We all got it comin, kid.

We all got it comin, kid.

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. Unforgiven  **
  2. The Crying Game  *
  3. The Player  *
  4. The Last of the Mohicans
  5. Howards End  *
  6. Reservoir Dogs
  7. Raise the Red Lantern
  8. Aladdin
  9. Flirting
  10. Singles

Analysis:  These are the only **** films.  There’s a four point drop from the #10 to the #11 film.  The #11 film is also an Oscar and Consensus nominee: A Few Good Men.
This is one of those years where I almost declare a tie for Best Picture.  Unforgiven and The Crying Game are almost dead even for me.  It’s the first time in eight years that the top two films have the same score, although it will happen again in each of the next two years and five times in the next seven years.
While Unforgiven easily wins the Consensus, with 4 awards (Oscar, LAFC, NSFC, BSFC) and three other noms (BAFTA, Globe, PGA), it’s also a year with no awards group consensus.  Since the PGA was instituted in 1989, this is one of only two years in which a different film wins the Oscar (Unforgiven), BAFTA (Howards End), Globe – Drama (Scent of a Woman), Globe – Comedy (The Player) and the PGA (The Crying Game), with 2006 being the other year.
While 1991 was a rare year in that I agreed with Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor and Actress, this year is an even rarer milestone.  It is the first year where I agree with the Oscars on Picture, Director and both Screenplay awards.

  • eastwood-directingBest Director
  1. Clint Eastwood  (Unforgiven)  **
  2. Neil Jordan  (The Crying Game)  *
  3. Michael Mann  (The Last of the Mohicans)
  4. Robert Altman  (The Player)  *
  5. Zhang Yimou  (Raise the Red Lantern)
  6. Quentin Tarantino  (Reservoir Dogs)
  7. James Ivory  (Howards End)  *
  8. Rob Reiner  (A Few Good Men)  *
  9. Robert Redford  (A River Runs Through It)
  10. Spike Lee  (Malcolm X)

Analysis:  These are the only Nighthawk nominations for Michael Mann and Zhang Yimou.  It’s the first nomination for Clint Eastwood.  It’s the second nomination for Neil Jordan.  It’s the third and final nomination for Robert Altman.
With Martin Brest (Scent of a Woman) as the fifth nominee, the Oscar Score dips to 76.9, the lowest score between 1989 and 1994.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Howards End  *
  2. The Player  **
  3. The Last of the Mohicans
  4. A Few Good Men
  5. Flirting
  6. Glengarry Glen Ross  *
  7. Raise the Red Lantern
  8. Enchanted April  *
  9. Aladdin
  10. A River Runs Through It  *

Analysis:  Ruth Prawer Jhabvala wins her second Oscar and second Nighthawk for her second Merchant/Ivory E.M. Forster adaptation.
I have read four of the sources (Howards End, The Player, Aladdin, A River Runs Through It) and failed to read one of them multiple times (The Last of the Mohicans) which helped prompt this post.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. The Crying Game  *
  2. Unforgiven  **
  3. Reservoir Dogs
  4. Singles
  5. Bob Roberts
  6. Husbands and Wives  *
  7. Proof
  8. Sneakers
  9. Honeymoon in Vegas
  10. Best Intentions

Analysis:  It’s the second Nighthawk writing nom for Cameron Crowe.  It’s also the second for Neil Jordan.  It’s the first nomination for Quentin Tarantino.

  • Best Actor:
  1. Clint Eastwood  (Unforgiven)
  2. Jack Lemmon  (Glengarry Glen Ross)
  3. Denzel Washington  (Malcolm X)  **
  4. Daniel Day-Lewis  (The Last of the Mohicans)
  5. Tim Robbins  (The Player)  *
  6. Stephen Rea  (The Crying Game)  *
  7. Robert Downey, Jr  (Chaplin)  *
  8. Tim Robbins  (Bob Roberts)  *
  9. Tom Cruise  (A Few Good Men)
  10. Hugo Weaving  (Proof)

Analysis:  At various times, I have had Lemmon and Washington as my winners in this category.  It’s a tough year to pick a winner and a tough one to limit the nominees to five, with Rea and Downey coming really close.
There’s not a lot of consensus this year.  Denzel wins because he wins three critics awards.  Downey is the only actor to earn Oscar, Globe and BAFTA nominations.  On the other hand, my top two performances, both of whom won a critics award, both fail to earn Consensus nominations.  Eastwood becomes the first actor to ever win a critics award (LAFC) and earn an Oscar nomination and still to fail to earn a Consensus nom.  It will be 8 more years before another actor earns as many Consensus points as Eastwood and fail to earn a Consensus nom and it will be 21 more years before someone earns more and doesn’t earn a nom.  Al Pacino, for his ridiculous over-the-top performance in Scent of a Woman wins the Oscar and Globe but finishes fourth in the Consensus noms.  Tim Robbins is on there twice because in the Consensus noms, different performances get counted together because of the way critics do their awards.
It’s the first nominations for Tim Robbins and Clint Eastwood.  It’s the fourth nomination for Denzel Washington, but actually his last to-date.  It’s also the fourth for Daniel Day-Lewis.  It’s the seventh and final nomination for Jack Lemmon.

  • Best Actress
  1. Emma Thompson  (Howards End)  **
  2. Gong Li  (Raise the Red Lantern)
  3. Michelle Pfeiffer  (Batman Returns)
  4. Miranda Richardson  (Enchanted April)  *
  5. Helena Bonham-Carter  (Howards End)
  6. Susan Sarandon  (Lorenzo’s Oil)  *
  7. Mary McDonnell  (Passion Fish)  *
  8. Catherine Deneuve  (Indochine)
  9. Demi Moore  (A Few Good Men)
  10. Michelle Pfeiffer  (Love Field)  *

Analysis:  While other actresses had won all the existing critics awards before, Emma Thompson is the first to do it since they expanded to six major groups.  She sweeps the awards as well, winning 9 overall awards; she’s the first person to earn over 50% of the total Consensus points since 1949, with only Holly Hunter the next year doing it more recently.  To me, Thompson wins this by a mile.  Gong Li is the weakest #2 in this category since 1986.  The Top 5 is also the weakest in six years.
This is the first nomination for Miranda Richardson, Helena Bonham-Carter and Gong Li.  It’s the second nomination and the first of three wins in four years for Emma Thompson.  It’s the third nomination for Michelle Pfeiffer.
With four of the five Oscar nominees in my second 5, the Oscar Score drops to 83.9, the lowest in seven years.

  • UNFORGIVEN, Gene Hackman, 1992Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Gene Hackman  (Unforgiven)  **
  2. Jack Nicholson  (A Few Good Men)  *
  3. Jaye Davidson  (The Crying Game)  *
  4. Al Pacino  (Glengarry Glen Ross)  *
  5. Anthony Hopkins  (Howards End)
  6. Harvey Keitel  (Reservoir Dogs)
  7. Tom Hanks  (A League of Their Own)
  8. Richard Harris  (Unforgiven)
  9. Kevin Pollak  (A Few Good Men)
  10. David Paymer  (Mr Saturday Night)  *

Analysis:  Gene Hackman ties Jack Nicholson’s 1983 mark with 7 wins and sets a new high for Consensus points.  He earns almost 60% of the Consensus points, by far the highest in history (one of only two to break 50%, with Barry Fitzgerald, who also earned a Best Actor nomination at the Oscars in 1944 which is no longer allowed), and no one will ever come close again because, with the SAG and BFCA, there are too many points going to nominees.  He is only the third supporting actor, following Ben Johnson in 1971 and Haing S. Ngor in 1984 to sweep the Oscar, BAFTA and Globe and that won’t happen again until 2000.  I have to say, I agree with all of this.  I think Hackman’s performance is one of the all-time greatest, which is a little bit of a shame since Nicholson, Davidson and Pacino are all so great as well.  Together, it’s the best Top 5 in five years.
This is the only nomination for Jaye Davidson, who is in the middle of four actors with impeccable careers.  It’s the fifth for Anthony Hopkins and his second in a row.  It’s the seventh nom for Pacino.  It’s also the seventh for Gene Hackman, but it’s his fourth win, giving him 350 points and moving him into 7th place.  It’s the 11th nomination for Jack Nicholson and moves him to 500 points and he passes Humphrey Bogart and moves in 1st place all-time.
With the top four on my list all earning nominations, the Oscar Score is an impressive 94.7, the highest in four years and second highest since 1972; it is the only acting score above 90 in this year.

  • cryinggame-richardsonBest Supporting Actress:
  1. Miranda Richardson  (The Crying Game)  *
  2. Frances Fisher  (Unforgiven)
  3. Judy Davis  (Husbands and Wives)  **
  4. Miranda Richardson  (Damage)  *
  5. Vanessa Redgrave  (Howards End)  *
  6. Joan Plowright  (Enchanted April)  *
  7. Marisa Tomei  (My Cousin Vinny)  *
  8. Alfre Woodard  (Passion Fish)
  9. Cynthia Stevenson  (The Player)
  10. Brooke Adams  (Gas Food Lodging)

Analysis:  Joan Plowright actually earns a nomination because of the two nominations for Miranda Richardson.  Judy Davis becomes the only person to win five critics awards in this category between 1985 and 2009, easily winning the Consensus – the first supporting actress to earn more than 50% of the total Consensus points since 1980 and the last to date.  Somehow Frances Fisher, in spite of her fantastic performance, didn’t earn a single nomination or award.
These are the only Nighthawk nominations for Frances Fisher and Joan Plowright.  Miranda Richardson earns her second and third nominations, as she earned her first in Actress.  It’s the sixth nomination for Vanesse Redgrave and Judy Davis.
The Oscar Score is 86.7, with all five nominees in my Top 7.  The position of the winner among the nominees doesn’t effect the Oscar Score so Tomei being the weakest of the nominees doesn’t matter.

  • Best Editing:
  1. Unforgiven
  2. The Crying Game
  3. Reservoir Dogs
  4. The Last of the Mohicans
  5. The Player
  6. Howards End
  7. A Few Good Men
  8. Aladdin
  9. Singles
  10. Bob Roberts

Analysis:  Reservoir Dogs, in the middle, is really a different kind of editing and is an interesting contrast against the more classical styles of construction for Unforgiven and The Crying Game.

  • Best Cinematography:
  1. The Last of the Mohicans  *
  2. Unforgiven
  3. A River Runs Through It  *
  4. Raise the Red Lantern  **
  5. The Crying Game
  6. The Player
  7. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  8. Howards End  *
  9. The Ox
  10. The Power of One

Analysis:  Dante Spinnoti earns his first Nighthawk win (he’ll win another in 5 years).  It’s hard not to nominate The Player after that amazing opening shot but it’s an excellent Top 5.

  • Best Original Score:
  1. The Last of the Mohicans
  2. The Power of One
  3. Aladdin
  4. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  5. Howards End
  6. A River Runs Through It
  7. Raise the Red Lantern
  8. Unforgiven
  9. Porco Rosso
  10. Toys

Analysis:  It kills me that The Last of the Mohicans and The Power of One, certainly two of my most listened to soundtracks of all-time, fall in the same year.  But I have to give the nod to Mohicans, for a soundtrack that even Veronica, who refuses to watch the film, can identify by now.
Alan Menken earns his third nomination in four years.  Hans Zimmer (The Power of One) earns his second nom.  It’s the first time in four years that John Williams doesn’t earn a nomination and the first time in six years he’s not in the Top 10.
The video embedded below pretty much explains the Nighthawk Awards for Best Cinematography, Score, Sound and Sound Editing as well as the nominations for Editing and Director.


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/28989315″>The Last Of The Mohicans – End Scene</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user8430512″>Le Tahaa</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

  • Best Sound:
  1. The Last of the Mohicans
  2. Unforgiven
  3. Aladdin
  4. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  5. The Player
  6. Reservoir Dogs
  7. A River Runs Through It
  8. Batman Returns
  9. A Few Good Men
  10. Under Siege

Analysis:  The Top 5 is the weakest in five years.

  • bram-stokers-dracula-10Best Art Direction:
  1. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  2. Howards End
  3. Raise the Red Lantern
  4. Toys
  5. The Last of the Mohicans
  6. The Player
  7. Chaplin
  8. Delicatessan
  9. Enchanted April
  10. Batman Returns

Analysis:  The top two are both incredible and both deserve awards.  The Oscar Score is a 90.0, the highest in five years.  The fifth Oscar nominee, Unforgiven, is my #11.

  • Best Visual Effects
  1. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  2. Batman Returns
  3. Alien3
  4. The Lawnmower Man
  5. Death Becomes Her

Analysis:  Dracula is the weakest winner in this category in five years.  This is also the weakest Top 5 in five years and there won’t be a weaker Top 5 after this because of the increase of effects driven films.
With my winner not among the Oscar nominees, the Oscar Score is 71.4 which is actually the lowest in this category since 1975.  It’s the start of a downward trend for the Oscar Score in this category over the next decade.

  • Best Sound Editing
  1. The Last of the Mohicans
  2. Unforgiven
  3. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  4. Batman Returns
  5. Aladdin
  6. Under Siege
  7. Alien3
  8. Reservoir Dogs
  9. The Lawnmower Man
  10. Patriot Games

Analysis:  The Last of the Mohicans is the weakest winner in this category in five years.  Like with Visual Effects, it’s the weakest Top 5 in five years and there won’t be a weaker Top 5 after this because of the increase of effects driven films.

  • dracula-costumesBest Costume Design:
  1. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  2. Howards End
  3. The Last of the Mohicans
  4. Raise the Red Lantern
  5. Toys
  6. Enchanted April
  7. Malcolm X
  8. Chaplin
  9. Unforgiven
  10. 1492: Conquest of Paradise

Analysis:  Howards End would win in almost any other year, but almost any other year doesn’t have the amazing costumes from Dracula.  This Top 5 ties 1989 for the best Top 5 to-date.
With all five Oscar nominees in my Top 7, the Oscar Score is a 90.0, the highest since 1974.

  • dracula-makeupBest Makeup
  1. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  2. Batman Returns
  3. The Last of the Mohicans
  4. Unforgiven
  5. Toys
  6. Alien3
  7. Chaplin
  8. Death Becomes Her
  9. Hoffa

Analysis:  The Top 5 is just behind 1990 and is the second best Top 5 to-date.  With two of the three nominees as my top two, the Oscar Score is 75.0, the highest since this became a competitive category.

  • Best Original Song:
  1. “Breath”  (Singles)
  2. Waiting for Somebody”  (Singles)
  3. A Whole New World”  (Aladdin)
  4. Friend Like Me”  (Aladdin)
  5. State of Love and Trust”  (Singles)
  6. The Closing of the Year”  (Toys)
  7. Prince Ali”  (Aladdin)
  8. One Jump Ahead”  (Aladdin)
  9. Dyslexic Heart”  (Singles)
  10. Arabian Nights”  (Aladdin)

Analysis:  Oscars.org lists songs from different films.  This year it lists 154 songs from 61 different films.  I have seen 41 of those films accounting for 111 of the songs.  I have seen all seven of the films that have more than four listed songs.  Oddly, it only lists two songs from Aladdin (the two nominated), but I include all of them.
This is the third time that a year has been dominated by two films, one from Disney and one with great rock music, following 1964 (Mary Poppins, A Hard Day’s Night) and 1991 (Beauty and the Beast, Until the End of the World).
This might be the first year in which I own the soundtrack for every song on my list.
Because of the nominations for the two mediocre songs from The Bodyguard, the Oscar Score is just 56.1, the lowest since 1986.

  • aladdinBest Animated Film:
  1. Aladdin  **
  2. Porco Rosso

Analysis:  Miyazaki becomes the first non-Disney director to earn three nominations.  He’s also the first director to lose twice, but that’s because for a long time there was no competition in this category.  After a seven year gap with no nomination for Disney, it has now won four awards in five years.  Not counting Pixar (or Ghibli) films, it will only win one more award in the next 20 years.

  • hyenasBest Foreign Film:
  1. Hyenas
  2. Like Water for Chocolate  *
  3. Hard-Boiled
  4. Pushing Hands
  5. Porco Rosso
  6. Un Couer en Hiver

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

Analysis:  Senegal wins for the only time.  Taiwan earns the first of three straight nominations (all for Ang Lee films).  Mexico earns its only nomination between 1965 and 2001.  France fails to earn a nomination while at the Oscars it actually was the winner.  Japan earns a nomination for a fifth straight year.
Ang Lee earns his first nomination.  John Woo earns his second nomination.  Hayao Miyazaki earns his fifth nomination; he moves up to 140 points and a three way tie for 7th place.
This is the first time in eight years that there are no **** films.  The first three are high-level ***.5 films and the other three are low-level ***.5 films.
I first saw Hyenas when my old roommate was putting together a showcase of world film for a class.  It’s really an under-appreciated film.
None of the Oscar nominated films make my list for the first time since 1979.  They’re not bad films (four of the five are high-level *** films but the one that’s not is the winner, which is a low-level ***) but the average of 70.4 is the lowest between 1982 and 2007.  That also means the Oscar Score is 0 for the third time (following 1950 and 1979).

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.

  • Unforgiven  (515)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Editing, Cinematography, Sound, Sound Editing, Makeup
  • The Last of the Mohicans   (420)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound, Art Direction, Sound Editing, Costume Design
  • Howards End  (355)
    • Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Actress, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Original Score, Art Direction, Costume Design
  • The Crying Game  (315)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Editing, Cinematography
  • The Player  (215)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Editing, Sound
  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula  (195)
    • Original Score, Sound, Art Direction, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Costume Design, Makeup
  • Raise the Red Lantern  (160)
    • Director, Actress, Cinematography, Art Direction, Costume Design, Foreign Film (1991)
  • Aladdin  (125)
    • Original Score, Sound, Sound Editing, Original Song, Original Song, Animated Film
  • Batman Returns  (85)
    • Actress, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Makeup
  • Singles  (80)
    • Original Screenplay, Original Song, Original Song, Original Song
  • A Few Good Men  (70)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor
  • Reservoir Dogs  (65)
    • Original Screenplay, Editing
  • Glengarry Glenn Ross  (65)
    • Actor, Supporting Actor
  • Enchanted April  (65)
    • Actress, Supporting Actress
  • Toys  (45)
    • Art Direction, Costume Design, Makeup
  • Flirting  (40)
    • Adapted Screenplay
  • Bob Roberts  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • Porco Rosso  (40)
    • Animated Film, Foreign Film
  • Malcolm X  (35)
    • Actor
  • Damage  (30)
    • Supporting Actress
  • Husbands and Wives  (30)
    • Supporting Actress
  • A River Runs Through It  (25)
    • Cinematography
  • The Power of One  (25)
    • Original Score
  • Alien3  (20)
    • Visual Effects
  • Death Becomes Her  (20)
    • Visual Effects
  • The Lawnmower Man  (20)
    • Visual Effects

Analysis:  There are six fewer films than the year before.  Howards End is pretty high on the points list for a film without a Director nomination.  Bram Stoker’s Dracula, nestled in this year between T2 and Jurassic Park is one of three straight films with a lot of points for a film with only Tech noms.

Best Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • Proof

Analysis:  A 1991 Australian film starring two men who would wait some years before becoming known in the States: Hugo Weaving and Russell Crowe.  It’s very good and comes in at #18, but its highest finish is 7th (Original Screenplay).

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

  • Peter’s Friends

Analysis:  My #21 film.  It’s highest finish is in 12th (Original Screenplay and Supporting Actress for Alphonsia Emmanuel).  It is one of two ***.5 films not to earn a Top 10 finish (Of Mice and Men, my #22 is the other).

Biggest Awards Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • Scent of a Woman

Analysis:  And that’s because it’s a piece of crap.  It won Best Actor at the Oscars (appallingly) and three Golden Globes (Picture – Drama, Actor, Screenplay).  It also earned Picture, Director and Adapted Screenplay noms at the Oscars, one BAFTA nom, another Globe nom and three guild noms (PGA, WGA, ACE).  It deserved none of those plaudits as I make clear in my review.

Nighthawk Golden Globes:

Drama:

  • Best Picture
  1. Unforgiven
  2. The Crying Game
  3. The Last of the Mohicans
  4. Howards End
  5. Reservoir Dogs

Analysis:  The other **** films are Raise the Red Lantern and Flirting.  The ***.5 films, in order, are: A Few Good Men, Damage, Malcolm X, A River Runs Through It, Proof, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Ox, Of Mice and Men and Porco Rosso.

  • Best Director
  1. Clint Eastwood  (Unforgiven)
  2. Neil Jordan  (The Crying Game)
  3. Michael Mann  (The Last of the Mohicans)
  4. Zhang Yimou  (Raise the Red Lantern)
  5. Quentin Tarantino  (Reservoir Dogs)

Analysis:  These are the only Nighthawk Drama noms for Michael Mann and Zhang Yimou.  It’s the first nominations for Clint Eastwood (with his 16th film) and Quentin Tarantino (with his 1st film).  It’s the second nom for Neil Jordan.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Howards End
  2. The Last of the Mohicans
  3. A Few Good Men
  4. Flirting
  5. Glengarry Glen Ross

Analysis:  David Mamet earns his fifth Drama writing nomination.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. The Crying Game
  2. Unforgiven
  3. Reservoir Dogs
  4. Proof
  5. Best Intentions

Analysis:  It’s the first nomination for Quentin Tarantino.  It’s the second nom for Neil Jordan.  Best Intentions, directed by Bille August, is written by Ingmar Bergman and earns him his 23rd Drama writing nom (going up to 1240 points) and its the first time he earns a writing nom for a film he didn’t direct since 1947.

  • unforgiven-clint-eastwoodBest Actor:
  1. Clint Eastwood  (Unforgiven)
  2. Jack Lemmon  (Glengarry Glen Ross)
  3. Denzel Washington  (Malcolm X)
  4. Daniel Day-Lewis  (The Last of the Mohicans)
  5. Stephen Rea  (The Crying Game)

Analysis:  This is the only nomination for Stephen Rea, though the rest of his career is much more distinguished than Jaye Davidson’s.  It’s the first Drama nom for Clint Eastwood.  It’s the fourth (and final) for Jack Lemmon, who was much better known for Comedy.  It’s also the fourth (and so far, the final) nom for Denzel.  It’s the fifth nomination for Daniel Day-Lewis.

  • howards-end-screenshotBest Actress
  1. Emma Thompson  (Howards End)
  2. Gong Li  (Raise the Red Lantern)
  3. Helena Bonham-Carter  (Howards End)
  4. Susan Sarandon  (Lorenzo’s Oil)
  5. Mary McDonnell  (Passion Fish)

Analysis:  Mary McDonnell earns her second Drama nomination.  It’s the first of three nominations in four years for Gong Li.  It’s the second nomination for Helena Bonham-Carter.  It’s the third nomination (and second in a row) for Susan Sarandon.  It’s the second nomination for Emma Thompson but the first of three wins in four years.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Gene Hackman  (Unforgiven)
  2. Jack Nicholson  (A Few Good Men)
  3. Jaye Davidson  (The Crying Game)
  4. Al Pacino  (Glengarry Glen Ross)
  5. Anthony Hopkins  (Howards End)

Analysis:  Again, this is the only nomination for Davidson amidst a treasure of all-time great actors.  It’s the seventh Drama nom for Al Pacino.  It’s the sixth nom for Anthony Hopkins.  It’s the seventh nom and fourth for Gene Hackman, who goes up to 355 points and 7th place.  It’s the 10th nomination for Jack Nicholson who moves up to 465 points and ties De Niro for 3rd place.
With no Comedy performance among the best five of the year, this Top 5 is the best in six years and the third best to-date.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Miranda Richardson  (The Crying Game)
  2. Frances Fisher  (Unforgiven)
  3. Miranda Richardson  (Damage)
  4. Vanessa Redgrave  (Howards End)
  5. Alfre Woodard  (Passion Fish)

Points:  This is the only nomination for Frances Fisher.  It’s the second nom for Alfre Woodard.  It’s the first and second noms for Miranda Richardson.  It’s the seventh nomination for Vanessa Redgrave.

  • Unforgiven  (390)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • The Crying Game  (300)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Howards End  (295)
    • Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Actress, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • The Last of the Mohicans  (170)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor
  • Reservoir Dogs  (135)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay
  • Glangarry Glenn Ross  (105)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor
  • Raise the Red Lantern  (80)
    • Director, Actress
  • A Few Good Men  (70)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor
  • Passion Fish  (65)
    • Actress, Supporting Actress
  • Flirting  (40)
    • Adapted Screenplay
  • Proof  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • Best Intentions  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • Malcolm X  (35)
    • Actor
  • Lorenzo’s Oil  (35)
    • Actress
  • Damage  (30)
    • Supporting Actress

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

Best Drama Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • A River Runs Through it

Analysis:  My #16 film of the year and my #11 Drama.  Its highest Drama finish is in Adapted Screenplay, where it comes in 7th and Director, where it ends up in 8th.

Comedy / Musical:

  • Best Picture
  1. The Player
  2. Aladdin
  3. Singles
  4. Bob Roberts
  5. Enchanted April

Analysis:  Only the top three films are ****.  The other ***.5 films, in order are: Husbands and Wives, Peter’s Friends and Honeymoon in Vegas.  It’s not a great year for Comedies.

  • Best Director
  1. Robert Altman  (The Player)
  2. Tim Robbins  (Bob Roberts)
  3. Jean-Pierre Jeunet  (Delicatessan)
  4. Tim Burton  (Batman Returns)
  5. Cameron Crowe  (Singles)

Analysis:  It’s the only Comedy Nighthawk nom for Tim Robbins.  It’s the first for Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the second for Cameron Crowe and the third for Tim Burton.  It’s also the third nom for Robert Altman, but it’s his second win which puts him at 270 points and a 6th way tie for 7th place.
Yes, I consider Batman Returns a Comedy even though I didn’t consider Batman a Comedy.  I think the tone of the second film is much more comedic.
This is the second weakest Top 5 since 1981.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. The Player
  2. Enchanted April
  3. Aladdin
  4. A League of Their Own

Analysis:  The Player wins this one by a long way.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Singles
  2. Bob Roberts
  3. Husbands and Wives
  4. Sneakers
  5. Honeymoon in Vegas

Analysis:  Cameron Crowe earns his third Comedy writing nom and his second win.  Woody Allen breaks a five year drought and earns his 16th Comedy writing nom.  That puts him at 880 points and he takes over 1st place by himself ending Billy Wilder’s 34 years at the top.
This is the second weakest Top 5 since 1982.

  • robbinsBest Actor:
  1. Tim Robbins  (The Player)
  2. Robert Downey, Jr  (Chaplin)
  3. Tim Robbins  (Bob Roberts)
  4. Billy Crystal  (Mr Saturday Night)
  5. Campbell Scott  (Singles)

Analysis:  These are the first Comedy noms for Downey and Scott.  It’s the second nom for Crystal.  These are the second and third noms for Tim Robbins.
Downey was nominated in Drama at the Globes.

  • michelle-pfeiffer-as-selina-kyle-in-batmanBest Actress
  1. Michelle Pfeiffer  (Batman Returns)
  2. Miranda Richardson  (Enchanted April)
  3. Geena Davis  (A League of Their Own)
  4. Kyra Sedgwick  (Singles)
  5. Emma Thompson  (Peter’s Friends)

Analysis:  These are the only Comedy noms for Miranda Richardson and Kyra Sedgwick.  It’s the first nom for Emma Thompson.  It’s the second nom for Geena Davis.  It’s the third Comedy nom for Michelle Pfeiffer and her only win.
This is the second weakest Top 5 since 1984.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Tom Hanks  (A League of Their Own)
  2. David Paymer  (Mr Saturday Night)
  3. Sydney Pollack  (Husbands and Wives)
  4. Alfred Molina  (Enchanted April)

Analysis:  These are the only Comedy noms for Paymer, Pollack and Molina.  It’s the second nom for Tom Hanks.
This is the second weakest Top 5 since 1984.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Judy Davis  (Husbands and Wives)
  2. Joan Plowright  (Enchanted April)
  3. Marisa Tomei  (My Cousin Vinny)
  4. Cynthia Stevenson  (The Player)
  5. Helen Hunt  (Mr Saturday Night)

Points:  These are the only Comedy noms for Joan Plowright and Marisa Tomei.  It’s the first nom for Cynthia Stevenson and Helen Hunt.  It’s the second Comedy nom in a row for Judy Davis.

  • The Player  (370)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Singles  (245)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Actress
  • Enchanted April  (185)
    • Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Bob Roberts  (170)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor
  • A League of Their Own  (135)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actor
  • Husbands and Wives  (130)
    • Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Batman Returns  (115)
    • Director, Actress
  • Mr Saturday Night  (95)
    • Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Aladdin  (90)
    • Picture, Adapted Screenplay
  • Delicatessan  (40)
    • Director
  • Honeymoon in Vegas  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • Sneakers  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • Chaplin  (35)
    • Actor
  • Peter’s Friends  (35)
    • Actress
  • My Cousin Vinny  (30)
    • Supporting Actress

Analysis:  This is not a strong year overall for Comedy but because 1990 was even worse a lot of the Top 5’s are the “second weakest” since 1984.

Best Comedy Not Nominated for any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • Noises Off

Analysis:  A film I have quite a fondness for, partially because it has the last performance from one of my favorite actors, Denholm Elliott.  But, at #40 for the year and even at #13 among Comedies, it doesn’t come close in any category.  I suppose I could have automatically made it the #5 in Best Adapted Screenplay since my list is only four long but I didn’t think the script good enough to put it on my list.

Roundup for the Year in Film:

Eligible Films I Have Seen:  167

By Stars:

  • ****:  10
  • ***.5:  14
  • ***:  69
  • **.5:  26
  • **:  35
  • *.5:  5
  • *:  7
  • .5:  1
  • 0:  0
  • Average Film Score for the Year, out of 100:  60.19

Analysis:  Every year since has more films than this one.  With a lot fewer *** films than the year before and a lot more ** films, the average film drops over two points.  It’s the only time that the ** films account for more than 20% of the total films.  On the other hand, it’s the first time since 1975 that only one film is worse than *.

My Year at the Theater

Introduction:  This year would be complicated by three different moves, first to Oregon at the beginning of August, then off to Brandeis at the end of August, then back from Brandeis to Oregon just before Christmas.  As before, this is all the films I saw in the theater, organized by their release date, even if that’s not when I first saw them.  Some of these I wouldn’t actually see in the theater until well in 1993.  Adding to all of this, I have found my datebook from 1992, so for some of these I have very specific dates.

  • Medicine Man  –  A bad start to a lot of weak films I would see in the theater this year.  Although it wasn’t the start, because I didn’t see it until mid-March with my friend Ed.
  • Wayne’s World  –  I saw this on 20 February, the Thursday after it came out.  For Christmas, John Ramirez had given me Led Zeppelin IV and The Worst of Jefferson Airplane to get me more into classic rock and I had been listening to “Stairway” for the previous two months, so when Mike Myers starts to play it in the film, John and I identified it on the first note.
  • Radio Flyer  –  I must have seen a special preview of this because BoxOfficeMojo lists it as opening on 21 February, but my datebook lists me seeing it on the 15th.  I saw this with John and it really worked for us, though, revisiting it later, I saw all the weaknesses in it.  We especially liked the Rules for Childhood.
  • The Lawnmower Man  –  I saw this because it was a Stephen King film, I think.  I was getting into his books (although it was really the summer of 1993 when I went bonkers with them).  Of course, it bears no resemblance to the original King story, but while I heard that at the time, I wouldn’t know it for certain until I read Night Shift in the aforementioned summer of 93.  I saw this the day after it opened, the same day my brother told me he was getting married.  Also bought 29 packs of baseball cards that day apparently.
  • Basic Instinct  –  By the time Jay, Sean and I went to see this, most of the publicity was cooling off.  It was nine weeks in (15 May) and I remember seeing it at some theater in Fullerton I had never been to before or since, though it was still #2 at the box office at this point.  There are storytelling problems with the film but for me, personally, the biggest problem was that I was far more attracted to Jeanne Tripplehorn than to Sharon Stone and the sex scene with Tripplehorn was on the uncomfortable borderline between really sensual and flat-out rape.
  • The Cutting Edge  –  Went to see this at the end of a very bad week with Jay & Mary (who were dating) as well as Deb & Sean, with Deb supposedly not dating me, but being quite unclear about how that was precisely working, because seeing this must have been a date, because why else would I have gone to see this, especially on opening night?
  • The Power of One  –  BoxOfficeMojo only lists this for one weekend.  John and I saw it on 8 April and it rocked our world.  Yes, we loved the score.  Yes, we liked the film (we were more into the message than the quality of the film).  But it was Faye Masterson who was our epiphany – and yes, we used that word because we had just done a video about Portrait of the Artist and were all about the word epiphany and she was red-headed and looked to be our age and it was a revelation.  Too bad her career didn’t do much.  Turns out we should have paid more attention to that young German thug because he later became James Bond.
  • Lethal Weapon 3  –  I apparently saw this on the third day it was out (17 May), but what I really remember is that I had to go see this while we had an open house (my dad and sister were already living in Oregon and our house in Orange was now on the market).  There’s a scene in this film where Joe Pesci is the realtor for Danny Glover but can’t get people to buy the house because he’s required to tell them the history of the things that happened in the first two films.  I remember mentioning it to our realtor after I got home and she said it was true, that you really did need to disclose such things.
  • Alien3  –  I saw this on opening day, but I don’t know who with.  What I remember about this film (aside from the disappointment) has to do with a friend by the name of Danny Salas.  Danny and I both hated our AP Bio teacher (my datebook is littered with references to her).  Danny agreed to write a paper for class where he looked at the biology of the aliens in the series based on what we can learn in the three films.  I do admire that this film is yet another genre – all three films are Sci-Fi, but the first was Horror, the second was Action and this is basically a Prison Drama.
  • Patriot Games  –  Saw this on opening day (5 June) with John Ramirez and then we saw it again on 14 June.  It was John who got me into Tom Clancy, and I was really into him for a few years, until he decided to blow up the Capital and have Jack Ryan become president and then I said, this is stupid and never read anything else by him.  I eventually got rid of the books I had, but the early ones were quite enjoyable.  First film I ever saw where Sean Bean died.
  • Batman Returns  –  Jay and I saw this at 11 AM on opening day (19 June), which was a terrible idea, because it was the day after graduation and we had been to Grad Night and been up all night then gone home and grabbed a couple hours sleep before going to the movie.  That, plus, in spite of Michelle Pfeiffer’s overwhelmingly sexy Catwoman, the film was a letdown after the first one.
  • Unlawful Entry  –  There is a gap in my datebook from Graduation to my brother’s wedding on 25 July.  I think I saw this on opening weekend because there was another open house.  I can think of no other reason I went to see it since it’s not really my type of film and I’m not huge on anyone in the film.  Haven’t seen it since.
  • Cool World  –  I don’t know what I was thinking.  I didn’t know who Brad Pitt was yet, so it’s not that.  It’s that I had already seen Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings, so I can’t imagine why I would have gone to see this.  It was terrible.
  • Unforgiven  –  I was in Oregon by this point and I saw this on the Sunday of opening weekend (9 August) at the tiny little theater that used to be in downtown Hillsboro, OR.  I instantly knew I had seen the best film of the year.  It’s 24 points better than any film before it on this list.  I think I waited until Sunday because it was the last day of the Olympics and I wanted to watch the Olympics.
  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula  –  There wasn’t a movie theater in Waltham, so even though I wasn’t going to many of my classes, I wasn’t going to the movies either.  It wasn’t until 14 November, the second day this film was out, that I made it, with a bunch of friends, to the movies again.  We saw it at the Coolidge and I remember going into the bookstore across the street some 17 years before I would start working there.  I really enjoyed the film and even though I can never bring myself to give it higher than a 75 (very highest ***), I got the Special Edition Blu-Ray last year because I really do enjoy it.  There’s a full review of it here.  Then, while in Albany for Thanksgiving, I saw it again with some family friends.
  • Aladdin  –  After seeing Dracula the night before Thanksgiving, the eight of us (ages from 16-22) went back to the Albany Mall the next night to see Aladdin.  Even though it was just then expanding to wide release, we were just about the only ones in the theater.  We loved it.  I bought the soundtrack the next day.
  • A Few Good Men  –  My datebook ends when I left Brandeis just before Christmas and I didn’t buy my next one until mid-March for some reason.  I saw this with my whole family on Christmas or soon after.  The first film I ever saw at Westgate Theater in Beaverton, which is no longer there.
  • Toys  –  I saw this with my cousin Erika when I went up to visit her the week after Christmas.  A movie with some fun moments but overall just doesn’t work.  I really like the soundtrack though and would get it soon afterwards.
  • Hoffa  –  I went to see this with my Dad because he was somewhat interested and I wanted to see it for Nicholson’s performance (it was expected at the time to earn him a Best Actor nomination but in the end it didn’t).
  • The Crying Game  –  I saw this the Saturday after the Oscars (3 April), so I already knew the secret.  For some idiotic reason, I went to see it with my younger sister who I don’t think knew and certainly wasn’t prepared for its revelation.  By that time, I had a new datebook and had already seen several 1993 films.  It was the only film I ever saw at the old Tanasbourne Mall just before they tore it down.  They would build a big theater across the street that summer which I would see tons of films at over the next decade.

Endnote:  That’s eight fewer films than the year before, but it was a pretty weak year (as can be seen from my choices) and I did move three times.  I only saw three of the eventual Best Picture nominees in the theater and one of those was after the actual Oscars.  I saw my top two films of the year in the theater but only two more of the Top 20.  I also saw two of my bottom 10 in the theater so I just wasn’t making great choices.  Prior to Unforgiven, I had seen 12 films and they averaged a pathetic 54.4.

Oscar-Nominated Films I Have Not Seen:

  • none

Oscar Quality:

Best Picture:  A big drop from the year before, all the way down to #30.  That’s because one of the nominees, Scent of a Woman, is a bad film; it’s the worst nominee in five years, the second worst since 1971 and one of the ten worst nominees ever.  It counterbalances this year having two films in the Top 70.  The four other nominees average 93.3 but Scent drags the total average all the way down to 82.8, the weakest in five years.  Because of that, Unforgiven is 14.2 points better than the average nominee, the highest difference since 1977 and it won’t be this high again until 2008.

The Winners:  Among the nominees, the winners were mostly pretty good, averaging a 1.84 with the Academy making the best choice in 13 categories, matching the year before.  However, they also made the worst choice in an astounding four categories, the worst since 1985 and matching the worst since 1958.  While the biggest four categories (Picture, Director, the two Screenplay categories) all made the best choice, the worst choice was made in two acting categories for the first time ever.  The oddity categories are Cinematography and Art Direction, the only two categories where the Academy didn’t make the best or worst choice (they made the second best in both).  Among all films the numbers aren’t nearly as good, averaging a 5.26.  That’s mainly because of two categories: Best Actor (23rd) and Best Foreign Film (41st).  In 10 categories the Academy made the best overall choice, still a very strong number.  It’s the first time the Academy made the best choice in at least 10 categories but has an overall average above 4.  It is the first time in history that the main four categories all awarded Oscars to the best choice.

The Nominees:  The overall Oscar Score is 76.5, down several points from the year before but still better than any year prior to 1982 and most years after.  The major categories, hampered by the nominations for Scent of a Woman, range between 76.9 and 65.7 for an overall score of 70.8.  The acting is a solid 87.0 (better than the two previous years) though only Supporting Actor breaks 90.  The Tech categories are a 78.0, still better than most years, if down significantly from the year before.  No Tech category drops below 66.7 but only two rise as high as 90 and neither gets any higher (Art Direction, Costume Design).

Golden Globe Best Picture – Comedy / Musical:  To drop from the year before isn’t bad since that was the best year to-date.  And this year is mostly pretty good, ending up at #22 (out of 66).  The winner is my #1 Comedy of the year (The Player).  The next three nominees are my #2 (Aladdin), #4 (Bob Roberts) and #8 (Honeymoon in Vegas).  That’s two great films and two ***.5 films in a year where I only have three great Comedies, so that’s pretty good.  Did they go with my #3 (Singles) for their last choice?  My #4, which won Best Actress – Comedy at the Globes (Enchanted April)?  No, but this year would have been #8 all-time and the 2nd best to-date if they had.  My #11 Comedy earned a Best Actor nom at the Globes (Mr Saturday Night) and would have been a solid choice at high ***.  So would my #14 Comedy which was nominated for Best Actress (A League of Their Own).  Even my #25 Comedy was nominated for Actor and Actress (Used People) and at a low *** it still would have left this year at #15 all-time.  Nope.  Instead they went with Sister Act, my #136 film of the year, #45 for Comedies and ranking on my list even below Death Becomes Her.  It’s in my bottom 10 all-time of films nominated for Best Picture – Comedy / Musical at the Globes, the worst since 1983.  This is the second of four years in which the first four nominees all make the Top 150 nominees (out of 329 total) while the fifth doesn’t even make the Top 300.

Top 5 Films of the Year:

1  –  Unforgiven  (reviewed here)

2  –  The Crying Game  (reviewed here and here)

Robert Altman gives Hollywood the skewering it deserves.

Robert Altman gives Hollywood the skewering it deserves.

3  –  The Player  (dir. Robert Altman)

Fred Ward walks by twice.  Both times he is talking about the current trend in movies for cuts, constant cuts, the MTV style of editing that makes the film just jump too much.  If we are paying attention, we realize that by the second time Ward has walked by, we still haven’t had a cut.  We have met most of the major players in the film, we have seen the bustling morning of a movie lot, with decisions being made, films being pitched (“It’s like Out of Africa meets Pretty Woman” goes one pitch, though Griffin Mill, the uber-powerful man on the studio lot has already described it as “The Gods Must Be Crazy but instead of a coke bottle it’s a television actress.”).  We’ve seen what will be a key issue in the plot (the desperate screenwriter who’s trying to get his film made and has actually made it on the studio lot).  What we haven’t yet seen is a cut.  This is all one incredible shot, moving around the parking lot, but sneaking up to the buildings and peeking in on meetings and getting a look at how the whole system works.

This film is a dark, cynical look inside the Hollywood system, a system that had taken in director Robert Altman in the 70’s when it was more open to different experimentation, then spit him out in the 80’s when they realized his films weren’t marketable.  It’s fantastic that this was his comeback film, earning him his first Oscar nomination in 17 years while at the same time allowing him a savaging of the system itself.  Think of a head of studio security who pitches a real life murder as if it’s a film and is just concerned about how this could affect the studio rather than about the death of an actual person.  Or how one exec is off to an AA meeting, not because he has a problem, but because that’s where all the good deals are happening these days.  There is the line from a story editor, the girlfriend of Griffin Mill: “You took her to a party with several hundred of my best friends.” that sums up a couple of notions about this film.  The first is the ludicrous idea that any of these people are your friends – in Hollywood, friendship doesn’t matter, sex doesn’t matter, honesty doesn’t matter, it’s just what you can get made.  Then there’s the idea, ludicrous at the time, that someone could have several hundred best friends and I can still laugh at that for the same reason that I can still laugh at the line in Clerks “What do you mean you don’t have any ice?  You mean I gotta drink this coffee hot?”  Just because having several hundred friends on Facebook or drinking iced coffee works for some people doesn’t make it any less ludicrous to me.

The Player is a film made with real audacity, not just because of the way it skewers the system while working within the system.  But the real audacity comes with what it does with it.  Two writers want to make a bleak film with no stars and have a true to life ending.  But, in the end, they cave to the reactions, allowing a ridiculous ending with Julia Roberts and Bruce Willis because it plays better to audiences.  The only person who cares about art is fired.  Griffin Mill gets away with having murdered a poor screenwriter (not even the one who was threatening him) and marrying the screenwriter’s girlfriend.  He gets everything he wants, and in the end, even manages a better happy ending for himself by ensuring that no one will ever know about it.  It’s both an obscenely cynical ending and yet, with the feeling of a happy ending, also exactly what the audience thinks it wants as it exits the theater.  Altman does what he always done so brilliantly – playing with the audience while at the same time sucking them in and leaving them begging for more.

4  –  The Last of the Mohicans  (reviewed here)

5  –  Howards End  (reviewed here)

The Razzies:  The five nominees average a 31.2 which isn’t really low enough.  Only one of the nominees is in my bottom 5 (Christopher Columbus: The Discovery) but two others are in my bottom 10 including the winner (Shining Through – the other is Final Analysis).  The other two nominees though are both **, one at the bottom (The Bodyguard) and the other mid-range (Newsies).  Shining Through, Final Analysis and The Bodyguard were all bad films with terrible performances from really big names so they were understandable.  Christopher Columbus is such a wreck you couldn’t not include it.  But the inclusion of Newsies is strange.  It’s true they try not to throw bad comedies as much into their Worst Picture nominees so I understand no Straight Talk or Encino Man but no The Babe?  No Cool World?  No Poison Ivy?  No Medicine Man?  Cool World and Medicine Man even both earned Worst Actress nominations.  I do need to thank them though for not including Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot because it means I’ve still gotten away with never seeing it, which is odd since they gave it three awards (Worst Actor, Worst Supporting Actress, Worst Screenplay).

5 Worst Films  (#1 being the worst):

  1. Straight Talk
  2. The Babe
  3. Christopher Columbus: The Discovery
  4. Cool World
  5. Encino Man

note:  Straight Talk is the only .5 film this year.  The others are all *.  The list of Presumably Crappy Films I Can’t Confirm are Crappy Because I Haven’t Actually Seen Them: Aces: Iron Eagle III, Freejack, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Mr. Baseball, Pet Sematary II, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Universal Soldier, Wild Orchid 2: Two Shades of Blue.  I feel I should point out that my friend Tavis is in a crowd scene in The Babe.

So I didn't always agree with Gene Siskel.

So I didn’t always agree with Gene Siskel.

Straight Talk  (dir. Barnett Kellman)

All right, here’s my excuse for having seen this film.  It was on the damn plane when I flew from San Jose to Boston to go to Brandeis.  My mom was watching it and I don’t think I had a book or maybe I did.  But that’s when I saw it and I haven’t seen it since, so I had to track it down on the web because it’s not at Netflix or my local library and I don’t remember anything about it except that it was excruciatingly painful to watch.

Dolly Parton is not to my taste.  She’s a blonde who’s made a career out of enormous breasts (I still remember at least two Dolly Parton breast size jokes from my childhood), a touch for light comedy and country music.  None of those things are to my taste.  But that’s not to say that I don’t think she can be talented when working to her strengths.  She’s well cast in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and 9 to 5 and Steel Magnolias, even if those movies aren’t really for me.  But you have to have the right role to cast her in.  How about a radio psychiatrist?  Um, well, how about not.  It’s not the worst casting of an actress in a profession ever (this film has that award sewn up) but it’s getting up there.

To the film’s credit (and it deserves very little), she’s not supposed to be a real psychiatrist.  She is hired as a switchboard operator and mistaken for a psychiatrist and then the station decides to continue with the hoax because people listen to her advice.  Without trying to seem sexist (although this film doesn’t deserve any better), if you wanted to put Dolly on the air so that people would listen to her, I’m thinking you’d be much more successful in a format where the people are allowed to see her.

Basically, this is another crappy romantic comedy, with a few extras thrown in.  The first is that Parton twice runs into James Woods early on and ends up ruining his day – the first one makes sense, but the second one is such a ridiculous coincidence that it’s clearly been thrown in by screenwriters who need it to happen.  Then, of course, Woods will end up being her romantic foil.  Because, you know, who doesn’t watch James Woods in films like The Onion Field and Salvador and think, that would be the perfect lead in a romantic comedy with Dolly Parton.  They even stretch credulity even more by having James Woods dating Teri Hatcher, who, true, was not yet the most searched-for actress on the Internet, but still, James Woods dating Teri Hatcher?  It leads up to a ridiculously contrived ending that would never happen in a million years, partially because Parton’s advice is just standard self-help book crap and partially because Woods is a brilliant actor who nonetheless can’t come close to salvaging this script and was just not made to be in a romantic comedy.

Points:

  • Most Nighthawk Nominations:   The Last of the Mohicans  (12)
  • Most Nighthawk Awards:   Unforgiven  (5)
  • Most Nighthawk:  Unforgiven  (515)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Award:  The Lawnmower Man
  • 2nd Place Award:  Unforgiven  (Original Screenplay, Supporting Actress, Cinematography, Sound, Sound Editing)
  • 6th Place Award:  Reservoir Dogs  (Picture, Director, Supporting Actor, Sound)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Nominations:   Unforgiven  /  The Crying Game  /  Howards End  (6)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Awards:  Unforgiven  (4)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Points:  Unforgiven  (390)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Drama Award:  Lorenzo’s Oil
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Nominations:   The Player  /  Singles  /  Enchanted April  (5)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Awards:   The Player  (4)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Points:   The Player  (370)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Comedy Award:  My Cousin Vinny

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  /  Tom Jones  (6)
  • Most Nighthawk Nominations without a Best Picture Nomination:  Yojimbo  (11)
  • Most Nighthawk Nominations without a Nighthawk Award:  Throne of Blood (13)
  • Actor:  Jack Nicholson  (500)
  • Actress:  Katharine Hepburn  (560)
  • Director:   Akira Kurosawa  (765)
  • Writer:  Ingmar Bergman  (1040)
  • Cinematographer:  Sven Nykvist  (325)
  • Composer:  John Williams  (575)
  • Foreign Film:  Akira Kurosawa  (580)

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

  • Drama:  72 (25)  –  Howards End  (61.2)
  • Foreign:  45  –  Raise the Red Lantern  (64.2)
  • Comedy:  39 (9)  –  The Player  (61.5)
  • Kids:  8 (1)  –  Aladdin  (62)
  • Suspense:  8 (1)  –  The Crying Game  (48)
  • Crime:  7  –  Reservoir Dogs  (60.7)
  • Action:  6 (2)  –  Batman Returns  (58.8)
  • Musical:  6 (2)  –  The Mambo Kings  (57.2)
  • Adventure:  5 (2)  –  The Last of the Mohicans  (61.4)
  • Mystery:  4  –  Sneakers  (64)
  • Horror:  4 (1)  –  Bram Stoker’s Dracula  (48.5)
  • Fantasy:  3 (1)  –  Porco Rosso  (49)
  • War:  2 (1)  –  A Midnight Clear  (70)
  • Sci-Fi:  2  –  Alien3  (57)
  • Western:  1  –  Unforgiven  (97)

Analysis:  Action films are the fewest since 1986 but their average is the highest since 1978.  There are the most Adventure films since 1985.  Drama has its lowest average since 1974.  Foreign has its lowest average since 1986.  Horror films have their highest average since 1980.  Suspense films have their lowest average since 1980.  After not doing it for over a decade, once again genre films (non-Drama / Comedy / Musical) again account for less than 30% of the total films.  After a year with no Westerns, a Western is the #1 film for the first time since 1969 (and only the third ever).
The Last of the Mohicans is the first Adventure film in the Top 10 since 1982; it’s the first one in the Top 20 since 1984.  Dramas account for half of the Top 20 for the first time since 1983.

Studio Note:  I have my first four films from Sony Pictures Classics who will be one of the Top 10 distributors of the decade.  Warner Bros leads for the third straight year, this time with 14 films, followed by Miramax with 13.  Disney breaks double digits for the first time with 12 films.  The studio films are mostly terrible with both Universal and Disney averaging ** and only Columbia managing to average ***.
Indies start to lead my Best Picture noms, with Miramax (The Crying Game), Fine Line (The Player) and Sony Pictures Classics (Howards End) all earning nominations.  Miramax again has two Top 10 films and three Top 20 films, both matched only by Warner Bros.  But it’s Warners that wins the Nighthawk, the first studio to win it 11 times (no other studio at this point has more than 7).

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

  1. Aladdin  (****, Clements / Musker, Disney)
  2. Porco Rosso  (***.5, Miyazaki, Toho (Ghibli))
  3. Barefoot Gen  (***, Masaki, Tara Releasing)
  4. Ferngully: The Last Rainforest  (***, Kroyer, 20th Century-Fox)
  5. Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland  (***, Hata / Hurtz, Hemdale)
  6. Freddie as F.R.O.7.  (**.5, Acevski, Miramax)
  7. The Tune  (**.5, Plympton, October Films)
  8. Bebe’s Kids  (**, Smith, Paramount)
  9. Rock-a-Doodle  (**, Bluth, Samuel Goldwyn Films)
  10. Cool World  (*, Bakshi, Paramount)

Note:  Oscars.org only lists eight films, with Barefoot Gen and Porco Rosso not listed.
This is only the third time the total has reached double digits, but after this year only one year will have fewer than 10 films.
This is the year of sub-par animated directors.  Bill Plympton makes strange films that don’t work for me, Don Bluth went on a huge decline after The Secret of Nimh and An American Tail and Ralph Bakshi is just crap.  Even Clements and Musker will go down after this, directing Hercules and Treasure Planet.  On the other hand, thanks to eligibility dates, the next year will bring us a Miyazaki film that is one of the most wonderful kids films ever made.

52 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):

  • Adorable Lies  (Chijona, Cuba)  *
  • All That Really Matters  (Glinski, Poland)  *
  • Being at Home with Claude  (Beaudin, Canada)
  • La Belle histoire  (Lelouch, France)
  • Benny’s Video  (Haneke, Austria)  *
  • Best Intentions  (August, Sweden)
  • Celine  (Brisseau, France)
  • The Child of Man  (Streics, Latvia)  *
  • Ciao Professore  (Wertmuller, Italy)
  • Close to Eden  (Mikhalkov, Russia)  **
  • Daens  (Coninx, Belgium)  **
  • The Dark Side of the Heart  (Subiela, Argentina)  *
  • Dragon Inn  (Lee, Hong Kong)
  • The Fall of Otrar  (Amirkulov, Kazakhstan)  *
  • Go-hime  (Teshigahara, Japan)
  • Guelwaar  (Sembene, Senegal)
  • Hard-Boiled  (Woo, Hong Kong)
  • Hyenas  (Mambety, Senegal)
  • Indochine  (Wargnier, France)  ***
  • King of Beggars  (Chan, Hong Kong)
  • Leolo  (Lauzon, Canada)  *
  • Life According to Agfa  (Dayan, Israel)  *
  • Like Water for Chocolate  (Arau, Mexico)  *
  • The Lover  (Annaud, France)
  • Macross II: Lovers Again  (Yatagi, Japan)
  • Masala  (Krishna, Canada)
  • Nargess  (Etemad, Iran)
  • The Northerners  (van Warmerdam, Netherlands)  *
  • Olivier Olivier  (Holland, France)
  • Once Upon a Time in China II  (Tsui, Hong Kong)
  • Once Upon a Time in China III  (Tsui, Hong Kong)
  • Peach Blossom Land  (Lai, Taiwan)  *
  • Piano Piano Kid  (Basaran, Turkey)  *
  • A Place in the World  (Aristarian, Uruagay)  **
  • Police Story III: Super Cop  (Tong, Hong Kong)
  • Porco Rosso  (Miyazaki, Japan)
  • Pushing Hands  (Lee, Taiwan)
  • Schtonk  (Dietl, Germany)  **
  • Sofie  (Ullmann, Denmark)  *
  • Le Souper  (Molinaro, France)
  • Stalingrad  (Vilsmaier, Germany)
  • The Stolen Children  (Amelio, Italy)  *
  • Story from Croatia  (Papic, Croatia)  *
  • The Story of Qui Ju  (Yimou, China)  *
  • Sweet Emma, Dear Bobe  (Szabo, Hungary)  *
  • Swordsman 2  (Tong, Hong Kong)
  • Thevar Magan  (Bharathan, India)  *
  • Un Couer en Hiver  (Sautet, France)
  • La Vie de Boheme  (Kaurismaki, Finland)
  • The Warrior’s Heart  (Risan, Norway)  *
  • We Are Not Angels  (Dragojevic, Serbia)
  • The Women from the Lake of Scented Souls  (Xie, China)

Note:  While I have my first film from Uruguay (mainly because it’s the first they submitted to the Academy), I also have my first ones from all the new countries: Latvia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Croatia and Serbia.
Leolo, at a low * is the worst film ever submitted to the Academy (at least through 2007 which I’m currently up to).
For the only time, I have seen three films from Canada.
France and Hong Kong tie with 7 films.  It’s the most films for any country other than France or Japan since 1981.  No other country has more than 3 films.  Thanks to Hong Kong, there are 6 Action films, the most in one year to-date.  Once again, well over half the films are Dramas.

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

  • Estonia:  Those Old Love Letters  (dir. Poldre)
  • Iceland:  As in Heaven  (dir. Iceland)
  • Indonesia:  Mer’s Lips  (dir.  Noer)
  • Japan:  The Oil-Hell Murder  (dir. Gosha)
  • Portugal:  Day of Despair  (dir. de Oliveira)
  • Romania:  Luxury Hotel  (dir. Pita)
  • Spain:  The Fencing Master  (dir.  Olea)
  • Sweden:  House of Angels  (dir.  Nutley)
  • Switzerland:  Off Season  (dir.  Schmid)

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 24 for 33 (73%).  Switzerland is the only repeat country missing from the year before.
The submissions are down again from the year before, reaching a low of 33 that will never be reached again – only in 1994 and 1996 will it ever again even be below 40.  Eleven countries are out from the year before, including two that were nominated the year before (Hong Kong and Czechoslovakia.  It’s the first time since 1971 that two nominees from the year before fail to submit, though to be fair, Czechoslovakia ceased to exist in this time.  Two other countries no longer exist and are out (USSR, Yugoslavia) but they will be represented among new submitting countries.  The other countries out this year are the United Kingdom, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru (clearly a bad year for South America), Algeria and Bulgaria.
Submitting for the first time are Russia and Uruguay, both of whom are nominated.  It’s the first time two countries are both nominated for their first submissions since 1957.  With Germany (who also didn’t submit the year before), it’s the first time since 1977 that multiple countries are nominated that didn’t submit the year before and the first time ever that three countries are nominated that didn’t submit the year before.  Also returning after a year break in submissions are Turkey, Romania and Indonesia.  The other first-time submitting countries are Croatia (who has never missed since), Kazakhstan, Estonia and Latvia (who won’t submit again until 2008).
These misses are my first (Estonia, Romania), second (Indonesia), fourth (Portugal), eighth (Sweden), ninth (Iceland), tenth (Switzerland), 13th (Japan) and 14th (Spain).

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

  • Limite  (1931)
  • Pepe, Luci, Bom and the Other Girls  (1980)
  • Barefoot Gen  (1983)
  • Nostalghia  (1983)
  • White Dog  (1983)
  • The Cry of the Owl  (1987)
  • Rampage  (1987)
  • Marquis  (1989)
  • Painted Faces  (1989)
  • Tetsuo: The Iron Man  (1989)
  • All the Vermeers in New York  (1990)
  • Cabeza de Vaca  (1990)
  • The Hairdresser’s Husband  (1990)
  • No Fear, No Die  (1990)
  • Rock-a-Doodle  (1990)
  • The Adjuster  (1991)
  • Danzon  (1991)
  • Delicatessan  (1991)
  • Edward II  (1991)
  • The Efficiency Expert  (1991)
  • Flirting  (1991)
  • Highway 61  (1991)
  • The Hours and Times  (1991)
  • Johnny Stecchino  (1991)
  • Mediterraneo  (1991)
  • Mississippi Masala  (1991)
  • The Ox  (1991)
  • Proof  (1991)
  • Raise the Red Lantern  (1991)
  • Roadside Prophets  (1991)
  • Toto le Heroes  (1991)
  • Tous les matins du monde  (1991)
  • The Tune  (1991)
  • Van Gogh  (1991)
  • Where Angels Fear to Tread  (1991)
  • Zentropa  (1991)

Note:  These 36 films average a 63.1.  There are several ** films and one *.5 film (Rampage).  But there are also two **** films (Raise the Red Lantern, Flirting).

Films Not Listed at Oscars.org:

  • Adorable Lies
  • All That Really Matters
  • Barefoot Gen
  • La Belle histoire
  • Benny’s Video
  • Celine
  • The Child of Man
  • Go-hime
  • Life According to Agfa
  • Limite
  • No Fear, No Die
  • The Northerners
  • Nostalghia
  • Peach Blossom Land
  • Porco Rosso
  • Schtonk
  • Le Souper
  • Story from Croatia
  • Sweet Emma, Dear Bobe
  • Thevar Magan
  • The Warrior’s Heart
  • We Are Not Angels

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:

  • Alive  (1993)
  • American Heart  (1993)
  • Being at Home with Claude  (1993)
  • Careful  (1993)
  • Daens  (1993)
  • Dead Alive  (1993)
  • Dragon Inn  (1993)
  • Hard-Boiled  (1993)
  • Into the West  (1993)
  • Just Another Girl on the I.R.T.  (1993)
  • King of Beggars  (1993)
  • The Last Days of Chez Nous  (1993)
  • Leolo  (1993)
  • Like Water for Chocolate  (1993)
  • The Long Day Closes  (1993)
  • Macross II: Lovers Again  (1993)
  • Masala  (1993)
  • Olivier Olivier  (1993)
  • Orlando  (1993)
  • Piano Piano Kid  (1993)
  • Romper Stomper  (1993)
  • Sofie  (1993)
  • The Stolen Children  (1993)
  • The Story of Qiu Ju  (1993)
  • Un Couer en Hiver  (1993)
  • Bitter Moon  (1994)
  • The Cement Garden  (1994)
  • Ciao Professore  (1994)
  • Once Upon a Time in China II  (1994)
  • Once Upon a Time in China III  (1994)
  • A Place in the World  (1994)
  • The Trial  (1994)
  • La Vie de Boheme  (1994)
  • Guelwaar  (1995)
  • Hyenas  (1995)
  • Pushing Hands  (1995)
  • The Women from the Lake of Scented Souls  (1995)
  • The Dark Side of the Heart  (1996)
  • Stalingrad  (1996)
  • Nargess  (1998)
  • The Fall of Otrar  (2012)

Note:  These 42 films average a 65.4.  There is only simply terrible film (Leolo) and there is no **** film but there are several ***.5 films (Hard-Boiled, The Last Days of Chez Nous, Like Water for Chocolate, Un Couer en Hiver, Hyenas, Pushing Hands).

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