad Taste
  5. Ironweed
  6. Roxanne
  7. Full Metal Jacket
  8. Predator

Analysis:  The Oscar winner is Harry and the Hendersons, which I didn’t even bother to include (nor did I include the other nominee Happy New Year).

  • Best Original Song:
  1. “Storybook Love”  (The Princess Bride)
  2. Who’s That Girl”  (Who’s That Girl)
  3. Light of Day”  (Light of Day)
  4. Hungry Eyes”  (Dirty Dancing)
  5. Time of Your Life”  (Dirty Dancing)
  6. Cry Freedom”  (Cry Freedom)
  7. Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”  (Mannequin)
  8. She’s Like the Wind”  (Dirty Dancing)
  9. Lost in the Shadows”  (The Lost Boys)
  10. The Living Daylights”  (The Living Daylights)

Analysis: lists songs from different films.  This year it lists 235 songs from 98 different films.  I have seen 58 of those films which account for 145 songs, including 7 of the 10 films that have more than 4 eligible songs listed (I am missing Winners Take All, Rolling Vengeance and Earnest Goes to Camp).  Only two films have more than more than 6 listed songs (Burglar and Over the Top).
“Who’s That Girl” is the weakest #2 since 1981.  This is also the weakest Top 5 since 1981.  “Who’s That Girl” did earn a Globe nomination.
However, since the Oscars did pick four songs in my Top 7, the Oscar score is a 77.1, the best in this category since 1976.
“Light of Day” is a tricky song to classify here.  Like with “Unchained Melody”, which I addressed in 1955, I have to go with the version of the song that’s in the film and not, say, the version by Springsteen on the Live in the New York City disc.  It still wouldn’t hit #1, but it would quite probably move up to #2 if I went with the live Springsteen version (after all, he wrote the song).

  • Best Animated Film:
  1. none

Analysis:  There are 6 eligible films (listed below) and none of them are even close to making my list.

  • Au-Revoir-les-EnfantsBest Foreign Film:
  1. Au Revoir, Les Enfants  **
  2. Wings of Desire  *
  3. Babette’s Feast  *
  4. Pathfinder

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

Analysis:  Norway earns its first nomination, Denmark its third and West Germany its ninth (and final before reunification).  France finishes off its streak of six straight years with nominations (nine nominations, three wins in that period).
We have three only time nominees and then Louis Malle, who wins in his third nomination.
Wings of Desire is the best #2 since 1973, but Babette’s Feast is weaker than the previous two #3 films.  These are the best Top 2 films between 1973 and 2000.
This is a rare year in that every film on my list was at least submitted to the Oscars.  Which also means, by definition, of course, that they are all from different countries.

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.

  • The Princess Bride  (460)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Editing, Original Score, Art Direction, Costume Design, Makeup, Original Song
  • Broadcast News   (370)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Editing
  • Empire of the Sun  (295)
    • Picture, Director, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound, Art Direction, Visual Effects, Sound Editing
  • Hope and Glory  (200)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Editing, Sound, Sound Editing
  • The Last Emperor  (195)
    • Director, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound, Art Direction, Costume Design, Makeup
  • The Untouchables  (155)
    • Supporting Actor, Editing, Original Score, Sound, Art Direction, Sound Editing, Costume Design
  • Full Metal Jacket  (145)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Sound, Sound Editing
  • The Dead  (135)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actress, Art Direction, Costume Design
  • Au Revoir, Les Enfants  (130)
    • Picture, Original Screenplay, Foreign Film
  • Manon of the Spring  (105)
    • Foreign Film (1986), Adapted Screenplay, Editing
  • Ironweed  (80)
    • Actor, Actress, Makeup
  • Roxanne  (75)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor
  • Matewan  (65)
    • Original Screenplay, Cinematography
  • Moonstruck  (65)
    • Actress, Supporting Actress
  • Street Smart  (60)
    • Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Cry Freedom  (55)
    • Supporting Actor, Original Score
  • Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn  (50)
    • Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Makeup
  • Jean de Florette  (45)
    • Cinematography, Foreign Film (1986)
  • House of Games  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • Innerspace  (40)
    • Visual Effects
  • The Good Father  (35)
    • Actor
  • Wall Street  (35)
    • Actor
  • The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne  (35)
    • Actress
  • High Tide  (35)
    • Actress
  • Prick Up Your Ears  (30)
    • Supporting Actress
  • Gaby – A True Story  (30)
    • Supporting Actress
  • batteries not included  (20)
    • Visual Effects
  • Predator  (20)
    • Visual Effects
  • Dirty Dancing  (20)
    • Original Song, Original Song
  • My Life as a Dog  (20)
    • Foreign Film (1985)
  • Radio Days  (15)
    • Costume Design
  • Bad Taste  (10)
    • Makeup
  • Light of Day  (10)
    • Original Song
  • Who’s That Girl  (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:

  • River’s Edge

Analysis:  My #17 film of the year, a high-level ***.5 film.  But, like the new three films behind it on my list, all ***.5 films (The Big Easy, Raising Arizona, The Assault), it just can’t get into the top 5 anywhere.  But, the oddity here, is that River’s Edge doesn’t even make the Top 10 in any category (its highest finish is 14th, for Original Screenplay).  It is the only one of the 29 films that reach ***.5 or higher not to earn a Top 10.

Biggest Awards Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • Fatal Attraction

Analysis:  This is a terrible film, as can be seen in my review.  It somehow managed to earn 16 nominations and win one award.  It did well everywhere but at the critics awards, earning 6 Oscar noms (including Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay and Actress), 4 Globe noms (including Picture, Director and Actress), 3 BAFTA noms (including Actress and it won Editing) and 3 guilds noms (DGA, WGA, ACE).  Glenn Close does make my list (15th) as does Anne Archer (14th), but nothing else even remotely deserved to be nominated by any group.

Nighthawk Golden Globes:


  • Best Picture
  1. Au Revoir, Les Enfants
  2. Empire of the Sun
  3. Manon of the Spring
  4. The Dead
  5. Matewan

Analysis:  These are all **** films.  There are several more **** films (in order: The Last Emperor, Jean de Florette, Full Metal Jacket, The Untouchables, House of Games) – there is only a two point difference between my #3 Drama and my #9 Drama – and several ***.5 films (in order: River’s Edge, The Big Easy, The Assault, Prick Up Your Ears, Wall Street, No Way Out, September).
Au Revoir was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Globes.

  • Best Director
  1. Steven Spielberg  (Empire of the Sun)
  2. Bernardo Bertolucci  (The Last Emperor)
  3. Stanley Kubrick  (Full Metal Jacket)
  4. Louis Malle  (Au Revoir, Les Enfants)
  5. John Huston  (The Dead)

Analysis:  The Globes passed over Spielberg for Richard Attenborough (Cry Freedom) and fucking Adrian Lyne (Fatal Attraction).
None of these directors are earning their only nomination, which is a rarity.  Bertolucci earns his second nom and Malle his third.  The other three are all heavyweights: Spielberg earns his fifth (second win), Kubrick earns his seventh and Huston his eighth.  This leaves Spielberg just outside the Top 10 with 315 points, Kubrick in a tie for 9th place with 360 and Huston in a tie for 7th with 405.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. The Dead
  2. Manon of the Spring
  3. Full Metal Jacket
  4. Jean de Florette
  5. The Untouchables

Analysis:  David Mamet earns his second nom (and his third down below in original).  Stanley Kubrick earns his seventh Drama nom.
The Dead is the weakest winner in this category in six years.  In spite of that, this is the best Top 5 in this category in five years.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Au Revoir, Les Enfants
  2. House of Games
  3. Matewan
  4. September
  5. The Big Easy

Analysis:  Woody Allen earns just his second Drama nom.  John Sayles earns his second nom.  David Mamet earns his third.  Louis Malle earns his fourth Drama nom and second win.

  • wall-street-douglasBest Actor:
  1. Michael Douglas  (Wall Street)
  2. Jack Nicholson  (Ironweed)
  3. Anthony Hopkins  (The Good Father)
  4. Yves Montand  (Jean de Florette)
  5. Christian Bale  (Empire of the Sun)

Analysis:  This is the weakest Top 5 post-1983 by a considerable margin.  There are a lot of performances in the next few years that won’t make the top 5 in their respective years that easily would have made this top 5.
This is the only nom for Yves Montand and Michael Douglas and the first for Christian Bale (although he won’t be back for quite a while).  It’s the fourth for Anthony Hopkins, who’s still a few years away from his real breakthrough.  It’s the ninth for Jack Nicholson, who is up to 435 points and in third place in Drama points.

  • lonely-splshBest Actress
  1. Maggie Smith  (The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne)
  2. Meryl Streep  (Ironweed)
  3. Judy Davis  (High Tide)
  4. Bette Davis  (Whales of August)
  5. Emily Lloyd  (Wish You Were Here)

Analysis:  Marginally better than the year before, but still the second weakest Top 5 since 1977.  Maggie Smith is the weakest winner since 1979.
The Globe winner was Sally Kirkland for Anna, one of the strangest wins in Globe history.  This is really strange, to not have any Globe nominees among my list.  None of the Globe nominees were higher than 8th on my Drama list.
This is the only nomination for Emily Lloyd and the third for Judy Davis.  The other three are all in the Top 10: Maggie Smith is at 255 points (5 noms, 3 wins), Meryl Streep is at 395 points (8 noms, 4 wins) and Bette Davis is at 695 points (16 noms, 4 wins).

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Sean Connery  (The Untouchables)
  2. Morgan Freeman  (Street Smart)
  3. Denzel Washington  (Cry Freedom)
  4. Daniel Auteuil  (Manon of the Spring)
  5. James Earl Jones  (Matewan)

Analysis:  Considerably weaker than the year before but still the second best Top 5 since 1969.  By a long, long way, the best of the four Drama acting categories.
Denzel Washington was nominated as a lead at the Globes.  For once, I agree with the Academy – Kevin Kline is the lead and Denzel is the supporting role.
This is the only nom for Daniel Aueteuil, though he’s had a long and great career.  It’s also the only one for Sean Connery, surprisingly enough.  It’s the first for Morgan Freeman, the second for Denzel and the third for James Earl Jones.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Anjelica Huston  (The Dead)
  2. Kathy Baker  (Street Smart)
  3. Vanessa Redgrave  (Prick Up Your Ears)
  4. Norma Aleandro  (Gaby – A True Story)
  5. Ann Sothern  (Whales of August)

Analysis:  This is the first Drama nom for Kathy Baker and Anjelica Huston and the second for Ann Sothern and Norma Aleandro.  On the other hand, it’s the sixth for Vanessa Redgrave.


  • The Dead  (235)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actress
  • Au Revoir, Les Enfants  (225)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay
  • Empire of the Sun  (175)
    • Picture, Director, Actor
  • Manon of the Spring  (120)
    • Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor
  • Matewan  (120)
    • Picture, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor
  • The Untouchables  (100)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor
  • Full Metal Jacket  (85)
    • Director, Adapted Screenplay
  • Jean de Florette  (75)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor
  • Wall Street  (70)
    • Actor
  • Ironweed  (70)
    • Actor, Actress
  • The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne  (70)
    • Actress
  • The Whales of August  (65)
    • Actress, Supporting Actress
  • Street Smart  (60)
    • Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • The Last Emperor  (45)
    • Director
  • House of Games  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • September  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • The Big Easy  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • The Good Father  (35)
    • Actor
  • Wish You Were Here  (35)
    • Actress
  • High Tide  (35)
    • Actress
  • Cry Freedom  (30)
    • Supporting Actor
  • Prick Up Your Ears  (30)
    • Supporting Actress
  • Gaby – A True Story  (30)
    • Supporting Actress

Analysis:  With all the single nomination films, there are 8 more films than there were the year before.  The Dead also has the fewest points for the #1 Drama film in a long time.  This is the first year since 1978 (and possibly last to date) when none of the eight Drama winners earns my highest rating.

Best Drama Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • River’s Edge

Analysis:  Nowhere close to making any of the Top 5 lists, it’s my #11 Drama.

Comedy / Musical:

  • Best Picture
  1. The Princess Bride
  2. Hope and Glory
  3. Broadcast News
  4. Radio Days
  5. Roxanne

Analysis:  The first three films are ****, the other two are high ***.5.  They are followed by the other ***.5 films (in order): My Life as a Dog, Raising Arizona, Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn, My Sweet Little Village, Tin Men, Moonstruck, Good Morning Vietnam.
The Top 5 are the best since 1979 and the second best since 1964.  Likewise, Hope and Glory is the best #2 since 1979 and the second best since 1964.  Broadcast News is the best #3 since 1964 and one of the best ever.  But there is an 8 point drop between the #3 and #4 films, the highest drop in that spot since 1974.
Just remember – The Princess Bride, Radio Days and Roxanne weren’t nominated at the Globes but Baby Boom and Dirty Dancing were.

  • Best Director
  1. John Boorman  (Hope and Glory)
  2. James L. Brooks  (Broadcast News)
  3. Rob Reiner  (The Princess Bride)
  4. Joel Coen  (Raising Arizona)
  5. Woody Allen  (Radio Days)

Analysis:  The only nominee here who doesn’t earn any other Comedy noms is Boorman, the winner.  Brooks earns his first nom (he’ll be back in a decade), Reiner his second, Joel Coen his first (he’ll earn four more in the 90’s) and Allen his fifth in a row and 10th overall.  Allen goes up to 585 points and ties Chaplin for 1st place all-time on the Comedy list (he’ll pass him in 1994).

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. The Princess Bride
  2. Roxanne
  3. My Life as a Dog

Analysis:  William Goldman wins his second award, 18 years after winning his first.
Even with only three nominees, the strongest Top 5 since 1979 and tied for the strongest since 1972.  There also won’t be a stronger Top 5 until 1993.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Broadcast News
  2. Hope and Glory
  3. Radio Days
  4. Raising Arizona
  5. Tin Men

Analysis:  The Coen Brothers earn their first Comedy nom.  Woody Allen, on the other hand, finishes his streak of five straight noms.  It’s his 15th nom and he is now up to 840 points and ties Billy Wilder for 1st place.
Weaker than the year before, but still tied for the second best Top 5 to-date.

  • Best Actor:
  1. William Hurt  (Broadcast News)
  2. Steve Martin  (Roxanne)
  3. Robin Williams  (Good Morning Vietnam)
  4. Richard Dreyfuss  (Tin Men)
  5. Cary Elwes  (The Princess Bride)

Analysis:  This Top 5 is miles better than the year before and tied for the best since 1979.
This is the only Comedy nom for Cary Elwes.  Dreyfuss earns his fourth nomination, a decade after he earned three in four years.  It’s only the second Comedy nom for William Hurt, but it’s also his second win.  It’s also (surprisingly) only the second for Robin Williams, but he has more in store.  It’s the fifth for Steve Martin in just seven years, all of them losses.

  • Best Actress
  1. Holly Hunter  (Broadcast News)
  2. Cher  (Moonstruck)
  3. Julie Walters  (Personal Services)
  4. Christine Lahti  (Housekeeping)
  5. Holly Hunter  (Raising Arizona)

Analysis:  Lead by the great performances from Hunter and Cher, this Top 5 is tied for the best to-date.  Holly Hunter is only third Comedy Actress to earn my highest rating, following Audrey Hepburn (Breakfast at Tiffany’s) and Diane Keaton (Annie Hall) and it won’t happen again until 1996.
This is the only Comedy nom for Cher, the second for Christine Lahti and Julie Walters and the only two for Holly Hunter.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Mandy Patinken  (The Princess Bride)
  2. Albert Brooks  (Broadcast News)
  3. Peter Falk  (The Princess Bride)
  4. Nicolas Cage  (Moonstruck)
  5. Wallace Shawn  (The Princess Bride)

Analysis:  This is a year with a lot of mentions on this list.  Even without all those other mentions, this is, by a long way, the best Top 5 to-date and it won’t be surpassed until 1998.  Hell, The Princess Bride alone (Chris Sarandon is #6 on this list and Christopher Guest is #7) is better than every year to this point, and that’s not even including Moonstruck (#8 – Oscar nominee Vincent Gardenia, #9 – John Mahoney).  It would take until 1994 to have another year that is better than the five performances in The Princess Bride.
Cage was nominated at the Globes as a lead.
These are the only Comedy noms for Brooks and Shawn.  It’s the first for Cage, who won’t another until the next century.  It’s the second nom for Peter Falk, 26 years after his first.  It’s also the second for Mandy Patinken.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Olympia Dukakis  (Moonstruck)
  2. Dianne Wiest  (Radio Days)
  3. Sarah Miles  (Hope and Glory)
  4. Elizabeth Peña  (La Bamba)
  5. Anne Ramsey  (Throw Momma from the Train)

Analysis:  These are the only Comedy noms for everyone except Dianne Wiest.  It’s the second nom in a row for Wiest, who will also another one in 1989 and will win again in 1994.


  • The Princess Bride  (380)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor
  • Broadcast News  (345)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor
  • Hope and Glory  (210)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actress
  • Radio Days  (165)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actress
  • Roxanne  (125)
    • Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Actor
  • Moonstruck  (125)
    • Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Raising Arizona  (120)
    • Director, Original Screenplay, Actress
  • Tin Men  (75)
    • Original Screenplay, Actor
  • My Life as a Dog  (40)
    • Adapted Screenplay
  • Good Morning Vietnam  (35)
    • Actor
  • Personal Services  (35)
    • Actress
  • Housekeeping  (35)
    • Actress
  • La Bamba  (30)
    • Supporting Actress
  • Throw Momma from the Train  (30)
    • Supporting Actress

Analysis: With the all-time highs in Actress and Supporting Actor, the acting in Comedy sets a new high, although that will be beaten in the next year.  The major categories in Comedy (Picture – Director – Screenplay) are the third best to-date.  The Comedy as a whole is the best to-date, but again, that will be surpassed in 1988.  This is also the first year since 1964 that the average Comedy winner is better than the average Drama winner and they set a new high.

Best Comedy Not Nominated for any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn

Analysis:  The #21 film of the year and the #7 Comedy.  It’s sick and twisted and a whole lot of fun, but doesn’t get any higher than 7th in any of these major categories.

Roundup for the Year in Film:

Eligible Films I Have Seen:  203

By Stars:

  • ****:  13
  • ***.5:  16
  • ***:  80
  • **.5:  31
  • **:  23
  • *.5:  13
  • *:  14
  • .5:  13
  • 0:  0
  • Average Film Score for the Year, out of 100:  56.85

Analysis:  So, this is strange, but true.  This year has the most **** films since 1963 and ties the most for one year to this-date.  It also has the highest percentage of **** films since 1980.  Yet, it has the lowest average film since 1980 as well.  So, why do the years with the high percentage of **** suck?  Because they also have the highest percentage of terrible films.  While 6.44% of the films are ****, 13.37% of the films are * or worse, the second worst year to this point behind, you guessed it, 1980.  Only 53.96% of the films are *** or better, which is a low total.  Not only are there a lot of .5 films (by far the most in one year to this point), and a lot of * films (the most to this point), there are also a lot of *.5 films (by a long way the most to this point).  It comes at the expense of the average films – only 54.46% of the films are *** or **.5, the first year to be less than 56%.

Oscar-Nominated Films I Have Not Seen:

  • none

Oscar Quality:

Best Picture:  Without a single film in the Top 100 (Hope and Glory is #132) and with one of the worst films ever nominated (Fatal Attraction – #528 out of 530), this is the worst year for Best Picture since 1970.  Overall, it lands at #58.  Only one year since this one has been worse (1995).  Even though there are three **** films nominated, the average film is 78.4 because Fatal Attraction is so bad ; it’s the worst average post-1970.

The Winners:  The average winner ranks at 5.58, which isn’t terrible, but isn’t so great either.  It’s much weaker than the year before, but also better than the next two years.  What’s especially rare is that so few of the Oscar winners rank at #1 or #2 on my list (only 6 – the second fewest since 1963).  It’s the Tech categories that are really weak – the 5.56 average is the worst since 1974.  Only three winners fail to make my Top 10 though (Adapted Screenplay, Original Screenplay, Editing).  Among the nominees, the average winner ranks at 2.17.  While I only agree with 5 winners among the nominees (the fewest since 1980), Original Screenplay is the only category where they actually picked the weakest nominee (and Adapted Screenplay is the only one where they picked the 4th best choice).

The Nominees:  Overall, the Oscar score is 71.1, a real letdown from the year before, but still better than any year before 1972.  The Tech categories earn a solid 70.6.  The acting is a solid 82.4, but it does that with three categories above 80 (all but Supporting Actress) but none above 90.  It’s in the major categories where things are weaker, with a 62.4 and Screenplay (91.4) the only one of the four categories scoring above a 56.

Golden Globe Best Picture – Comedy / Musical:  The Globes picked a great winner (Hope and Glory) and one other great nominee (Broadcast News).  They even picked a very good film to go with those (Moonstruck).  But then they really rather botched the last two picks, going with Baby Boom and Dirty Dancing.  Even if they didn’t go for The Princess Bride, one of the greatest Comedies ever made, there were a lot of other choices they could have made.  They could have picked two films nominated for Actor – Comedy: Roxanne and Good Morning Vietnam.  Those two films would have moved this year from the middle of the pack (26th out of 66) to the top (6th), even if they hadn’t picked The Princess Bride.  Insert The Princess Bride instead of Good Morning Vietnam and this year would be #2.  But there were lots of choices that would have been better than Baby Boom or Dirty Dancing.  Even eliminating the films I have already mentioned and eliminating the Foreign films and even knocking out films the Globes probably wouldn’t pick as Comedies (like Evil Dead 2 or La Bamba), my list of ***.5 films that they didn’t nominate includes Radio Days, Raising Arizona and Tin Men.  There are even any number of *** films that would have been better choices, like Personal Services, Planes Trains and Automobiles, Some Kind of Wonderful and Innerspace.

Top 5 Films of the Year:

1  –  The Princess Bride  (reviewed here and here)

2  –  Hope and Glory  (reviewed here)

3  –  Broadcast News  (reviewed here)

World War Two hits home for children in France.

World War Two hits home for children in France.

4  –  Au Revoir, Les Enfants  (dir. Louis Malle)

This was the year where we see what World War Two did to children.  In Hope and Glory (above), we see a young boy using the Blitz as his personal playground.  In Empire of the Sun (below), we see a boy who loses his parents and his home and somehow manages to survive in Japanese occupied Shanghai.  Here, we see a young boy trying to hide.  He is hiding because, though he is at a Catholic boarding school in occupied France, he is a Jew.  He hides, because the only other choices are to run or to die.  What is most remarkable about all three of these films is that all of them are based not only on real events, but on the events of two of the directors and the writer of the original novel (for Empire).

Hope and Glory is about how war can change things around us and still allow us to still be who we are.  Empire of the Sun deals with the way war changes us and doesn’t allow us to be who we are.  This film deals with consequences of our actions.  The main character is Julien, a spoiled little rich kid, off at boarding school, but still wanting to be home with his mother.  That there is a war going on doesn’t seem to have changed that.  That his country has been invaded and taken over by a country lead by evil doesn’t seem to have changed that.  What does finally start to change it is when he meets a new friend at his school.  But what lies heavily over this is that he discovers, sheerly by accident, that his new friend is actually Jewish.  Five years before, that might have been simply cause for tension (although, five years before it probably wouldn’t have happened because there would have been no need to sneak a Jewish child into a Catholic boarding school), but here the stakes are much higher and both boys know it.

The stakes are shown in a lunchtime scene at a restaurant.  Julien’s mother is taking him out to lunch and he brings along his friend.  The discussion involves the current political situation in France and the attempted expulsion of a Jewish diner makes things clear to both boys what might happen.  Things move forward another dangerous step when Joseph, the rather repulsive cook at the school, is fired for selling food on the black market.  There will be far-reaching implications of this that would come back to haunt the boys.

The conclusion of this film is a reminder that sometimes we fail people when we do not mean to.  Sometimes our fear betrays us.  Sometimes our pain betrays us.  Louis Malle, the talented writer and director of this film lived through these events.  They clearly haunted him through his life.  It’s a remarkable coincidence that he would make this film in the same year as Hope and Glory and Empire of the Sun, two other films that are both so similar and yet so different at the same time.  Malle was one of the foremost directors of the French New Wave and would later come to America and make Atlantic City and My Dinner with Andre before returning to France for this painfully personal film.  This film is the best of his career and when you have a career like Malle’s that’s saying a lot.

World War Two comes home to a child in Shanghai.

World War Two comes home to a child in Shanghai.

5  –  Empire of the Sun  (dir. Steven Spielberg)

In 2013, Hayao Miyazaki would make one of his most beautiful films, but one which some people would look on in confusion.  It was a film that celebrated the life of the man who invented the Zero, the incredibly effective plane that the Japanese used during the Second World War (most notably during the attack on Pearl Harbor).  But Miyazaki understood the beauty and grace of the plane, the way it was designed to soar through the skies, not necessarily as the bringer of death.  It hearkens back to the notion that you can’t really make an anti-war film because there is too much beauty in war (supposedly uttered by Truffaut).

Empire of the Sun shows that Steven Spielberg understood this notion long before Miyazaki made his film.  It is the story of Jamie Graham, a young boy growing up in the International Settlement in Shanghai.  He is interested in the war that has been going on around the world and he asks his father about it (namely, about the war between the Japanese and the Chinese).  He insists that the Japanese will win because they have the best planes and the best pilots.  That they have the best pilots if Jamie’s belief because he is inspired by their notions of honor and duty and bravery.  That they have the best planes at this time isn’t really up for debate, and if you want to see a somewhat fictionalized story of how the plane came about, then watch The Wind Rises.  But here, though we never really see them delivering death, we will nonetheless see how things change for Jamie’s vision of the Japanese.

This film is like a counterpart and companion piece to Hope and Glory.  Hope and Glory shows how war, held just beyond the reach of fully destroying your life, can make it a playground for the young.  A boy can find a new world to run around in, with new obstacles created as more buildings are destroyed.  But the boy in that film never loses his family, never loses his home.  Jamie Graham loses both and he grows to young manhood not in a playground but in a camp, still clinging for much longer than he should, to his notion of honor and duty in what the Japanese have done and because of their beautiful planes.  But he is also hungry, sick, desperate and yet somehow still clinging to life.

Though all of the work on and in Empire of the Sun is first-rate, the real success of the film comes down to four people.  The first, of course, is Steven Spielberg who was really beginning to be criminally under-appreciated by the Academy by this time.  He wouldn’t earn a Best Picture nom or a Best Director nom (in spite of winning the NBR – the only director to do that and not be Oscar nominated between 1979 and 1993).  But his direction is the best of the year as he winds his way through the war and finds some measure of hope and life through all the desperation and death.  The second, of course, is John Williams, Spielberg’s constant collaborator (this would earn him sixth Oscar nomination just for his work with Spielberg – that number today is 17), whose music soars through the film.  The third is Allen Daviau, the talented cinematographer who would earn an Oscar nomination and would win the BAFTA for his incredible work here, in and out of Shanghai, finding the sun in a shot, lighting up the shots with sparks from a repaired plane.  The final one, of course, is young Christian Bale.  It would take years after this film for Bale to really become well known, but his talent (which would, 23 years later, win him an Oscar) is really evident in this first performance, still one of the best child performances on film.

Perhaps the most remarkable bit of Bale’s performance comes at the end.  We get a reunion scene with parents, looking for their children.  We might remember what Jamie’s parents look like, but as he has already said, he no longer does.  So when they are there, he doesn’t even look.  He is so dazed by his experiences that he has no hope left that he might be reconnected.  But when they find him, is it his need for something tactile, to reach out and actually touch his mother, that brings the tears.  There are no cries of joy, no sudden recognition.  There is just a silent, touching reunion and when he finally feels at peace in his mother’s arms, he feels like he can close his eyes and rest.

The Razzies:  The Razzies do a pretty good job with this year.  The “winner” is indeed the worst film of the year, Leonard Part 6.  One other is in my bottom five (Jaws: The Revenge) and another is a .5 film (Ishtar).  Who’s That Girl is a very low *.5 film, so that’s not a bad pick.  But I have the last nominee, Tough Guys Don’t Dance as a **.5 film, a flawed but not terrible film.  I think that was more a case of picking on someone famous (Norman Mailer, who directed the adaptation of his own novel).  But kudos to the Razzies for not giving the award to Ishtar, the kind of egotistical big-star flop that usually wins when Leonard Part 6 really deserved it.

5 Worst Films  (#1 being the worst):

  1. Leonard Part 6
  2. Death Wish 4: The Crackdown
  3. Masters of the Universe
  4. Back to the Beach
  5. Jaws: The Revenge

note:  Until 1995, Back to the Beach would be the worst film I had ever seen in theaters.  It was the summer of 1987 and I was spending time with my cousins in San Diego.  My older cousin Erika and I decided we should go to the movies and so we took her two younger brothers.  How did we decide on Back to the Beach?  I have no idea.  But “Bird is the Word” has been haunting me ever since.
By the way, since I am listing all the **** and ***.5 films above in the Globe categories, I should go ahead and list the rest of the .5 films here, especially since there are so many in this year, so, in ascending order, here they are: Dolls, Overboard, Over the Top, Pretty Smart, Can’t Buy Me Love, Flowers in the Attic, Police Academy IV: Citizens on Patrol and Ishtar.

Bill Cosby tarnishes his reputation Part I: the much less serious version.

Bill Cosby tarnishes his reputation Part I: the much less serious version.

Leonard Part 6  (dir. Paul Weiland)

Well, I won’t have to write about horrible Charles Bronson revenge action films two years in a row, thanks to Bill Cosby.  It may be the only thanks Bill Cosby gets these days and it might be the only thanks he has ever gotten in regards to this film.  Today, of course, Cosby is thought of in very negative terms, but that wasn’t the case in 1987 when this film was released.  He was the very pinnacle of “wholesome entertainment” and that helps to explain how this film came to be made.

If you weren’t watching television in the middle 80’s, it kind of hard to explain how popular The Cosby Show was.  A couple of years before it debuted, NBC only one had one show in the Top 20.  By the third year of The Cosby Show, not only was it the #1 show on television (with some of the highest ratings ever, and no show since has even come close), but it pulled the entire Thursday night lineup into the Top 7.  It became only the second show to ever be #1 in the Neilsen Ratings five straight seasons.  So, when Bill Cosby wanted to make a film, Columbia Pictures was going to give in to whatever he wanted.  Unfortunately, his ideas weren’t funny, and with that much power, no one dared to tell him that.  If you want a good insight into what was going on at the company at the time read the book Fast Fade: David Puttnam, Columbia Pictures, and the Battle For Hollywood by Andrew Yule.

The basic plot of this film (with a confusing title that was supposed to make you want to know what was in the other Leonard films, which of course didn’t exist, but according to this film, were kept locked up for security reasons) is that a CIA agent is called out of retirement to save the world from a bizarre vegetarian.  It involves, among other things, flooding a villain’s base thanks to an Alka-Seltzer and riding an ostrich to safety.  It has pathetic product placement (Cosby was a spokesman for Coke at the time and Coke owned Columbia).  It has a lot of idiotic scenes that don’t work.  It has a terrible script, terrible direction and terrible acting, all of which can be blamed on Cosby, because as you can read about in Fast Fade, while he might not have received credit for everything in this film, there’s no question that every decision in the film came down to him.  What it doesn’t have is even a single funny moment.

At what point did Cosby realize he had made one of the all-time terrible films?  Clearly before the film came out, because he had started to bad-mouth it.  Certainly before he swept the Razzies.  Definitely before he bought the television rights to prevent it from being shown on television.  Hell, even at the age of 13, and watching The Cosby Show every Thursday night (of, course, following it with Family Ties, Cheers and Night Court – it was the original Must See TV lineup) I thought this film looked insipidly stupid and I paid money that year to go see Police Academy IV in the theaters.


  • Most Nighthawk Nominations:   The Princess Bride  (10)
  • Most Nighthawk Awards:   The Princess Bride  (7)
  • Most Nighthawk Points:   The Princess Bride  (460)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Award:  Who’s That Girl
  • 2nd Place Award:  Hope and Glory  (Picture, Director)
  • 6th Place Award:  Jean de Florette  (Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Original Score)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Nominations:   The Dead  (4)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Awards:   The Dead  /  Au Revoir, Les Enfants  (2)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Points:   The Dead  (235)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Drama Award:  Gaby – A True Story
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Nominations:   The Princess Bride  (7)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Awards:   The Princess Bride  /  Broadcast News  (3)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Points:   The Princess Bride  (380)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Comedy Award:  Throw Momma from the Train

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:  79 (37)  –  Au Revoir, Les Enfants  (65.9)
  • Foreign:  54  –  Au Revoir, Les Enfants  (66.1)
  • Comedy:  51 (10)  –  Broadcast News  (52.0)
  • Horror:  18 (2)  –  Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn  (39.8)
  • Suspense:  13  –  The Untouchables  (62.9)
  • Action:  9  –  The Living Daylights  (48.6)
  • Sci-Fi:  6  –  Innerspace  (48)
  • Kids:  6  –  The Brave Little Toaster  (37.3)
  • War:  5 (2)  –  Hope and Glory  (79.8)
  • Musical:  5 (1)  –  La Bamba  (53.6)
  • Fantasy:  3  –  The Princess Bride  (55)
  • Mystery:  2 (1)  –  Angel Heart  (56.5)
  • Crime:  2 (1)  –  Nayagan  (44)
  • Adventure:  2  –  Lionheart  (31)
  • Western:  1  –  Straight to Hell  (48)

Analysis:  Only 26.7% are Foreign, the lowest since 1980, but much higher than the next two years.  Comedies hit a new high, but as a percentage are considerably less than the year before.  Dramas also hit a new high, but it will start to hit that regularly as the total number of films start regularly breaking 200.  The 18 Horror films are the second most to-date, behind only 1972.  The 13 Suspense films are the most ever.  The 5 Musicals are the fewest since 1932.
The Action films average a 48.6, which is sadly the highest average in five years.  The Comedy average is the third lowest ever.  Kids films have their lowest average ever, lead by a terrible group of animated films.
The Princess Bride is the first Fantasy film in the Top 10 since 1981.  There are 3 War films in the Top 10 for the first time since 1957 and only the third time ever.  After five straight years with at least one Sci-Fi film in the Top 20 this year begins a streak of four straight years without one.  There are 3 Suspense films in the Top 20 for the first time since 1967.

Studio Note:  It’s Orion and TriStar that lead the way, with 13 films each.  This is the first year since 1977 that no major studio has more than 12 films (that I’ve seen anyway).  Warners leads with 12 while Columbia and Fox have 11 each.  The studio films are mostly bad as Columbia is the only studio to average above a 57.  The major studios only account for 1/3 of the films, the lowest total to-date.
Columbia, Fox and Warners all have two films in the Top 10 but none of the other majors have a Top 10 film.  20th Century-Fox wins its 6th Nighthawk Award and its first since 1979.  It becomes the fifth studio to win five awards.  It is also the last for Fox until Fox Searchlight wins in 2008.  Columbia has four Top 20 films, the first major studio to do that since 1982.  Orion, however, has 5 Top 20 films, the first studio to do that since 1981.  In the last four years, Orion has 3 Nighthawk Awards, 11 Top 10 films and 18 Top 20 films.

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

  1. The Brave Little Toaster  (**.5, Rees, Disney)
  2. The Puppetoon Movie  (**,5, Leibovit, Expanded Entertainment)
  3. Vampires in Havana  (**, Padron, Cinema Guild)
  4. The Chipmunk Adventure  (**, Karman, Samuel Goldwyn Company)
  5. Care Bears Adventure in Wonderland  (*.5, Jafelice, Cineplex Odeon)
  6. Pinocchio and the Emperor of Night  (*, Sutherland, New World)

Note:  The first three films listed aren’t listed on, so presumably weren’t actually Oscar eligible.  It’s really a terrible year for Animated films.  It’s not the last year where I won’t have any nominees (1990 and 1997 also won’t), but no year with more than one Animated film has a #1 film worse than The Brave Little Toaster.

43 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):

  • Au Revoir, Les Enfants  (Malle, France)  **
  • Babette’s Feast  (Axel, Denmark)  ***
  • A Better Tomorrow  (Woo, Hong Kong)
  • A Better Tomorrow II  (Woo, Hong Kong)
  • Blind Chance  (Kieslowski, Poland)
  • Boyfriends and Girlfriends  (Rohmer, France)
  • Brightness  (Cisse, Mali)
  • A Chinese Ghost Story  (Ching, Hong Kong)
  • City on Fire  (Lam, Hong Kong)
  • Count Your Blessings  (Verhoeff, Netherlands)  *
  • Course Completed  (Luis Garci, Spain)  **
  • The Cry of the Owl  (Chabrol, France)
  • The Cyclist  (Makhmalbaf, Iran)
  • Dark Eyes  (Mikhalkov, USSR)
  • Dust in the Wind  (Hou, Taiwan)
  • Epidemic  (von Trier, Denmark)
  • The Family  (Scola, Italy)  **
  • A Flame in My Heart  (Tanner, Switzerland)
  • Forbidden Dreams  (Kachyna, Czechoslovakia)  *
  • Hero of the Year  (Falk, Poland)  *
  • Hibiscus Town  (Xie, China)  *
  • Law of Desire  (Almodovar, Spain)
  • Life is a Dream  (Ruiz, Chile)
  • Light Years  (Laloux, France)
  • Living is What Matters  (Alcoriza, Mexico)  *
  • Man Facing Southeast  (Subiela, Argentina)  *
  • Melo  (Resnais, France)
  • Mr. India  (Kapur, India)
  • Naga Bonar  (Risyaf, Indonesia)  *
  • Nayagan  (Ratnam, India)  *
  • Pathfinder  (Gaup, Norway)  **
  • Project A Part II  (Chan, Hong Kong)
  • Reflections  (Markovic, Yugoslavia)  *
  • Repentance  (Abuladze, USSR)  *
  • Subway to the Shore  (Hansel, Brazil)  *
  • A Successful Man  (Solas, Cuba)  *
  • A Taxing Woman  (Itami, Japan)
  • Theofilos  (Papastathis, Greece)  *
  • Twilight of the Cockroaches  (Yoshida, Japan)
  • Where is the Friend’s Home?  (Kiarostami, Iran)
  • Wicked City  (Kawajiri, Japan)
  • Wings of Desire  (Wenders, West Germany)  *
  • The Wings of Honneamise  (Yamaga, Japan)

Note:  I have my first films from both Mali and Indonesia.  I don’t have a film from Romania for the first time in five years because for the first time in five years they don’t submit a film to the Oscars.  For the first time I have seen multiple Danish films.  After seeing only three Iranian films prior to this, I have seen two in this year.  For the first time in nine years, I haven’t seen any Hungarian films.  With the advent of John Woo and Jackie Chan, I have seen 5 Hong Kong films – the most from any Asian country other than Japan to this point.  For the first time in 12 years I haven’t seen any films from Sweden.  France and Hong Kong tie for the most films with 5; it’s the first time since 1951 that any non-European country other than Japan has lead.  The drop in French films might also tie into the drop in Comedies (only 3 – the fewest since 1977).

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

  • Austria:  Welcome in Vienna  (dir.  Corti)
  • Belgium:  The Cruel Embrace  (dir.  Hansel)
  • Canada:  Night Zoo  (dir.  Lauzon)
  • Finland:  The Snow Queen  (dir. Hartzell)
  • Hungary:  Diary for My Lovers  (dir. Meszaros)
  • Iceland:  White Wales  (dir.  Fridriksson)
  • Israel:  I Don’t Give a Damn  (dir. Imberman)
  • Japan:  Zegen  (dir.  Imamura)
  • Sweden:  Hip Hip Hurrah!  (dir.  Grede)
  • Switzerland:  If the Sun Never Returns  (dir.  Goretta)
  • Taiwan:  Osmanthus Alley  (dir.  Chen)

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 19 for 30 (63%).  Five of these are the same countries I was missing in 1986, four of them in the midst of streaks.
There are three countries submitting that didn’t in 1986 (Cuba, Greece, Indonesia).  The countries that are out from the year before are Algeria, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Romania and South Korea.
Of the missing submissions, these are my fifth miss in six submissions (Finland), 5th miss (Canada), 6th miss (Switzerland, Sweden, Iceland, Hungary), 7th miss (Austria), 7th overall miss and fifth in a row (Taiwan), 10th miss (Belgium, Japan) and 12th miss (Israel)

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

  • The Only Son  (1936)
  • The Most Beautiful  (1944)
  • El Cochecito  (1960)
  • My Little Loves  (1975)
  • Ogum’s Amulet  (1975)
  • The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting  (1978)
  • Place Without Limits  (1978)
  • Tenebre  (1982)
  • The Funeral  (1984)
  • The Legend of the Suram Fortress  (1984)
  • My Friend Ivan Lapshin  (1984)
  • The Toxic Avenger  (1984)
  • Alpine Fire  (1985)
  • The City and the Dogs  (1985)
  • Come and See  (1985)
  • Comic Magazine  (1985)
  • Frida: Natureleza Viva  (1985)
  • The Good Father  (1985)
  • Gothic  (1985)
  • Hour of the Star  (1985)
  • My Life as a Dog  (1985)
  • The Night Stalker  (1985)
  • Oriana  (1985)
  • Rendez-vous  (1985)
  • Tampopo  (1985)
  • Tangos: The Exile of Gardel  (1985)
  • Vampires in Havana  (1985)
  • A Zed & Two Noughts  (1985)
  • The Assault  (1986)
  • The Chipmunk Adventure  (1986)
  • Devil in the Flesh  (1986)
  • Family Business  (1986)
  • The Fringe Dwellers  (1986)
  • Half of Heaven  (1986)
  • Hour of the Star  (1986)
  • Jean de Florette  (1986)
  • Kangaroo  (1986)
  • Love is a Dog From Hell  (1986)
  • Manon of the Spring  (1986)
  • My Sweet Little Village  (1986)
  • River’s Edge  (1986)
  • Rosa Luxemburg  (1986)
  • Summer Night  (1986)
  • Tangos: The Exile of Gardel  (1986)
  • Therese  (1986)

Note:  These 43 films average a 63.6 which is because there are three *.5 films intermixed with the good ones (The Toxic Avenger, Gothic, Love is a Dog From Hell).  But there are also two great films (Manon of the Spring, Jean de Florette) and several ***.5 films.  They account for seven Nighthawk nominations.

Films Not Listed at

  • Bad Taste
  • Blind Chance
  • The Brave Little Toaster
  • The City and the Dogs
  • El Cochecito
  • Course Completed
  • The Cyclist
  • Dust in the Wind
  • Epidemic
  • Family Viewing
  • Forbidden Dreams
  • Half of Heaven
  • Hibiscus Town
  • The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting
  • Lionheart
  • Living is What Matters
  • The Most Beautiful
  • Mr. India
  • Nayagan
  • Ogum’s Amulet
  • The Only Son
  • The Place Without Limits
  • The Puppetoon Movie
  • Real Men
  • Tenebre
  • Vampires in Havana
  • Where is the Friend’s Home

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:

  • Babette’s Feast  (1988)
  • Boyfriends and Girlfriends  (1988)
  • Brain Damage  (1988)
  • Brightness  (1988)
  • Candy Mountain  (1988)
  • The Family  (1988)
  • Five Corners  (1988)
  • Heat and Sunlight  (1988)
  • King Lear  (1988)
  • The Kitchen Toto  (1988)
  • Life is a Dream  (1988)
  • Light Years  (1988)
  • The Lighthorsemen  (1988)
  • Melo  (1988)
  • A Month in the Country  (1988)
  • Subway to the Stars  (1988)
  • A Taxing Woman  (1988)
  • White Mischief  (1988)
  • Wings of Desire  (1988)
  • A Flame in My Heart  (1989)
  • Manifesto  (1989)
  • Pumpkinhead  (1989)
  • A Better Tomorrow  (1990)
  • A Better Tomorrow II  (1990)
  • A Chinese Ghost Story  (1990)
  • Pathfinder  (1990)
  • Twilight of the Cockroaches  (1990)
  • The Cry of the Owl  (1992)
  • Rampage  (1992)
  • Project A Part II  (1994)
  • Wicked City  (1994)
  • City on Fire  (1995)
  • The Wings of Honneamise  (1995)
  • A Successful Man  (2000)
  • Hero of the Year  (2006)

Note:  These 35 films average a 60.2.  That’s because there are four films below ** (in descending order Rampage, Pumpkinhead, King Lear, Brain Damage) and only three above *** (in descending order Wings of Desire, Babette’s Feast, Pathfinder).