It could have been just a gimmick, but then it turned it to be completely brilliant.

It could have been just a gimmick, but then it turned it to be completely brilliant.

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. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
  2. Dangerous Liaisons
  3. A Fish Called Wanda
  4. Running on Empty
  5. The Unbearable Lightness of Being  *
  6. Mississippi Burning  *
  7. Bull Durham
  8. Wings of Desire
  9. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
  10. Rain Man  *

Analysis:  All 10 of these films are **** as well as The Accidental Tourist, Beetlejuice and Die Hard.  But this is one of those years where the strength down the list skews the list a little because the Top 5 is actually the weakest in six years.  The Top 10, though, while weaker than the year before, is stronger than 1981-1986 and the Top 20, while weaker than the year before, is stronger than any other year going back to 1962.  The 6 through 10 films are the best since 1980 and tied for the second best since 1960.  The 11 through 20 films are the second best since 1960.  Wings and Women are the best #8 and 9 films since 1980.
The Consensus Winner is actually The Accidental Tourist.  It wins with just 1 win (lowest since 1971, only post-1978 film to win with less than three).  It also wins with just three nominations (only post-1985 film to win with less than five).  The Accidental Tourist and Mississippi Burning are the only films with more than two noms and Rain Man is the only film with more than one win, but loses by 10 points to Tourist.  This is the last year where no film wins more than one Best Picture critics award.

  • Best Director
  1. Robert Zemeckis  (Who Framed Roger Rabbit)  *
  2. Stephen Frears  (Dangerous Liaisons)  *
  3. Charles Crichton  (A Fish Called Wanda)  *
  4. Philip Kaufman  (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
  5. Sidney Lumet  (Running on Empty)
  6. Alan Parker  (Mississippi Burning)  **
  7. Martin Scorsese  (The Last Temptation of Christ)
  8. Clint Eastwood  (Bird)
  9. Pedro Almodóvar  (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown)
  10. David Cronenberg  (Dead Ringers)

Analysis:  It’s the only nomination for Zemeckis.  It’s the first nomination for Frears.  It’s the second nomination for both Kaufman (after a five year gap) and Crichton (after a 36 year gap).  Lumet, though, is earning his sixth nomination (all losses).
Just like with Picture, there is very little Consensus here.  Alan Parker earns noms from the Oscars, DGA, BAFTA and Globes, but loses all of them.  His only win is at the NBR.  This makes him the only post-1976 Consensus winner with less than three wins.  His Consensus score is the lowest for a winner since 1968; percentage wise its the lowest since 1955.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Dangerous Liaisons  **
  2. Who Framed Roger Rabbit  *
  3. The Unbearable Lightness of Being  *
  4. The Accidental Tourist  *
  5. Little Dorrit  *
  6. Babette’s Feast
  7. Eight Men Out
  8. A Cry in the Dark
  9. Dead Ringers
  10. A Handful of Dust

Analysis:  Lawrence Kasdan earns his fourth writing nomination.
I have read more than my fair share for once.  I have tried to read Les Liaisons Dangereuses but never gotten through it.  Who Censored Roger Rabbit was a massive disappointment after having seen the film.  The Unbearable Lightness of Being is in my Top 100 Novels.  The Accidental Tourist is quite good.  Little Dorrit is one of the weaker Dickens novels but still worth a read.  Eight Men Out is an interesting book if you have an interest in baseball.  A Handful of Dust is a classic and made my Top 200 list.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. A Fish Called Wanda  *
  2. Running on Empty  *
  3. Bull Durham  **
  4. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
  5. Wings of Desire
  6. Beetlejuice
  7. Married to the Mob
  8. Big  *
  9. Rain Man  *
  10. Mississippi Burning

Analysis:  It’s the first writing nomination for Pedro Almodóvar.
Running on Empty would be the winner in the most years.  Hell, Bull Durham would be the winner in most years.  This is the second best Top 5 to-date, behind only 1974.

  • Best Actor:
  1. Dustin Hoffman  (Rain Man)  **
  2. Gene Hackman  (Mississippi Burning)  *
  3. Bob Hoskins  (Who Framed Roger Rabbit)
  4. Forest Whitaker  (Bird)
  5. Kevin Costner  (Bull Durham)
  6. John Malkovich  (Dangerous Liaisons)
  7. Jeremy Irons  (Dead Ringers)  *
  8. Daniel Day-Lewis  (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
  9. Michael Keaton  (Clean and Sober)
  10. Tom Hanks  (Big)  *

Analysis:  Forest Whitaker and Kevin Costner earn their first nominations.  Bob Hoskins earns his third nom.  Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman, who used to be roommates, face off for the second time (they both lost in 1974).  It’s the sixth nomination for Hoffman and his only win.  It’s also the sixth for Hackman, but he has three wins, so he’s much farther ahead in points.
This is yet another category where there wasn’t much consensus.  The critics awards went to five different actors: Hackman (NBR), Irons (NYFC, CFC), Day-Lewis (BSFC), Keaton (NSFC) and Hanks (LAFC).  Irons became only the fourth NYFC winner to fail to earn an Oscar nom.  This is the last year to-date in which no actor earns more than two wins and in which no actor earns at least five noms.
I remember during the lead-up to the Oscars (this was the first year I really paid attention to the Oscars), there was a discussion of the H-list being the nominees (Hoffman, Hackman, Hoskins, Hanks and William Hurt from The Accidental Tourist) but only three of them made the list.
This is really a strong group.  To me, there isn’t a whole lot of difference between the #3 on the list and the #10 on the list.  But the winner has always been Hoffman – from the first time I saw the film, in the theater, he was my winner, and today, close to 30 years later, with an autistic child, I look at Hoffman’s performance and he’s still definitely my winner.

  • Best Actress
  1. Christine Lahti  (Running on Empty)  *
  2. Glenn Close  (Dangerous Liaisons)
  3. Jamie Lee Curtis  (A Fish Called Wanda)
  4. Carmen Maura  (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown)
  5. Meryl Streep  (A Cry in the Dark)  *
  6. Sigourney Weaver  (Gorillas in the Mist)  *
  7. Jodie Foster  (The Accused)  **
  8. Susan Sarandon  (Bull Durham)
  9. Michelle Pfeiffer  (Married to the Mob)
  10. Melanie Griffith  (Working Girl)  *

Analysis:  These are the only nominations for Jamie Lee Curtis and Carmen Maura.  It’s the second nom (and, surprisingly, the last) for Glenn Close.  It’s also the second for Christine Lahti.  It’s the 10th nomination for Meryl Streep, who moves up to 395 points and 5th place, though it will now be another six years before she is nominated again.
This is the best Top 5 in five years.  I feel bad for pushing Foster, a good winner, down to 7th, but it’s just a strong year for once.

  • fish-klineBest Supporting Actor:
  1. Kevin Kline  (A Fish Called Wanda)  *
  2. River Phoenix  (Running on Empty)  *
  3. Alec Guinness  (Little Dorrit)  *
  4. Martin Landau  (Tucker: The Man and His Dream)  *
  5. Michael Keaton  (Beetlejuice)
  6. Dean Stockwell  (Married to the Mob)  **
  7. Alan Rickman  (Die Hard)
  8. Brad Dourif  (Mississippi Burning)
  9. Morgan Freeman  (Clean and Sober)
  10. Tim Robbins  (Bull Durham)

Analysis:  Because Dean Stockwell and Michael Keaton have the same rating, the Oscar score is 100 for the first time in this category since 1945.
Michael Keaton, Martin Landau and River Phoenix earns their first nominations.  Kevin Kline earns his second nom (and second win).  Alec Guinness, on the other hand, is earning his 10th and final nomination, finishing with 390 points and in sixth place.

  • MICHELLE-PFEIFFER-DANGEROUS-LIASONSBest Supporting Actress:
  1. Michelle Pfeiffer  (Dangerous Liaisons)  *
  2. Frances McDormand  (Mississippi Burning)  **
  3. Geena Davis  (The Accidental Tourist)
  4. Lena Olin  (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
  5. Diane Venora  (Bird)  *
  6. Mercedes Ruehl  (Married to the Mob)
  7. Sigourney Weaver  (Working Girl)  *
  8. Geneveive Bujold  (Dead Ringers)
  9. Winona Ryder  (Beetlejuice)
  10. Kathy Baker  (Clean and Sober)

Analysis:  This is the only nomination for Diane Venora.  It’s the first nomination for Geena Davis.  It’s also the first for Michelle Pfeiffer, who will win Actress the next year.  It’s the second nom Frances McDormand as well as for Lena Olin and the first of back-to-back for the latter.
Geena Davis is the only Oscar winner in history in this category to fail to even earn a Consensus nomination.  It’s not just that she only won the Oscar and received no other nominations (Marisa Tomei would also do that in 1992) but that there is so little consensus.  The Oscar, BAFTA and Globe go to three different actresses (Davis, Pfeiffer, Weaver) and the critics awards go to five other actresses (Venora, Bujold, Ruehl, Joan Cusack, McDormand).  McDormand is the only person to win two awards (CFC, NBR).  Weaver is the only person to earn Oscar and Globe noms and Weaver and Pfeiffer are the only ones to earn both Oscar and BAFTA noms.  McDormand’s Consensus points total (126) wouldn’t even get her in the Top 5 of some more recent years (it’s, in fact, lower than her own total in 2005, when she finished in 6th place).
After some subpar years, the Oscar score bounces back, going up to 91.2.

  • Best Editing:
  1. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
  2. Die Hard
  3. A Fish Called Wanda
  4. Dangerous Liaisons
  5. Running on Empty
  6. Mississippi Burning
  7. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
  8. Beetlejuice
  9. Bull Durham
  10. Married to the Mob

Analysis:  I’ll pause a moment here and discuss a real oddity about this year.  The winner of the big 5 Tech awards (this and the next four) were all different films at the Oscars.  That is strange enough.  Hell, of the 82 winners of Best Editing, 59 of them have won one of the other four major awards.  In fact, only four times have all five of those awards gone to different films (1945, 1988, 1992, 1994).  But, to make it even stranger, all five of my awards also go to different films, which is even stranger when you consider that three of them didn’t go to the Oscar winners.  Just a very strange year with a lot of very good technical aspects among different films.
Roger Rabbit is the first Oscar winner in this category that I agree with since 1981.

  • Best Cinematography:
  1. The Unbearable Lightness of Being  *
  2. Die Hard
  3. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
  4. Dangerous Liaisons  *
  5. The Last Temptation of Christ
  6. Wings of Desire  **
  7. Mississippi Burning  *
  8. Gorillas in the Mist
  9. The Milagro Beanfield War
  10. Tequila Sunrise  *

Analysis:  With three critics wins, Wings of Desire is the first of four films in seven years to win the Consensus without either an Oscar or an ASC nomination.  After that, it will never happen again.
Now that Bergman has retired, his cinematographer Sven Nykvist starts working with other people, here winning his fifth Nighthawk Award.  He’s up to 375 points, 150 more than any cinematographer.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being is fantastically shot, but it is the weakest winner in this category between 1982 and 1994.  Mississippi Burning is the first Oscar winner to fail to earn a Nighthawk nomination since 1974.

  • Best Original Score:
  1. The Last Temptation of Christ
  2. Willow
  3. The Milagro Beanfield War
  4. Rain Man
  5. Beetlejuice
  6. The Accidental Tourist
  7. Gorillas in the Mist
  8. Salaam Bombay
  9. The Moderns
  10. Married to the Mob

Analysis:  Peter Gabriel becomes the latest rock star to win the Nighthawk for Best Original Score, the year after Mark Knopfler.  Hans Zimmer (Rain Man) earns his first nom.  Danny Elfman earns his first of many noms working with Tim Burton.  James Horner (Willow) earns his second nom.
Surprisingly, even though John Williams earns an Oscar nomination, he comes in 6th place on my list; it will be another four years before he misses out on a nomination again.
This is the weakest Top 5 since 1976.

  • Best Sound:
  1. Die Hard
  2. Bird
  3. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
  4. Willow
  5. Eight Men Out
  6. Gorillas in the Mist
  7. Cobra Verde
  8. The Big Blue
  9. Dangerous Liaisons
  10. Bull Durham

Analysis:  With four of the nominees in my Top 6, this category earns a score above 90 (90.9) for only the second time in its history.

  • dangerous-liaisonsBest Art Direction:
  1. Dangerous Liasions
  2. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
  3. Beetlejuice
  4. The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  5. Red Sorghum
  6. Tucker: The Man and His Dream
  7. Bird
  8. Willow
  9. Married to the Mob
  10. A Handful of Dust

Analysis:  Just remember that the Oscars, rather than rewarding the brilliant and imaginative sets in Beetlejuice, nominated Beaches instead.  As a result, the Oscar score is 77.1, the lowest in this category since 1978.  But, we have one of the best winners in the history of the category.

  • Best Visual Effects
  1. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
  2. Die Hard
  3. Willow
  4. Beetlejuice

Analysis:  Die Hard is the second best #2 in this category to-date, behind only Close Encounters.  Even with only four nominees it’s the best Top 5 in four years.

  • Best Sound Editing
  1. Die Hard
  2. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
  3. Willow
  4. Beetlejuice
  5. Cobra Verde

Analysis:  Die Hard is the best winner in this category since 1983.  Roger Rabbit would be the winner in most years and is the best #2 since 1983.
This year joins only 1977 and 1983 up to this point in earning perfect 100 scores in both Visual Effects and Sound Editing.  They were really pretty easy choices.

  • Best Costume Design:
  1. Dangerous Liaisons
  2. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
  3. Little Dorrit
  4. Red Sorghum
  5. Eight Men Out
  6. The Last Temptation of Christ
  7. A Handful of Dust
  8. Tucker: The Man and His Dream
  9. Babette’s Feast
  10. Willow

Analysis:  Dangerous Liaisons is a rival to Amadeus for the best winner in the history of this category.  But that doesn’t stay high going down the list and this year is significantly weaker than the year before.

  • Beetlejuice-2Best Makeup
  1. Beetlejuice
  2. Dangerous Liaisons
  3. Scrooged
  4. The Last Temptation of Christ
  5. Willow
  6. Little Dorrit
  7. Coming to America
  8. Cobra Verde
  9. Babette’s Feast

Analysis:  A year after earning a 0 in this category, the Oscar score is a very respectable 72.7, the second highest to-date in this category.

  • Best Original Song:
  1. “Let the River Run”  (Working Girl)
  2. Two Hearts”  (Buster)
  3. Why Should I Worry”  (Oliver & Company)
  4. Hairspray”  (Hairspray)
  5. Once Upon a Time in New York City”  (Oliver & Company)
  6. Kokomo”  (Cocktail)
  7. “Coming to America”  (Coming to America)

Analysis:  Oscars.org lists songs from different films.  This year it lists 154 songs from 70 different films.  I have seen 36 of those films, accounting for 92 songs.  Only 11 films have more than 3 songs listed and I have seen 8 of them, with Tapeheads the only film with more than 7 songs.
This is one year where I definitely won’t be asking Veronica her opinion.  That’s because Veronica loathes both Carly Simon and Phil Collins.  I still really like “Let the River Run” after all these years – it was one of the first songs I ever bought on 45 (though it is the weakest winner and Top 5 in this category since 1981 – in a strange coincidence, it’s also the first Oscar winner since 1981 that I agree with).  But, the first song I ever bought on 45 was Phil Collins’ version of “Groovy Kind of Love” and it made me aware of something about this category – that songs had to be original to the film.  Even though Phil Collins recorded the song for the film, the song was an old sixties hit, thus making it ineligible.  But “Two Hearts”, the other big single from his film was eligible and, obviously, nominated.  The available song list was so weak that the Oscars only nominated three songs.  I can’t argue too much with that since my own list is only 7 songs long.  In the next year, The Little Mermaid alone will produce a better crop of songs that all the films from this year.

  • Best Animated Film:
  1. Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Analysis:  There are 9 eligible films (listed below).  I discuss down below that I do think Roger Rabbit would be eligible by today’s standards, but even if hadn’t been, it would still be my winner.  It makes Robert Zemeckis the first primarily live-action director to win or even earn a nomination here, although he’ll be followed by Tim Burton, Wes Anderson and Steven Spielberg.  By the way, it’s also the best winner in this category since Fantasia and one of the best of all-time.  It also becomes the only film eligible in this category to win the overall Nighthawk for Best Picture.

  • totoroBest Foreign Film:
  1. My Neighbor Totoro
  2. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown  **
  3. Grave of the Fireflies
  4. Hanussen  *
  5. Red Sorghum
  6. Salaam Bombay  *
  7. Cobra Verde

note:  Films in green were submitted to the Academy but not nominated.

Analysis:  Japan earns multiple nominations for the first time since 1965.  It’s the first time Japan has earned multiple nominations without a Kurosawa film, but it shows the power of Studio Ghibli, since they’re both Ghibli films – most Japanese nominations from here on out will be Ghibli films.  It’s the first time since 1981 that France fails to earn a nomination.  On the other hand, Spain earns its first nomination in 11 years and China its first nomination at all.  Both are directed by directors who will become regular fixtures: Pedro Almodovar and Zhang Yimou.
It’s the first nomination for Almodovar, Yimou and Isao Takahata.  It’s the third nomination for Istvan Szabo.  It’s the third nom and second win for Hayao Miyazaki, making him only the 13th director to this point to win multiple Foreign Film awards.
This is the best Top 5 since 1973, with Grave being the best #3 film since 1973.
The Oscar winner was Pelle the Conquerer, which, at #46 among eligible Foreign films is the lowest ranked winner of all-time.

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.

  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit  (495)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Sound, Art Direction, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Costume Design, Animated Film
  • Dangerous Liaisons   (400)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actress, Editing, Cinematography, Art Direction, Costume Design, Makeup
  • A Fish Called Wanda  (295)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actor, Editing
  • Running on Empty  (260)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actor, Editing
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being  (235)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actress, Cinematography, Art Direction
  • Die Hard  (150)
    • Editing, Cinematography, Sound, Visual Effects, Sound Editing
  • Beetlejuice  (135)
    • Supporting Actor, Original Score, Art Direction, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Makeup
  • Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown  (95)
    • Original Screenplay, Actress, Foreign Film
  • Rain Man  (95)
    • Actor, Original Score
  • Willow  (95)
    • Original Score, Sound, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Makeup
  • Little Dorrit  (85)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Costume Design
  • Bird  (85)
    • Actor, Supporting Actress, Sound
  • The Last Temptation of Christ  (85)
    • Cinematography, Original Score, Makeup
  • Bull Durham  (75)
    • Original Screenplay, Actor
  • The Accidental Tourist  (70)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actress
  • Mississippi Burning  (65)
    • Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Wings of Desire  (60)
    • Original Screenplay, Foreign Film (1987)
  • Red Sorghum  (55)
    • Art Direction, Costume Design, Foreign Film
  • A Cry in the Dark  (35)
    • Actress
  • Eight Men Out  (35)
    • Art Direction, Costume Design
  • Tucker: The Man and His Dream  (30)
    • Supporting Actor
  • The Milagro Beanfield War  (25)
    • Original Score
  • Cobra Verde  (20)
    • Sound Editing
  • Working Girl  (20)
    • Original Song
  • Oliver & Company  (20)
    • Original Song, Original Song
  • Babette’s Feast  (20)
    • Foreign Film (1987)
  • Scrooged  (10)
    • Makeup
  • Hairspray  (10)
    • Original Song
  • Buster  (10)
    • Original Song

Analysis: There are five fewer films than the year before.

Best Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • Married to the Mob

Analysis:  My #15 film of the year, a high-level ***.5.  It has 7 Top 10 finishes, including two 6th place finishes (Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress), but can’t quite manage to hit the Top 5 anywhere.

Biggest Awards Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • Gorillas in the Mist

Analysis:  A good film, with a very good performance from Sigourney Weaver.  It has 4 Top 10 finishes, including 6th place in both Actress and Sound (both of which earned Oscar noms).  Overall, it had 11 nominations and 3 wins (Actress – Drama and Score at the Globes and Sound Editing at the MPSE).  It was nominated for 5 Oscars (including Actress and Adapted Screenplay), a BAFTA, two guilds (including the WGA) and 3 Globes (including Picture and Actress).

Nighthawk Golden Globes:

Drama:

  • Best Picture
  1. Dangerous Liaisons
  2. Running on Empty
  3. The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  4. Mississippi Burning
  5. Wings of Desire

Analysis:  Aside from these, there are two more **** films: Rain Man and Die Hard.  After that, there are a number of ***.5 films, which, in descending order are: The Last Temptation of Christ, Red Sorghum, Dead Ringers, Babette’s Feast, Eight Men Out, Little Dorrit, A World Apart, Salaam Bombay, Cobra Verde and Matador.
Not a particularly strong year because there is no really high-level **** film.  Interesting that of my Top 5, one film was nominated by the Oscars but not the Globes while two were nominated at the Globes but not the Oscars.

  • Best Director
  1. Stephen Frears  (Dangerous Liaisons)
  2. Philip Kaufman  (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
  3. Sidney Lumet  (Running on Empty)
  4. Alan Parker  (Mississippi Burning)
  5. Martin Scorsese  (The Last Temptation of Christ)

Analysis:  Frears, the winner, is the only first-time nominee.  Kaufman and Parker are both earning their second Drama noms.  It’s the fifth nom for Marty and the seventh for Lumet.
With so many great Comedies in this year, this the weakest Top 5 in this category since 1972.  Frears is also the weakest winner in this category since 1970.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Dangerous Liaisons
  2. The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  3. Little Dorrit
  4. Babette’s Feast
  5. Eight Men Out

Analysis:  John Sayles earns his third Drama writing nom.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Running on Empty
  2. Wings of Desire
  3. Rain Man
  4. Mississippi Burning
  5. A World Apart
  • hoffmanBest Actor:
  1. Dustin Hoffman  (Rain Man)
  2. Gene Hackman  (Mississippi Burning)
  3. John Malkovich  (Dangerous Liaisons)
  4. Jeremy Irons  (Dead Ringers)
  5. Daniel Day-Lewis  (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)

Analysis:  This is the best Top 5 in this category in six years.
It’s the first nomination for John Malkovich.  It’s the third nomination for Irons.  It’s already the third nomination for Day-Lewis.  It’s the fifth Drama nom for Hoffman and his second win.  It’s the sixth nom for Hackman.

  • lahtiBest Actress
  1. Christine Lahti  (Running on Empty)
  2. Glenn Close  (Dangerous Liaisons)
  3. Meryl Streep  (A Cry in the Dark)
  4. Sigourney Weaver  (Gorillas in the Mist)
  5. Jodie Foster  (The Accused)

Analysis:  Not only did Weaver and Foster tie, but so did Shirley MacLaine for Madame Sousatzka (she was 8th on my Drama list).  MacLaine remains the only winner of Best Actress – Drama at the Globes to fail to earn an Oscar nomination.
This is the only Drama nom for Lahti, the second for Close and Foster and the third for Weaver.  It’s already the ninth for Streep in just 11 years; she moves up to 430 Drama points and 5th place.
This is the best Top 5 in this category in five years and there won’t be a better one until 1993.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. River Phoenix  (Running on Empty)
  2. Alec Guinness  (Little Dorrit)
  3. Martin Landau  (Tucker: The Man and His Dream)
  4. Alan Rickman  (Die Hard)
  5. Brad Dourif  (Mississippi Burning)

Analysis:  It’s the first nominations for River Phoenix, Martin Landau and Alan Rickman.  It’s third nom for Brad Dourif.  It’s the seventh (and final) Drama nom for Guinness.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Michelle Pfeiffer  (Dangerous Liaisons)
  2. Frances McDormand  (Mississippi Burning)
  3. Lena Olin  (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
  4. Geneveive Bujold  (Dead Ringers)
  5. Kathy Baker  (Clean and Sober)

Analysis:  This is the first nom (and win) for Pfeiffer, who will win Best Actress the next year.  It’s the second noms for McDormand, Olin and Baker.  It’s the third for Bujold, though it’s been 19 years since her last one.

Points:

  • Dangerous Liaisons  (400)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress
  • Running on Empty  (305)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actor
  • Mississippi Burning  (230)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being  (200)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Rain Man  (110)
    • Original Screenplay, Actor
  • Wings of Desire  (90)
    • Picture, Original Screenplay
  • Little Dorrit  (70)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor
  • Dead Ringers  (65)
    • Actor, Supporting Actress
  • The Last Temptation of Christ  (45)
    • Director
  • Eight Men Out  (40)
    • Adapted Screenplay
  • Babette’s Feast  (40)
    • Adapted Screenplay
  • A World Apart  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • A Cry in the Dark  (35)
    • Actress
  • Gorillas in the Mist  (35)
    • Actress
  • The Accused  (35)
    • Actress
  • Die Hard  (30)
    • Supporting Actor
  • Tucker: The Man and His Dream  (30)
    • Supporting Actor
  • Clean and Sober  (30)
    • Supporting Actress

Analysis:  There are five fewer films than the year before.  Meanwhile, Wings of Desire is the rare Drama to earn a Best Picture nom but not reach 100 points.  The acting categories are really strong – as a whole, the best since 1974.

Best Drama Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • Red Sorghum

Analysis:  This #16 film of the year and #9 Drama.  It also came in 6th in Actress – Drama, but got not higher than that.

Comedy / Musical:

  • Best Picture
  1. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
  2. A Fish Called Wanda
  3. Bull Durham
  4. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
  5. The Accidental Tourist

Analysis:  Aside from the Top 5, there is one more **** film: Beetlejuice.  After that, in descending order are the ***.5 films: Married to the Mob, Big, Bird and Midnight Run.  Yes, I put Bird in Comedy / Musical because that’s where I put all biopics of musicians.
Women was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Globes.  The Accidental Tourist was nominated as a Drama.  Working Girl was the winner at the Globes, but it’s my #20 Comedy.
The Top 5 films are one point weaker than the year before, but still the second best since 1979 and the third best since 1964.  Women is the best #4 film since 1979 and Tourist is the first #5 film to be **** since 1979.  Beetlejuice, the #6 film is the first **** film not to make the top 5 since 1964 and only the third to-date.

  • Best Director
  1. Robert Zemeckis  (Who Framed Roger Rabbit)
  2. Charles Crichton  (A Fish Called Wanda)
  3. Clint Eastwood  (Bird)
  4. Pedro Almodóvar  (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown)
  5. Tim Burton  (Beetlejuice)

Analysis:  This is the only Comedy / Musical nom for Eastwood, as could be expected.  Almodóvar and Burton both earn their first noms.  Crichton earns his second nom, 36 years after earning his first.  Zemeckis earns his third nom in four years, but it’s also his final nomination.
This is the second best Top 5 to-date, beaten only by 1979.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
  2. The Accidental Tourist
  3. The Naked Gun

Analysis:  Lawrence Kasdan earns his third Comedy writing nom but it’s the first time he doesn’t win (it’s also the first time it’s adapted).

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. A Fish Called Wanda
  2. Bull Durham
  3. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
  4. Beetlejuice
  5. Married to the Mob

Analysis:  It’s the first Comedy writing nom for Pedro Almodóvar.
This is tied for the best Top 5 to-date and it won’t be beaten until 1994.

  • WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT?, Bob Hoskins, Jessica Rabbit, 1988Best Actor:
  1. Bob Hoskins  (Who Framed Roger Rabbit)
  2. Forest Whitaker  (Bird)
  3. Kevin Costner  (Bull Durham)
  4. Tom Hanks  (Big)
  5. William Hurt  (The Accidental Tourist)

Analysis:  Forest Whitaker was nominated in Drama at the Globes.  With Whitaker in Drama (and Hurt would have been as well, as his film was nominated for Picture – Drama), there is no excuse for the Globes passing over Costner’s brilliant performance.
This is tied for the best Top 5 to-date and it won’t be beaten until 1998.
This is the only Comedy nom for both Whitaker and Hoskins.  It’s the first Comedy nom for Costner, who won’t be back for almost 20 years.  It’s also the first for Hanks, but he’ll be back a lot sooner.  It’s the third nom for Hurt.

  • a-fish-called-wanda-stupidBest Actress
  1. Jamie Lee Curtis  (A Fish Called Wanda)
  2. Carmen Maura  (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown)
  3. Susan Sarandon  (Bull Durham)
  4. Michelle Pfeiffer  (Married to the Mob)
  5. Melanie Griffith  (Working Girl)

Analysis:  These are the only Comedy nominations for Maura and Sarandon.  It’s the first of several for Pfeiffer.  It’s the second (and last) for Griffith.  It’s also the second for Curtis.
Without a Woody Allen Comedy, this is the only year between 1982 and 1991 without a nomination for either Mia Farrow or Dianne Wiest.
This is the best Top 5 to-date and it won’t be beaten until 1996.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Kevin Kline  (A Fish Called Wanda)
  2. Michael Keaton  (Beetlejuice)
  3. Dean Stockwell  (Married to the Mob)
  4. Tim Robbins  (Bull Durham)
  5. Michael Palin  (A Fish Called Wanda)

Analysis:  This is weaker than year before but it’s still tied for the second best Top 5 to-date.  But, after it only happened three years prior to 1986, Kline is the third straight winner in this category to earn my highest rating; there won’t be another until 1994.
It’s the only Comedy nom for Dean Stockwell.  It’s the first nom for Keaton and Robbins, the second for Kline and the third for Palin.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Geena Davis  (The Accidental Tourist)
  2. Diane Venora  (Bird)
  3. Mercedes Ruehl  (Married to the Mob)
  4. Sigourney Weaver  (Working Girl)
  5. Winona Ryder  (Beetlejuice)

Analysis:  This is the only nomination for Venora.  It’s the first Comedy noms for Davis, Ruehl and Weaver.  It’s the second Comedy nom for Ryder and she’ll be nominated as a lead in 1989.
This is the second best Top 5 to-date, blowing away any year prior to it except 1979.  There won’t be a better year until 1998.

Points:

  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit  (340)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor
  • A Fish Called Wanda  (335)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor
  • Bull Durham  (190)
    • Picture, Original Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor
  • The Accidental Tourist  (185)
    • Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown  (170)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actress
  • Beetlejuice  (145)
    • Director, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Married to the Mob  (135)
    • Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Bird  (110)
    • Director, Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Working Girl  (65)
    • Actress, Supporting Actress
  • The Naked Gun  (40)
    • Adapted Screenplay
  • Big  (35)
    • Actor

Analysis:  Eleven films is quite few to have here, especially since 7 of the 8 categories were completely filled.  It’s also rare to have so many films break 100 points.  The acting categories easily set a new high, crushing the previous high (set the year before) and won’t be broken until 1996.  The major categories are the second highest to-date, behind only 1979.  As a whole, the Comedy scores are the highest to-date and won’t be broken until 1996.

Best Comedy Not Nominated for any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • Midnight Run

Analysis:  The #24 film of the year and the #10 Comedy in a very good year for them.  It made my list for Picture, Original Screenplay, Actor and Supporting Actor.  Ironically, it was #7 among Comedies for all of those last three categories.

Roundup for the Year in Film:

Eligible Films I Have Seen:  179

By Stars:

  • ****:  13
  • ***.5:  14
  • ***:  77
  • **.5:  32
  • **:  23
  • *.5:  6
  • *:  6
  • .5:  8
  • 0:  0
  • Average Film Score for the Year, out of 100:  60.06

Analysis:  A big jump up from the year before (even bigger before I watched Hot to Trot to finish off the Razzies, bringing down the whole year a third of a point).  There are the same number of **** films as the year before a couple less ***.5 films.  But, there are also 23 fewer films, so the percentages go way up.  58.10% of these films are *** or better, a big improvement over the year before.  There are also five fewer .5 films.  Great films (****) account for 7.26%, the highest since 1973.

Oscar-Nominated Films I Have Not Seen:

  • none

Oscar Quality:

Best Picture:  This year is better than the year before, but still not great.  At #44, it’s the third weakest year of the decade.  In fact, it’s fairly similar to 1987 – no truly great film and one film that lags behind.  It is one of only 13 years that fails to have a Top 150 film (Dangerous Liaisons, at #155, is the only one even in the Top 200).  It joins 1978 and 1982 as the only post-1960 years to not have at least one Top 150 film.  It is saved from being really bad by two things.  The first is that four of the films are **** (one of only 17 years in the 5 BP era to do that).  The second is that Working Girl, the weak link in the bunch, isn’t that bad (mid-range ***).  In fact, the difference between 1987 and 1988 is entirely in that final film – if Working Girl was as bad as Fatal Attraction, the two years would have almost identical scores, instead of 1988 being 14 spots higher.

The Winners:  The winners in 1988 are also fairly similar to the year before.  The overall average rank of the winners is 5.89 (compared to 5.58 for 1987).  Among the nominees, the average winner rank is 2.16 (compared to 2.17 for 1987).  This is a bit deceiving.  Among all films, the Tech winners are much better this year (2.11 compared to 5.56 for 1987), with only Cinematography and Score being outside the top two.  The acting is similar (3.00 this year, 2.50 in 1987) as are the major winners (8.50 this year, 9.50 the year before).  But, in this year, the Foreign Film winner is at #46 as opposed to #3 in 1987.  The only ranks that are actually the same are Art Direction, Visual Effects and Costume Design, all of which went to the best choice in both years and Supporting Actress, which was third in both years.  One big difference is among the nominated films – in this year, 10 times the Oscars picked the best nominee, while there were only 5 in 1987.  But, in 1987, eight times they gave the Oscar to the second best nominee, while in 1988 they only did it twice.

The Nominees:  The nominees are a lot better in this year.  The overall Oscar score sets a new high with 80.9.  The Tech categories are the second highest to date, with a score of 80.4.  The acting breaks 90 for the first time in six years (91.4) with all four categories breaking 80 and two of them breaking 90: Supporting Actor (100) and Supporting Actress (91.2).  The major categories are a solid 73.6, lead by a high in Original Screenplay of 89.7.

Golden Globe Best Picture – Comedy / Musical:  The Globes got this one fairly right.  This year ranks at #11 all-time.  The nominees include two Top 40 films (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, A Fish Called Wanda) and two other films in the Top 130 (Big, Midnight Run).  The problem is that they then gave their award to Working Girl.  Now, Working Girl is not the worst film to ever win this award (I list 12 other films that are worse) and it’s a fairly good film.  But, the average nominee is an 84.4, while Working Girl is a 69.  That 15.4 difference between the winner and the average nominee is the worst difference to-date (by several points) and the second worst of all-time (I’m looking at you Mrs Doubtfire).  This was the first time since 1981 and only the second time since 1961 that the Globes would give the award to the worst of the five nominees, yet they would somehow manage to do it again the next year.  By the way, if they had nominated Bull Durham instead of Working Girl, this year would rank at #3 all-time.  Even Married to the Mob would have moved it up to 4th place all-time.  Both of those films, by the way, were nominated for Best Actress.

Top 5 Films of the Year:

A mediocre book with a good idea becomes a brilliant film.

A mediocre book with a good idea becomes a brilliant film.

1  –  Who Framed Roger Rabbit  (dir. Robert Zemeckis)

This was the last year before I started treating film seriously.  It was also the last year where I couldn’t just go to the movies on my own.  Starting in early 1989, I started riding my back to the theater and could go the movies whenever the hell I wanted (I began with Rain Man in February of 1989, because if I was going to be serious about film, I needed to see the film that was clearly going to win Best Picture).  In 1988, I saw exactly one film in the theater.  It was Who Framed Roger Rabbit.  It was the right choice – I thought so then and I think so now.  What it did was unlike anything that had ever been done over the course of a feature film, but that wasn’t what made it so damn brilliant.  It wasn’t brilliant that they did it, or how they did it, but how well they made it all work.

The germination of the film began with a strange little mystery called Who Censored Roger Rabbit.  It involved a cartoon character who was murdered and the detective trying to solve the crime.  The basic idea involved actual people interacting with cartoon characters.  That idea and the murder (and a couple of characters) were really all that were carried over, which is fine because the book isn’t really all that good.  But in set in motion a film idea where toons and humans live side by side and work side by side.  You might walk into a cabaret and see Daffy and Donald competing with each other on two pianos (as they are my favorite Disney and Warners characters, this scene pleases me no end).  Betty Boop might be your waitress.  Or someone might drop an anvil on your head, which is an annoyance for a toon but deadly to a human.

Now we bring in Bob Hoskins.  Bob Hoskins had already given two of the hardest edged performances of the decade, as a gangster in The Long Good Friday and as a gangster’s driver in Mona Lisa.  The former made him a star and the latter won him basically everything except the Oscar.  Yet, in some ways this might be his most impressive performance, both because he’s playing so much against that type, but because so much of his performance is reacting to things that aren’t there, to voices that he can’t hear and with sets he can only imagine.

But it’s not just Hoskins’ performance that makes this film.  It’s not just the brilliant use of LA and its history (even though most of it was shot in London).  It’s not just the amazing editing that rightfully won an Oscar or the brilliant sets and costumes or even the fantastic direction from Robert Zemeckis, who, in spite of his Oscar, would never come close to reaching these heights again.  But it all really comes down to that fantastic script that creates a real world out of Toontown, creates a real universe with these characters and just makes us all wish that there had been more films and that this had been a series.

2  –  Dangerous Liaisons  (reviewed here)

On the very short list for "the funniest film ever made".

On the very short list for “the funniest film ever made”.

3  –  A Fish Called Wanda  (dir. Charles Crichton)

There have been many great speeches in the history of film.  Charlie Chaplin intoned Hannah to look up at the end of The Great Dictator.  Michael Douglas basically won himself an Oscar in Wall Street explaining that greed, for lack of a better word, is good.  Gregory Peck made everyone who watched To Kill A Mockingbird wish he was their father.  But, I think my favorite speech in the history of film is the one that Jamie Lee Curtis delivers to Kevin Kline half-way through A Fish Called Wanda.

It is not inspirational.  It doesn’t really change the course of the film or even the actions for anyone in the film (well, it does get Otto to go apologize but that goes wrong beyond what even imagination could have conceived).  But it is a great example of a lot of things that the film does just right.  It shows that while the film has two Monty Python alumni, those were the easy casting choices and it was the casting of the two Americans that really made the film: Jamie Lee Curtis, whose delivery is pitch-perfect and Kevin Kline, whose idiocy is the key to much of the humor of the film.  It’s got great use of sound, as we hear Curtis talking to Kline way down the alley before they’re anywhere near the center of the shot, but it’s already coming on the heels of a moment of brilliant editing, as we cut from Kline demanding John Cleese apologize, to the next shot of Cleese being dangled out a window apologizing with fierce determination.  It shows both the utter hilarity of the screenwriting (every line in the speech is a classic), but also some of the subtleties of great screenwriting.  Because the key punch-line to the speech is not the three things that Jamie Lee Curtis is explaining to Kline, but rather her little add-on to the end of it: “I looked them up.”  It’s an illustration that this is a film filled with stupid people and that’s why it’s so hilarious.  This film illustrates Roger Ebert’s rule of Comedy: people trying to be funny aren’t funny.  What is funny is people who are trying to be serious but are failing.

There may not be a performance in the history of film that so embraces that concept as Kevin Kline’s in this film.  All of the major characters are good, of course: Cleese just misses out on my Golden Globes because it’s a very good year, Palin earns a Globe nom and Curtis earns an actual Nighthawk nom for the best performance of her career.  But it’s Kline who really blows it all away.  Pick your favorite moment.  John Cleese’s is the look on Kline’s face when he’s having sex with Curtis.  I love the way he says random Italian words and clearly doesn’t actually speak Italian (Cleese, in the commentary, says there were a lot of Italian restaurants in London at the time and he thought it would be funny if Otto spoke in “menu Italian”).  The biggest laughs usually come, though, from his great moments eating poor Ken’s fish.  Hell, that was even an instructional moment for me: before seeing this film the first time I didn’t know that french fries were called chips in England.

I have seen this film in excess of 50 times, I would say.  There are very few films that come even close to making me laugh the way this one days: Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Blazing Saddles, The Producers, Clerks, Airplane, Annie Hall.  There are other comedies that might be better films than this one, films like Dr. Strangelove, Hannah and Her Sisters or Amelie.  But there are very films with lines that make me laugh as much as I do late in this film when Otto says “We did not lost Vietnam!  It was a tie!”

4  –  Running on Empty  (reviewed here)

5  –  The Unbearable Lightness of Being  (reviewed here)

The Razzies:  xxxFor the first time, the Razzies average .5.  The average nominee is a 9, with four of the films earning .5.  The problem is that the “winner” was Cocktail, which is by far the best of the bunch.  This is typical of the Razzies – the bad film with a big star (who is terrible).  If the Razzies didn’t dislike Stallone so much, they surely would have given Tom Cruise the Razzie and he probably would have deserved it, especially when you compare him to how good he is in Rain Man.  But to say that Cocktail is a worse film than Rambo III, Mac and Me, Hot to Trot or Caddyshack II (the last three of which were my fourth, second and worst films of the year) is absurd.  It’s a bad film, a *.5 film, but Cocktail is not nearly as bad as those films.

5 Worst Films  (#1 being the worst):

  1. Caddyshack II
  2. Hot to Trot
  3. Messenger of Death
  4. Mac and Me
  5. Hellbound: Hellraiser II

note:  The other .5 films are, in ascending order: Maniac Cop, Brain Damage and Rambo III.

Now we move into "completely unnecessary sequel" land.

Now we move into “completely unnecessary sequel” land.

Caddyshack II  (dir. Alan Arkush)

Caddyshack is not a comedy classic, it’s not a great film like some of the other Comedies of the decade, films like Ghostbusters or Back to the Future or Who Framed Roger Rabbit, with balanced their laughs with great stories, fantastic editing, first-rate acting or brilliant direction.  But it is a very funny film, the kind of film that makes the Nighthawk Notables for Funniest Film (although it didn’t because it was released in 1980, the same year as Airplane!).  It does this, not with the lead performance from Rodney Dangerfield, who tries way too hard and is really rather annoying, but through a sly, subtle performance from Chevy Chase (one of his best) and through a deranged, bizarre performance from Bill Murray.  It was a carefully balanced film, with a little gratuitous nudity, not too much Dangerfield to overload things and the two really fun performances.  Then came this piece of shit.

Caddyshack II would have always been a terrible idea.  Chevy Chase was still riding up when he made the first one and was willing to put in some effort.  He was calm and collected and he didn’t try to be cool, yet somehow just was.  In this film he doesn’t even remotely try and he’s painful anytime he’s on screen.  That’s a much bigger problem that you would know if you have never seen this film (and hopefully you haven’t – there’s absolutely no reason to have seen it).  Chase was the only original cast member to come back from the first film.  Yet, they wanted to do everything else the same – have the uncouth loudmouth versus the old money straitlaced club member, have a nice young caddy who’s going to win the cute girl (although this time minus the nudity to get a PG rating) and have the deranged lunatic who’s in there to screw everything up.  But, instead of Bill Murray as the lunatic, we get Dan Akyroyd doing, hell, who knows what he’s doing.  We get Jonathan Silverman as the caddy and if he’s the least of the problems of the film, he doesn’t really add anything either.  But the real problem is that in the warring roles, instead of Rodney Dangerfield and Ted Knight we have Jackie Mason and Robert Stack.  Stack would be a big enough problem; clearly the filmmakers saw him in Airplane! and thought he would be a good straight man, never realizing he has to play the role absolutely intensely and here he’s just another boring rich white guy while there was a manic intensity in Airplane! that made every line he said click.  But the worst thing, by far, is Jackie Mason.

It was annoying enough in the first film watching Dangerfield go through his “I don’t get no respect” schtick.  But Mason’s is far worse – the uncouth loudmouth who also happens to be Jewish trying to get into the WASP club.  It doesn’t help that I’ve never found Mason to be even remotely funny.  I can’t have been the only one; the reviews for this film were completely dismal and I think I only watched this film because it came on HBO in 1989 and I was still young and watching anything, even clearly terrible sequels to good, enjoyable films.  For a long time, this might have classified as the single worst film I had ever seen, maybe all the way up until I saw Showgirls.

I’ll just say this.  Lots of comedies are bad.  But, hell, even Movie 43, a film worse than this and whose putrescence reeks through the air I found one line to laugh at (the line about the market research in the Richard Gere sequence).  I didn’t laugh once when I saw this over 25 years ago.  I didn’t laugh once when I sat through it again to write this review.

Points:

  • Most Nighthawk Nominations:   Who Framed Roger Rabbit  (12)
  • Most Nighthawk Awards:   Who Framed Roger Rabbit  (5)
  • Most Nighthawk Points:   Who Framed Roger Rabbit  (495)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Award:  Scrooged
  • 2nd Place Award:  Dangerous Liaisons  (Picture, Director, Actress, Makeup)
  • 6th Place Award:  Mississippi Burning  (Picture, Director, Editing)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Nominations:  Dangerous Liaisons  /  Mississippi Burning  (6)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Awards:  Dangerous Liaisons  (4)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Points:  Dangerous Liaisons  (400)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Drama Award:  The Accused
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Nominations:   A Fish Called Wanda  (6)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Awards:   Who Framed Roger Rabbit  (4)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Points:   Who Framed Roger Rabbit  (340)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Comedy Award:  Working Girl

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:  81 (30)  –  Dangerous Liaisons  (65.0)
  • Foreign:  42  –  Wings of Desire  (68.2)
  • Comedy:  39 (5)  –  Who Framed Roger Rabbit  (61.6)
  • Horror:  10  –  Dead Ringers  (39.7)
  • Action:  10  –  Die Hard  (36.3)
  • Suspense:  7 (1)  –  Matador  (56.4)
  • Kids:  7  –  The Cat Who Walked By Herself  (52)
  • Fantasy:  5 (3)  –  Wings of Desire  (66.6)
  • War:  4 (1)  –  Avanti popolo  (63.3)
  • Sci-Fi:  4  –  They Live  (51.8)
  • Crime:  3  –  Buster  (63)
  • Mystery:  3  –  The House on Carroll Street  (54.7)
  • Musical:  2  –  Bird  (77)
  • Western:  2  –  Young Guns  (66)
  • Adventure:  2 (1)  –  Cobra Verde  (58.5)

Analysis:  Action films climb again, and with the exception of Die Hard and Midnight Run are really awful (The Dead Pool, Presidio, Red Heat, Bloodsport, Iron Eagle II, Rambo III, Maniac Cop, Messenger of Death).  Dramas go up to a new high, and with a lot fewer films, account for over 45% of all films, the highest since 1959.  But, for the first time since 1980, Foreign Films account for less than a quarter of all films (although they have their highest average in six years).
While The Princess Bride was primarily classified as a Fantasy, this is still the third year in a row that the Nighthawk winner is a Comedy.  Four films in the Top 10 are Comedies, the most since 1979.  Though a whopping 17 of the Top 20 films are either Comedy or Drama, Die Hard becomes the first Action film in the Top 20 in four years.  With Wings of Desire in the Top 10, this is the first time that back-to-back years have a Fantasy film in the Top 10.

Studio Note:  Warner Bros leads again, this time with 18 films.  With 10 more films than 20th Century-Fox, Warners catches it for 2nd place overall (711 films to this point); it also has two films in the top four (Dangerous Liaisons, A Fish Called Wanda).  Universal is the only other major studio with more than 10 films (13).  But Orion (16) and TriStar (12) are still going strong.  In fact, every film from #5 to #9 on my list are either from Orion or Orion Classics; because of this Orion’s film average a 72.1, a very high average for so many films.  Orion also has a record 8 films in the Top 20.  Disney finally becomes the last of the major studios to win Best Picture at the Nighthawks; its the first Disney film since 1977 to even make the Top 10.  For the only time between 1974 and 2000 there are no Columbia films in the Top 20 (its highest film, School Daze, is #32).  For only the second time since 1959 and third time since 1948 there are no Paramount films in the Top 20 (its highest film, The Naked Gun, is #31).

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

  1. Who Framed Roger Rabbit  (****, Zemeckis, Disney)
  2. The Cat Who Walked By Herself  (***, Garanina, Soyuzmutfilm)
  3. Oliver & Company  (***, Scribner, Disney)
  4. When the Wind Blows  (***, Murakami, Kings Road Entertainment)
  5. The Land Before Time  (***, Bluth, Universal)
  6. Daffy Duck’s Quackbusters  (***, Ford, Warner Bros)
  7. Light Years  (**.5, Leloux, Miramax)
  8. Pound Puppies and the Legend of Big Paw  (**.5, Decelles, TriStar)
  9. Bravestarr: The Movie  (**, Tataroniwcz, Taurus)

Note:  Three films on this list weren’t listed at oscars.org (Cat Who Walked By Herself, When the Wind Blows, Quackbusters).  Would Roger Rabbit have been eligible?  Given the amount of animation in the film, especially scenes that are fully animated, I suspect yes.
With Roger Rabbit and Oliver, this is the first time since 1977 and only the fourth time overall that multiple Disney films have been released in the same year.  We’ve also got the first film from Miramax.

54 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):

  • 36 Fillette  (Breillant, France)
  • A gauche en sortant de l’ascenseur  (Molinaro, France)
  • Akira  (Otomo, Japan)
  • Alice  (Svankmajer, Czechoslovakia)
  • Ariel  (Kaurismaki, Finland)
  • As Tears Go By  (Wong, Hong Kong)
  • Ashik Kerib  (Parajanov, USSR)
  • The Big Blue  (Besson, France)
  • Camp de Thiaroye  (Sembene, Senegal)
  • The Cat Who Walked By Herself  (Garanina, USSR)
  • Chocolat  (Denis, France)
  • Cobra Verde  (Herzog, West Germany)
  • Commissar  (Asklodov, USSR)  *
  • Damnation  (Tarr, Hungary)
  • Fable of the Beautiful Pigeon Fancier  (Guerra, Brazil)
  • Grave of the Fireflies  (Takahata, Japan)
  • Hanussen  (Szabo, Hungary)  **
  • I’m the One You’re Looking For  (Chavarri, Spain)
  • Itineraire d’un enfant gate  (Lelouch, France)
  • King of the Children  (Chen, China)
  • Le Lectrice  (Deville, France)  *
  • The Legend of the Holy Drinker  (Olmi, Italy)  *
  • Letters from the Park  (Gutierrez Alea, Cuba)  *
  • Little Vera (Pichul, USSR)
  • Miracle of Rome  (Duque Naranjo, Colombia)
  • The Mouth of the Wolf  (Lombardi, Peru)  *
  • The Music Teacher  (Corbiau, Belgium)  **
  • My Mother’s Teahouse  (Chen, Taiwan)  *
  • My Neighbor Totoro  (Miyazaki, Japan)
  • My Uncle’s Legacy  (Papic, Yugoslavia)  *
  • The Old Well  (Wu, China)
  • One-Way Ticket  (Melendez, Dominican Republic)  *
  • Peking Opera Blues  (Tsui, Hong Kong)
  • Pelle the Conqueror  (August, Denmark)  **
  • Il Piccolo Diavolo  (Benigni, Italy)
  • Red Sorghum  (Yimou, China)  *
  • The Revolving Doors  (Mankiewicz, Canada)  *
  • Rodrigo D: No Future  (Gaviria, Colombia)
  • Rouge  (Kwan, Hong Kong)
  • Salaam Bombay  (Nair, India)  **
  • A Short Film About Love  (Kieslowski, Poland)  *
  • The Story of Fausta  (Barreto, Brazil)  *
  • Story of Women  (Chabrol, France)
  • The Summer of Aviya  (Cohen, Israel)  *
  • The Summer of Miss Forbes  (Humberto Hermosillo, Mexico)
  • Tango Bar  (Zurinaga, Puerto Rico)  *
  • A Taxing Woman’s Return  (Itami, Japan)
  • The Vanishing  (Sluizer, The Netherlands)  *
  • Veronico Cruz  (Pereira, Argentina)  *
  • A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings  (Birri, Cuba)
  • A Wedding in Galilee  (Khleifi, Israel)
  • Where Do We Go  (Vulchanov, Bulgaria)  *
  • Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown  (Almodovar, Spain)  **
  • Yasemin  (Bohm, West Germany)  *

Note:  France, as usual, is the top with 7 films.  It’s followed by 4 films each from Japan and the USSR.  I have my first film from Puerto Rico.  I have my first film from Senegal in 10 years.  Both Colombia and Cuba have 2 films for the only time.  I have 3 films from China for the first time since 1950.

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

  • Austria:  Undiscovered Country  (dir.  Bondy)
  • Greece:  In the Shadow of Fear  (dir.  Karypidis)
  • Iceland:  In the Shadow of the Raven  (dir.  Gunnlaugsson)
  • Japan:  Hope and Pain  (dir.  Yamada)
  • Mexico:  The Last Tunnel  (dir.  Gonzalez)
  • Nicaragua:  The Spectre of War  (dir. Lacayo-Deshon)
  • Norway:  The Ice Palace  (dir. Blom)
  • Portugal:  Hard Times  (dir. Botelho)
  • Switzerland:  La Meridienne  (dir.  Amiguet)

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 23 for 32 (72%).  Four of these are the same countries I was missing in 1987, three of them in the midst of streaks.
There are six countries submitting that didn’t in 1987 (Bulgaria, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico).  The countries that are out from the year before are Czechoslovakia, Finland, Indonesia and Sweden (it’s first miss since 1978 and last miss to date).
Of the missing submissions, these are my first miss (Nicaragua), third (Mexico, Portugal), fourth (Greece, Norway), seventh overall and third in a row (Switzerland), seventh overall and fourth in a row (Iceland), eighth (Austria) and 11th overall and fourth in a row (Japan).

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

  • Violence at Noon  (1966)
  • Rendezvous with Anna  (1978)
  • Dark Habits  (1983)
  • El Sur  (1983)
  • Yellow Earth  (1984)
  • A Time to Live and a Time to Die  (1985)
  • 38: Vienna Before the Fall  (1986)
  • Avanti popolo  (1986)
  • Bravestarr: The Movie  (1986)
  • The Horse Thief  (1986)
  • Matador  (1986)
  • When the Wind Blows  (1986)
  • Babette’s Feast  (1987)
  • Boyfriends and Girlfriends  (1987)
  • Brain Damage  (1987)
  • Brightness  (1987)
  • Candy Mountain  (1987)
  • The Family  (1987)
  • Five Corners  (1987)
  • Heat and Sunlight  (1987)
  • King Lear  (1987)
  • The Kitchen Toto  (1987)
  • Life is a Dream  (1987)
  • Light Years  (1987)
  • The Lighthorsemen  (1987)
  • Melo  (1987)
  • A Month in the Country  (1987)
  • Subway to the Stars  (1987)
  • A Taxing Woman  (1987)
  • White Mischief  (1987)
  • Wings of Desire  (1987)

Note:  These 31 films average a 63.7.  If you take out Brain Damage and King Lear, the average goes up to 67.3.  These films only combine for 1 nomination outside of Best Foreign Film, so it doesn’t have a huge impact on my awards.

Films Not Listed at Oscars.org:

  • A gauche en sortant de l’ascenseur
  • The Cat Who Walked By Herself
  • Cobra Verde
  • Daffy Duck’s Quackbusters
  • Damnation
  • El Sur
  • Heat and Sunlight
  • The Horse Thief
  • Itineraire d’un enfant gate
  • King of the Children
  • The Legend of the Holy Drinker
  • Life is a Dream
  • My Mother’s Teahouse
  • One-Way Ticket
  • Il Piccolo Diavolo
  • Rendezvous with Anna
  • The Revolving Doors
  • Rowing with the Wind
  • The Summer of Aviya
  • A Time to Live and a Time to Die
  • Violence at Noon
  • When the Wind Blows
  • Where Do We Go
  • Yasemin
  • Yellow Earth
  • Young Toscanini

Note:  I use the list at Oscars.org for deciding which year films are eligible in.  Some films, however, don’t appear in that database.  For those films, I use the IMDb.  These are the films that aren’t listed in the Oscars.org database but that end up in this year.
As is usually the case, most of these are Foreign films which never got an L.A. release.  The films marked in orange were those that were submitted for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars (not necessarily in this year).

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

  • 36 Fillette  (1989)
  • The Adventures of Baron Munchausen  (1989)
  • Alice  (1989)
  • Ashik Kerib  (1989)
  • Chocolat  (1989)
  • Hanussen  (1989)
  • High Hopes  (1989)
  • Iguana  (1989)
  • La Lectrice  (1989)
  • Little Vera  (1989)
  • The Mouth of the Wolf  (1989)
  • The Music Teacher  (1989)
  • The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey  (1989)
  • The Old Well  (1989)
  • Paperhouse  (1989)
  • The Return of Swamp Thing  (1989)
  • Story of Women  (1989)
  • Tango Bar  (1989)
  • A Taxing Woman’s Return  (1989)
  • Akira  (1990)
  • Ariel  (1990)
  • Camp de Thiaroye  (1990)
  • Fable of the Beautiful Pigeon Fancier  (1990)
  • I’m the One You’re Looking For  (1990)
  • Letters from the Park  (1990)
  • Mack the Knife  (1990)
  • The Mahabharata  (1990)
  • Miracle of Rome  (1990)
  • My Uncle’s Legacy  (1990)
  • Peking Opera Blues  (1990)
  • Rouge  (1990)
  • The Story of Fausta  (1990)
  • The Summer of Miss Forbes  (1990)
  • The Vanishing  (1990)
  • Veronico Cruz  (1990)
  • A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings  (1990)
  • Drowning by Numbers  (1991)
  • Felix the Cat: The Movie  (1991)
  • Rodrigo D: No Future  (1991)
  • My Neighbor Totoro  (1993)
  • Grave of the Fireflies  (1994)
  • As Tears Go By  (1996)

Note:  These 42 films average a 64.1.  They are slightly balanced with two terrible films (The Return of Swamp Thing, Felix the Cat) and two great films (Totoro, Grave of the Fireflies).

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