One of the most touching friendships in film history.

One of the most touching friendships in film history.

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 15 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.  There happen to be 15 **** films in this year and there is at least 15 worth listing in most categories.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Ed Wood
  2. Pulp Fiction  **
  3. The Shawshank Redemption  *
  4. Four Weddings and a Funeral  *
  5. Three Colors: Red
  6. Quiz Show  *
  7. Heavenly Creatures
  8. Bullets over Broadway
  9. Grave of the Fireflies
  10. Clerks
  11. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
  12. Three Colors: White
  13. Death and the Maiden
  14. Eat Drink Man Woman
  15. The Scent of Green Papaya

Analysis:  The first three films have stayed there since 1994 and that’s because they’re the best Top 3 since 1959.  The films from #4-8 have switched around a lot over the years.  It’s the third best Top 7 to-date, tied for the second best Top 8 to-date and tied for the second best Top 10 to-date.  It is the best Top 20 to-date (the next five films are The Crow, Nobody’s Fool, The Lion King, The Madness of King George and Queen Margot).
All 15 of these films are ****.
Here is a good place to remind people that I don’t include Documentaries in my Nighthawk Awards, thus no Hoop Dreams in this or any other category.
Four of the five Oscar nominees are in my Top 6 so the Oscar Score is a very respectable 77.5, the best in 12 years.  But it’s the winner that’s not on my list because they botched that.  In fact, after three straight years of picking the best film, the Oscars pick the weakest of the nominees.  This pattern will continue, as from 1991 to 2003 the Academy will pick either the best of the five nominees or the worst.

  • ed-wood-btsBest Director
  1. Tim Burton  (Ed Wood)
  2. Quentin Tarantino  (Pulp Fiction)  **
  3. Frank Darabont  (The Shawshank Redemption)
  4. Krzysztof Kieslowski  (Three Colors: Red)  *
  5. Peter Jackson  (Heavenly Creatures)
  6. Robert Redford  (Quiz Show)  *
  7. Woody Allen  (Bullets over Broadway)
  8. Roman Polanski  (Death and the Maiden)
  9. Mike Newell  (Four Weddings and a Funeral)  *
  10. Krzysztof Kieslowski  (Three Colors: White)
  11. Alex Proyas  (The Crow)
  12. Luc Besson  (Leon)
  13. Patrice Chereau  (Queen Margot)
  14. Ang Lee  (Eat Drink Man Woman)
  15. Anh Hung Tran  (The Scent of Green Papaya)

Analysis:  Tarantino is the first Director to ever sweep the critics awards, winning all six major awards.
These are the only Nighthawk nominations for Burton, Darabont and Kieslowski.  It’s the first nomination for both Tarantino and Jackson (both of whom will be winners in the next century).
Like with Picture, it is very tough to limit it to five directors and several different directors have gone on and off the Top 5.  The only three that have never left the last are Burton, Tarantino and Darabont.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Ed Wood  *
  2. The Shawshank Redemption  *
  3. Quiz Show  *
  4. Nobody’s Fool  *
  5. Grave of the Fireflies
  6. The Madness of King George  *
  7. Little Women  *
  8. Death and the Maiden
  9. Vanya on 42nd Street
  10. To Live
  11. Interview with the Vampire
  12. The Crow
  13. Colonel Chabert
  14. Forrest Gump  **
  15. Queen Margot

Analysis:  The reason for so many Consensus nominees is that there was a four-way tie for 5th place, with the Oscars going for Nobody’s Fool, the WGA for Little Women and Ed Wood (which they considered original) and the BAFTA for The Browning Version (which didn’t make my list).  No adapted script won a critics award because they all went to Pulp Fiction.
I have read most of the original sources: The Shawshank Redemption (which I loved for years before the film and actually starting writing a screenplay of in 1992), Quiz Show (it takes up very little of Goodwin’s Remembering America, which is really a good back), Nobody’s Fool (I became a Russo fan years later but love this and most of his other books), Grave of the Fireflies (have already read for my Best Adapted Screenplay project, sort-of), Little Women (read because I have the Annotated version and because I already covered it in my 1933 Adapted Screenplay project), Vanya on 42nd Street (have read all of Chekhov), Interview with the Vampire (read it in 1993, loved it, wanted Tom Cruise to star as Louis), The Crow (much prefer the film), Forrest Gump (decently entertaining book, very different from the film – great job of leaving the book aside to make the film) and Queen Margot (I like Dumas quite a lot).

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Pulp Fiction  **
  2. Four Weddings and a Funeral  *
  3. Clerks
  4. Three Colors: Red  *
  5. Bullets over Broadway  *
  6. Heavenly Creatures  *
  7. Three Colors: White
  8. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert  *
  9. Eat Drink Man Woman
  10. The Hudsucker Proxy
  11. Belle Epoque
  12. The Scent of Green Papaya
  13. Sirens
  14. Go Fish
  15. Fiorile

Analysis:  Tarantino sets new records for nominations (8), wins (8), points and percentage.  Those are all records for either writing category and his is the first script to have over 50% of the points.  None of these records will last past 1997, but in the original category they will last until 2006 (nominations), 2015 (points, percentage) and will still stand at least in a tie (wins).  It wins every award possible except for the WGA, for which it is ineligible because Tarantino isn’t a member.
There are more than five Consensus nominees because of a three-way tie for fourth place, with Heavenly Creatures getting the Oscar and WGA noms, Red earning Oscar and BAFTA noms and The Adventures of Priscilla earning WGA and BAFTA noms.
This, like Picture, is a category where I go back and forth on what doesn’t make the cut.  These top 8 are simply phenomenal and most of them would make the nominations in almost any other year.  Indeed, how good a year is it when the Coens have to come in 10th place?  Four Weddings is the best #2 in this category since 1988.  The Top 5 tie 1974 for the best Top 5 to-date.  I don’t track the Top 10, but it is almost certainly the best Top 10 to-date.  It’s also the best group of Oscar nominees in this Oscar category to-date.  The Oscar Score is an impressive 97.5, the best in this category since 1959.
Kevin Smith earns what will be his only regular Nighthawk nomination.  Tarantino earns his second nomination and first win.  After a five year gap, Woody Allen is back with his 15th writing nomination.  He’s now at 840 points and in third place.

  • Best Actor:
  1. Johnny Depp  (Ed Wood)
  2. Ralph Fiennes  (Quiz Show)
  3. Tim Robbins  (The Shawshank Redemption)
  4. Paul Newman  (Nobody’s Fool)  *
  5. Terrence Stamp  (The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert)
  6. Nigel Hawthorne  (The Madness of King George)  *
  7. Hugh Grant  (Four Weddings and a Funeral)  *
  8. Morgan Freeman  (The Shawshank Redemption)
  9. Ben Kingsley  (Death and the Maiden)
  10. Tom Hanks  (Forrest Gump)  **
  11. John Travolta  (Pulp Fiction)  *
  12. Albert Finney  (The Browning Version)
  13. Jean Reno  (Leon)
  14. Kevin Spacey  (The Ref)
  15. John Cusack  (Bullets over Broadway)

Analysis:  I am appalled by the awards groups in this year.  My top three performances account for a Globe – Comedy nom (Depp) and a SAG nom (Robbins) and that’s it.  The year after Fiennes somehow doesn’t win the Oscar he doesn’t get a single award mention.  I can’t understand it.  Those three performances are easily the top for me (I have gone, through the years, between all three as my winner, though Depp has been on top for a long time now).  But this year is stacked with great performances.  I don’t think I would argue much with anyone who had anyone of my Top 10 in their Top 5.
This is the only nomination for Terrence Stamp who came close to nominations twice in the 60’s.  It’s the first nomination for Depp but he’ll earn more after the turn of the century.  It’s the second nom for Tim Robbins.  It’s the second nom in a row for Ralph Fiennes and the second of four in five years.  It’s the eight nomination for Paul Newman and it pushes him back into the Top 10 with 350 points.
With only one Oscar nominee in my Top 5, the Oscar Score is 76.3, the worst in this category since 1985.

  • Best Actress
  1. Sigourney Weaver  (Death and the Maiden)
  2. Isabelle Adjani  (Queen Margot)
  3. Jennifer Jason Leigh  (Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle)  *
  4. Winona Ryder  (Little Women)
  5. Natalie Portman  (Leon)
  6. Linda Fiorentino  (The Last Seduction)
  7. Jennifer Jason Leigh  (The Hudsucker Proxy)
  8. Irene Jacob  (Three Colors: Red)
  9. Julianne Moore  (Vanya on 42nd Street)
  10. Jodie Foster  (Nell)  *
  11. Meg Ryan  (When a Man Loves a Woman)
  12. Jessica Lange  (Blue Sky)  **
  13. Melanie Lynskey  (Heavenly Creatures)
  14. Miranda Richardson  (Tom & Viv)  *
  15. Susan Sarandon  (The Client)  *

Analysis:  Obviously this is a year where the awards groups and I part ways.  I really think they missed the boat on most of the best performances of the year.  I have always felt that the Lange Oscar (and Globe) was more of a career award and a lack of consensus than anything else; at #12 she is the lowest ranked Oscar winner since 1985 and tied for the second lowest to-date.  It’s the first time in eight years that no actress has more than 20% of the Consensus points, something that hasn’t happened since.  Eight different actresses won awards: Lange (LAFC, Oscar, Globe), Leigh (NSFC, CFC), Richardson (NBR), Sarandon (BAFTA), Foster (SAG), Fiorentino (NYFC), Jamie Lee Curtis (True Lies – Globe – Comedy) and Moore (BSFC).
I have gone through a number of winners over the years, including Weaver, Adjani and Leigh.  I am kind of stunned that neither Weaver nor Adjani got any awards attention.
This is the first nomination for Leigh and Portman.  It’s the third nomination for Weaver, Adjani and Ryder.
With both Tom Hanks and Jessica Lange not in the Top 9, it’s the first time ever that neither lead performances is in single digits on my list.  It’s contrasted against both Oscar winners also winning the Nighthawk in the supporting awards.
With only one Oscar nominee in my Top 9, the Oscar Score is 68.6, the lowest in this category since 1973.  It’s the first time in nine years that neither lead acting category has a score above 80.

  • ed-wood-martin-landau-as-bela-lugosiBest Supporting Actor:
  1. Martin Landau  (Ed Wood)  **
  2. Samuel L. Jackson  (Pulp Fiction)  *
  3. John Turturro  (Quiz Show)
  4. Chazz Palmentiri  (Bullets over Broadway)  *
  5. Paul Scofield  (Quiz Show)  *
  6. Gary Sinise  (Forrest Gump)  *
  7. Paul Newman  (The Hudsucker Proxy)
  8. Simon Callow  (Four Weddings and a Funeral)
  9. Ian Holm  (The Madness of King George)
  10. Jean Louis Trintegent  (Three Colors: Red)
  11. Kevin Bacon  (The River Wild)
  12. Gary Oldman  (Leon)
  13. Jim Broadbent  (Bullets over Broadway)
  14. Walter Matthau  (I.Q.)
  15. James Whitmore  (The Shawshank Redemption)

Analysis:  It’s really tempting to push this to six nominees so I can include Sinise.  Turturro was sixth in the Consensus, just outside the Top 5.  Clearly voters were split on the supporting performances in Quiz Show, as Turturro earned SAG and Globe noms but Scofield earned Oscar and BAFTA noms.
These are the only nominations for Jackson, Turturro and Palmentiri.  It’s the second nom for Scofield.  It’s the third nom for Landau.
Landau sets new points, wins (8) and nominations (9) records for Supporting Actor, winning five critics awards, the Oscar, SAG and Globe (and earning a BAFTA nom).  But, because of the addition of SAG he doesn’t come close to Gene Hackman’s percentage total from 1992.  All of Landau’s records will stand until 2009.  Ironically, the two later performances that will break his marks (Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds and J.K. Simmons in Whiplash) will also miss winning the NBR just like Landau.  In fact, the top seven Supporting Actor Consensus points finishers all failed to win the NBR; it’s really strange.
The Oscar Score is an excellent 94.7, but that’s lower than the year before and the same as 1992.  It will be another decade before the Oscar Score reaches 90 again.

  • bulletsBest Supporting Actress:
  1. Dianne Wiest (Bullets over Broadway)  **
  2. Uma Thurman  (Pulp Fiction)  *
  3. Helen Mirren  (The Madness of King George)  *
  4. Kirsten Dunst  (Interview with the Vampire)  *
  5. Kristen Scott-Thomas  (Four Weddings and a Funeral)
  6. Jennifer Tilly  (Bullets over Broadway)
  7. Susan Sarandon  (Little Women)
  8. Greta Scachi  (The Browning Version)
  9. Rosemary Harris  (Tom & Viv)  *
  10. Robin Wright Penn  (Forrest Gump)
  11. Fanny Ardant  (Colonel Chabert)

Analysis:  While Best Actress had very little consensus, Best Supporting Actress has a massive consensus.  Dianne Wiest has the most points between 1985 and 2008 and the most wins between 1984 and 2009.  In fact, until the awards actually began, she was my clear winner for Best Actress and I had to readjust and suddenly find a Best Actress winner.  She wins this by a mile with one of the great all-time supporting performances.  Adding to that lack of consensus in Actress is that the BAFTAs nominated both Thurman and Mirren as leads.
This is the only nomination for Dunst.  It’s the first nomination for Scott-Thomas and Thurman.  It’s the third nomination for Wiest.  It’s the fourth nomination for Mirren.
Both Landau and Wiest win the Oscar and the Nighthawk.  It’s the last time I will agree with both supporting winners until 2008.
The Oscar Score is an excellent 93.3, the highest in this category in five years.

  • Best Editing:
  1. Pulp Fiction
  2. Ed Wood
  3. Heavenly Creatures
  4. The Shawshank Redemption
  5. Four Weddings and a Funeral
  6. Bullets over Broadway
  7. Quiz Show
  8. Three Colors: Red
  9. Forrest Gump
  10. Three Colors: White
  11. Grave of the Fireflies
  12. Death and the Maiden
  13. The Scent of Green Papaya
  14. Leon
  15. Eat Drink Man Woman

Analysis:  Forrest Gump is the lowest ranked Oscar winner since 1987.  It’s tricky what to consider the effects that put Forrest in the oldtime footage.  Is that Editing or Visual Effects?  I go for the latter, which is why the film is ranked higher there than here.  The editing of Pulp Fiction, though, is really remarkable and deserves this award.  I should also point out that Four Weddings is really remarkable edited for a Romantic Comedy, a genre where the editing rarely stands out.  Remember that Hoop Dreams was nominated at the Oscars (a good choice), but I don’t count Documentaries.

  • Best Cinematography:
  1. Ed Wood  **
  2. Three Colors: Red
  3. Pulp Fiction
  4. The Shawshank Redemption  *
  5. Wyatt Earp  *
  6. Queen Margot
  7. Three Colors: White
  8. Heavenly Creatures
  9. The Scent of Green Papaya
  10. Interview with the Vampire
  11. The Crow
  12. Legends of the Fall  *
  13. Leon
  14. Death and the Maiden
  15. The Hudsucker Proxy

Analysis:  Ed Wood still has the most Consensus points for a film that failed to earn an Oscar nomination, as it won four critics awards.  It is one of only four films to win at least three awards but fail to earn either an ASC or Oscar nom (Wings of Desire, Barton Fink and The Master are the others).
Nineteen years after his last nomination, Owen Roizman (Wyatt Earp) finally earns a fourth and final nomination (it had been 12 years since his previous Oscar nom).  Roger Deakins (Shawshank), on the other hand, is just earning his second nom and this is the first of four nominations in five years.
Legends of the Fall is the lowest ranked Oscar winner since 1974 and is the first winner not to earn at least a Nighthawk nomination since 1988.  I will point out that no other group gave Legends the award.  But the Oscar Score is a 78.9, the best in seven years, lead by the three nominees the Oscars and I agree on.

  • Best Original Score:
  1. The Lion King
  2. Ed Wood
  3. Three Colors: Red
  4. Forrest Gump
  5. The Shawshank Redemption
  6. Wyatt Earp
  7. Three Colors: White
  8. Interview with the Vampire
  9. The Scent of Green Papaya
  10. Leon
  11. Heavenly Creatures
  12. Stargate
  13. The Shadow
  14. Nell
  15. Grave of the Fireflies

Analysis:  Zbiegnow Presiner earns his second straight nomination, both working with Kieslowski.  Thomas Newman (Shawshank), Randy’s cousin, earns his first nomination.  Alan Silvestri (Forrest Gump) earns his second nom, nine years after winning his first (both working with Robert Zemeckis).  Hans Zimmer earns his third nom and first win for music that is thematically similar to his brilliant work on The Power of One.  Danny Elfman earns his fourth nomination (all with Tim Burton).
This is the weakest Top 5 in six years.  But the Oscar Score is 80.6, the best in five years.

  • Best Sound:
  1. The Crow
  2. Leon
  3. The Shawshank Redemption
  4. Wyatt Earp
  5. Quiz Show
  6. Interview with the Vampire
  7. Natural Born Killers
  8. Backbeat
  9. Pulp Fiction
  10. The Lion King
  11. Heavenly Creatures
  12. Speed
  13. Forrest Gump
  14. Legends of the Fall
  15. Ed Wood

Analysis:  The Crow is the weakest winner in this category since 1978.  Leon is also the weakest #2 in this category since 1978 and the Top 5 is the weakest since 1978.
Speed is the lowest ranked Oscar winner in this category since 1985 and only the second not to make my Top 10 since 1971.  The Oscar Score is 59.3, the weakest in seven years.

  • Best Art Direction:
  1. Interview with the Vampire
  2. Ed Wood
  3. The Hudsucker Proxy
  4. The Madness of King George
  5. Bullets over Broadway
  6. Queen Margot
  7. Pulp Fiction
  8. Quiz Show
  9. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
  10. The Bride with White Hair
  11. Little Women
  12. The Shawshank Redemption
  13. Wyatt Earp
  14. Sirens
  15. Forrest Gump

Analysis:  The Madness of King George was a good choice of a winner but it’s still the first Oscar winner since 1985 not to be at least my #1 or 2.  But the Oscar Score is only 69.2, the weakest since 1978.  That’s what happens when you pass up Ed Wood and Hudsucker to nominate Gump and Legends of the Fall.  This is another category where I wish I could expand it to 6, 7 or even 8.

  • Best Visual Effects
  1. Heavenly Creatures
  2. Forrest Gump
  3. Stargate
  4. True Lies
  5. Interview with the Vampire
  6. The Mask
  7. Star Trek: Generations
  8. The Crow
  9. Natural Born Killers
  10. The Jungle Book
  11. Speed

Analysis:  The Top 5 is tied for the best Top 5 to-date.  But by passing up Heavenly Creatures and its visionary effects, the Oscar Score is 70.0, the lowest since 1975.

  • Best Sound Editing
  1. The Crow
  2. Heavenly Creatures
  3. Leon
  4. Interview with the Vampire
  5. Speed
  6. Natural Born Killers
  7. Star Trek: Generations
  8. The Lion King
  9. True Lies
  10. Wyatt Earp
  11. Clear and Present Danger
  12. Forrest Gump
  13. Stargate
  14. The Mask
  15. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Analysis:  The Oscar Score is only a 50, the worst in seven years.  I really can’t believe the Academy didn’t nominate The Crow for anything.

  • interview-with-the-vampire-kirsten-dunst-96218_1334_900-jpgBest Costume Design:
  1. Interview with the Vampire
  2. Queen Margot
  3. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
  4. The Madness of King George
  5. Bullets over Broadway
  6. Little Women
  7. Wyatt Earp
  8. Ed Wood
  9. The Hudsucker Proxy
  10. The Bride with White Hair
  11. The Scent of Green Papaya
  12. Sirens
  13. Quiz Show
  14. Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle
  15. To Live

Analysis:  I can not fathom how Interview didn’t get a nomination.  You have costumes from 18th Century New Orleans, 19th Century Paris and 20th Century San Francisco.  That also leads to an Oscar Score of 79.5, the lowest in five years.
The lack of a nomination for Madness is really strange.  It’s the only Art Direction winner between 1989 and 2006 to fail to earn a Costume Design nomination.  And it’s really the only Costume Drama since Julius Caesar in 1953 to do that.  Likewise, Priscilla is the only Costume winner between 1989 and 2006 (really strange) to fail to earn an Art Direction nomination.  In fact, since the 70’s, four times the Art Direction winner wasn’t nominated for Costumes and the Costume winner wasn’t nominated for Art Direction (1981, 1989, 1994, 2006) but aside from those four years the only time the Art Direction winner wasn’t nominated for Costumes aside from that was 2009 and the only time the Costume winner wasn’t nominated for Art Direction was 2007.

  • Best Makeup
  1. Ed Wood
  2. Interview with the Vampire
  3. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
  4. The Bride with White Hair
  5. Queen Margot
  6. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
  7. Cronos
  8. Heavenly Creatures
  9. The Mask
  10. The Crow
  11. Pulp Fiction
  12. Star Trek: Generations
  13. Wyatt Earp
  14. Wolf
  15. Natural Born Killers

Analysis:  This is the last time I agree with the Oscar winner in this category until 1999.  Again, I can’t fathom how they passed over Interview with the Vampire.  I like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein more than most people because I’m a huge Branagh fan, but even I don’t think the makeup in it was nearly as good as the makeup in Interview.

  • Best Original Song:
  1. “Can’t Even Tell”  (Clerks)
  2. Circle of Life”  (The Lion King)
  3. It Can’t Rain All the Time”  (The Crow)
  4. I’ll Remember”  (With Honors)
  5. Can You Feel the Love Tonight”  (The Lion King)
  6. Hakuna Matata”  (The Lion King)
  7. Burn”  (The Crow)
  8. Be Prepared”  (The Lion King)
  9. I Just Can’t Wait to Be King”  (The Lion King)

Analysis:  Oscars.org lists songs from different films.  In this year, it lists 53 songs from 35 different films, with The Lion King and Thumbelina the only films with more than three songs.  I have seen 21 of the films, accounting for 32 songs.
But there are once again problems with the list.  I’ve decided not to include “Stay” from Reality Bites, as it wasn’t apparently written for the film.  But oscars.org only lists “The Big Empty” for The Crow while both songs here were written for the film.  It also doesn’t list any songs from Clerks, but “Can’t Even Tell” was written for Clerks and I love it and I’m definitely including it as my winner.
“Can You Feel the Love Tonight” is the lowest ranked Oscar winner in seven years.  “Circle of Life” is so, so, so much a better song, I can’t fathom how they went with the ballad.  “Circle of Life” is one of the best songs Disney has ever produced and only the fact that “Can’t Even Tell” is my “I’ve just escaped from work and need to celebrate it” song (perfectly appropriate given its use in the film) puts it over “Circle of Life”.

  • grave_of_the_fireflies_japanese_posterBest Animated Film:
  1. Grave of the Fireflies
  2. The Lion King  **

Analysis:  While it’s a bit of a letdown after the three amazing Disney films that preceded it, The Lion King has great music and has always been either a low **** or a high ***.5.  But it can’t really compare to the moving, haunting experience that is Grave of the Fireflies, probably the most depressing Animated film ever made.

  • trois-couleurs-rouge-movie-poster-1994-1010278041Best Foreign Film:
  1. Three Colors: Red  **
  2. Three Colors: White
  3. Eat Drink Man Woman  *
  4. Mina Tannenbaum
  5. Il Postino  *
  6. Queen Margot
  7. Before the Rain
  8. Burnt by the Sun  *
  9. To Live  *
  10. La Separation
  11. Colonel Chabert

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

Analysis:  I suppose I should start by pointing out that the Academy ended up disqualifying Red, proving that their rules are stupid (there’s a big write-up on it on page 958 of Inside Oscar).  The voters, however, just didn’t nominate White, proving that their voters are stupid as well.
Red crushes it at the Consensus Awards, winning five of the six critics awards (the sixth goes to Eat Drink Man Woman).  Red loses the Globe to Farinelli (which is mediocre) and the BAFTA to To Live.  Il Postino wins the BAFTA, BFCA and CFC, but all in 1995.
Poland earns its third nomination.  Switzerland also gets its third and its first win.  Taiwan earns its third in a row, all for Ang Lee films (and won’t earn another until 2000 when Ang Lee returns).  Italy earns its first nomination in five years and only its third since 1976, but also its last for well over a decade.  It is now up to 600 points.  France, on the other hand, is now up to 2240 points.
With the two nominations, Kieslowski is now up to four nominations in four years.
It’s the best Top 5 since 1973, but it’s the first time there have been four **** films since 1963.  The 6 through 10 films are all the best since 1963.  The Top 10 is the fourth best to-date, behind only 1912-26, 1957 and 1955 and there won’t be a better one for eight years.
At #8, Burnt by the Sun is the highest ranked Oscar winner in this category in five years.
Mina Tannenbaum is a film here that is often over-looked, even though it would win the BSFC in 1995.  It is certainly, by a long way, these least well-known of my Top 5.

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.

  • Ed Wood  (540)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Art Direction, Makeup
  • Pulp Fiction   (310)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Editing, Cinematography
  • The Shawshank Redemption  (265)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound
  • Three Colors: Red  (225)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Original Score, Foreign Film
  • Bullets over Broadway  (165)
    • Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Art Direction, Costume Design
  • Quiz Show  (155)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor, Sound
  • Interview with the Vampire  (150)
    • Supporting Actress, Art Direction, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Costume Design, Makeup
  • Four Weddings and a Funeral  (145)
    • Picture, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actress, Editing
  • Heavenly Creatures  (130)
    • Director, Editing, Visual Effects, Sound Editing
  • Grave of the Fireflies  (100)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Animated Film, Foreign Film (1988)
  • The Lion King  (90)
    • Original Score, Original Song, Original Song, Animated Film
  • The Crow  (90)
    • Sound, Sound Editing, Original Song
  • Nobody’s Fool  (75)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor
  • Leon  (75)
    • Actress, Sound, Sound Editing
  • Death and the Maiden  (70)
    • Actress
  • The Madness of King George  (65)
    • Supporting Actress, Art Direction, Costume Design
  • Clerks  (60)
    • Original Screenplay, Original Song
  • The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert  (60)
    • Actor, Costume Design, Makeup
  • Queen Margot  (60)
    • Actress, Costume Design, Makeup
  • Wyatt Earp  (45)
    • Cinematography, Sound
  • Forrest Gump  (45)
    • Original Score, Visual Effects
  • Little Women  (35)
    • Actress
  • Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle  (35)
    • Actress
  • The Hudsucker Proxy  (20)
    • Art Direction
  • True Lies  (20)
    • Visual Effects
  • Stargate  (20)
    • Visual Effects
  • Speed  (20)
    • Sound Editing
  • Three Colors: White  (20)
    • Foreign Film
  • Eat Drink Man Woman  (20)
    • Foreign Film
  • The Scent of Green Papaya  (20)
    • Foreign Film (1993)
  • A Story of Floating Weeds  (20)
    • Foreign Film  (1934)
  • The Bride with White Hair  (20)
    • Makeup
  • With Honors  (10)
    • Original Song

Analysis:  There are eight more films than the year before.  My Best Picture nominees only combine for 35 nominations, the fewest since 1987 and tied for the second fewest since 1934.  They also only win half the awards, the fewest by the BP nominees to-date.
Overall, the Tech winners are the weakest since 1978.

Best Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • Cronos

Analysis:  A very good early Guillermo del Toro film.  It’s my #24 film of the year.  It finishes in 7th place twice (Makeup, Foreign Film for 1993).

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

  • Red Rock West

Analysis:  Red Rock West is the less famous of the two John Dahl films that were released in theaters this year but were ineligible for the Oscars (see much farther below), but I actually think it’s better than The Last Seduction.  In spite of being a ***.5 film (my #25), it only even gets one Top 20 finish (20th place in Director).  The only other ***.5 film to not earn any Top 10 finishes is Colonel Chabert.

Biggest Awards Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • Tom & Viv

Analysis:  How does a movie about one of my favorite poets suck so bad?  It has very solid acting from Miranda Richardson and Rosemary Harris (both earned Oscar noms and they were responsible for the 2 critics wins, the Globe nom and one of the BAFTA noms, with the other being, somehow Best British Film) but the film itself is very poorly written and just god-awful depressing.  I give it *.5 and it’s #169 on my list for the year.

Nighthawk Golden Globes:

Drama:

  • Best Picture
  1. Pulp Fiction
  2. The Shawshank Redemption
  3. Three Colors: Red
  4. Quiz Show
  5. Heavenly Creatures

Analysis:  Okay, so the Globes went with Legends of the Fall and Nell instead of Shawshank.  Just, wow.  Red was nominated for Best Foreign Film.
Heavenly Creatures is the best #5 in this category since 1989 and the second best since 1980.
The rest of the **** Drama films are (in order): Grave of the Fireflies, Three Colors: White, Death and the Maiden and The Scent of Green Papaya.  The ***.5 films, in order are: The Crow, Nobody’s Fool, The Madness of King George, Queen Margot, Leon, Little Women, Cronos, Red Rock West, Fiorile, To Live, The Bride with White Hair, A Story of Floating Weeds, Interview with the Vampire, Savage Nights and Colonel Chabert.

  • Best Director
  1. Quentin Tarantino  (Pulp Fiction)
  2. Frank Darabont  (The Shawshank Redemption)
  3. Krzysztof Kieslowski  (Three Colors: Red)
  4. Peter Jackson  (Heavenly Creatures)
  5. Robert Redford  (Quiz Show)

Analysis:  These are the only Drama noms for Darabont, Kieslowski and Redford.  It’s the first nom (and win) for Tarantino and the first nom for Jackson.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. The Shawshank Redemption
  2. Quiz Show
  3. Nobody’s Fool
  4. Grave of the Fireflies
  5. The Madness of King George
  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Pulp Fiction
  2. Three Colors: Red
  3. Heavenly Creatures
  4. Three Colors: White
  5. The Scent of Green Papaya

Analysis:  Peter Jackson earns his first Drama writing nom.  Tarantino earns his second and his first win.

  • ralph-fiennes-quiz_lBest Actor:
  1. Ralph Fiennes  (Quiz Show)
  2. Tim Robbins  (The Shawshank Redemption)
  3. Paul Newman  (Nobody’s Fool)
  4. Nigel Hawthorne  (The Madness of King George)
  5. Morgan Freeman  (The Shawshank Redemption)

Analysis:  No Fiennes.  No Robbins.  But hey, who needs them when you can nominate Brad Pitt for Legends of the Fall?  Fucking idiot Globe voters.  The winner was Tom Hanks, but I consider Gump a Comedy.  The fifth Globe nominee was Travolta.
This is the only Drama nom for Hawthorne.  It’s the first nom for Robbins.  It’s the third nom for Freeman.  It’s the second win and second of three in four years for Ralph Fiennes.  It’s the eighth nom for Newman and it pushes him back into the Top 10 with 350 points.
This is the weakest Top 5 in seven years.

  • weaver-deathBest Actress
  1. Sigourney Weaver  (Death and the Maiden)
  2. Isabelle Adjani  (Queen Margot)
  3. Jennifer Jason Leigh  (Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle)
  4. Winona Ryder  (Little Women)
  5. Natalie Portman  (Leon)

Analysis:  These are the first Drama noms for Leigh and Portman.  It’s the second nom for Ryder (and second in a row).  It’s the third nom for Adjani.  It’s the fourth nom for Weaver and her only win.
Most of the Globe nominees were in my second group (Jessica Lange, Jodie Foster, Miranda Richardson).  But going with Meryl Streep in The River Wild for their annual Meryl nomination was a bit weird, when you’re passing up performances like Weaver, Adjani and Ryder.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Samuel L. Jackson  (Pulp Fiction)
  2. John Turturro  (Quiz Show)
  3. Paul Scofield  (Quiz Show)
  4. Ian Holm  (The Madness of King George)
  5. Jean Louis Trintegent  (Three Colors: Red)

Analysis:  This is the only Drama nom for Turturro (kudos to the Globes for nominating him).  It’s the first nom for Jackson.  It’s the second nom for Trintegent, 25 years after his first.  It’s the second nom for Scofield, 28 years after his first.  It’s the fourth nom for Holm.
This is the weakest Top 5 in six years.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Uma Thurman  (Pulp Fiction)
  2. Helen Mirren  (The Madness of King George)
  3. Kirsten Dunst  (Interview with the Vampire)
  4. Susan Sarandon  (Little Women)
  5. Greta Scachi  (The Browning Version)

Analysis:  This is the only Drama nomination for Dunst.  It’s the first nom for Thurman, the second for Scachi, the fourth for Mirren and the fourth for Sarandon.

  • Pulp Fiction  (390)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Quiz Show  (265)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor
  • The Shawshank Redemption  (245)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actor
  • Three Colors: Red  (165)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor
  • Heavenly Creatures  (135)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay
  • The Madness of King George  (135)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Nobody’s Fool  (75)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor
  • Death and the Maiden  (70)
    • Actress
  • Little Women  (65)
    • Actress, Supporting Actress
  • Grave of the Fireflies  (40)
    • Adapted Screenplay
  • Three Colors: White  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • The Scent of Green Papaya  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • Queen Margot  (30)
    • Actress
  • Leon  (30)
    • Actress
  • Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle  (35)
    • Actress
  • Interview with the Vampire  (30)
    • Supporting Actress
  • The Browning Version  (30)
    • Supporting Actress

Analysis:  This is the first year since 1969 where the four biggest categories (Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Original Screenplay) all earn my highest rating.

Best Drama Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • The Crow

Analysis:  I love The Crow, but it can’t come close to penetrating any of the Top 5 here.  It comes closest in Director, where it finishes 8th.

Comedy / Musical:

  • Best Picture
  1. Ed Wood
  2. Four Weddings and a Funeral
  3. Bullets over Broadway
  4. Clerks
  5. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Analysis:  This would be the fourth year in Globes history where the Comedy winner (The Lion King) would not earn a Best Picture nom at the Oscars but one of the nominees that lost to it (Four Weddings) would.  The final Globe nom was Pret-a-Porter which was just terrible and clearly was nominated based on it being an Altman film rather than any quality in the film.
This is a great Top 5.  Priscilla ties The Great McGinty from 1940 as the best #5 in this category to-date.  The Top 5 is the third best to-date, behind only 1964 and 1940.  Eat Drink Man Woman is the best Comedy not to earn a nomination since 1940 and this is only the fourth year (following 1940, 1964 and 1988) to have more than five **** films.
The other **** film is Eat Drink Man Woman, while the ***.5 films, in order are: The Lion King, The Hudsucker Proxy and Belle Epoque.

  • Best Director
  1. Tim Burton  (Ed Wood)
  2. Woody Allen  (Bullets over Broadway)
  3. Mike Newell  (Four Weddings and a Funeral)
  4. Ang Lee  (Eat Drink Man Woman)
  5. Joel Coen  (The Hudsucker Proxy)

Analysis:  This is the first Comedy nom for Mike Newell.  It’s the second Comedy nom in a row for Ang Lee, but also his last, as he rarely make Comedies after this.  It’s the third Comedy nom for Joel Coen.  It’s the fourth nom and second win for Tim Burton and he moves up to 270 points and a 7 way tie for 7th place.  Woody Allen, on the other hand, earns his 11th Comedy nomination (his first in seven years) and breaks the tie with Charlie Chaplin; he now has 630 points and is in 1st place all-time.
This is a really rare year in that a Comedy wins Best Director at the Oscars but doesn’t even earn a nomination in my Comedy awards.
This is the best Top 5 in six years.  It’s pretty rare to have four Top 100 directors in my Top 5 for Comedy, let alone four in the Top 65 (and three in the Top 20).

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Ed Wood
  2. Forrest Gump

Analysis:  Of the the Top 16 Comedies on my list for this year, these are the only two that were adapted.  The next best was Naked Gun 33 1/3 and the only other *** films that qualify are True Lies and The Mask.  But, bizarrely, six of the worst eight Comedies of the year are adapted (Major League II, The Road to Wellville, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Mixed Nuts, North, Exit to Eden).

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Four Weddings and a Funeral
  2. Clerks
  3. Bullets over Broadway
  4. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
  5. Eat Drink Man Woman

Analysis:  Kevin Smith earns his first Comedy writing nom.  Woody Allen earns his 17th Comedy writing nom and the first of a streak of four straight years.  He’s up to 920 points and increases his lead in 1st place all-time.
This is the best Top 5 in this category to-date.

  • deppBest Actor:
  1. Johnny Depp  (Ed Wood)
  2. Terrence Stamp  (The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert)
  3. Hugh Grant  (Four Weddings and a Funeral)
  4. Tom Hanks  (Forrest Gump)
  5. Kevin Spacey  (The Ref)

Analysis:  Just remember – the Globes didn’t consider Forrest Gump a Comedy and they nominated Arnold for Junior and Jim Carrey for The Mask rather than Spacey or John Cusack (Bullets over Broadway) or even Michael Keaton (Speechless) and Nicolas Cage (Guarding Tess).
This is the only Comedy nom for Stamp.  It’s the first nom for Spacey.  It’s the first of consecutive noms for Grant.  It’s the third nom for Hanks.  It’s the third nom for Depp in just five years and the middle of three straight noms.
This is the best Top 5 in six years.

  • hudsucker-proxyBest Actress
  1. Jennifer Jason Leigh  (The Hudsucker Proxy)
  2. Judy Davis  (The Ref)
  3. Tara Fitzgerald  (Sirens)
  4. Shirley MacLaine  (Guarding Tess)
  5. Jamie Lee Curtis  (True Lies)

Analysis:  This is the only Comedy nom for Fitzgerald.  It’s the first for Leigh (who will be nominated again the next year).  It’s the third for Curtis who won this award in 1988 against much tougher competition.  It’s also the third for Davis.  MacLaine, on the other hand, earns her 10th nomination and knocks Audrey Hepburn out of 1st place all-time in Comedy points, going up to 440.
The Globe nominees were simply terrible.  They nominated Andie MacDowell, the worst thing about Four Weddings and a Funeral in spite of one of the worst line deliveries of all-time (“Is it still raining?  I hadn’t noticed.”) and went with performances from Emma Thompson (Junior) and Geena Davis (Speechless) that were further down my list rather than go with the really solid performances from Leigh, Davis and Fitzgerald.
This is the weakest Top 5 in 10 years.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Martin Landau  (Ed Wood)
  2. Chazz Palmentiri  (Bullets over Broadway)
  3. Gary Sinise  (Forrest Gump)
  4. Paul Newman  (The Hudsucker Proxy)
  5. Simon Callow  (Four Weddings and a Funeral)

Analysis:  These are the only Comedy noms for Landau, Palmentiri, Sinise and Callow.  It’s the fourth Comedy nom for Newman and his first in 17 years.
This is the best Top 5 in seven years and the second best Top 5 to-date.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Dianne Wiest (Bullets over Broadway)
  2. Kristen Scott-Thomas  (Four Weddings and a Funeral)
  3. Jennifer Tilly  (Bullets over Broadway)
  4. Robin Wright Penn  (Forrest Gump)

Analysis:  These are the only Comedy noms for Scott-Thomas, Tilly and Penn.  It’s the second win and fourth nom for Wiest and she goes up to 180 points and enters the Top 10.

  • Ed Wood  (400)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor
  • Four Weddings and a Funeral  (270)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Bullets over Broadway  (255)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress
  • The Hudsucker Proxy  (145)
    • Director, Actress, Supporting Actor
  • Forrest Gump  (135)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert  (125)
    • Picture, Original Screenplay, Actor
  • Clerks  (90)
    • Picture, Original Screenplay
  • Eat Drink Man Woman  (85)
    • Director, Original Screenplay
  • The Ref  (70)
    • Actor, Actress
  • Sirens  (35)
    • Actress
  • Guarding Tess  (35)
    • Actress
  • True Lies  (35)
    • Actress

Analysis:  This is the first time in Comedy that all four of the biggest categories (Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Original Screenplay) earn my highest rating.  Even with the weakness in Actress, the winners across all the Comedy categories are the best to-date

Best Comedy Not Nominated for any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • The Lion King

Analysis:  Animated films basically only figure into the Globes in two categories: Picture (where it comes in 7th) and Screenplay.  Because it’s an Original Screenplay, it’s nowhere near the Top 5.  If I had considered it Adapted (for, you know, being a rip-off of Bambi), it would have easily earned a nomination.

Roundup for the Year in Film:

Eligible Films I Have Seen:  183

By Stars:

  • ****:  15
  • ***.5:  18
  • ***:  74
  • **.5:  28
  • **:  33
  • *.5:  4
  • *:  6
  • .5:  5
  • 0:  0
  • Average Film Score for the Year, out of 100:  61.04

Analysis:  The average drops almost a point.  That’s mainly because of the drastic increase in ** films.  The number of **** films ties the record to-date.  But the ** films account for over 18% of the films, the fourth highest to-date.

My Year at the Theater

Introduction:  I have my datebook from 1994 still but the entries in it end just before Thanksgiving.  So, until then, the films are in the order I saw them.  After that, they are in release date order.  There is a bit of oddness here.  In May, I moved to San Jose to spend the summer with my brother and to be closer to Deb (who was back home in LA).  But Deb changed her mind on that plan, so I left San Jose after less than three weeks.  The irony is that I got a job at the new Century theater in San Jose but never made it to a movie while I had the job.  I did clean up after all the Memorial Day weekend showings of The Flintstones and good god did that suck.  I also saw the ending of The Crow twelve times or so before actually seeing the film.

  • The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult  –  Like 1993, I start with a parody, but with a much better one.  I saw this during Spring Break with Kari, Jamie and Dane, the Wednesday after the film opened.  It was still funny then to see O.J. (especially in the Untouchables parody) because it wasn’t yet June.
  • Major League II  –  This was an eventful day, as I got a speeding ticket on the way to the movie, which was another date with Deb, though it ended up being a big turning point (upwards) for our relationship for the rest of the school year.  The movie was lame.
  • Reality Bites  –  Good lord I hate this film.  By the time Deb and I saw it on 11 May it had been out for 2 months and was already supposed to be the defining film for our generation.  It made me hate Ethan Hawke forever.
  • Maverick  –  I saw this opening day by myself at the Century in San Jose two days after arriving.  That’s when I picked up the job application and I was hired on Monday, started on Wednesday, and decided by Friday that with Deb having cooled on us there was no point in spending the summer in San Jose.
  • The Crow  –  I saw this on June 17, over a month after it opened, back in Portland with Kari, starting a summer where we saw a lot of movies together because, hey, Deb was in LA.  As mentioned above, I had already seen the ending a lot because of working at the Century.  This was also the week after Speed opened.  I mention that because after seeing The Crow, Kari and I went to Tower Records and they interrupted showing the Knicks-Rockets NBA Finals Game to show the O.J. chase and I remember saying to Kari, “How are we seeing Speed on the television if it just came out in theaters?”  (Note: I used to remember it as being Speed we had just come from but my datebook shows otherwise.  We wouldn’t see Speed for another week.  Kari also remembered it as being Speed that we had just seen.)
  • The Lion King  –  I had gotten a swing shift job, so Kari and I went to the first showing of this on the opening day of the wide release (24 June) with like 200 very loud little children.  We went back and saw part of it again on 10 July in between The Shadow and Blown Away.
  • Speed  –  Kari and I saw this the next day.  I don’t know why since I hate Keanu.  Maybe this was the film that really made me hate him.  I also found the Alan Ruck character to be stupid – no tourist in LA has ever taken the bus.
  • Wolf  –  Three days in a row at the movies with Kari finishes with this.  For such talent (Mike Nicholas, Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer) this was disappointing.
  • Forrest Gump  –  Like so many people, I liked this a lot at first (and of course bought the soundtrack) but eventually found myself distancing from it.  Kari and I saw this the day after it came out.
  • The Shadow  –  Kari and I had gone to California for the 4th of July (to see John Ramirez and Deb) and so missed the films opening that weekend.  We caught up with this one (and the next) on the same day: 10 July.  I haven’t seen this one since.  I had a vague interest (Penelope Ann Miller, the concept).
  • Blown Away  –  I don’t remember why we saw this but I do remember getting really irritated that the songs from The Joshua Tree were played out of order.
  • True Lies  –  It doesn’t say I saw this with Kari but I assume I did.  I hadn’t seen a movie without her since getting back to Forest Grove.
  • Sirens  –  This had actually come out back in March but I finally saw it (by myself) at a second run theater on 31 July.  Quite good and still mostly holds up.
  • Clear and Present Danger  –  As mentioned in the 1992 post, I was really into Tom Clancy thanks to John Ramirez.  I had read this novel over Memorial Day weekend while camping with my brother.  I saw this by myself, as by this point, with the anticipation of Deb returning to school, I was trying to decide what the hell I was doing and so had tried to cool things off with Kari.  Which was going to be complicated by one problem: because neither Deb nor Kari had gotten along with their roommates particularly well during their Freshmen year (they’re a year younger than me), I had made the suggestion they should room together since they got along so well.  Which was true; they got along very well.  The only problem they ever had was me, because I wanted to be dating Deb and Kari wanted to be dating me, so depending on Deb’s moods, I would bounce back and forth.  This was all complicated by another factor: by misunderstanding how the rooms were numbered in McCormick Hall, they ended up practically across the hall from Jamie and I when they had intended to be at the other end.  So, for the next year, the girl I was currently dating would be rooming with the girl I wasn’t currently dating, because during the year I was pretty much dating one or the other, or, sometimes, both.  Oh, and I saw this film the day after it came out (6 August).
  • Four Weddings and a Funeral  –  This had been the art-house hit of the Spring, yet somehow I didn’t see it with Deb and I think I deliberately avoided seeing it with Kari because of the romantic comedy aspect.  So, I saw it finally at the Valley Twin (which no longer exists) on 14 August just before moving back into the dorms.  Loved it.  Still love it.
  • Natural Born Killers  –  I went by myself to see this on opening day (26 August) by myself at Westgate during a break while working Freshman Orientation before the other students came back.  I have a distinct memory of driving home from this on Sunset Highway and being reminded of why it’s called Sunset Highway as back then I didn’t own prescription sunglasses.
  • It Could Happen to You  –  Saw this crappy, crappy film late in its run (10 September) on the second weekend of school with Jamie, Jonathan Miller (who would be my roommate the next year) and our new friend Junko.
  • Quiz Show  –  Saw this on the opening day of its Portland run (30 September) with Jamie and Matt Hoffman.  Loved it.
  • The Shawshank Redemption  –  Read what I wrote in the opening two paragraphs in my review because it says a lot about this film and what it means to me.  It had opened on 23 September in LA, but I saw it on 1 October in Portland and it opened in Portland on 7 October.
  • My Fair Lady  –  This was re-released for a 30th anniversary special before getting a VHS release.  This was the 38th Best Picture winner I saw.  It was also my first movie date with Deb since the spring.  We saw it at the Broadway Metroplex in downtown Portland, the first film I ever saw there.  We both loved it and I bought the VHS when it came out (and still have it).  It’s still, by far, my favorite Lerner and Loewe musical, though the soundtrack I have is the Broadway with Julie Andrews of course.
  • Ed Wood  –  I saw this the next day, 9 October, on the Sunday of its wide release opening weekend.  My #1 film of the year, although it competed with Shawshank for a time for that position before I finally settled on this one.
  • Pulp Fiction  –  Deb had essentially dumped me on my birthday (24 October) which tells you all you need to know about our relationship.  But Rebecca, who I hadn’t seen much since our first date the year before, had come by to cheer me up for my birthday and a result, that following Saturday, we went on a second date to see Pulp Fiction, because, hey, that’s a date movie, right?  There was no third date, but that’s because of a lot of things, not the movie.  The movie was awesome.  I had been reading about it since Cannes and am stunned, looking back, to see I waited two weeks after it was out before I saw it.
  • The Road to Wellville  –  So, the next day, I went to see this crap with a group of friends that included both Deb and Kari.  And my unattainable from the year before.  And Kari’s cousin which is relevant because the only other male was Jamie who was trying to put the movies on Kari’s cousin, leaving me with the other three females and one seriously shitty movie.
  • Bullets Over Broadway  –  I was just getting into Woody Allen films and so Jamie and I went in to Portland to see this when it was still in limited release.  Loved it.  Still one of the best Woody Allen films to show someone who doesn’t like Woody Allen (like say, Veronica, and this was one of the three I made her watch when we were first dating in return for me watching the Evil Dead trilogy).
  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein  –  Saw this the opening Saturday (5 November) with Jamie, Kari and Kari’s cousin in Salem.  I liked it at the time but going back to it, it’s quite disappointing.  This is the last movie listed in my datebook before I apparently stopped writing in it on 17 November.  So, from here on, the films are in order by release date.
  • Stargate  –  I remember seeing this in the theater but not who I saw it with.  I remember very little about it except that it wasn’t very good.  It came out in October so either I didn’t write it down or I saw it later in the run.
  • Interview with the Vampire  –  I remember that I saw this on opening day by myself, 11 November, before a group of us went to Tacoma to see the Suns play the Sonics (the Kingdome was under renovations and the Sonics were playing at the Tacomadome) but apparently didn’t put it in my datebook.  I must have skipped classes to do that, but I had read the book the year before and loved it.  I had imagined Tom Cruise when I read the book before the casting was announced, but as Louis, not Lestat.
  • Star Trek: Generations  –  I saw this on opening day, 18 November, at the Forest Theater, but don’t remember who I saw it with.
  • Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle  –  I think I saw this with Jonathan.  Pretty sure I saw it at Cinema 21.  What I distinctly remember is hearing the poem “Resume” for the first time and laughing my ass off.  I also remember Robert Benchley (Campbell Scott) lambasting Dorothy Parker (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and when she asks if he is finished he replies “I only know 15 adjectives.”  Jennifer Jason Leigh’s performance is obscenely under-rated.
  • Disclosure  –  I seem to recall seeing this with a group of friends.  I hadn’t read the novel – the first by Crichton I hadn’t read and the film never really worked.
  • Speechless  –  I must have been desperate for a romantic comedy because this really isn’t very good.  I seem to remember seeing it with Jamie, but I suspect there might have been others with us as well.
  • Nell  –  I saw this because I thought it would win Jodie Foster a third Oscar.  I was wrong.  I was trying to hit the major Oscar films not knowing that I had already seen all five Best Picture nominees; no one could have predicted that as this is the only year since the 70’s where none of the Best Picture nominees was released in December, let alone none released after October.
  • Little Women  –  I think I saw this with Kari.  It’s quite good.
  • Mixed Nuts  –  One of the worst films of the year.  Terrible, terrible film.  Jamie and I saw this in Salem over Christmas with Kari and her cousin.
  • Pret-a-Porter  –  I saw this because it was Robert Altman and because it was expected to be an Oscar contender, but it turned out to be just terrible.  I think I saw it by myself.
  • Legends of the Fall  –  I was supposed to see this with Kari and Tabitha but I backed out for some reason and saw it later on my own.  Kari was irritated that Julia Ormond rode in her saddle the incorrect way (I don’t understand it – it’s a horse riding thing) and I remember thinking that was a stupid reason to be annoyed, but really, it’s no more stupid than me being annoyed at the songs playing in the wrong order in Blown Away.  I think I was more annoyed that Kari was annoyed at that and not the terrible acting.  This started to turn me away from Brad Pitt and it became the hallmark for Julia Ormond – two brothers fighting over her while she stands around and looks beautiful.
  • Nobody’s Fool  –  This was years before I would ever start reading Richard Russo, so I saw this because Paul Newman’s performance (which might have already had an Oscar nomination by the time I saw it).  I would later come to love the book when I would finally read it (almost a decade later).
  • The Madness of King George  –  Another film I saw because of the awards attention, possibly with Jonathan.  It’s still a very good film and I showed it to Veronica a few months ago (because of her love for Sherlock, I thought she would appreciate Rupert Graves in this).
  • Blue Sky  –  Jonathan, Kari and I went to see this around the time of the Oscars.  I didn’t like it at all and thought Lange’s performance wasn’t good enough to win.

Endnote:  I saw my top four in the theater, six of my Top 10 and ten of my Top 20, so not bad.  I also had seen all five eventual Oscar nominees before Thanksgiving.  Because I had those already, I was able to get a lot of other Oscar nominees in the theaters as well.

Oscar-Nominated Films I Have Not Seen:

  • none

Oscar Quality:

Best Picture:  Shall we start with the bad news?  After three straight years choosing the best film of the year, the Academy picks the weakest of the five nominees.  Forrest Gump is a 73, which puts it 18.4 points below the average nominee for the year, the 5th worst deficit to-date and the 8th worst all-time.  So they blew it in picking the winner.  But, hey there are four other nominees and they are phenomenal.  Seriously phenomenal.  The fourth best nominee is Quiz Show, the best 4th best film since they moved to 5 nominees in 1944 and the second best of the entire 5 BP Era.  The four nominees make it so, even with a weaker winner like Gump, this is the best year to-date (by quite a ways) and it is still the 3rd best year of all-time, behind only 2002 and 2007.  Even if you include the years with more than 5 nominees, it is one of only six years to have four nominees in the Top 160 nominees.  And it does that with no Top 25 film (Pulp Fiction is #26) and only one Top 50 film (Shawshank is #51).  Too bad they botched the award by giving it to Gump, but hey, in the 20 years from 1989 to 2008, in all but two years, the Academy would give the award to either the best of the nominees (ten times) or the worst of the nominees (eight times).

The Winners:  Thanks to the big wins for Gump (my #38 film, my #19 Director, my #14 Adapted Screenplay, my #10 Actor) the average goes way up, to 8.82, the highest since 1985.  It’s not all on Gump, as Jessica Lange for Best Actress (my #12), Legends of the Fall for Best Cinematography (my #12) and Speed for Best Sound (my #12) also fall outside my Top 10.  I only agree with the Academy in five categories, the fewest since 1987 (Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Original Score, Makeup).  They do better among the nominees, but still aren’t great.  I only add two more categories where I agree with the winner (Visual Effects, Sound Editing) and the overall average of 2.47 is the worst since 1985, even though the three last place finishes (Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay) is fewer than in 1992.

The Nominees:  The Oscar Score drops down to 75.2, the lowest in four years.  Part of that is because it’s the first time in nine years that fewer than three acting categories earn a score of 80 or higher (although both supporting categories score above 90).  The Tech score drops to 70.9, the lowest since 1987, with Original Score (80.6) the only category to break 80.  Some of this is actually offset by the 81.9 score in the major categories, the third best score to-date.  It’s the first time since 1982 that all four major categories score above a 70, with Original Screenplay earning a 97.5, the highest since 1959.  Still, this is all a hell of a lot better than what will happen in 1995.

Golden Globe Best Picture – Comedy / Musical:  First of all, as I mentioned above in the Picture – Comedy category, the Globes do something this year that had only happened three times before (and only four times since): have a film win Best Picture – Comedy / Musical (in this case, The Lion King) that would not go on to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, while beating a film (in this case, Four Weddings and a Funeral) that would go on to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.  Now, that’s just a little bit of trivia that doesn’t affect the actual rating of this year.  But here’s another bit of trivia that does affect the rating: this is the third of four years in which four of the nominees make the Top 150 (out of 329) of the Globe nominees: Ed Wood (#5), Four Weddings and a Funeral (#34), The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert (#71) and The Lion King (#92) but the final nominee doesn’t even make the Top 300, in this case, Prêt-à-Porter (#325).  In fact, since the Globes nominated Legends of the Fall and Nell for Best Picture – Drama, this is a rare year where the Comedy average (82.0) is higher than the Drama average (78.2).  This year, obviously, even has four films in the Top 100, one of only five years to do that (and this one is the first).  But that last film really drops things and overall, this year finishes 12th overall (still good enough for 4th to-date, behind only 1991, 1985 and 1988).  If they had the good sense to ignore Altman’s reputation and not nominate Prêt-à-Porter (the worst nominee since Dr. Dolittle in 1967) and nominated say Bullets over Broadway this would be the second best year all-time.

Top 5 Films of the Year:

1  –  Ed Wood  (reviewed here)

2  –  Pulp Fiction  (reviewed here)

3  –  The Shawshank Redemption  (reviewed here)

4  –  Four Weddings and a Funeral  (reviewed here)

5  –  Three Colors: Red  (reviewed here)

The Razzies:  Wow, did they screw this one up.  The Razzies love to stick it to stars and they were determined to stick it to Kevin Costner, so they gave him Worst Actor and they nominated Wyatt Earp for Worst Picture.  Wyatt Earp is a film I rate at a high ***, so I’m not buying into that at all; I actually think it’s the better than Tombstone from the year before.  If they wanted to stick it to some stars, why not nominate that piece of shit filled with stars The Road to Wellville or that horrible Europeanized adaptation of House of the Spirits, also complete with stars.  They also gave their actual Worst Picture award to the second best of the five films, Color of Night.  Now, Jane March, while epically sensual in that film (you’re up Fat Tony) was also epically bad.  Still, I give it a 32 (mid *.5) while the other three nominees were The Specialist (*), North (.5) and On Deadly Ground (.5).  Meanwhile, while it co-won Worst Supporting Actress and was nominated for Worst Supporting Actor, the actual worst film of the year, Exit to Eden, wasn’t in the Worst Picture mix.  Even with Wyatt Earp greatly raising the average of the nominees, it’s still 27, which is five points lower than the actual winner.

5 Worst Films  (#1 being the worst):

  1. Exit to Eden
  2. On Deadly Ground
  3. North
  4. Mixed Nuts
  5. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

note: Those are the only .5 films of the year.  It’s a year of crappy Comedies – they account for half of the worst 20 films of the year.  The list of Presumably Crappy Films That I Can’t Confirm Really are Crappy Because I Haven’t Seen Them and Don’t Plan To are: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective *, Beverly Hills Cop III, Cabin Boy, D2: The Mighty Ducks, The Flintstones, I Love Trouble, The Little Rascals, Richie Rich, Street Fighter.
The reason for the asterisk is that I saw part of Ace Ventura in 1995, waiting in line all night for R.E.M. tickets because someone brought a tv and played it.  I hated what I saw.  I should point out that I really love Jim Carrey’s more serious work (The Truman Show, Man on the Moon, Eternal Sunshine) but I viciously hate his early goofy work.

To be fair, Garry Marshall ruined this film, not Rosie O'Donnell.

To be fair, Garry Marshall ruined this film, not Rosie O’Donnell.

Exit to Eden  (dir. Garry Marshall)

I gave serious consideration to seeing this in the theater, for a couple of different reasons.  The first was the novel.  In late 1993, I read Interview with the Vampire and loved it.  Within the next year, I had read all of the Vampire Chronicles books (that existed then anyway, a mere four) and was starting in on the Mayfair Witches books.  But I had also bought the book Exit to Eden, which was originally published by “Anne Rampling” but had since been republished under Rice’s own name.  It made sense – there was a lot of erotic writing in the Vampire books, so it seemed a natural progression that she would write more about eroticism.  It was like 50 Shades of Grey would later dive into, except written by an author good enough to actually be published on her own merits (that Rice’s own writing would devolve in a complete and utter shitshow, especially in the second and third Mayfair books does not diminish the effectiveness of her earlier work).

The second reason involves one of my most potent childhood crushes, if 14 can still be considered childhood.  In the fall of 1988, a new girl named Hillary came to my middle school and was in several of my classes.  She bore a resemblance to the hottest new television star on the best new television show of the fall, China Beach.  My crush on Hillary would fall off after she declined to dance with me at the 8th grade graduation dance (the girl I did dance with, Kelly, would have been a much better choice, but I went for the prettier girl, rather than the pretty girl who was also smart and extremely nice and instead Kelly went on to be Homecoming Queen when we were in high school) but my crush on Dana Delany stayed strong through all four years that China Beach was on the air.  Here was a role that almost promised some nudity from Delaney and certainly would have a high degree of eroticism.  That alone made me consider seeing the film.

But I didn’t, at least not for another 20 years.  The problems were twofold, one of which is easy to write about and one of which is now difficult to write about thanks to the hate-filled human sized Cheeto currently masquerading as a presidential candidate.  I’ll deal with the second part first.  I am not a particular fan of Rosie O’Donnell and she was horribly cast in the film and she should have known it.  She’s good in a role like A League of Their Own and her speech to Matt Dillon and Timothy Hutton in Beautiful Girls is one of the all-time great feminist speeches (maybe I needed to hear that in 8th grade).  But, to put her in this role is not flattering to her in any way and, it tries too hard to be funny, and Roger Ebert summed it up perfectly in his review of this film: “sex is funny when it’s taken seriously, but boring when it’s treated as funny”.

The reviews, of course, were the main reason I didn’t see the film.  Rosie O’Donnell in bondage gear wasn’t going to scare me away if Dana Delany was also in bondage gear.  But the quality of the film was a different matter, and the reviewers were pretty much in agreement that this was a terrible, terrible film.  It turns out they were right, so I’m glad I didn’t bother to spend the money to go see it.

So, the question becomes, why it is such a horrible film?  Well, because it was directed by Garry Marshall.  Now, that’s not a dig at Marshall’s talent, but at the kind of films he makes.  It is true that if this film were attempted seriously it might have just been kind of laughable, for the same reasons that Ebert mentions, because it’s funny when taken seriously, and you didn’t want this to be funny.  And when done badly, you would end up with a film like 50 Shades of Grey, with some measure of eroticism and just horrendous story and dialogue (and acting in the male lead).  But to attempt to make a Comedy of it was a simply terrible idea.  Marshall is a comic director, but even he couldn’t save this.  The very characters that O’Donnell and Aykroyd play weren’t even in the original novel (the original novel is quite serious) – the filmmakers clearly weren’t comfortable with making a mainstream film about BDSM so they threw in a stupid crime plot and brought in two cops to infiltrate the BDSM group (to quote Ebert again: “I was reminded of those old nudist camp movies that pretended to be documentaries about volleyball”).  Yes, O’Donnell and Aykroyd are terrible and no one wants to see either one of them in bondage gear, but it’s the very concept of the film that is the problem, not them.  If they wanted to make Anne Rice’s Exit to Eden, then should have just done that, probably as an art film.  But to try the mainstream route and to make it a Comedy, that was just asking for the kind of disaster they actually ended up making.

Points:

  • Most Nighthawk Nominations:   Ed Wood  (10)
  • Most Nighthawk Awards:   Ed Wood  (7)
  • Most Nighthawk:   Ed Wood  (540)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Award:  Speed
  • 2nd Place Award:  Pulp Fiction  (Picture, Director, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress)
  • 6th Place Award:  Quiz Show  (Picture, Director)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Nominations:   Quiz Show  (6)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Awards:   Pulp Fiction  (5)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Points:   Pulp Fiction  (390)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Drama Award:  Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Nominations:   Four Weddings and a Funeral  /  Bullets over Broadway  (6)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Awards:   Ed Wood  (5)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Points:   Ed Wood  (400)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Comedy Award:  True Lies

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  (650)
  • Foreign Film:  Akira Kurosawa  (600)

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

  • Drama:  74 (34)  –  The Shawshank Redemption  (64.7)
  • Foreign:  60  –  Three Colors: Red  (68.2)
  • Comedy:  47 (9)  –  Ed Wood  (57.4)
  • Action:  16 (7)  –  The Crow  (57.1)
  • Horror:  9 (2)  –  Cronos  (51.1)
  • Suspense:  8 (1)  –  Death and the Maiden  (59.8)
  • Kids:  8 (2)  –  The Lion King  (53)
  • Crime:  7 (1)  –  Pulp Fiction  (66.9)
  • Musical:  5 (1)  –  Backbeat  (61)
  • Sci-Fi:  3 (1)  –  Star Trek: Generations  (63.7)
  • Fantasy:  2 (1)  –  Heavenly Creatures  (86.5)
  • Western:  2  –  Wyatt Earp  (67)
  • Mystery:  1 (1)  –  The Castle of Cagliostro  (70)
  • Adventure:  1  –  The Jungle Book  (68)
  • War:  0

Analysis:  Lead by a bunch of Hong Kong Martial Arts films, the Action films leap up to a big new high (the previous was 11) which won’t be matched again (or at least for well over a decade).  Comedies have their most in seven years, although they’re not good, dipping to their lowest average in four years.  Foreign films take a big leap up and for only the second time in a decade account for nearly a third of the films; they also have their highest average in 12 years.  For the first time since 1946, I haven’t seen any War films.
In spite of the low average, there are 4 Comedies in the Top 10, as many as the previous three years combined.  There are also 6 in the Top 20, the most in six years.  There are also 6 Foreign films in the Top 20, the most in four years and tied for the most since 1980.  Ed Wood is the first Comedy to win the Nighthawk in six years and just the 8th to-date.  It is only the third Biopic to win (following Raging Bull and Amadeus).

Studio Note:  Warner Bros finishes its streak of five straight years on top, this time with 17 films.  It’s followed by Miramax, with 15 films, who will take over the lead the next year.  No other studio has more than 10 films.  Universal only has 7 films, its lowest for me since 1977.  Disney (65.2) and Paramount (63.0) are the only majors with an average above 60.  Miramax, on the other hand, averages a 73.4.
Disney wins its second Nighthawk Award, six years after its first.  But only 5 of the top 20 come from major studios (the fewest since 1968), with three of those being Disney.  Miramax alone crushes all of them in its peak year, with 5 of the Top 10 and 8 of the Top 20.

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

  1. Grave of the Fireflies  (****, Takahata, Toho (Ghibli))
  2. The Lion King  (***.5, Allers / Minkoff, Disney)
  3. The Castle of Cagliostro  (***, Miyazaki, Streamline)
  4. Asterix Conquers America  (***, Hahn, 20th Century-Fox)
  5. Silent Mobius  (**.5, Kikuchi, Streamline)
  6. The Swan Princess  (**.5, Rich, New Line)
  7. Wicked City  (**.5, Kawajiri, Streamline)
  8. The Princess and the Goblin  (**, Gemes, Hemdale)
  9. Felidae  (**, Schaack, Senator Film)
  10. Thumbelina  (**, Bluth, Warner Bros)
  11. A Troll in Central Park  (*.5, Bluth, Warner Bros)

Note:  This is the year where things get a little tricky, as is explained down below under the “Non-Oscar Eligible Films”.  There were only three films that were Oscar-eligible: The Lion King, The Swan Princess and Thumbelina.  There were a few others that are listed at oscars.org, which means they got an LA release in this year (The Castle of Cagliostro, which is Miyazaki’s first film and isn’t listed as a Ghibli film because it pre-dates the company, Silent Mobius, Wicked City and The Princess and the Goblin).  There was also Neo-Tokyo, but that was a short.  The other four films aren’t listed at oscars.org at all and therefore I use the IMDb to determine when they might have played in the U.S. (if at all).  It’s strange that one of the two Bluth films was Oscar eligible and the other one isn’t even listed at oscars.org.  Surprisingly, this is one of only two years where Isao Takahata earns a Nighthawk nomination, the other one not coming until 2011.  After Disney beating Ghibli in both 1989 and 1992, this is the second straight year where Ghibli comes in first and Disney comes in second.  This brings Streamline up to 10 films in just six years, but it also is the last for the distribution company.

56 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):

  • Amnesia  (Justiniano, Chile)  *
  • Ashes of Time  (Wong, Hong Kong)
  • Asterix Conquers America  (Hahn, France)
  • Autumn: October in Algiers  (Lakhdar-Hamina, Algeria)  *
  • The Awkward Age  (Dizdarevic, Bosnia)  *
  • Bandit Queen  (Kapur, India)  *
  • Before the Rain  (Manchevski, Macedonia)  **
  • Burn by the Sun  (Mikhailkov, Russia)  ***
  • Cara Diario  (Moretti, Italy)
  • Cemetery Man  (Soavi, Italy)
  • Chungking Express  (Wong, Hong Kong)
  • Cold Fever  (Fridriksson, Iceland)
  • Colonel Chabert  (Angelo, France)
  • Cross My Heart and Hope to Die  (Holst, Norway)  *
  • The Day the Sun Turned Cold  (Yim, Hong Kong)  *
  • Drunken Master II  (Kar-leung, Hong Kong)
  • Eat Drink Man Woman  (Lee, Taiwan)  **
  • Ermo  (Zhou, China)
  • Farinelli: Il Castrato  (Corbiau, Belgium)  **
  • Fasut  (Svankmajer, Czech Republic)  *
  • Felidae  (Schaack, Germany)
  • Green Snake  (Tsui, Hong Kong)
  • Ivan and Abraham  (Zauberman, Belarus)  *
  • Knocks at My Door  (Saderman, Venezuela)  *
  • L’America  (Amelio, Italy)  *
  • Land of Dreams  (Sayed, Egypt)  *
  • The Last Dance  (Nutley, Sweden)  *
  • Linda Sara  (Morales, Puerto Rico)  *
  • Lisbon Story  (Wenders, Germany)
  • Mina Tannenbaum  (Dugowson, France)
  • Morana  (Verbic, Slovenia)  *
  • Il Mostro  (Benigni, Italy)
  • Nightwatch  (Bornedal, Denmark)
  • Pepe and Fifi  (Pita, Romania)  *
  • Pom Poko  (Takahata, Japan)  *
  • Il Postino  (Radford, Italy)
  • Principio y Fin  (Ripstein, Mexico)  *
  • The Promise  (von Trotta, Germany)  *
  • Queen Margot  (Chereau, France)
  • Rice People  (Panh, Cambodia)  *
  • La Separation  (Vincent, France)
  • A Shadow You Soon Will Be  (Olivera, Argentina)  *
  • The Silence of Neto  (Argueta, Guatemala)  *
  • The Silences of the Palace  (Tlatli, Tunisia)
  • The Strategy of the Snail  (Cabrera, Colombia)  *
  • Strawberry and Chocolate  (Gutierrez Alea, Cuba)  **
  • Take Care of Your Scarf, Tatjana  (Kaurismaki, Finland)
  • Three Colors: Red  (Kieslowski, Switzerland)  *
  • Three Colors: White  (Kieslowski, Poland)  *
  • Through the Olive Trees  (Kiarostomi, Iran)  *
  • To Live  (Yimou, China)
  • Vive L’Amour  (Tsai, Taiwan)
  • Vukovar: The Way Home  (Schmidt, Croatia)  *
  • Who Am I to You?  (Barjatya, India)
  • Wild Reeds  (Techine, France)  *
  • Woyzeck  (Szasz, Hungary)  *

Note:  I have my first films from Belarus, Bosnia, Cambodia, the Czech Republic, Guatemala and Macedonia, all of them submitted for the Oscar.  In fact, the submissions are strange – of the 11 best films on this list, five were submitted (Red, White, Eat Drink Man Woman, Before the Run, Burnt by the Sun) but six were not (Mina Tannenbaum, Il Postino, Queen Margot, To Live, La Separation, Colonel Chabert).  Of the 13 worst, only two were submitted (Farinelli, Faust) and 11 were not (Cold Fever, Ermo, Take Care of Your Scarf, Who Am I to You, Lisbon Story, Nightwatch, Drunken Master II, Green Snake, Cemetery Man, Felidae, Il Mostro).  That leaves 32 films in the middle, all but six of which were submitted.  Strange, that it’s both the best and the worst films of the year that are lacking in submissions.
I have my first film from Egypt in four years, my first from Tunisia in 8 years and my first from Algeria in 11 years, so Northern Africa was busy.  For the last year to-date, I have no film from Brazil.  I have 5 films from Hong Kong, making it only the fifth country (following France, Japan, Italy and Mexico) to have three straight years of at least five films.  It ties for second with Italy.  France, of course, is back in first place with 6 films, its lowest total in four years.  But Japan has only one film, its lowest total since 1982.  The 56 total films is the most since 1983.  A year after dropping below 50%, the Dramas account for 39 films, almost 70%.

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

  • Austria:  I Promise  (dir. Murnberger)
  • Canada:  Mon Amie Max  (dir. Brault)
  • Denmark:  Carl, My Childhood Symphony  (dir. Clausen)
  • Iceland:  Movie Days  (dir. Fridriksson)
  • Israel:  Sh’Chur  (dir.  Hasfari)
  • Netherlands:  6  (dir.  van Gogh)
  • Peru:  Without Compassion  (dir.  Jose Lombardi)
  • Portugal:  Three Palm Trees  (dir.  Botelho)
  • Serbia:  Vukovar Poste Restante  (dir.  Draskovic)
  • Slovakia:  Angel of Mercy  (dir.  Luther)
  • South Korea:  Life and Death of the Hollywood Kid  (dir.  Jeong)
  • Spain:  Cradle Song  (dir.  Luis Garci)
  • Turkey:  Tarzan of Manisa  (dir.  Oguz)

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 33 for 46 (72%).
The submissions take a big leap up to 46 this year, nine more than any previous year; there won’t be more until 1999.  Five countries don’t submit this year that did in 1993: Finland (its last miss to-date), China, Vietnam, the UK and Bulgaria (the start of six straight misses, but after that it hasn’t missed since).  But there are 16 countries submitting that didn’t the year before: Iran (first submission since 1977), Russia, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Egypt, South Korea, Venezuela, Algeria, Colombia as well as the seven first time submissions (Bosnia, Czech Republic, Belarus, Cambodia, Guatemala, Macedonia, Serbia).  Guatemala and Cambodia won’t submit again until the 2010’s but the Czech Republic and Serbia have submitted every year since.
Yet again, three countries are nominated that didn’t submit the year before: Russia (which wins), Cuba and Macedonia and two of the nominees from the previous year don’t submit (UK, Vietnam).
The misses here are my first (Serbia, Turkey), second (Peru, Slovakia), fifth (Portugal), sixth (South Korea), eighth (Canada), 11th (Austria, Iceland), 13th (Netherlands), 15th (Israel, Spain) and 22nd (bloody f’ng Denmark!).
I’ll go ahead and point out that at this point, I am working my way through all the years and am up to 2007.  Of the 15 countries that have submitted at least 42 times all-time, I have seen at least 60% of their submissions for all of them except for two: Netherlands (50%) and Denmark (49%).  Of the 8 countries with 50 or more submissions, Denmark is 12% lower than any other country.  The only other countries with more than 20 submissions that I have seen a lower percentage than Denmark are Serbia, Philippines, Finland and Iceland and all of those have significantly fewer submissions than Denmark.  What’s more, I have already seen 6 of the 8 Danish submissions from 2008 to 2015 so there’s not much room to improve.

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

  • That’s Night’s Wife  (1930)
  • A Story of Floating Weeds  (1934)
  • Drunken Master  (1978)
  • The Castle of Cagliostro  (1979)
  • Project A  (1983)
  • Project A Part II  (1987)
  • Wicked City  (1987)
  • Grave of the Fireflies  (1988)
  • Why Did Bohdi-Dharma Leave for the Orient?  (1989)
  • Bullet in the Head  (1990)
  • Highway Patrolman  (1991)
  • Once a Thief  (1991)
  • Savage Nights  (1991)
  • Silent Mobius  (1991)
  • Bitter Moon  (1992)
  • The Cement Garden  (1992)
  • Ciao Professore  (1992)
  • Once Upon a Time in China II  (1992)
  • Once Upon a Time in China III  (1992)
  • A Place in the World  (1992)
  • The Trial  (1992)
  • La Vie de Boheme  (1992)
  • Belle Epoque  (1993)
  • Bhaji on the Beach  (1993)
  • The Blue Kite  (1993)
  • The Bride with White Hair  (1993)
  • Combination Platter  (1993)
  • The Conjugal Bed  (1993)
  • Cronos  (1993)
  • Even Cowgirls Get the Blues  (1993)
  • Fiorile  (1993)
  • Helas Pour Moi  (1993)
  • Kika  (1993)
  • Little Buddha  (1993)
  • Necronomicon  (1993)
  • Raining Stones  (1993)
  • Red Rock West  (1993)
  • The Scent of Green Papaya  (1993)
  • La Scorta  (1993)
  • Le Sexe des etoiles  (1993)
  • Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould  (1993)

Note:  These 41 films average a 64.1 though if you take out Even Cowgirls Get the Blues and Necronomicon, the average goes up to 66.7.  The list includes two great films (Grave of the Fireflies, The Scent of Green Papaya) and a number of very good films (Cronos, Red Rock West, Fiorile, The Bride with White Hair, Belle Epoque, A Story of Floating Weeds, Savage Nights).

Films That Weren’t Eligible at the Oscars:

  • Belle Epoque
  • Bhaji on the Beach
  • Bullet in the Head
  • The Castle of Cagliostro
  • The Cement Garden
  • Combination Platter
  • Cronos
  • Drunken Master
  • Drunken Master II
  • Endgame
  • Highway Patrolman
  • Ivan and Abraham
  • Kika
  • Killing Zoe
  • The Last Seduction
  • Neo-Tokyo
  • Once Upon a Time in China II
  • Once Upon a Time in China III
  • A Place in the World
  • The Princess and the Goblin
  • Project A
  • Project A Part II
  • Raining Stones
  • Red Rock West
  • The Scent of Green Papaya
  • La Scorta
  • Silent Mobius
  • The Trial
  • Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?
  • Wicked City

Note:  This is different from the list below.  Starting in 1994, I have full lists from Academy press releases of all the eligible films.  But there are a lot of films in each year that weren’t officially eligible for a variety of reasons but were released in what would normally be considered qualifying runs.  So, these are films that are listed on oscars.org (unlike the list below), but weren’t actually eligible for the Oscars.  I ignore that, of course, and these films are all eligible for the Nighthawks.  But having them on the list helps me know what year they were “eligible” even if they really weren’t.  Bear in mind that some of these films were eligible (and sometimes even nominated) for Best Foreign Film in their original release year.
While possibly not the most famous of these films, certainly the most famous in not being eligible was The Last Seduction, which is on my Best Actress list and won Linda Fiorentino the New York Film Critics Award.  But, well, here I’ll quote page 957 of Inside Oscar: “Linda Fiorentino may have had the New York Film Critics Award in her possession, but there was no way that she was going to win an Oscar.  And that was not a personal view but a cold, hard fact.  The Academy had declared The Last Seduction ineligible for Oscar consideration in any category because John Dahl’s thriller had committed the sin of being broadcast on HBO before playing in movie houses.”  Basically, the production company couldn’t get a distribution deal so they put the film on HBO and it did so well that October Films released the films in theaters.

Films Not Listed at Oscars.org:

  • Amnesia
  • Asterix Conquers America
  • Autumn: October in Algiers
  • The Awkward Age
  • The Bride with White Hair
  • The Conjugal Bed
  • Cross My Heart and Hope to Die
  • Felidae
  • Grave of the Fireflies
  • Land of Dreams
  • The Last Dance
  • Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses
  • Linda Sara
  • Morana
  • Il Mostro
  • Necronomicon
  • Nightwatch
  • Once a Thief
  • Pepe and Fifi
  • Prince of Jutland
  • Principio y Fin
  • Rice People
  • Le Sexe des etoiles
  • A Shadow You Soon Will Be
  • A Story of Floating Weeds
  • The Strategy of the Snail
  • Take Care of Your Scarf, Tatjana
  • That Night’s Wife
  • A Troll in Central Park
  • Vukovar: The Way Home
  • Who Am I to You?

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:

  • Bandit Queen  (1995)
  • Before the Rain  (1995)
  • Burnt by the Sun  (1995)
  • Country Life  (1995)
  • Ermo  (1995)
  • Exotica  (1995)
  • Farinelli: Il Castrato  (1995)
  • Faust  (1995)
  • Green Snake  (1995)
  • Il Postino  (1995)
  • Lisbon Story  (1995)
  • The Mangler  (1995)
  • Mina Tannenbaum  (1995)
  • Once Were Warriors  (1995)
  • Priest  (1995)
  • The Promise  (1995)
  • The Secret of Roan Inish  (1995)
  • Shallow Grave  (1995)
  • Strawberry and Chocolate  (1995)
  • Swimming with Sharks  (1995)
  • Through the Olive Trees  (1995)
  • Wild Reeds  (1995)
  • Ashes of Time  (1996)
  • Cemetery Man  (1996)
  • Chungking Express  (1996)
  • Cold Fever  (1996)
  • The Day the Sun Turned Cold  (1996)
  • I Don’t Hate Las Vegas Anymore  (1996)
  • L’America  (1996)
  • Of Love and Shadows  (1996)
  • The Silences of the Palace  (1996)
  • Vive L’Amour  (1996)
  • Knocks at My Door  (1997)
  • La Separation  (1998)
  • The Silence of Neto  (2004)
  • Pom Poko  (2012)

Note:  These 36 films average a 64.1 although that goes up to a 65.9 if you take out The Mangler.  There is one **** film (Mina Tannenbaum) and a bunch of ***.5 films (Before the Rain, Burnt by the Sun, Exotica, Il Postino, The Secret of Roan Inish, La Separation).

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