February 2017


One of cinema's great love stories. Along with a whole lot of other things. One of cinema's great films.

One of cinema’s great love stories. Along with a whole lot of other things. One of cinema’s great films.

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. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon  *
  2. Traffic  *
  3. Almost Famous  *
  4. O Brother Where Art Thou
  5. Wonder Boys
  6. Thirteen Days
  7. High Fidelity
  8. The Virgin Suicides
  9. Billy Elliot
  10. Best in Show

Analysis:  Gladiator wins the Consensus easily in spite of not winning any critics awards.  It became just the fifth film to win the Oscar, Globe and BAFTA without having won any critics awards (one of which was Lawrence of Arabia, which was released in a year where there was no NYFC awards due to a strike).  But, with addition of the PGA in 1989 and the BFCA in 1995, Gladiator becomes the first film to win all five awards groups without having won a single critics group, something that has only happened once since (Argo).  It’s my #65 film of the year.  Almost Famous comes in second at the Consensus without an Oscar nom which is a rarity, but nothing compared to what will happen the next year.  Erin Brockovich, my #50, is the fifth Consensus nominee.  It’s also the first film to ever go 0 for 5 with the Best Picture awards (nominations from all five awards groups and losing all five), something which 14 films have done since and which has become quite common since the Best Picture lineup at the Oscars was expanded.
There are only 11 **** films on the year (the other is Chicken Run), making this a much weaker year than many recent years.  The Top 20 is the lowest in five years and there won’t be a lower one again until 2008.  Nonetheless, this year has some of my absolute favorite films of all-time, including Crouching Tiger, Almost Famous, O Brother, Wonder Boys and High Fidelity.
The Oscar Score is 43.6, the lowest since 1968, which is a little deceptive.  It’s because films below ***.5 don’t earn any points, so to have three *** nominees, even if they are mid ***, really hurts with the Oscar Score. (more…)

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highfidelityHigh Fidelity

  • Author:  Nick Hornby
  • Published:  1995
  • Publisher:  Victor Gollancz LTD
  • Pages:  323
  • First Line:  “My desert-island, all-time, top five most memorable split-ups, in chronological order.”
  • Last Lines:  “When Laura hears the opening bars she spins round and grins and makes several thumbs-up signs, and I start to compile in my head a compilation tape for her, something that’s full of stuff she’s heard of, and full of stuff she’d play.  Tonight, for the first time ever, I can sort of see how it’s done.”
  • Film:  2000 (****)
  • First Read:  Spring 2000

The Novel:  In the book, Barry is the one who is first obsessed with lists, who introduces them to the other two in the store.  But it’s Rob who’s narrating, Rob who can’t stop making lists, who, in fact, begins the novel with a list.  I read this book because the trailer was out and it looked great and Veronica and I were going to go see it (she owned the book).  And suddenly, for the first time since Catcher in the Rye, I felt like I was reading about myself. (more…)

mira a los ojos

by bruce yale
reprinted from short shorts – january 2006

“Mira a los ojos.”

“What?”

“You gotta look in the eyes, man.  Look in the eyes.”

“I know what it means, Martín.  I’ve taken enough Spanish to at least know that.  But what the hell are you talking about?”

It was the first day of Psych, Freshman year at Pac.  Martín and I were coming out of the building along with the other hundred students.  Martín had suddenly started to babble to me.  That’s how it started.  Martín was babbling.  Martín was always babbling. (more…)

" 'My God,' the Colonel suddenly yelled, 'the bridge has been mined, Colonel Saito. Those damn things I saw against the piles were explosives! And this wire . . .' " (p 174)

” ‘My God,’ the Colonel suddenly yelled, ‘the bridge has been mined, Colonel Saito. Those damn things I saw against the piles were explosives! And this wire . . .’ ” (p 174)

My Top 10:

  1. The Bridge on the River Kwai
  2. Paths of Glory
  3. Sweet Smell of Success
  4. 12 Angry Men
  5. Witness for the Prosecution
  6. Rififi
  7. The Good Soldier Schweik
  8. A Face in the Crowd
  9. A Hatful of Rain
  10. Heaven Knows Mr Allison

Note:  There are 12 films on my list.  The last two are listed down at the bottom. (more…)

Winter Light

I

You must remember this.

A kiss is so much more than a kiss, everything and nothing all at once, time slipping into your soul and through your hands.  A kiss is a hope, a possibility, a step, a dream, a gift, a reach, a death, everything and nothing.  A kiss is just a kiss or so the song would have us believe.

You must remember this. (more…)

cbm50bfweaqz48gIntroduction

This is a companion piece to three different series.  The first is The History of the Academy Awards, in which I covered each category in individual posts.  This was originally done in 2009 and additions were included in 2010.  You can find links to all of these pieces in each individual category.  I have grouped all of the categories together for the same reason that I did so originally – because most pieces on the Oscars don’t approach the awards through the categories, but through the years.  This specific piece is designed to take a closer look at the decade and how I think the Academy did in those years.

The second series is my Year in Film series.  That is mentioned here because in those pieces I included paragraphs about the Oscars as a whole for each year and included a considerable amount of trivia.  Since I had based my Year in Film series and eligibility as such on the Academy calendar, it all seemed very relevant.  Also, I include various prizes (Worst Oscar, Worst Nomination, Worst Omission, etc) and I didn’t want to repeat myself, so following the links will bring you there.  Those links are at the end of this piece, where I do a brief summation of each year and how the Academy did.  One note on the Year in Film posts – I did those before Oscars.org started putting up official information about release dates.  Several films have been moved from the years where they appeared in those posts – see the Nighthawk Awards posts for more accurate placement – I have included links in the years.

The third series is my History of the Academy Awards: Best Picture series, where I reviewed every film ever nominated for Best Picture (except The Patriot, which is lost).  Those links are also down below, grouped by year. (more…)

He rules.

He rules.

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 16 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.  I’m going with the Top 16 because that’s how many **** films there are.  It’s not because Cate Blanchett comes in 16th in Supporting Actress.  That’s only a coincidence.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. American Beauty  **
  2. Magnolia
  3. The End of the Affair
  4. All About My Mother
  5. Eyes Wide Shut
  6. Three Kings
  7. Topsy-Turvy  *
  8. Princess Mononoke
  9. Being John Malkovich  *
  10. The Sixth Sense  *
  11. Toy Story 2
  12. The Talented Mr. Ripley
  13. The Insider  *
  14. Sweet and Lowdown
  15. Run Lola Run
  16. Following

Analysis:  This year sets a new high mark.  The Sixth Sense earns a 92 from me, which makes it the best #10 to-date, the first film to earn a higher mark in the #10 spot than Foolish Wives, the #10 film in the very first Nighthawk Awards.  The Top 20 (the remaining four films are Fight Club, Limbo, Abre Los Ojos and Man on the Moon) beats out 1994 for the best to-date.  As mentioned above, all 16 of these films are ****.
Three Kings had been in my Top 5 from the day I saw it in the theater all the way until I did these awards, when it was finally pushed out because I bumped up All About My Mother.
American Beauty becomes the first film to sweep the five awards groups (Oscar, BAFTA, PGA, Globe, BFCA).  It’s also the first to win the Oscar and the Consensus since Schindler’s List (which pre-dated the BFCA by one year). (more…)