The poignant, tragic ending of Glory - my #1 film of 1989 since the day I saw it in the theater.

The poignant, tragic ending of Glory – my #1 film of 1989 since the day I saw it in the theater.

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 12 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Glory
  2. Field of Dreams
  3. Henry V
  4. Born on the Fourth of July
  5. When Harry Met Sally
  6. Say Anything
  7. Crimes and Misdemeanors  *
  8. The Little Mermaid
  9. Do the Right Thing  *
  10. My Left Foot  *
  11. Dead Poets Society  *
  12. Heathers

Analysis:  This is my favorite year in film history, partially because it was the year when I first became seriously interested in film, but also because it’s such a damn good year.  It’s not a coincidence that I own eight of these top 12 films (plus several more farther down the list – Batman, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen).  The Top 5 is tied with several other years for third best to-date.  But things stay strong outside the Top 5.  This year is tied for the third best to-date for the Top 6, is the second best for the Top 7, and then is the best to-date for the Top 8 on down.  The average of the Top 10 is 94.8, which is higher than the Top 5 average for the year before.  The Little Mermaid is the best #8 film to-date while Crimes is the best #7 film since 1946.  Though, that didn’t translate at the Oscars where they nominated and even gave the Oscar to Driving Miss Daisy (though they made very strong choices with the other four).
Yes, that’s right, Born on the Fourth of July didn’t even earn a Consensus nom for Best Picture.  It came in sixth, mainly because the critics were so divided (six awards split among five films, with only Do the Right Thing winning multiple awards) and the BAFTA going to Dead Poets Society.  That makes this the only year after 1933 in which none of my top 5 are Consensus nominees.  With Driving Miss Daisy easily winning the Consensus (Oscar, NBR, Globe – Comedy, PGA wins, BAFTA nom), it is the last winner until 2000 to fail to make my Top 10.

  • Best Director
  1. Ed Zwick  (Glory)
  2. Oliver Stone  (Born on the Fourth of July)  **
  3. Kenneth Branagh  (Henry V)  *
  4. Phil Alden Robinson  (Field of Dreams)
  5. Rob Reiner  (When Harry Met Sally)
  6. Woody Allen  (Crimes and Misdemeanors)  *
  7. Spike Lee  (Do the Right Thing)  *
  8. Tim Burton  (Batman)
  9. Peter Weir  (Dead Poets Society)  *
  10. Jim Sheridan  (My Left Foot)
  11. Gus Van Sant  (Drugstore Cowboy)
  12. Steven Soderbergh  (sex, lies and videotape)

Analysis:  Zwick is a bit of a frustrating filmmaker.  He’s had some really big hits and some films that should have been better than they were.  He’s clearly got talent, but he doesn’t always use it well.  But this time, he really hits it.  It’s ironic that for the second year in a row my Best Director winner is not one of my Top 100 and also wasn’t nominated for an Oscar – I’m not gonna look back at all the previous years, but I’ll bet it’s rare for that to happen two years in a row.  It’s too bad that Branagh, with one of the best directing debuts in film history, ends up in third.  But this is incredible because there are actually four directing debuts here: Branagh, Robinson, Sheridan and Soderbergh.  This is the end of the great streak going back to Reiner’s directing debut; though his next two films (Misery, A Few Good Men) will be very good, this is the point where things start to drop off.
With the critics awards spread out (Paul Mazursky wins New York for Enemies a Love Story, Spike Lee wins LA and Chicago, Woody Allen wins Boston, Gus Van Sant wins the NSFC and Kenneth Branagh wins the NBR), Stone has a far lower Consensus points total than any winner since and is the last director to win the Consensus without a single critics award (he wins the Oscar, DGA and Globe).
These are the only Nighthawk noms for Zwick and Robinson.  It’s the first for Branagh (obviously), the second (and last) for Reiner and the second (but not last) for Stone.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Glory
  2. Field of Dreams  *
  3. Born on the Fourth of July  *
  4. Henry V
  5. My Left Foot  *
  6. The Little Mermaid
  7. Drugstore Cowboy  **
  8. Enemies, A Love Story
  9. Batman
  10. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  11. The Mighty Quinn
  12. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

Analysis:  Oliver Stone earns his third writing nomination.
Drugstore Cowboy is the only adapted script to ever win the Consensus without an Oscar nom.  It’s the only film eligible for the WGA to win without a nomination (there have been five Consensus winners that weren’t eligible).  It does it because it wins three critics awards and because while Driving Miss Daisy won the Oscar and WGA, it didn’t even earn a Globe nom, where Born on the Fourth of July won.  Drugstore Cowboy is the first of only two scripts to win three critics awards while failing to earn an Oscar nom (Naked Lunch will do it in 1991).  My own winner, Glory, finishes in 6th at the Consensus, with WGA and Globe noms, the first film to earn both of those and not earn an Oscar nom since 1981 and only five films have done it since.
Field of Dreams is the best #2 in this category since 1959 and only the fifth second place finisher to earn my highest rating (joining The Philadelphia Story, Brief Encounter, Paths of Glory and Some Like It Hot).  Overall, this is the best Top 5 since 1957 and the third highest to-date.
At this point, I have read all of the sources except My Left Foot and Drugstore Cowboy.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. When Harry Met Sally  **
  2. Say Anything
  3. Crimes and Misdemeanors
  4. sex, lies and videotape
  5. Heathers
  6. Dead Poets Society  **
  7. Do the Right Thing
  8. Castle in the Sky
  9. The Fabulous Baker Boys
  10. Parenthood
  11. Scandal
  12. High Hopes

Analysis:  Cameron Crowe earns his first writing nomination.  Woody Allen, on the other hand, earns his 14th, moving up to 800 points.
No script wins more than one award, which is why Harry and Dead Poets tie for the Consensus win.  DPS wins the Oscar, Harry wins the BAFTA (they both earn Globe and WGA noms) and Crimes wins the WGA (the Globe went to Born on the Fourth of July).
Though this Top 5 is one point lower than the year before, it is still the third best to-date.

  • Best Actor:
  1. Daniel Day-Lewis  (My Left Foot)  **
  2. Kenneth Branagh  (Henry V)  *
  3. Tom Cruise  (Born on the Fourth of July)  *
  4. Kevin Costner  (Field of Dreams)
  5. John Cusack  (Say Anything)
  6. Matt Dillon  (Drugstore Cowboy)
  7. Jack Nicholson  (Batman)
  8. Billy Crystal  (When Harry Met Sally)
  9. Robin Williams  (Dead Poets Society)  *
  10. Morgan Freeman  (Driving Miss Daisy)  *
  11. James Spader  (sex, lies and videotape)
  12. John Hurt  (Scandal)

Analysis:  I thought Tom Cruise would win the Oscar because I was new to the Oscar game, because he had won the Globe (beating Day-Lewis, his only loss while winning the Oscar, BAFTA and four critics groups: NYFC, LAFC, NSFC, BSFC) and because I had seen Born and wouldn’t see My Left Foot until it was released on video, far after the Oscars.  But once I saw My Left Foot, I knew Day-Lewis was my winner and that it was a performance for the ages.  It wouldn’t be until 1992 or 93, though, when he would become one my favorite actors of all-time.  Branagh’s performance would immediately make him one of my favorite actors.
These are the first Nighthawk noms for Branagh, Cruise and Cusack.  It’s the second nom in a row Costner.  This is the third nom for Day-Lewis and his first win.
This is the best Top 5 in this category in seven years.  Dillon would earn a nomination in most years.  In fact, while the top four in this category have remained essentially unchanged since 1990, the fifth slot has gone to a number of people over the years, including Dillon, Nicholson, Williams, Freeman and Spader before I finally settled on Cusack several years ago.

  • Best Actress
  1. Michelle Pfeiffer  (The Fabulous Baker Boys)  **
  2. Meg Ryan  (When Harry Met Sally)
  3. Isabelle Adjani  (Camille Claudel)
  4. Winona Ryder  (Heathers)
  5. Andie MacDowell  (sex, lies and videotape)  *
  6. Kathleen Turner  (War of the Roses)
  7. Jessica Tandy  (Driving Miss Daisy)  *
  8. Jessica Lange  (Music Box)  *
  9. Holly Hunter  (Always)
  10. Isabelle Huppert  (Story of Women)
  11. Pauline Collins  (Shirley Valentine)  *
  12. Joanne Whaley-Kilmer  (Scandal)

Analysis:  These are the only nominations for Meg Ryan and Andie MacDowell, the latter of whom will never even come close to giving a performance as good as this one.  It’s the first nomination for Winona Ryder, but she will have several more in the nineties.  It’s the second nomination for Isabelle Adjani, who will again face off against Ryder in 1994.  After winning the year before for Supporting, Michelle Pfeiffer wins in lead.  This gives her two more Nighthawks than Oscars.
Michelle Pfeiffer doesn’t just win the Nighthawk.  She doesn’t just end up in the Top 10 all-time Sexiest Performances.  She wins the NYFC, LAFC, CFC, NBR and Globe (and earns Oscar and BAFTA noms).  She easily wins the Consensus noms.  Her 6 wins, 8 noms and 441 points are all the most since 1982 and will only be surpassed twice in the next decade.
This is one of those Top 5 groupings that make me doubt myself a little, as the older females who were nominated for Oscars are pushed down the list while the top 5 is scintillatingly sexy.

  • denzel-washington-glory-2Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Denzel Washington  (Glory)  *
  2. Martin Landau  (Crimes and Misdemeanors)  *
  3. Morgan Freeman  (Glory)
  4. James Earl Jones  (Field of Dreams)
  5. Danny Aiello  (Do the Right Thing)  **
  6. Sean Connery  (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)
  7. Ray Liotta  (Field of Dreams)
  8. John Mahoney  (Say Anything)
  9. Alan Alda  (Crimes and Misdemeanors)  *
  10. Hugh O’Connor  (My Left Foot)
  11. Marlon Brando  (A Dry White Season)  *
  12. Ray McAnally  (My Left Foot)

Analysis:  This is the only Nighthawk nom for Danny Aiello.  It’s the second nom for Morgan Freeman and James Earl Jones and the second in a row for Martin Landau.  It’s the third nomination for Denzel Washington.  It’s hard for me to push Connery to sixth because I love the performance so much, but I can’t deny Aiello’s place in the Top 5.

  • my-left-foot-4Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Brenda Fricker  (My Left Foot)  **
  2. Anjelica Huston  (Enemies, a Love Story)  *
  3. Lena Olin  (Enemies, a Love Story)  *
  4. Dianne Wiest  (Parenthood)
  5. Laura San Giacomo  (sex, lies and videotape)  *
  6. Julia Roberts  (Steel Magnolias)  *
  7. Bridget Fonda  (Scandal)
  8. Amy Madigan  (Field of Dreams)
  9. Carrie Fisher  (When Harry Met Sally)
  10. Anjelica Huston  (Crimes and Misdemeanors)
  11. Kathy Baker  (Jackknife)
  12. Lily Taylor  (Say Anything)

Analysis:  It’s the only nomination for Laura San Giacomo as well as the only one for Brenda Fricker.  It’s the second nomination for Wiest.  It’s the third nomination in six years for Lena Olin, and her last.  It’s the third nomination in five years for Anjelica Huston, but she will win Best Actress the next year.
My Top 6 and the Consensus Top 6 are the same – it’s just that Wiest is my #4 while she’s #6 on the Consensus list.  Fricker was the only actress to win more than one award, winning the LAFC, NSFC and the Oscar.  San Giacomo (Chicago) and Olin (New York) both won critics groups while Roberts won the Globe.  Because of differing eligibility dates, no supporting performance from this year won the BAFTA (it went to Michelle Pfeiffer for Dangerous Liaisons).
This is another instance where I didn’t enough about Oscar prognostication yet – again, I thought Julia Roberts would win the Oscar, mainly because she had won the Globe.
The Oscar score is 97.0, the best since 1974.
This is one of those categories that I use as evidence that I am not motivated by beauty or sexiness, because both Julia Roberts and Bridget Fonda miss out on nominations.

  • Best Editing:
  1. Glory
  2. Born on the Fourth of July
  3. When Harry Met Sally
  4. Field of Dreams
  5. Henry V
  6. Crimes and Misdemeanors
  7. Say Anything
  8. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  9. Dead Poets Society
  10. sex, lies and videotape
  11. Castle in the Sky
  12. Batman

Analysis:  This is the best Top 5 in this category since 1974 and tied for the second best to-date.  There won’t be a better Top 5 until 1996.
Two of the other Oscar nominees, The Fabulous Baker Boys (#16) and The Bear (#18) are further down my list but Driving Miss Daisy didn’t remotely deserve a nomination.

  • Best Cinematography:
  1. Glory  *
  2. Born on the Fourth of July  *
  3. Henry V
  4. Field of Dreams
  5. Batman
  6. Crimes and Misdemeanors
  7. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
  8. The Fabulous Baker Boys  **
  9. Do the Right Thing
  10. sex, lies and videotape
  11. Dead Poets Society
  12. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Analysis:  Freddie Francis, who was a key director for the Hammer Horror films, wins the Nighthawk here as a cinematographer.  In second place is Robert Richardson, earning his second nom.  Roger Pratt (Batman) earns his third nom.

  • Best Original Score:
  1. Glory
  2. Born on the Fourth of July
  3. Dead Poets Society
  4. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  5. The Little Mermaid
  6. Henry V
  7. Batman
  8. Heathers
  9. Field of Dreams
  10. Enemies, a Love Story
  11. Castle in the Sky
  12. Camille Claudel

Analysis:  This is, by a long way, the best Top 5 in history.  I can’t believe I’m forced to put Alan Menken’s awesome Oscar winning Score down in 5th place – it would win in a lot of years.
It’s the first nom for Alan Menken, who will quickly earn two more (he will also earn four noms and a Nighthawk for Best Original Song).  James Horner earns his third nom and second win for his amazing work on Glory, which rivals The Last of the Mohicans and The Power of One for the non-John Williams soundtrack I have listened to the most over the years.  While I had owned soundtracks before 1989 (namely Raiders), the first two soundtracks I ever bought in response to seeing a film were Glory and Born on the Fourth of July – early in 1990.  I don’t remember which I got first, and my old mixtapes are no help as one piece from Glory and the Edie Brickell version of “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” are both on the same tape, made in January 1990.  Maurice Jarre earns his 10th and final nom for his moving work on Dead Poets Society (especially the great music that concludes the film, guaranteed to make most of my generation cry, especially now that Robin Williams is dead); he finishes with 350 points and tied for 3rd place all-time.  But John Williams earns his 13th and 14th nominations and moves to 475 points and passes Max Steiner to take over 1st place all-time.  Aside from his five wins, Born on the Fourth of July is the fourth time he has come in second place.  I own the first five soundtracks listed here.

  • Best Sound:
  1. Glory
  2. Born on the Fourth of July
  3. Henry V
  4. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  5. Batman
  6. The Fabulous Baker Boys
  7. Field of Dreams
  8. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
  9. The Abyss
  10. The Little Mermaid
  11. Back to the Future Part II
  12. Casualties of War

Analysis:  This is the best Top 5 in nine years and the second best to-date.  There won’t be a better Top 5 until 2001.  The Oscars continue to do a solid job here, improving on their terrible nominations prior to this decade – the fifth Oscar nominee, Black Rain, is my #13.

  • Best Art Direction:
  1. Glory
  2. Batman
  3. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
  4. Valmont
  5. Henry V
  6. Camille Claudel
  7. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  8. Enemies, a Love Story
  9. My Left Foot
  10. Scandal
  11. Field of Dreams
  12. Heathers

Analysis:  This is the best top 5 in eight years and tied with 1980 and 1981 for the best to-date.  My winner is Glory, but I have no problems with Batman’s Oscar, especially since it was so visionary and because it was the only Oscar nom the film received.

  • Best Visual Effects
  1. The Abyss
  2. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  3. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
  4. Back to the Future Part II
  5. Batman
  6. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
  7. Licence to Kill

Analysis:  I really can’t deny this one.  James Cameron, for the second time, has a film that wins Best Visual Effects.  It’s a mediocre film, but the effects are damn good.

  • Best Sound Editing
  1. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  2. Glory
  3. Batman
  4. Back to the Future Part II
  5. Henry V
  6. The Abyss
  7. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
  8. Born on the Fourth of July
  9. Black Rain
  10. The Little Mermaid
  11. Licence to Kill
  12. Casualties of War

Analysis:  This is the best Top 5 to-date and won’t be beaten until 1997.

  • henryvBest Costume Design:
  1. Henry V
  2. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
  3. Glory
  4. Valmont
  5. Field of Dreams
  6. Camille Claudel
  7. Hanussen
  8. The Rainbow
  9. Enemies, a Love Story
  10. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  11. Driving Miss Daisy
  12. Dead Poets Society

Analysis:  The fantastic year of 1956 finally falls, as this is the best Top 5 to-date.  The Oscars got the award right and did very well with three nominees and okay with the fourth.  But Harlem Nights as the fifth nominee?  Really?  I remember that either Siskel or Ebert said it was the worst nomination of the year.  And to nominate it, they had to pass up the vintage baseball uniforms in Field of Dreams or the army uniforms in Glory.

  • baronBest Makeup
  1. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
  2. Batman
  3. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  4. Henry V
  5. Driving Miss Daisy
  6. Glory
  7. Camille Claudel

Analysis:  The third nominee was Dad, and given the Oscar for Daisy, the voters clearly were more into old-age makeup than visionary makeup (which is ironic, since I spotlight the old-age makeup in Baron in my picture).

  • Best Original Song:
  1. “Part of Your World”  (The Little Mermaid)
  2. Under the Sea”  (The Little Mermaid)
  3. All for Love”  (Say Anything)
  4. Les Poissons”  (The Little Mermaid)
  5. Kiss the Girl”  (The Little Mermaid)
  6. After All”  (Chances Are)
  7. I Love to See You Smile”  (Parenthood)
  8. UHF”  (UHF)
  9. Poor Unfortunate Souls”  (The Little Mermaid)
  10. I’m Gonna Git You Sucka”  (I’m Gonna Git You Sucka)

Analysis:  Oscars.org lists songs from different films.  It lists 166 songs from 59 different films.  I have seen 33 of those films, covering 89 songs.  I haven’t seen the two films with the most songs (Sing, Ginger Ale Afternoon).  And, bizarrely, there are more original songs from Kickboxer than from The Little Mermaid.
This Top 5 is tied for the third best to-date.  The Little Mermaid alone would be a great year – it earns more points for best Original Song than all but 4 films to this point (Mary Poppins, Help, A Hard Day’s Night, The Muppet Movie).  “Les Poissons” also includes what be my favorite line in any Disney song (“Then I stuff you with bread  /  It don’t hurt ’cause you’re dead”).  But we also have Nancy Wilson’s fantastic song that provides the closure to Say Anything in one of the all-time great ending scenes.
While “Under the Sea” has always been the big favorite, “Part of Your World” has always been my #1 song from The Little Mermaid.  While working on this post, V and I watched Waking Sleeping Beauty and the way that Howard Ashman, in archival footage, talks of the song and its place in the film and how it was almost cut, I feel even more justified in picking that song as my winner.

  • Best Animated Film:
  1. The Little Mermaid  **
  2. Castle in the Sky

Analysis:  Castle in the Sky is the first film to finish in 2nd in this category since 1947 and easily the best to-date.  It will soon be a regular thing to have second place finishers, although it won’t be until 1993 that there will be a second **** 2nd place finisher and not until 1999 for a third (all of which involve Miyazaki films).
There is finally a Consensus winner in this category.  This is the first year that the LAFC give this award.  Others will start to follow, with the first Annie being awarded in 1991, though the Consensus Awards will mostly depend on those two groups until the late 90’s.

  • cinema_paradisoBest Foreign Film:
  1. Cinema Paradiso  **
  2. The Killer
  3. Black Rain
  4. Jesus of Montreal  *
  5. Kiki’s Delivery Service
  6. Spider’s Web
  7. Camille Claudel

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

Analysis:  For the second year in a row, France doesn’t earn a nomination.  It’s the first back-to-back absences by France since 1956-57.  Instead, Italy earns its first nomination since 1981 and first win since 1974.  For the second year in a row, Japan earns two nominations (and for the second year in a row, a Miyazaki film is one of them).  Hong Kong earns its first nomination.  Canada earns its second nomination, again for a Denys Arcand film.
With his fourth nomination, Hayao Miyazaki is up to 120 points (he has two wins) and moves into the Top 10.  He earns the most points of any director in the decade, the first director other than Kurosawa or Bergman to do that since the 30’s.
Cinema Paradiso is actually the weakest winner in five years.  But Jesus of Montreal is tied for the best #4 film since 1963.
Cinema Paradiso somehow doesn’t win any critics awards, but is the first film to ever win the Oscar, Globe and BAFTA, something that won’t happen again until 2012.

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.

  • Glory  (625)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound, Art Direction, Sound Editing, Costume Design
  • Henry V   (320)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Sound, Art Direction, Sound Editing, Costume Design, Makeup
  • Field of Dreams  (265)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Costume Design
  • Born on the Fourth of July  (265)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound
  • When Harry Met Sally  (235)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actress, Editing
  • My Left Foot  (170)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Batman  (115)
    • Cinematography, Sound, Art Direction, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Makeup
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade  (115)
    • Original Score, Sound, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Makeup
  • The Little Mermaid  (115)
    • Original Score, Original Song, Original Song, Original Song, Original Song, Animated Film
  • sex, lies and videotape  (105)
    • Original Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actress
  • Say Anything  (85)
    • Original Screenplay, Actor, Original Song
  • Heathers  (75)
    • Original Screenplay, Actress
  • The Adventures of Baron Munchausen  (75)
    • Art Direction, Visual Effects, Costume Design, Makeup
  • Crimes and Misdemeanors  (70)
    • Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor
  • The Fabulous Baker Boys  (70)
    • Actress
  • Enemies, a Love Story  (60)
    • Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress
  • The Abyss  (40)
    • Visual Effects
  • Back to the Future Part II  (40)
    • Visual Effects, Sound Editing
  • Castle in the Sky  (40)
    • Animated Film, Foreign Film (1986)
  • Camille Claudel  (35)
    • Actress
  • Valmont  (35)
    • Art Direction, Costume Design
  • Do the Right Thing  (30)
    • Supporting Actor
  • Parenthood  (30)
    • Supporting Actress
  • Dead Poets Society  (25)
    • Original Score
  • Hanussen  (20)
    • Foreign Film (1988)
  • Driving Miss Daisy  (10)
    • Makeup

Analysis: A surprising lack of Foreign films.  I’m not gonna go back and check every year, but I strongly suspect My Left Foot has more points than any other film with only 3 nominations.
The winners, as a whole, are the best to-date, but they will be beaten in 1993.  The second place finishers, as a whole, are also the best to-date and will also be beaten by 1993.

Best Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • Drugstore Cowboy

Analysis:  My #16 film of the year, a high-level ***.5.  It has two Top 10 finishes, finishing 6th in Actor and 7th in Adapted Screenplay, both in very competitive categories.  But it’s only other Top 15 finish is in Director (11th).

Best Film Not to Earn a Top 10 Finish at the Nighthawk Awards:

  • The Mighty Quinn

Analysis:  My #21 film of the year, a mid-range ***.5.  It does have three Top 20 finishes: Adapted Screenplay (#11), Actor (#16) and Editing (#20), but can’t quite break the Top 10.

Biggest Awards Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • Drugstore Cowboy

Analysis:  An oddity in this place, as it also earned no nominations from the Oscars, Globes, BAFTAs or various guilds.  But it was a critics darling, winning five awards, winning Picture, Director and Screenplay at the NSFC and Screenplay in both New York and LA.  That was enough to place it fourth among the critics awards for the year.  How strange was this, by the way?  Well, only 35 films have ever won Picture, Director and Screenplay from one of the six major critics groups (though some films won it from multiple groups).  Of those 35, all but six of them were nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.  The other five were all at least nominated for Best Screenplay.  Drugstore Cowboy was only the second film to this point to not earn a Best Picture nom (Brazil was the other one – although Crimes and Misdemeanors also did it this year) and remains the only film in history to sweep the big three awards at a major critics group and fail to earn a single Oscar nomination.

Nighthawk Golden Globes:

Drama:

  • Best Picture
  1. Glory
  2. Field of Dreams
  3. Henry V
  4. Born on the Fourth of July
  5. Crimes and Misdemeanors

Analysis:  These are all **** films.  They are followed by these **** films: Do the Right Thing, My Left Foot, Dead Poets Society, Castle in the Sky, Batman and sex lies and videotape.  Then there are the ***.5, in order: Drugstore Cowboy, Hanussen, Scandal, The Mighty Quinn, The Fabulous Baker Boys, Spider’s Web and Camille Claudel.
These five films are tied for the second best in Drama to-date; they tie with 1974 and are surpassed only by 1946.

  • Best Director
  1. Ed Zwick  (Glory)
  2. Oliver Stone  (Born on the Fourth of July)
  3. Kenneth Branagh  (Henry V)
  4. Phil Alden Robinson  (Field of Dreams)
  5. Woody Allen  (Crimes and Misdemeanors)

Analysis:  This is the best Top 5 since 1973 and tied for the second best to-date.
This is the only Drama nom for Robinson and Zwick.  It’s the first for Branagh.  It’s the second for Allen, eleven years after his first.  It’s also the second for Stone.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Glory
  2. Field of Dreams
  3. Born on the Fourth of July
  4. Henry V
  5. My Left Foot

Analysis:  Oliver Stone earns his third Drama writing nom.
This is the best Top 5 in this category since 1957 and the third best to-date.
As you can see, Born on the Fourth of July won Picture – Drama, Director and Screenplay at the Globes.  It is the only film between 1974 (Chinatown) and 2005 (Brokeback Mountain) to win those three and fail to win Best Picture at the Oscars.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Crimes and Misdemeanors
  2. sex, lies and videotape
  3. Dead Poets Society
  4. Do the Right Thing
  5. Castle in the Sky

Analysis:  Hayao Miyazaki earns his second Drama writing nom.  Woody Allen earns his third Drama writing nom.

  • Daniel-Day-Lewis-as-Christy-Brown-in-My-Left-Foot-1989Best Actor:
  1. Daniel Day-Lewis  (My Left Foot)
  2. Kenneth Branagh  (Henry V)
  3. Tom Cruise  (Born on the Fourth of July)
  4. Kevin Costner  (Field of Dreams)
  5. Matt Dillon  (Drugstore Cowboy)

Analysis:  These are the only Drama noms for Costner and Dillon.  It’s the first nom for both Branagh and Cruise.  It’s already the fourth nom for Day-Lewis and his first win.
This is the best Top 5 in this category since 1974.
The Globes nominated Jack Lemmon (Dad) and Al Pacino (Sea of Love), neither of them particularly good choices.

  • The Fabulous Baker Boys 1Best Actress
  1. Michelle Pfeiffer  (The Fabulous Baker Boys)
  2. Isabelle Adjani  (Camille Claudel)
  3. Andie MacDowell  (sex, lies and videotape)
  4. Jessica Lange  (Music Box)
  5. Holly Hunter  (Always)

Analysis:  This is the only nomination for MacDowell.  It’s the first Drama nom for Holly Hunter (who already has a Comedy win).  It’s the second nom for Adjani, 14 years after her first.  It’s the third nomination for Lange.  It’s the second win in a row for Pfeiffer, who won in Supporting the year before.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Denzel Washington  (Glory)
  2. Martin Landau  (Crimes and Misdemeanors)
  3. Morgan Freeman  (Glory)
  4. James Earl Jones  (Field of Dreams)
  5. Danny Aiello  (Do the Right Thing)

Analysis:  This is the only Drama nom for Aiello and Landau.  It’s the second nom for Freeman.  It’s the third nomination for Washington and his only win.  It’s the fourth nomination for Jones.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Brenda Fricker  (My Left Foot)
  2. Laura San Giacomo  (sex, lies and videotape)
  3. Julia Roberts  (Steel Magnolias)
  4. Bridget Fonda  (Scandal)
  5. Amy Madigan  (Field of Dreams)

Analysis:  Of these five actresses, only Julia Roberts will receive another Drama nomination and it won’t happen until the 00’s.

Points:

  • Glory  (360)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor
  • Field of Dreams  (230)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Crimes and Misdemeanors  (205)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor
  • Henry V  (170)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor
  • Born on the Fourth of July  (170)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor
  • My Left Foot  (170)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actress
  • sex, lies and videotape  (105)
    • Original Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actress
  • Do the Right Thing  (70)
    • Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor
  • The Fabulous Baker Boys  (70)
    • Actress
  • Dead Poets Society  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • Castle in the Sky  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • Drugstore Cowboy  (35)
    • Actor
  • Camille Claudel  (35)
    • Actress
  • Always  (35)
    • Actress
  • Music Box  (35)
    • Actress
  • Scandal  (30)
    • Supporting Actress
  • Steel Magnolias  (30)
    • Supporting Actress

Analysis:  The major categories (Picture, Director, writing), set a new high, finally toppling the great year of 1946.  The acting, as a whole, is the best since 1974 and tied for third best to-date.  The winners, on average, are the best since 1974.

Best Drama Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • Batman

Analysis:  This #16 film of the year and #9 Drama.  It also came in 6th in Actor – Drama, but got not higher than that.  At the Globes, of course, it was considered a Comedy and if I had done that, it would have earned nominations, but it’s not a Comedy.

Comedy / Musical:

  • Best Picture
  1. When Harry Met Sally
  2. Say Anything
  3. The Little Mermaid
  4. Heathers
  5. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Analysis:  Aside from these Top 5 (the top four are ****), the rest of the ***.5 films are, in order, Enemies a Love Story, Parenthood and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.  None of those earned Globe noms for Picture, as they were passed over for Driving Miss Daisy, War of the Roses and Shirley Valentine.
The Top 5 are slightly weaker than each of the previous two years (mainly because there are only four **** films), but it’s still good enough for 6th best to-date.
The Little Mermaid was the first animated film to earn a Globe nomination for Picture, something which would happen on and off for the next 15 years before the Globes would create the Best Animated Film category and disallow them from the regular Picture awards.

  • Best Director
  1. Rob Reiner  (When Harry Met Sally)
  2. Steven Spielberg  (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)
  3. Terry Gilliam  (The Adventures of Baron Munchausen)
  4. Cameron Crowe  (Say Anything)
  5. Michael Lehmann  (Heathers)

Analysis:  This is the only Comedy nom (or any nom) for Michael Lehmann whose career outside of Heathers is pretty undistinguished.  It’s the first for Crowe, in his directing debut.  It’s the second for Spielberg, who has a win in this category.  It’s the third (and final) one for Reiner.  It’s also the third for Gilliam, who will win this award in two years.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. The Little Mermaid
  2. Enemies, A Love Story
  3. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  4. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
  5. War of the Roses
  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. When Harry Met Sally
  2. Say Anything
  3. Heathers
  4. Parenthood

Analysis:  Cameron Crowe earns his second Comedy nom with one of the best scripts ever not to win in this category.

  • sayanythingBest Actor:
  1. John Cusack  (Say Anything)
  2. Billy Crystal  (When Harry Met Sally)
  3. Morgan Freeman  (Driving Miss Daisy)
  4. Steve Martin  (Parenthood)
  5. Ron Silver  (Enemies, a Love Story)

Analysis:  These are the only Comedy noms for Crystal, Freeman and Silver.  It’s the first for Cusack.  For Martin, though, it’s the end to an amazing decade.  It’s his sixth nomination in nine years, but with no wins, he’s only at 205 points, not enough to make the Top 10.
The Globes, rather famously, nominated Jack Nicholson for Batman.  How did they see that film as a Comedy?  Did they watch it?

  • sallyBest Actress
  1. Meg Ryan  (When Harry Met Sally)
  2. Winona Ryder  (Heathers)
  3. Kathleen Turner  (War of the Roses)
  4. Jessica Tandy  (Driving Miss Daisy)
  5. Pauline Collins  (Shirley Valentine)

Analysis:  This is the only Comedy nom for Collins.  It’s the first nom for Tandy and Ryan.  It’s the third nom for in four years for Ryder, but the last of her Comedy noms.  It’s the fourth nom for Turner, who has earned 210 points in just six years, moving her into 8th all-time in Comedy.
Though slightly weaker than the year before, this is still the second best Top 5 to-date.
The final Globe nominee was Meryl Streep for She-Devil, which shows how much the Globes love Streep, nominating her for that.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Sean Connery  (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)
  2. John Mahoney  (Say Anything)
  3. Bruno Kirby  (When Harry Met Sally)
  4. Dan Aykroyd  (Driving Miss Daisy)
  5. Jason Robards  (Parenthood)

Analysis:  These are the only Comedy noms (or any noms) for Aykroyd and Kirby.  It’s the only Comedy nom for Connery.  It’s the first for Mahoney, who barely missed out on one in 1987 for Moonstruck.  It’s the third nom for Robards.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Anjelica Huston  (Enemies, a Love Story)
  2. Lena Olin  (Enemies, a Love Story)
  3. Dianne Wiest  (Parenthood)
  4. Carrie Fisher  (When Harry Met Sally)
  5. Lily Taylor  (Say Anything)

Analysis:  These are the only Comedy noms for Olin and Taylor.  It’s the second nom for Fisher.  It’s the third nom for Wiest in four years.  It’s the second win for Huston.
Like with Actress, this category is slightly weaker than the year before; still, the Top 5 is good enough for third best to-date.

Points:

  • When Harry Met Sally  (340)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor
  • Say Anything  (335)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade  (190)
    • Picture, Original Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor
  • Heathers  (185)
    • Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Enemies, a Love Story  (170)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actress
  • Parenthood  (145)
    • Director, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • The Little Mermaid  (135)
    • Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Driving Miss Daisy  (110)
    • Director, Actor, Supporting Actress
  • The Adventures of Baron Munchausen  (65)
    • Actress, Supporting Actress
  • War of the Roses  (40)
    • Adapted Screenplay
  • Shirley Valentine  (35)
    • Actor

Analysis:  For the second year, there are only 11 films, an oddity with almost all of the categories filled.  When Harry Met Sally has the most points in three years, Drama or Comedy.
The acting, as a whole, is weaker than each of the two previous years; yet, that is still good enough for third best to-date.

Best Comedy Not Nominated for any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • Back to the Future Part II

Analysis:  The #38 film of the year, but the #10 Comedy, a high-range ***.  It wasn’t even on my list in any of the Globe categories.

Roundup for the Year in Film:

Eligible Films I Have Seen:  172

By Stars:

  • ****:  15
  • ***.5:  11
  • ***:  71
  • **.5:  38
  • **:  16
  • *.5:  4
  • *:  11
  • .5:  6
  • 0:  0
  • Average Film Score for the Year, out of 100:  60.06

Analysis:  Bizarrely, the exact same average as the year before.  It has the most **** films in a year to-date (and will be tied twice, but not beaten until 1999).  But, also the ***.5 and *** films are down while **.5 films are up.

My Year at the Theater

Introduction:  I didn’t go to the movies a lot as a kid.  With five kids, that was an expensive night out for our family.  There were certain films I saw (Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Clash of the Titans, E.T., Star Trek II, Superman II, Return of the Jedi, Star Trek III, Star Trek IV, Karate Kid II, Roxanne) that I remember in the theaters as a kid.  But, in 1988, I saw only one film in the theater (Who Framed Roger Rabbit).  Two things happened in early 1989 though, that changed things for me.  The first was that I started to grow interested in film as an art form as well as obsessed with the Academy Awards (OCD was already kicking in though I wouldn’t realize it for over 15 years).  The second, was that I realized I could bike down the Santa Ana River Bike Trail to the Century Cinedome or over to the Orange Mall.  I had stopped collecting baseball cards, Star Wars figures were no longer being released and I had cut back a bit on my comic collecting, so money that used to go to other things could now pay for me to go the movies.  So, I went to see Rain Man at the Cinedome (the first of 17 consecutive Best Picture winners I would see in the theater).  Then, Jay Weiland and I went to see Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure at the Orange Mall.  When the summer movie season came around, there was a whole group of us that went to see Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Star Trek V (me, Jay, John Ramirez, Scott Steiner, Sean Adrean).  After that, I was off and running.
So, what is this?  Well, these Nighthawk Awards are also a reflection of the films I have seen.  So, here are the films I actually saw in the theater back in 1989.  I will try to put them in chronological order based on release date, even if I didn’t see them that weekend.

  • Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure  –  I thought this silly then (I did like when Socrates had the line about the days of our lives) and I think it stupid now.  Began my lifelong dislike of Keanu Reeves.
  • Major League  –  I must have seen this on its third or fourth weekend, because I saw it the same day as Field of Dreams.  Somewhat funny, but I saw it more because of my love for baseball than anything else (and the best line – “That ball wouldn’t have been out of a lot of parks.”  “Name one.”  “Yellowstone.” wasn’t even in the film – it was cut and ended up in the sequel).
  • Field of Dreams  –  Thought it one of the best films I had ever seen, and given how high it still sits, I was right.
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade  –  Kicked off the summer movie season.  Loved it, and still love it.  Great fun at the theater with friends.
  • Dead Poets Society  –  I didn’t actually see this until late in the run, in the fall.  Absolutely loved it.  It became one of my favorite movies and though I now rank it as lower ****, I still love it with a fierce passion.  Helped inspire my interest in poetry, which I was very lukewarm on before seeing this.
  • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier  –  Just wrote a whole review of it.  I liked it better than a lot of people, but I understand how mediocre it is.
  • IMG_1461Batman  –  Opened just after school got out.  Jay and I were there an hour and a half before it started on opening day.  I saw it, I think, three times in the theater.  On the right, is a picture of what my bedroom looked like at the time.  God damn, I was excited to have a superhero film coming out, and especially for it to be as good as it was.
  • The Karate Kid Part III  –  Terrible.  They had once again dropped the girl, the plot was stupid and it was just bad.  I don’t know why I went to see this.
  • Lethal Weapon 2  –  Rated R, so my older sister went with me so I could see it.  During the topless sex scene, I felt as awkward as I had ever felt up to that point, but I had not yet seen Blue Velvet with my mom.
  • Parenthood  –  Speaking of awkward, I would, years later, be watching this film at my parents house with my grandparents there.  When the vibrator scene was about to come on, I fled the room to avoid that awkwardness.  Loved this in the theater and was surprised when it wasn’t a major Oscar contender.  I still had a lot to learn about the Oscars.  Today, I think of this as a mid-range ***.5.
  • Back to the Future Part II  –  I liked this more than all of my friends, who were turned off by the darkness of it.  Being a comic book guy, I loved the whole alternate reality aspect of the alternate 1985.
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation  –  Why did I see this?  I had only seen parts of the first one and I still have never seen the second.  I’m pretty sure my friend Cody talked me into this.  I thought it was dumb and still think it’s terrible – I rate it at ** and below Bill and Ted.
  • Glory  –  Though a 1989 release, I distinctly remember seeing this on MLK Day in 1990 at the then newly opened Cinemapolis in Anaheim (another theater I could bike to).  After all this time, obviously still my #1 film of the year.
  • Driving Miss Daisy  –  I didn’t see this until around the time of the Oscars, also at Cinemapolis with my younger sister and parents.  I was stunned it won.  Still stunned.
  • Born on the Fourth of July  –  Got around the rating by having my dad buy the tickets for me and Jay on opening weekend.  I totally thought this would win Best Picture (even though it was never higher than second for me behind Field of Dreams and dropped to third once I saw Glory) and couldn’t believe it when stupid Driving Miss Daisy won.
  • Tango & Cash  –  Sean talked us into this one.  It was a dumb action flick then and still is now (I assume – haven’t ever bothered to see it again).  The main thing I remember about it was it was the first place I heard the acronym FUBAR.

Endnote:  Clearly my taste wasn’t quite up to par yet, as only six of these films currently rank in my Top 20 for the year.  But, I did see three of my current top four, four of the five Oscar nominees and seven of the Top 10 box office films.

Oscar-Nominated Films I Have Not Seen:

  • none

Oscar Quality:

Best Picture:  Ranks at #25 all-time.  There were four great films for the fourth time in the decade.  Unfortunately, however they gave the Oscar to the fifth film.  Driving Miss Daisy, as a film itself, is only the weakest pick in four years, thanks to Out of Africa.  But, when looking at my rating of Daisy (65), in comparison to the average nominee from this year (87.4), it is 22.4 points below the average, just beating Out of Africa, and thus, on one level, is the worst choice since 1952.  Even today, while I only rank it as the eighth weakest film to win, it is, on that level, the third worst film to win in relation to the other nominees, only beating out The Greatest Show on Earth and Braveheart.  This year is the fourth best of the decade, but better than any year prior to 1972.

The Winners:  Among the nominees, the winners do pretty well, averaging a 1.95, better than each of the two previous years.  In only five categories does the Academy not pick the best or second best choice, including three won by Driving Miss Daisy (Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Actress) as well as Screenplay and Original Score.  In 11 cases, the Academy made the best choice of the nominees, the most times in five years.  Among all films, the average is much worse, a 7.21, though if you take out Daisy‘s 78th place finish in Best Picture, the average drops to 3.28, a considerable improvement over the previous two years.  Adapted Screenplay is the only category aside from Picture where the winner falls outside my Top 7 and nine times I agree with the winner while another four times the winner is my #2.

The Nominees:  The overall score is a drop from the year before, but at 75.7 is still better than any year prior to 1982.  The drop comes because the Tech categories dip to 71.1 with only Visual Effects scoring higher than an 82.  While only Supporting Actress among the acting breaks 90 (97.1), all four categories are over 80 for the second year in a row.  The major categories are a strong 75.2, the best in three years, with Director and Original Screenplay both breaking 80.

Golden Globe Best Picture – Comedy / Musical:  This is a sharp drop from the year before, down to #24 from #11.  The Globes compound the sin by giving the award to Driving Miss Daisy, the weakest winner in 15 years and one of the weakest ever.  There are two decent films that weren’t good enough to earn nominations (Shirley Collins, The War of the Roses) but the year is saved from bottoming out by the two great nominees (When Harry Met Sally, The Little Mermaid).  Aside from passing over Batman, which they oddly considered a Comedy, the Globes had numerous other options to go with that could have made this year so much better: Say Anything, Heathers, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Enemies a Love Story, Parenthood, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.  Even if the only substitution you make is Parenthood (which was nominated for Actor) instead of Shirley Valentine, you go up to #15 and if you also put in Batman instead of War of the Roses (leaving the mediocre winner intact), you go up to #11.  This is just a year of lost opportunities for the Globes, though it is much better than what will come the next year, although there wouldn’t be nearly as much to work with.  One last note: I mention above how bad Daisy is in relation to the other nominees for Best Picture at the Oscars.  At the Globes, it’s the third weakest relative to the other nominees, 14 points below the average nominee.  But that’s actually a point and a half improvement over the Globes picking Working Girl the year before, though it’s still bad enough for third worst ever (Mrs. Doubtfire beats them both).

Top 5 Films of the Year:

glory_ver1

History can come to life and be moving, 125 years later.

1  –  Glory  (dir. Ed Zwick)

Two men stand together and talk.  They are both soldiers, one of them an officer and the other an enlisted man.  Their lives have been starkly different up until this point, where their lives have been swept together by the wave of history and change.  The officer has lived a life of privilege and grace, protected by one of the richest families in Boston and educated at the best schools.  In spite of that, he has already fought and nearly died at Antietam, still one of the bloodiest days in American history.  He is no stranger to misery or death and he knows that one or both probably lie ahead of him in the not-so-distant future.  He is white.  The enlisted man has lived a life of grief and horror.  He has scars across his back from his days as a plantation slave.  He is black.  The officer is fighting because he knows it is the right thing to do.  He can not sit in his big house in Boston and watch good men die and other good men be beaten and sit back and do nothing.  So he will put his life forth in this cause.  The enlisted man has no such choice, and that becomes clear in their conversation.  “I ain’t fightin’ this war for you, sir,” he tells the officer.  He explains that there is no point, that when the war is over, the officer will just go back to Boston and what will the black men get?  “Well, you won’t get anything if we lose.”  Perhaps that is the point, right there.  The white officer fights because he feels he must.  The black enlisted man fights because he knows he must.  Yet, here, in this moment they fight together, and in the final moments of the film, they will die together and lie in an unmarked pit together and eventually, as time washes away the flesh, no one will be able to tell difference between the men.

This exchange is part of the reason the film is told the way it is.  It has received criticism for the use of a white actor in a lead role of the story of the first black regiment.  Part of the reason for that, of course, is that the regiment was commanded by whites because blacks weren’t allowed to be officers.  But it also works for storytelling purposes.  These men are learning from each other.  The black man is learning that the white man is already a soldier, has already done his time on the battlefield and doesn’t need to be there.  The white man is learning that he is fighting for something beyond his vale of experience.  They both need each other.

That scene is not part of the historical record.  The story told in Glory is the real life story of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, the now famous regiment which is honored by one of the most glorious works of art in the city of Boston, the bas-relief at the top of Boston Common, directly across from the State House.  But, aside from Robert Gould Shaw, not much is known about the individual members of the regiment.  So the writer Kevin Jarre had a chance to bring the story vividly to life with things that seem all too familiar: the blacks getting short-changed on supplies, getting passed over for officer positions, receiving less pay.  But we also have white officers who think they are getting a chance at fame and glory and learn something much more about their men and themselves.  One of the most gut-wrenching scenes is when Trip, the black man described in the first paragraph, is ordered to be whipped because he went AWOL (he was looking for shoes that would fit).  It is the regulation and they can’t do anything about it, but when his shirt is removed and all the men present see the scars present from when he was a slave.  A tear rolls down his cheek because he can only endure so much physical pain, but he refuses to cry out because his pride and hate are too ingrained into his system.

This film was blessed from the start with great production values.  It would win three Oscars, including Cinematography and Sound.  It would also be nominated for its Art Direction and Editing.  In my opinion, it deserved to win all of those, and more importantly, to win for Best Original Score.  In what might be the best year in the history of the category, it has the best original music, with James Horner providing a moving and soaring score.  I bought the soundtrack on tape within a week of seeing the film and I bought it on CD about five years later and have listened to it a massive number of times over the years.  It never fails to move me.

But all of that might not have amounted to much had it not been for the cast.  Yes, Matthew Broderick and Cary Elwes give solid performances as the privileged white men who are willing to lead a regiment of blacks.  But the powerhouse performances belong to Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman.  Washington would, years later, win Best Actor for one of the worst performances in Oscar history.  But I think his Oscar here is one of the best in the Supporting Actor category’s history.  He provides the right measure of intensity, of sarcasm and nastiness, and when it requires it, hope and determination.  He has never been better on film than in this film and when you look at his career, that’s saying quite a bit.  But there is also Morgan Freeman, who was passed over as people fussed over his performance in Driving Miss Daisy.  I think he’s much better here, especially the scene where he slaps Trip across the face and sets him straight on what the officers have sacrificed to be there.

I can say no more higher praise than that this film genuinely moves me every time I watch it.  Between the stirring music, the magnificent performances, the attention to detail in its history, the pathos of the story of men willing to sacrifice their lives to end the abomination of slavery, when the ending comes, I know that it will only be in tragedy and yet I watch on, waiting for that shot of the bas-relief that moves me so much.

2  –  Field of Dreams  (reviewed here)

I asked for this film for five straight years for my birthday and Christmas until I finally got it for my 21st birthday.

I asked for this film for five straight years for my birthday and Christmas until I finally got it for my 21st birthday.

3  –  Henry V  (dir. Kenneth Branagh)

Think of the scene in Dead Poets Society, another film from this year, where Robin Williams talks about Shakespeare (or, for those with limited imaginations or memories, you could watch it).  With Laurence Olivier not having directed a Shakespeare film in over 30 years, it’s likely the view of American kids on Shakespeare in the late 80’s wasn’t so dissimilar to those in the 50’s (not all of us got to do Shakespeare in sixth grade and be won over for life).  Shakespeare was still on screen in the 80’s (directors as diverse as Mazursky, Kurosawa, Zeffirelli and Godard would all make Shakespeare films in the decade) but it wasn’t attracting much interest (other than Kurosawa, who wasn’t using the language).  Then came Kenneth Branagh, leaping off the stage in the RSC and bringing a cast of Shakespearian greats with him.  This was Shakespeare as he had never been seen on film before.  That’s not just hyperbole.  I’ve seen 76 films that are listed in my spreadsheet with a subgenre of Shakespeare.  This is the only one in which the primary genre is War.

That isn’t an accident.  Branagh watched a number of War films before making his directorial debut and it clearly shows.  While this film is graced with the language of the Bard, it is also wrought with the history of bloody conflicts brought to the big screen.  His Henry doesn’t just seek out his men by firelight to discover with they think and then rouse them with one of the great speeches in dramatic history.  He crawls through the mud with them, risking his life on the field, sword drawn, looking for glory and not shying away from death.  His picture is dark and gritty where Olivier’s was bold and bright.  It is the Henry for Thatcher’s England, in the aftermath of the coal strikes and the Falklands in the same way that Olivier’s was meant to rouse the people into banding together against the darkness of the Nazis.

Branagh, who has been one of my favorite actors since the first time I saw this film (I’m not kidding above when I say that I asked for this film for five straight years and refused to go buy it myself, determined that someone would give it to me – by the time I finally got it, I also owned his Dead Again and Much Ado About Nothing).  His acting career has never quite achieved Olivier’s heights, though he has deserved more than just the two Oscar nominations he has received.  But, he already proved himself Olivier’s equal behind the screen with his debut.  He knows exactly how to make use of the camera, how to position things for the speeches, how to utilize his troupe of actors (with Derek Jacobi, Brian Blessed and Richard Briers, a better troupe than Olivier had working consistently with him).  What’s more, he makes brilliant use of the last bit of Henry IV, bringing in the spirit of Falstaff and reminding us of the price that Henry paid in making the transition from Prince Hal to king.  Since both Ran and West Side Story don’t use Shakespeare’s language, this rivals Chimes at Midnight for the single best true Shakespeare adaptation.

4  –  Born on the Fourth of July  (reviewed here)

"You made a woman meow?" I know the line is coming and it still makes me laugh, which pretty much describes the whole film.

“You made a woman meow?” I know the line is coming and it still makes me laugh, which pretty much describes the whole film.

5  –  When Harry Met Sally…  (dir. Rob Reiner)

Romance is about emotions.  Comedy is about timing.  A truly great romantic comedy must find a way to make those two things come together in a way so that one doesn’t overshadow the other.  Breakfast at Tiffany’s, for example, is a better romance than a Comedy.  His Girl Friday works better with the Comedy.  Few films make both parts work so well as does When Harry Met Sally.

Everyone knows about certain scenes in film history, even if you’ve never seen the film, so there’s no need to discuss the orgasm scene, even if it is one of the funniest things ever put on film (even better when you listen to the Commentary and hear Rob Reiner explaining how, in disbelief, he asked a roomful of women if they had ever faked an orgasm and they all said yes).  Let’s instead look at another scene – the one where Harry and his friend Jess are at batting cages.  Harry is explaining how he feels free with Sally, how he can be relaxed and talk to her.  He explains how he made a woman meow (“You made a woman meow” Jess asks) and then talks about how things are different with Sally.  We get the romance there, even without Sally on the scene, as we understand why Harry feels so at ease with her and has fallen in love with her even if he either doesn’t know it or doesn’t want to admit it.  Only after that, do we get the payoff line, Jess’s complete disbelief as he says it again: “You made a woman meow?”  It’s a perfect example of how to get the laugh without interrupting the timing or the emotions.

This film also does a magnificent job of dealing with another issue that can come up: the disparity level between looks (and age).  There is a problem with romantic comedies in that they often pair a man with a woman who should, by all rights, be out of his league (let’s call this the Jason Segal Rule, as he has, between film and television, been paired off with Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Alyson Hannigan, Amy Adams and Cameron Diaz – none of those are remotely possible).  Meg Ryan in this film is extremely cute.  Billy Crystal is not nearly as attractive and is clearly older (they both leave the University of Chicago together, but I have always assumed that Crystal has just finished grad school – there’s nothing in the film that’s explicit that he is just graduating).  When Crystal first tries hitting on her during the trip, he fails.  Things only work later because they find themselves being friends first and then, slowly, developing into a couple.  They are actually in love with each other before romance finds its way to them.

That’s part of what makes this such a complete film and why later films where screenwriter Nora Ephron tries to rekindle this magic using Meg Ryan (Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail) are so disappointing.  This is one of the great romantic comedies of all-time because it is so well-written on every level.  Yes, it also has two great lead performances, two hilarious supporting performances from Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher and perfect comic direction from Rob Reiner.  But it’s such a winner because it so perfectly finds that balance between romance and comedy.

The Razzies:  This is one of those years where the Razzies decided to attack a disappointing film rather than a truly bad one.  I’ve seen over 60 films from this year that I think are worse than Star Trek V.  It is, far and away, the best of the five films nominated.  Two of the five even make my 5 Worst Films (Speed Zone, Lock Up).  The other two were bad (Karate Kid III, Road House), but not anywhere close to the worst films of the year.  Overall, the five nominees average a 29.6, which is far too high for the Razzies.  Given that Her Alibi was nominated for Worst Actress but not Picture and that Wired wasn’t nominated for anything, to attack Star Trek is just silly.

5 Worst Films  (#1 being the worst):

  1. Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects
  2. Wired
  3. To Die For
  4. Speed Zone
  5. Lock Up

note:  The other .5 film is Weekend at Bernie’s.
Here is my list of Presumably Crappy Films That I Can’t Confirm are Crappy Because I Haven’t Actually Seen Them:  Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives, Fletch Lives, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Loverboy, Old Gringo, Pink Cadillac, Police Academy 6: City Under Siege, Rude Awakening, She’s Out of Control, Troop Beverly Hills.

Thankfully, the last shitty Charles Bronson film for me to review in this slot.

Thankfully, the last shitty Charles Bronson film for me to review in this slot.

Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects  (dir. J. Lee Thompson)

I think Michael Curtiz was what prompted me down this road.  Curtiz, a great director, directed over 100 films.  I was missing a lot when I wrote that post on him.  So, I decided I needed to try and track down as many of his films as possible.  Then it became all about tracking down as many films as possible from every director ever nominated for an Oscar so I could rank them all.  That lead me to some really bad films, most notably the several collaborations between J. Lee Thompson (once an Oscar nominee) and Charles Bronson (who once was a star in great films like The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape).  Thankfully, this was the last film directed by Thompson, so I am done reviewing them.

Bronson had been a viable star once in action films, but after he made Death Wish in 1974, he seemed to go down the proto-fascist path, starring in films that made Dirty Harry look like an upright, rule-following cop.  That would eventually lead to the collaborations with Thompson covering the last half of the 80’s, a couple of which I have already reviewed as the worst film of the year.  How to describe these films?  Well, I think they’re probably Rudy Giuliani’s favorite films.  The way he talks about crime and the way he fails to understand race and what he wants to do with law enforcement all seem to come from films like this.  It’s people like him who don’t seem to understand that, first of all, crime has vastly changed in this country (and gone down), and that second, it’s in our country’s moral interests to go about making improvements the right way rather than just bullying our way through without rules the way Bronson does in this and other films.

What is this particular film about?  Well, it’s about child prostitution and about violence and crime that goes unpunished and how about different cultures interact with each other in the great melting pot of a country I live in.  But, with a star that is too old, with acting that barely qualifies for the word, with a storyline that embraces the trash which this film represents, with feeling on Japanese culture that are racist in a way that is embarrassing to even watch.

I’ll put things this way.  If you watched the speeches at the RNC and you embraced those feelings of fear that they spewed forth, then maybe this is a film for you.  If not, then it’s probably not.  And if you don’t like the politics of that statement, well, hey, this is a film that demeans women and demeans other races, and so does the current Republican candidate, so maybe I’m not the problem here.

Points:

  • Most Nighthawk Nominations:   Glory  (12)
  • Most Nighthawk Awards:  Glory  (9)
  • Most Nighthawk Points:  Glory  (625)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Award:  The Abyss
  • 2nd Place Award:  Born on the Fourth of July  (Director, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound)
  • 6th Place Award:  Crimes and Misdemeanors  (Director, Editing, Cinematography)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Nominations:  Field of Dreams  (6)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Awards:  Glory  (4)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Points:  Glory  (360)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Drama Award:  Music Box
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Nominations:   When Harry Met Sally  (7)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Awards:   When Harry Met Sally  (4)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Points:   When Harry Met Sally  (435)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Comedy Award:  Driving Miss Daisy

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:  73 (30)  –  Field of Dreams  (64.9)
  • Foreign:  42  –  Castle in the Sky  (66.7)
  • Comedy:  38 (1)  –  When Harry Met Sally  (56.5)
  • War:  8 (2)  –  Glory  (76.5)
  • Action:  8  –  Batman  (48.5)
  • Kids:  7 (3)  –  The Little Mermaid  (63.9)
  • Musical:  7 (3)  –  The Music Teacher  (60.3)
  • Horror:  7 (1)  –  Vampire’s Kiss  (35.8)
  • Suspense:  6  –  Dead Calm  (61.7)
  • Sci-Fi:  6  –  The Abyss  (43.7)
  • Fantasy:  4 (2)  –  Castle in the Sky  (75)
  • Mystery:  3  –  The Mighty Quinn  (41.3)
  • Crime:  2 (1)  –  Family Business  (52.5)
  • Adventure:  2  –  Iguana  (52)
  • Western:  0

Analysis:  The Dramas are a lower percentage than the year before, but still, at 42.44%, higher than most years in this era.  The non-genre films (Drama, Comedy, Musical) make up 68.6% of all the films, the highest since 1980.  There are only 7 Horror films, the lowest since 1982 and tied for the lowest since 1967.  The 8 War films are the most since 1968.  The Fantasy films have their highest average (for a year with more than one film) since 1926.  Horror films have their lowest average since 1981.  Mystery films have their lowest average to-date.  Sci-Fi has its lowest average since 1980.  Between Horror and Sci-Fi, there are 13 films, none of which even reach ***.
The Little Mermaid is the first Kids film in the Top 10 since 1979 and the first even in the Top 20 since 1981.  After having it happen only twice prior to 1987, for the second time in three years, there are three War films in the Top 10 (in fact, there are three in the top 4) and they cover three different wars.  For the first time in five years and only the second time since 1945, no Foreign films make the Top 10.  For the first time in eight years and only the fifth time ever, there are two Fantasy films in the Top 20.  There are only two Foreign Films in the Top 20, tied for the fewest since 1953.  Glory becomes the fifth War film to win the Nighthawk, covering four different wars (two from World War I and one each for the Civil War, World War II and Vietnam).

Studio Note:  For the third time in four years, Orion leads the way, this time with 14 films.  It’s followed by Warner Bros with 13 films.  There are also 11 from TriStar, the last time it will be in double digits for me.  Miramax has three films, the last time it will be fewer than 10 until after the Weinsteins leave.  The major studios account for 41.52% of the films I’ve seen, the highest in five years.  But, except for Universal (70.6 average), most of them are pretty bad, with MGM/UA averaging a terrible 47.6.
Miramax has a tremendous average (87.0), with all three films in the Top 19 (My Left Foot, sex lies and videotape, Scandal).  It’s the start of an amazing streak, where in 7 of the next 8 years, Miramax will have at least 3 Top 20 films.  The only other studio with 3 Top 20 films is Universal, which actually has three of the Top 9 (Field of Dreams, Born on the Fourth of July, Do the Right Thing); its especially impressive since Universal only had 3 Top 10 films in the previous six years combined.  For the first time since 1941 and only the second time to-date, Disney has two films in the Top 20 (actually, two in the Top 11: The Little Mermaid and Dead Poets Society).  But, for the first time since 1982, Warner Bros only has one Top 20 film (Batman).  But the overall winner, Glory is a TriStar film, the only film from the studio to ever win the Nighthawk.

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

  1. The Little Mermaid  (****, Clements / Musker, Disney)
  2. Castle in the Sky  (****, Miyazaki, Ghibli (Streamline))
  3. Journey to Melonia  (***, Ahlin, Svenska)
  4. Asterix and the Big Fight  (***, Grimond, Gaumont)
  5. Babar: The Movie  (**.5, Bunce, New Line)
  6. All Dogs Go to Heaven  (**.5, Bluth, United Artists)
  7. Willy the Sparrow  (**, Gemes, Budapest Film)
  8. Alice  (**, Svankmajer, First Run Features)

Note:  Oscars.org only lists five films, one of which (Futuropolis) is a short and thus not counted on my lists.  The films not listed by oscars.org are Castle in the Sky, Journey to Melonia, Asterix and the Big Fight and Willy the Sparrow.
Castle in the Sky is the first of several Japanese animated films released in the U.S. through Streamline Pictures and the only one that will actually earn a Nighthawk nomination, although, given that Akira and Fist of the North Star will also be released by Streamline, that may cause some shouting in later years.

51 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):

  • La Amiga  (Meerapfel, Argentina)  *
  • Asterix and the Big Fight  (Grimond, France)
  • Baxter  (Boivin, France)
  • The Bear  (Annaud, France)
  • The Birth of New China  (Li, China)  *
  • Black Rain  (Imamura, Japan)
  • Camille Claudel  (Nuytten, France)  **
  • The Cannibals  (de Oliveira, Portugal)  *
  • Cinema Paradiso  (Tornatore, Italy)  ***
  • A City of Sadness  (Hou, Taiwan)  *
  • City Zero  (Shakhnazarov, USSR)  *
  • Don’t Let Them Shoot the Kite  (Basaran, Turkey)  *
  • Dreams of Hind and Camilia  (Khan, Egypt)
  • Ek Din Achanak  (Sen, India)
  • An Enemy of the People  (Ray, India)
  • Freeze Die Come to Life  (Kanevsky, USSR)
  • A Handful of Time  (Asphaug, Norway)  *
  • The Icicle Thief  (Nichetti, Italy)
  • Jesus of Montreal  (Arcand, Canada)  **
  • Journey to Melonia  (Ahlin, Sweden)
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service  (Miyazaki, Japan)
  • The Killer  (Woo, Hong Kong)
  • Kornblumenblau  (Wosiewicz, Poland)  *
  • Landscape in the Midst (Angelopoulos, Greece)  *
  • Life and Nothing But  (Tavernier, France)
  • Love Without Pity  (Rochant, France)
  • Mama, There’s a Man in Your Bed  (Serreau, France)
  • Mapantsula  (Schmitz, South Africa)  *
  • Monsieur Hire  (LeConte, France)
  • My 20th Century  (Enyedi, Hungary)  *
  • One of Us  (Barbash, Israel)  *
  • Painted Faces  (Law, Hong Kong)  *
  • Parinda  (Chopra, India)  *
  • Rikyu  (Teshigahara, Japan)  *
  • Santa Sangre  (Jodorowsky, Mexico)
  • The Seventh Continent  (Haneke, Austria)  *
  • Spider’s Web  (Wicki, West Germany)  *
  • Supporting Roles  (Rojas, Cuba)  *
  • Tetsuo: The Iron Man  (Tsukamoto, Japan)
  • Those Who Pay With Their Lives  (Marinescu, Romania)  *
  • Tilai  (Ouedraogo, Burkina Faso)
  • Time of the Gypsies  (Kusturica, Yugoslavia)  *
  • Time of Violence  (Staikov, Bulgaria)  *
  • Tjoet Nja’Dhien  (Djarot, Indonesia)  *
  • Too Beautiful for You  (Blier, France)
  • Violent Cop  (Kitano, Japan)
  • Waltzing Regitze  (Rostrup, Denmark)  **
  • What Happened to Santiago  (Morales, Puerto Rico)  **
  • Why Did Bohdi-Dharma Leave for the Orient?  (Bae, South Korea)
  • Willy the Sparrow  (Gemes, Hungary)
  • Yaaba  (Ouedraogo, Burkina Faso)  **

Note:  I have my first film from South Africa.  For the first time in four years, I have no film from Spain (no Almodovar!).  France is the leader again (9), followed by Japan (5), with India (3) the only other country with more than two.  For the decade, France leads with 85, followed by Japan (45) and Italy (31), with West Germany (25) and Spain (21) the only other countries to reach 20.  There are four Kids films, the most in one year to-date.
I see my last film from West Germany, giving it 90 total, leaving it in sixth place at this point.  Combined with Germany and East Germany, it’s at 170, which is fourth, way ahead of the USSR, but way behind the big three (France, Italy, Spain).  Germany (68 films to this point, going up to only 1945) will start moving up again the next year after re-unification.  From 1968 to 1989, West Germany was one of only five countries (France, Italy, Japan and India are the others) to have at least one film in every year.  East Germany only has 12 films total, with most of the major German filmmakers (Herzog, Fassbinder, Wenders, Schlondorff) being in West Germany.  The two countries do well among the Oscar submissions, with East Germany at exactly 80% (4 for 5) and West Germany just below (23 for 29).

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

  • Belgium:  The Sacrament  (dir.  Claus)
  • Brazil:  Better Days Ahead  (dir.  Diegues)
  • Czechoslovakia:  A Hoof Here, a Hoof There  (dir. Chytilova)
  • Iceland:  Under the Glacier  (dir.  Halldosdottir)
  • The Netherlands:  Polonaise  (dir.  Weisz)
  • Spain:  Love, Hate and Death  (dir.  Escriva)
  • Sweden:  Women on the Roof  (dir.  Nykvist)
  • Switzerland:  My Favorite Story  (dir.  Mieville)
  • Thailand:  The Elephant Keeper  (dir. Yukol)

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 28 for 37 (76%), my best in five years.  Only two of these countries were ones I was missing in 1988, both of them ending streaks here.
Four countries that submitted in 1988 don’t do so in this year (Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru).  Nine countries submit that didn’t the year before (Romania, Hong Kong, Sweden, Thailand, Indonesia, Czechoslovakia, the first ever submissions from South Africa and Turkey and the only ever nomination from Burkina Faso).  This year also has the last ever submission from West Germany.
These are my second miss (Thailand), fourth miss (Brazil), seventh miss (Sweden), eighth miss and fourth in a row (Switzerland), eighth miss and fifth in a row (Iceland) ninth miss (Czechoslovakia, tenth miss (Netherlands), eleventh miss (Belgium) and twelfth miss (Spain).

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

  • Zou Zou  (1934)
  • Three Sad Tigers  (1968)
  • Mala Noche  (1985)
  • Castle in the Sky  (1986)
  • Esther  (1986)
  • In a Glass Cage  (1986)
  • A Flame in My Heart  (1987)
  • Manifesto  (1987)
  • Pumpkinhead  (1987)
  • 36 Fillette  (1988)
  • The Adventures of Baron Munchausen  (1988)
  • Alice  (1988)
  • Ashik Kerib  (1988)
  • Chocolat  (1988)
  • Hanussen  (1988)
  • High Hopes  (1988)
  • Iguana  (1988)
  • La Lectrice  (1988)
  • Little Vera  (1988)
  • The Mouth of the Wolf  (1988)
  • The Music Teacher  (1988)
  • The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey  (1988)
  • The Old Well  (1988)
  • Paperhouse  (1988)
  • The Return of Swamp Thing  (1988)
  • Story of Women  (1988)
  • Tango Bar  (1988)
  • A Taxing Woman’s Return  (1988)

Note:  These 28 films average a 62.4.  The awfulness of Pumpkinhead and The Return of the Swamp Thing are mostly negated by the quality of Castle in the Sky, Hanussen and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, which account for seven nominations and one Nighthawk.

Films Not Listed at Oscars.org:

  • La Amiga
  • The Birth of New China
  • The Cannibals
  • Castle in the Sky
  • A City of Sadness
  • Don’t Let Them Shoot the Kite
  • Dreams of Hind and Camilia
  • Ek Dik Achanak
  • An Enemy of the People
  • Esther
  • A Handful of Time
  • Iguana
  • Jeweller’s Shop
  • Journey to Melonia
  • Kornblumenblau
  • The Mouth of the Wolf
  • One of Us
  • Parinda
  • Roadkill
  • Slipstream
  • Spider’s Web
  • Supporting Roles
  • Those Who Pay With Their Lives
  • Three Sad Tigers
  • Tjoet Nja’Dhien
  • What Happened to Santiago
  • Willy the Sparrow
  • The Winter War
  • Zou Zou

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:

  • Baxter  (1990)
  • Black Rain  (1990)
  • Cinema Paradiso  (1990)
  • The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover  (1990)
  • Fear, Anxiety and Depression  (1990)
  • The Icicle Thief  (1990)
  • Jesus of Montreal  (1990)
  • Landscape in the Mist  (1990)
  • Last Exit to Brooklyn  (1990)
  • Leningrad Cowboys Go America  (1990)
  • Life and Nothing But  (1990)
  • Mama, There’s a Man in Your Bed  (1990)
  • Monsieur Hire  (1990)
  • My 20th Century  (1990)
  • Santa Sangre  (1990)
  • The Seventh Continent  (1990)
  • Speaking Parts  (1990)
  • Stanley & Iris  (1990)
  • Sweetie  (1990)
  • The Tall Guy  (1990)
  • Time of the Gypsies  (1990)
  • Time of Violence  (1990)
  • Too Beautiful for You  (1990)
  • Torrents of Spring  (1990)
  • The Unbelievable Truth  (1990)
  • Yaaba  (1990)
  • The Borrower  (1991)
  • Chameleon Street  (1991)
  • City Zero  (1991)
  • Freeze Die Come to Life  (1991)
  • The Killer  (1991)
  • Love Without Pity  (1991)
  • Rikyu  (1991)
  • Tilai  (1991)
  • Waltzing Regitze  (1991)
  • Marquis  (1992)
  • Painted Faces  (1992)
  • Testuo: The Iron Man  (1992)
  • Why Did Bohdi-Dharma Leave for the Orient?  (1994)
  • Meet the Feebles  (1995)
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service  (1998)
  • Violent Cop  (1998)

Note:  These 42 films average a 63.2.  There are two terrible films (The Borrower, Santa Sangre).  But there are several ***.5 films (Meet the Feebles, Leningrad Cowboys Go America, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Black Rain, Jesus of Montreal) and a couple of **** films (The Killer, Cinema Paradiso).

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