The DiCaprio side of the DiCaprio-Scorsese collaborations takes a quantum leap.

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

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. The Aviator  *
  2. A Very Long Engagement
  3. Sideways  **
  4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind  *
  5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  6. House of Flying Daggers
  7. Closer
  8. The Incredibles
  9. Kill Bill Volume 2
  10. Silver City
  11. Hero
  12. Hotel Rwanda
  13. Million Dollar Baby  *
  14. Spider-Man 2
  15. Kinsey
  16. Bad Education
  17. Finding Neverland  *
  18. Vera Drake
  19. Shrek 2
  20. Mar Adentro

Analysis:  Ray and Eternal Sunshine actually tied for the 5th Consensus nominee spot.  Million Dollar Baby, with a third place finish, is the first Oscar winner not to be #1 or #2 at the Consensus Awards since 1995, and no film has finished below 2nd since (through 2016).
All 20 of these films are **** and there are no other **** films.  It’s a magnificent Top 10 and the third best Top 20 to-date.

  • Best Director
  1. Martin Scorsese  (The Aviator)  *
  2. Jean-Pierre Jeunet  (A Very Long Engagement)
  3. Zhang Yimou  (House of Flying Daggers)  *
  4. Alfonso Cuarón  (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)
  5. Alexander Payne  (Sideways)  *
  6. Quentin Tarantino  (Kill Bill Volume 2)
  7. Mike Nichols  (Closer)
  8. Zhang Yimou  (Hero)  *
  9. John Sayles  (Silver City)
  10. Clint Eastwood  (Million Dollar Baby)  **
  11. Michael Mann  (Collateral)
  12. Michel Gondry  (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
  13. Sam Raimi  (Spider-Man 2)
  14. Pedro Almodóvar  (Bad Education)
  15. Bill Condon  (Kinsey)
  16. Terry George  (Hotel Rwanda)
  17. Marc Forster  (Finding Neverland)  *
  18. Alejandro Amenábar  (Mar Adentro)
  19. Mike Leigh  (Vera Drake)
  20. Wes Anderson  (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou)

Analysis:  These are the first Nighthawk nominations for Cuarón and Payne. This is the second nomination each for Jeunet and Yimou.  It’s the seventh nom and third win for Marty; he moves up to 450 points and a tie for 8th place with Alfred Hitchcock.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Sideways  **
  2. A Very Long Engagement
  3. Closer
  4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  5. Finding Neverland  *
  6. Million Dollar Baby  *
  7. Shrek 2
  8. The Motorcycle Diaries  *
  9. Baadasssss
  10. Spider-Man 2
  11. The Manchurian Candidate
  12. Bright Young Things
  13. Being Julia
  14. Ella Enchanted
  15. The Woodsman
  16. Vanity Fair
  17. Ocean’s Twelve
  18. The Ladykillers
  19. We Don’t Live Here Anymore
  20. The Merchant of Venice

Analysis:  Sideways doesn’t just win the Consensus; it crushes everything.  It becomes the only script in either category to ever win all 11 awards.  Percentage wise, it is a shade below L.A. Confidential and comes in second all-time.  If you’re wondering why the fifth Oscar nominee (and Consensus nominee) doesn’t make my Top 20 list, then you must be new to my lists and don’t know how much I hate the Before films.  Welcome!
I have read 12 of the original source materials, sort-of.  I have read Sideways, A Very Long Engagement, Harry Potter, The Manchurian Candidate, Vile Bodies (the Waugh novel that Bright Young Things is based on), Vanity Fair and The Merchant of Venice.  I have read lots of Spider-Man.  I read the source material for Baadasssss for my Adapted Screenplay project already.  I have read the original story Shrek and seen the first film.  I have seen Ocean’s Eleven and the original The Ladykillers.
With only four Oscar nominees on my list, the Oscar Score is only 56.8, the lowest since 1987.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind  **
  2. Silver City
  3. The Aviator  *
  4. The Incredibles
  5. Vera Drake  *
  6. Kill Bill Volume 2
  7. Kinsey  *
  8. Hotel Rwanda  *
  9. Garden State
  10. Bad Education
  11. Mar Adentro
  12. I ♥ Huckabee’s
  13. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
  14. Saved
  15. Maria Full of Grace
  16. Hero
  17. Shaun of the Dead
  18. House of Flying Daggers
  19. Collateral
  20. Nina’s Tragedies

Analysis:  This is the third time Charlie Kauffman has won the Consensus, but it’s his first Nighthawk and Oscar (and WGA).  There were no dissenting opinions in this year.  At every award in which there was one Screenplay award, Sideways won.  In every one which had separate awards for Adapted and Original, Sideways and Eternal Sunshine won.  This includes the Nighthawks.
This is the second writing nomination for Mike Leigh.  It’s the fifth writing nom for John Sayles.
This was a year when I was reading a lot of screenplays on-line and I read the scripts for Eternal Sunshine and Kill Bill before the films were released (and both had a lot of differences from those scripts).
I agree with both Screenplay Oscar winners but Picture is at #13 and Director is at #10, making this similar to 1976.

  • Best Actor:
  1. Leonardo DiCaprio  (The Aviator)  *
  2. Jim Carrey  (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
  3. Paul Giamatti  (Sideways)  *
  4. Jamie Foxx  (Ray)  **
  5. Liam Neeson  (Kinsey)
  6. Don Cheadle  (Hotel Rwanda)  *
  7. Jude Law  (Closer)
  8. Clint Eastwood  (Million Dollar Baby)
  9. Tom Cruise  (Collateral)
  10. Javier Bardem  (Mar Adentro)
  11. Danny Huston  (Silver City)
  12. Gael Garcia Bernal  (Bad Education)
  13. Sean Penn  (The Assassination of Richard Nixon)
  14. Al Pacino  (The Merchant of Venice)
  15. Johnny Depp  (Finding Neverland)  *
  16. Kevin Bacon  (The Woodsman)
  17. Christian Bale  (The Machinist)
  18. Denzel Washington  (The Manchurian Candidate)
  19. Mario Van Peebles  (Baadasssss)
  20. Bill Murray  (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou)

Analysis:  Jamie Foxx might seem like a dominant Consensus winner, sweeping the five awards groups and winning 8 overall awards, but he’s actually got a lower point total than Bill Murray the year before and there won’t be another Consensus winner with this few points until 2009.  Paul Giamatti becomes the first actor to come in 2nd place at the Consensus without an Oscar nom since Henry Fonda in 1957, but that’s partially because of a lack of consensus (he’s the lowest #2 finisher in eight years).  With the BFCA finally giving out full nominations, Johnny Depp becomes the first actor to go 0 for 5, earning nominations from all five awards groups but winning no awards.
These are the only Nighthawk noms for Paul Giamatti and Jamie Foxx.  These are the second noms for both Jim Carrey and Liam Neeson.  It’s the second nom and first win for Leonardo DiCaprio but he’ll start appearing regularly from here on.

  • Best Actress
  1. Audrey Tautou  (A Very Long Engagement)
  2. Kate Winslet  (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)  *
  3. Imelda Staunton  (Vera Drake)  **
  4. Julia Roberts  (Closer)
  5. Annette Bening  (Being Julia)  *
  6. Hillary Swank  (Million Dollar Baby)  *
  7. Uma Thurman  (Kill Bill Volume 2)
  8. Catalino Sandino Moreno  (Maria Full of Grace)  *
  9. Isabelle Huppert  (Time of the Wolf)
  10. Zhang Ziyi  (House of Flying Daggers)
  11. Sigourney Weaver  (Imaginary Heroes)
  12. Nicole Kidman  (Dogville)
  13. Laura Linney  (P.S.)
  14. Jena Malone  (Saved)
  15. Ayelet Zurer  (Nina’s Tragedies)
  16. Nicole Kidman  (Birth)
  17. Helen Mirren  (The Clearing)
  18. Reese Witherspoon  (Vanity Fair)
  19. Marina Golbahari  (Osama)
  20. Isabelle Adjani  (Bon Voyage)

Analysis:  Neither Tautou nor Roberts received any awards attention, which is just ridiculous.  In spite of not nominating either of those two, it ties 1983 for the best Oscar slate to-date.  That’s because my Top 5 ties 2002 for the best of all-time.
This is the only Nighthawk nom for Imelda Staunton.  It’s the second nom for Audrey Tautou and Julia Roberts.  It’s the third nom for Kate Winslet and the first of four in five years.  It’s the fourth nom for Annette Bening.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Clive Owen  (Closer)  *
  2. Thomas Haden Church  (Sideways)  **
  3. Morgan Freeman  (Million Dollar Baby)  *
  4. Peter Sarsgaard  (Kinsey)
  5. Peter Sarsgaard  (Garden State)
  6. Alan Alda  (The Aviator)  *
  7. David Thewliss  (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)
  8. Chris Cooper  (Silver City)
  9. Jamie Foxx  (Collateral)  *
  10. Tom Wilkinson  (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
  11. Willem DaFoe  (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou)
  12. Jim Broadbent  (Bright Young Things)
  13. Gary Oldman  (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)
  14. Mark Ruffalo  (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
  15. Philip Davis  (Vera Drake)
  16. Dustin Hoffman  (I ♥ Huckabee’s)
  17. Jeremy Irons  (The Merchant of Venice)
  18. Elijah Wood  (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
  19. Jeff Daniels  (Imaginary Heroes)
  20. Freddie Highmore  (Finding Neverland)

Analysis:  Because of the double nomination for Peter Sarsgaard, Alan Alda does receive a Nighthawk nomination.
Morgan Freeman comes in fourth at the Consensus, the only Oscar winner after 1998 to finish lower than 2nd.  He joins Cuba Gooding and Robin Williams as the only SAG / Oscar winners to not win the Consensus and Freeman is the only winner of both to finish lower than 2nd.  He joins Robin Williams and Michael Caine as the only people to win both the SAG and the Oscar but not win anything else.  Church runs away with the Consensus, with the highest point total in four years.
These are the only Nighthawk noms for Thomas Haden Church and Alan Alda and the only two for Peter Sarsgaard.  It’s the first nom for Clive Owen.  It’s the third nom for Morgan Freeman.
With all five Oscar nominees in my Top 9, the Oscar Score is 94.3, the highest since 1994.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Cate Blanchett  (The Aviator)  *
  2. Natalie Portman  (Closer)  *
  3. Virginia Madsen  (Sideways)  **
  4. Laura Linney  (Kinsey)  *
  5. Sophie Okonedo  (Hotel Rwanda)  *
  6. Meryl Streep  (The Manchurian Candidate)
  7. Natalie Portman  (Garden State)
  8. Cate Blanchett  (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou)
  9. Kate Winslet  (Finding Neverland)
  10. Lynn Collins  (The Merchant of Venice)
  11. Emma Watson  (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)
  12. Sharon Warren  (Ray)
  13. Marion Cotillard  (A Very Long Engagement)
  14. Lily Tomlin  (I ♥ Huckabee’s)
  15. Isabelle Huppert  (I ♥ Huckabee’s)
  16. Julie Christie  (Finding Neverland)
  17. Kirsten Dunst  (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
  18. Tilda Swinton  (Young Adam)
  19. Minnie Driver  (The Phantom of the Opera)
  20. Gena Rowlands  (The Notebook)

Analysis:  Madsen, without winning the Oscar or even earning a BAFTA nom, has the highest Consensus points total since 1994.
These are the only Nighthawk noms for Madsen and Okonedo.  It’s the second nom for Laura Linney.  It’s the third nom for Natalie Portman.  It’s the fifth nom and third win for Cate Blanchett; she’s up to 265 points and is just outside the Top 10 all-time.
This is the first time I’ve agreed with the Oscar winner in this category in six years.  I agree with the Oscars right down the line and it’s the second best slate of Oscar nominees of all-time behind only 2002.

  • Best Editing:
  1. The Aviator
  2. A Very Long Engagement
  3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  5. House of Flying Daggers
  6. Hero
  7. Kill Bill Volume 2
  8. Closer
  9. Sideways
  10. Silver City
  11. Spider-Man 2
  12. Bad Education
  13. The Incredibles
  14. Collateral
  15. Million Dollar Baby
  16. Kinsey
  17. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
  18. Shaun of the Dead
  19. Finding Neverland
  20. Hotel Rwanda

Analysis:  With The Aviator winning Editing and Cinematography, it’s the first time I’ve agreed with both winners since 1993 and only the third time since 1962.  It also marks the first time since 1992-93 that I agree with the Oscar winner in back-to-back years.
This is the weakest Top 5 since 1995.

  • Best Cinematography:
  1. The Aviator  **
  2. House of Flying Daggers  *
  3. A Very Long Engagement  *
  4. Kill Bill Volume 2
  5. Hero  *
  6. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  7. Million Dollar Baby
  8. Collateral  *
  9. Closer
  10. Spider-Man 2
  11. Bad Education
  12. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
  13. The Passion of the Christ
  14. The Phantom of the Opera
  15. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring
  16. The Machinist
  17. Hotel Rwanda
  18. Finding Neverland
  19. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  20. Sideways

Analysis:  The Aviator and House of Flying Daggers tie with their raw total at the Consensus, but Aviator pulls ahead by three points in the weighted total.  They both win two awards and earn four total nominations.
This is the first Cinematography nom for Bruno Delbonnel (A Very Long Engagement).  This is the fifth (The Aviator) and sixth (Kill Bill) noms for Robert Richardson and his second win; that moves him up to 200 points and a tie for 4th place all-time.
This Top 5 is tied with 2002 for the second best all-time (behind only 1980).

  • Best Original Score:
  1. House of Flying Daggers
  2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  3. A Very Long Engagement
  4. Hero
  5. The Aviator
  6. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
  7. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
  8. Kinsey
  9. Spider-Man 2
  10. Mar Adentro
  11. Hotel Rwanda
  12. Finding Neverland
  13. The Motorcycle Diaries
  14. The Incredibles
  15. The Merchant of Venice
  16. The Passion of the Christ
  17. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
  18. Ned Kelly
  19. Bad Education
  20. Collateral

Analysis:  This is the only Nighthawk nomination (and win) for Shigeru Umebayashi.  It’s the second nom for Tan Dun (Hero).  It’s the second nom for Angelo Badalamenti (A Very Long Engagement), 18 years after his first.  The other two composers have been a bit more successful at the Nighthawks.  Though his score was declared ineligible for being diluted with too much other music, Howard Shore earns a fourth straight nomination (after his three straight Lord of the Rings wins); this move him to 200 points and a tie for 9th place.  John Williams, though, is now up to 900 points, which gives him twice as many points as any other composer.

  • Best Sound:
  1. The Aviator
  2. House of Flying Daggers
  3. Spider-Man 2
  4. Kill Bill Volume 2
  5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  6. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
  7. Hero
  8. Collateral
  9. The Incredibles
  10. Ray
  11. Million Dollar Baby
  12. A Very Long Engagement
  13. Shaolin Soccer
  14. I, Robot
  15. The Day After Tomorrow
  16. The Phantom of the Opera
  17. The Manchurian Candidate
  18. The Bourne Supremacy
  19. Troy
  20. Alexander

Analysis:  At #10, Ray is the lowest winner in this category since 1994.

  • Best Art Direction:
  1. The Aviator
  2. House of Flying Daggers
  3. Hero
  4. A Very Long Engagement
  5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  6. Vera Drake
  7. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
  8. The Phantom of the Opera
  9. Vanity Fair
  10. Being Julia
  11. Finding Neverland
  12. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  13. Bright Young Things
  14. The Merchant of Venice
  15. Ella Enchanted
  16. Kill Bill Volume 2
  17. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
  18. The Terminal
  19. De-Lovely
  20. Closer

Analysis:  Tied for the third best Top 5 to-date.  Just gorgeous films to look at.

  • Best Visual Effects
  1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  2. Spider-Man 2
  3. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
  4. The Aviator
  5. House of Flying Daggers
  6. The Day After Tomorrow
  7. I, Robot
  8. Shaolin Soccer
  9. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
  10. Hero
  11. Hellboy
  12. A Very Long Engagement
  13. Troy
  14. Van Helsing
  15. Ella Enchanted
  16. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Analysis:  Tied with 2002 for the best Top 5 to-date, but will be soundly beaten by each of the next two years.
Films in green were semi-finalists.

  • Best Sound Editing
  1. The Aviator
  2. Spider-Man 2
  3. House of Flying Daggers
  4. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
  5. Hero
  6. Kill Bill Volume 2
  7. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  8. The Day After Tomorrow
  9. The Incredibles
  10. A Very Long Engagement
  11. I, Robot
  12. Hellboy
  13. Shaolin Soccer
  14. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
  15. Troy
  16. Collateral
  17. The Bourne Supremacy
  18. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
  19. The Polar Express
  20. Alexander

Analysis:  With a strong group of Sound Editing competitors, The Incredibles is the lowest Oscar winner since 1996.
Films in green were semi-finalists.

  • Best Costume Design:
  1. The Aviator
  2. House of Flying Daggers
  3. Hero
  4. Vanity Fair
  5. The Phantom of the Opera
  6. A Very Long Engagement
  7. The Merchant of Venice
  8. Finding Neverland
  9. Being Julia
  10. De-Lovely
  11. Alexander
  12. Stage Beauty
  13. Ella Enchanted
  14. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
  15. Troy
  16. Bright Young Things
  17. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
  18. Bon Voyage
  19. Vera Drake
  20. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Analysis:  By passing over such amazing costumes as House of Flying Daggers, Vanity Fair and Phantom (Hero doesn’t count against the Oscar Score since it wasn’t eligible) for a slate of nominees that includes a film not even in my Top 20 (Ray), the Oscar Score is only 64.3, the lowest since 1988.
This is the best Top 5 of all-time.

  • Best Makeup
  1. House of Flying Daggers
  2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  3. Hellboy
  4. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
  5. Bad Education
  6. Shaun of the Dead
  7. Kill Bill Volume 2
  8. Vanity Fair
  9. Stage Beauty
  10. The Aviator
  11. The Passion of the Christ
  12. Mar Adentro
  13. Van Helsing
  14. Spider-Man 2
  15. Hero
  16. Shaolin Soccer
  17. A Very Long Engagement
  18. Troy
  19. De-Lovely
  20. The Phantom of the Opera

Analysis:  House is the weakest winner in this category between 1997 and 2010.
Films in green were semi-finalists.

  • Best Original Song:
  1. “Gabriella’s Song”  (As It Is in Heaven)
  2. Al Otro Lada del Rio”  (The Motorcycle Diaries)
  3. “Hero”  (Hero)
  4. Million Voices”  (Hotel Rwanda)
  5. Vindicated”  (Spider-Man 2)
  6. Accidentally in Love”  (Shrek 2)
  7. Learn to Be Lonely”  (The Phantom of the Opera)
  8. Lovers”  (House of Flying Daggers)
  9. Old Habits Die Hard”  (Alfie)
  10. Believe”  (The Polar Express)

Analysis:  Oscars.org, when it existed, listed songs from different films.  It listed 30 songs from 28 different films, 20 of which I have seen.  It did not list the songs from either As It Is in Heaven or Hero as they were not Oscar eligible films.
As It Is in Heaven was an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Film in 2004 but for a long time you couldn’t get it in the States.  Sometime in the late 00’s, I found the video below.  It gave me a sense of the film and made me realize that it centered, in some ways, around this absolutely beautiful song that had been written for the film.  The film itself would finally get a DVD release in 2013 or something and I was able to see the entire film.  But, for several years, all I could see of it was the clips in the video and I could listen to the song, which is #1 on this list by a significant margin.
This is the first time since 1996 that the Oscars picked the best of the nominees but it’s also the start of six straight years where they pick the best of the nominees every year.
The song from Alfie won the Globe, marking the first of five straight Globe winners that wouldn’t even receive Oscar nominations.

  • Best Animated Film:
  1. The Incredibles  **
  2. Shrek 2  *
  3. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
  4. Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence  *

Analysis:  Brad Bird and Andrew Adamson both earn their second nominations.  Pixar wins its fourth Nighthawk and wins back-to-back Nighthawks for the first time.
For much more on everything about this category go here.

  • Best Foreign Film:
  1. A Very Long Engagement  *
  2. House of Flying Daggers  *
  3. Downfall
  4. Bad Education  *
  5. Kung Fu Hustle  **
  6. Mar Adentro  **
  7. Don’t Move
  8. Howl’s Moving Castle
  9. Maria Full of Grace
  10. Walk on Water
  11. Innocent Voices
  12. Turtles Can Fly
  13. As It Is in Heaven
  14. Yesterday
  15. Steamboy
  16. The Grand Voyage
  17. Moolade
  18. The Motorcycle Diaries  *
  19. Kontroll
  20. Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

note:  Films in orange were submitted to the Academy but not nominated.
Analysis:  The reason that Kung Fu Hustle is also listed as a Consensus winner is because all of its awards were in 2005 (only for the Oscars would it have been eligible in 2004) and it comes in first there.
This is easily one of the best lists in the history of this category.  Engagement is one of the Top 20 winners in the category’s history (not just to-date).  House of Flying Daggers is in the Top 12 for a #2 finish.  Downfall is in the Top 7 for a #3.  The next three films are all in the Top 6 for their positions.  Don’t Move is the second best #7 film.  The next two films are in the Top 4 for their positions.  All the remaining films are #2 for their position, all behind the combined year of 1912-26 which had over a decade of German and Soviet films to choose from.  This is the only single year to have more than 14 films on its list and it actually has 21 (Black Friday is #21).  All of these numbers are good all the way through 2016.  Even the next three films come very close (5×22046, Intimate Strangers).  It is, quite simply, the year for Foreign films.  What’s more, these 21 films come from 16 different countries, showing a wide array of great and very good films from all across the globe with five continents represented.
Spain moves up to 280 points, breaking its tie with West Germany and moving into 8th place.  Hong Kong and China become the 12th and 13th countries to reach 100 points.
Jean-Pierre Jeunet earns his third nomination and second win.  Zhang Yimou earns his sixth nomination and goes up to 120 points, just outside the Top 10.  Pedro Almodovar earns his fifth nomination and goes up to 140 points, moving into a tie for 8th place.

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.

By Film:

  • The Aviator  (685)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound, Art Direction, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Costume Design
  • A Very Long Engagement   (340)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actress, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Art Direction, Foreign Film
  • House of Flying Daggers  (280)
    • Director, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound, Art Direction, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Costume Design, Makeup, Foreign Film
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban  (275)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Editing, Original Score, Sound, Art Direction, Visual Effects, Makeup
  • Sideways  (270)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind  (225)
    • Picture, Original Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Editing
  • Closer  (165)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Hero  (135)
    • Cinematography, Original Score, Art Direction, Sound Editing, Costume Design, Original Song, Foreign Film (2002)
  • Kinsey  (105)
    • Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • The Incredibles  (80)
    • Original Screenplay, Animated Film
  • Vera Drake  (75)
    • Original Screenplay, Actress
  • Spider-Man 2  (70)
    • Sound, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Original Song
  • Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow  (60)
    • Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Animated Film
  • Kill Bill Volume 2  (45)
    • Cinematography, Sound
  • Finding Neverland  (40)
    • Adapted Screenplay
  • Silver City  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • Hotel Rwanda  (40)
    • Supporting Actress, Original Song
  • Ray  (35)
    • Actor
  • Being Julia  (35)
    • Actress
  • Million Dollar Baby  (30)
    • Supporting Actor
  • Garden State  (30)
    • Supporting Actor
  • Bad Education  (30)
    • Foreign Film, Makeup
  • As It Is in Heaven  (20)
    • Original Song
  • Shrek 2  (20)
    • Animated Film
  • Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence  (20)
    • Animated Film
  • Vanity Fair  (15)
    • Costume Design
  • The Phantom of the Opera  (15)
    • Costume Design
  • Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events  (10)
    • Makeup
  • Hellboy  (10)
    • Makeup
  • The Motorcycle Diaries  (10)
    • Original Song

Analysis:  That’s four more films than the year before.  After Crouching Tiger and three LOTR films, this is the weakest group of Tech winners, as a whole, since 1997.

Best Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • Mar Adentro

Analysis:  My #20 film.  It came in 6th in a very competitive Foreign Film race and 10th in Actor and Score but couldn’t crack the Top 5 anywhere.

***.5 Films That Earn No Top 10 Finishes:

  • I ♥ Huckabee’s
  • Saved
  • Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring
  • Broken Wings
  • The Machinist
  • The Woodsman
  • Moolaade
  • Nina’s Tragedies

Biggest Awards Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • Collateral

Analysis:  A very good film with four Top 10 finishes but nothing higher than 8th.  It earned 19 total nominations over all the groups, including winning Best Director at the NBR and Best Cinematography at both the LAFC and the BAFTAs.

Nighthawk Golden Globes:

Drama:

  • Best Picture
  1. The Aviator
  2. A Very Long Engagement
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  4. House of Flying Daggers
  5. Closer

Analysis:  A Very Long Engagement and House of Flying Daggers were both nominated for Foreign Film (and thus ineligible for Best Picture).
There are a whole lot more that didn’t make the Top 5.  The **** films, in order are: Kill Bill Volume 2, Hero, Hotel Rwanda, Million Dollar Baby, Spider-Man 2, Kinsey, Bad Education, Finding Neverland, Vera Drake and Mar Adentro and the ***.5 films, in order are: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Maria Full of Grace, Collateral, Baadasssss, Osama, The Manchurian Candidate, Spring Summer Fall Winter and Spring, As It Is in Heaven, The Merchant of Venice, Broken Wings, The Machinist, The Woodsman, Moolaade, The Motorcycle Diaries, Nina’s Tragedies and Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence.

  • Best Director
  1. Martin Scorsese  (The Aviator)
  2. Jean-Pierre Jeunet  (A Very Long Engagement)
  3. Zhang Yimou  (House of Flying Daggers)
  4. Alfonso Cuarón  (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)
  5. Quentin Tarantino  (Kill Bill Volume 2)

Analysis:  This is the only Drama nom for Jeunet, the first for Cuarón, the second for Yimou and the third for Tarantino.  On the other hand, it’s the ninth nom for Marty and his third win; this puts him at 540 Drama points and a four way tie for 3rd place with David Lean, William Wyler and Ingmar Bergman.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. A Very Long Engagement
  2. Closer
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  4. Finding Neverland
  5. Million Dollar Baby
  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. The Aviator
  2. Vera Drake
  3. Kill Bill Volume 2
  4. Kinsey
  5. Hotel Rwanda

Analysis:  This is the second Drama writing nom for Mike Leigh and the fourth for Tarantino.

  • Best Actor:
  1. Leonardo DiCaprio  (The Aviator)
  2. Liam Neeson  (Kinsey)
  3. Don Cheadle  (Hotel Rwanda)
  4. Jude Law  (Closer)
  5. Clint Eastwood  (Million Dollar Baby)

Analysis:  This is the only Drama nom for Don Cheadle, the second for Clint Eastwood and Leo (with his first win), the third for Jude Law (in just four years) and Liam Neeson.

  • Best Actress
  1. Audrey Tautou  (A Very Long Engagement)
  2. Imelda Staunton  (Vera Drake)
  3. Julia Roberts  (Closer)
  4. Hillary Swank  (Million Dollar Baby)
  5. Uma Thurman  (Kill Bill Volume 2)

Analysis:  This is the only Drama nom for Imelda Staunton and Audrey Tautou.  It’s the second nom for Swank, the third for Roberts and the third for Thurman.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Clive Owen  (Closer)
  2. Morgan Freeman  (Million Dollar Baby)
  3. Peter Sarsgaard  (Kinsey)
  4. Alan Alda  (The Aviator)
  5. David Thewliss  (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)

Analysis:  These are the only Drama noms for Alan Alda and David Thewliss, the first for Peter Sarsgaard and Clive Owen and the fourth for Morgan Freeman.
This is the weakest Top 5 in six years.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Cate Blanchett  (The Aviator)
  2. Natalie Portman  (Closer)
  3. Laura Linney  (Kinsey)
  4. Sophie Okonedo  (Hotel Rwanda)
  5. Meryl Streep  (The Manchurian Candidate)

Analysis:  This is the only Drama nom for Okonedo.  It’s the second nom for Linney and Portman.  It’s the fifth nom and third win for Blanchett.  It’s the 12th Drama nom for Meryl, who is now up to 530 points.
The Top 5 is just behind 1996 and is the second best of all-time.

  • The Aviator  (430)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Closer  (250)
    • Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • A Very Long Engagement  (245)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actress
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban  (165)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor
  • Million Dollar Baby  (140)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor
  • Kinsey  (135)
    • Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Kill Bill Volume 2  (120)
    • Director, Original Screenplay, Actress
  • Hotel Rwanda  (105)
    • Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actress
  • House of Flying Daggers  (95)
    • Picture, Director
  • Vera Drake  (75)
    • Original Screenplay, Actress
  • Finding Neverland  (40)
    • Adapted Screenplay
  • The Manchurian Candidate  (30)
    • Supporting Actress

Analysis:  Only 12 films earn nominations.

Best Drama Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • Hero

Analysis:  My #11 film and my #7 Drama, but it sits in seventh place in Picture and Director.

Comedy / Musical:

  • Best Picture
  1. Sideways
  2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  3. The Incredibles
  4. Silver City
  5. Shrek 2

Analysis:  Eternal Sunshine is the third best #2 in this category to-date, behind only Fargo and Moulin Rouge.  Silver City is the third best #4 in this category to-date, behind only Pinocchio and My Fair Lady.  The Top 5 is the eighth best all-time.
This is the first time in five years that there are no more than five **** films.  The ***.5 films, in order, are: Shaun of the Dead, The Life Aquatic with Steve ZissouI ♥ Huckabee’s, Garden State, Saved, Shaolin Soccer and Ray.

  • Best Director
  1. Alexander Payne  (Sideways)
  2. John Sayles  (Silver City)
  3. Michel Gondry  (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
  4. Wes Anderson  (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou)
  5. David O. Russell  (I ♥ Huckabee’s)

Analysis:  These are the only Comedy noms for Michel Gondry (who doesn’t have much of a track record) and John Sayles (who does better with Drama).  It’s the first for Payne (who will earn more) and the second each for Anderson and Russell (who will also be back for more).

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Sideways
  2. Shrek 2
  3. Bright Young Things
  4. Being Julia
  5. Ella Enchanted
  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  2. Silver City
  3. The Incredibles
  4. Garden State
  5. I ♥ Huckabee’s

Analysis:  This is the only Comedy writing nom for John Sayles.  On the other hand, it’s the third Comedy win for Charlie Kauffman and his fourth nom.

  • Best Actor:
  1. Jim Carrey  (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
  2. Paul Giamatti  (Sideways)
  3. Jamie Foxx  (Ray)
  4. Danny Huston  (Silver City)
  5. Bill Murray  (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou)

Analysis:  These are the only Comedy noms for Jamie Foxx and Danny Huston, the second for Paul Giamatti and the third for Jim Carrey.  It’s the eighth nom for Bill Murray and he goes up to 365 points, passing Alec Guinness and moving into 4th place all-time.

  • Best Actress
  1. Kate Winslet  (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
  2. Annette Bening  (Being Julia)
  3. Jena Malone  (Saved)
  4. Isabelle Adjani  (Bon Voyage)
  5. Anne Hathaway  (Ella Enchanted)

Analysis:  These are the only Comedy noms for Jena Malone and Isabelle Adjani.  It’s the first Comedy nom for Winslet, Bening and Hathaway.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Thomas Haden Church  (Sideways)
  2. Peter Sarsgaard  (Garden State)
  3. Chris Cooper  (Silver City)
  4. Tom Wilkinson  (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
  5. Willem DaFoe  (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou)

Analysis:  These are the only Comedy noms for Thomas Haden Church, Peter Sarsgaard and Willem DaFoe and the second each for Chris Cooper and Tom Wilkinson.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Virginia Madsen  (Sideways)
  2. Natalie Portman  (Garden State)
  3. Cate Blanchett  (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou)
  4. Sharon Warren  (Ray)
  5. Lily Tomlin  (I ♥ Huckabee’s)

Analysis:  These are the only Comedy noms for Sharon Warren and Virginia Madsen.  It’s the second nom for Portman and Blanchett

  • Sideways  (425)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind  (345)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor
  • Silver City  (200)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor
  • The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou  (140)
    • Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • I ♥ Huckabee’s  (115)
    • Director, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actress
  • Garden State  (100)
    • Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Shrek 2  (90)
    • Picture, Adapted Screenplay
  • The Incredibles  (90)
    • Picture, Original Screenplay
  • Being Julia  (85)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actress
  • Ella Enchanted  (80)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actress
  • Ray  (65)
    • Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Bright Young Things  (40)
    • Adapted Screenplay
  • Saved  (35)
    • Actress
  • Bon Voyage  (35)
    • Actress

Analysis:  Three fewer films than the year before.  It’s extremely rare for all the wins to go to just two films (unless one of the screenplay categories has no nominees, it’s not possible for there be less than two films with wins).

Best Comedy Not Nominated for any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • Shaun of the Dead

Analysis:  My #21 film of the year and the #6 Comedy, but it just misses with both Picture and Original Screenplay.

Roundup for the Year in Film:

Eligible Films I Have Seen:  235

By Stars:

  • ****:  20
  • ***.5:  23
  • ***:  107
  • **.5:  51
  • **:  16
  • *.5:  10
  • *:  3
  • .5:  4
  • 0:  1
  • Average Film Score for the Year, out of 100:  63.79

Analysis:  The average is still up to ***, going up about a 1/3 of a point, even though I have my first zero star film in three years.  That’s because, with 18 more films than the year before, there are four fewer films that are * or below.  Over 85% of the films are **.5 or better.  Even with the second most films to-date, this is the lowest amount of ** films since 1991.  It’s the first time since 1960 that the ** films account for less than 7% of the total films.

My Year at the Theater

Introduction:  I’m still listing all the films I saw in the theater.  They are in release date order.  This year got complicated because of some personal developments.

  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind  –  The first film of the year for me and it remains one of the best all the way until the end.  I’m fairly certain I saw it with Tavis.  We had both read the script online before the film came out, a version that had included a prologue and epilogue that wouldn’t end up in the finished film (that extended the length of the story for decades).
  • The Ladykillers  –  Veronica and I went to see this, perhaps with Tavis.  Quite disappointing for the Coens, especially when compared to the original.
  • Jersey Girl  –  I had been a really big Kevin Smith fan but this was just sappy and ridiculous.
  • Kill Bill Vol. 2  –  Like Eternal Sunshine, I had read the script before the film came out (before the first one came out).  I couldn’t wait for this.
  • Van Helsing  –  Kate Beckinsale in black leather with vampires.  This couldn’t suck worse than Underworld, right?  Totally wrong.  It also had David Wenham, who had been so good as Faramir in LOTR but he was completely wasted here.
  • Troy  –  I went to this with John Ramirez because Veronica had no interest in it.  We couldn’t believe they had taken the mythology out of the story, because then it’s just the story of a stupid boy who runs off with a king’s wife.  Simply terrible.  More proof that Brad Pitt shouldn’t be looked on to carry films.
  • Shrek 2  –  I had been looking forward to this since the day the teaser hit because of Puss and I was not disappointed.
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban  –  Opening night at Evergreen and Veronica put on her cloak but the dress didn’t fit because she was nine months pregnant.  The last movie we saw together before Thomas was born.  It came out on 4 June and two Fridays later, her water broke.
  • The Terminal  –  This came out the weekend Thomas was born but I definitely didn’t see it that weekend, unless Veronica suggested I go see it at an early showing on Friday.  Her water broke late Friday night and we didn’t leave the hospital again until I left on Monday to go return my overdue video.  It was okay, but when a Spielberg film is just okay, that’s pretty disappointing.
  • Fahrenheit 9/11  –  I saw this on the opening Saturday with Kari and Jonathan.  I remember Thomas making a giant mess just as we were walking out the door.  A brilliant documentary.
  • Spider-Man 2  –  This came out on Veronica’s birthday and my parents watched Thomas and we went together to the theater in Cornelius.  Absolutely loved it, especially the ending.
  • The Manchurian Candidate  –  The July movies didn’t really appeal to me until this one at the end of the month, which I believe I saw with John Ramirez.  Not nearly at the same level as the original, but Meryl was great.
  • Collateral  –  I liked Michael Mann and I’ve always liked Tom Cruise so I saw this when it first came out, long before it actually became a solid awards contender.  Good solid film but not great.
  • Hero  –  I think John might have gone with me to see this now that it finally got released in the States two years after it was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars.
  • Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow  –  John definitely went with me to see this.  I thought this was brilliant.  I didn’t love that they made use of Olivier how they did, but it was very good fun.  My first film of the fall with Jude Law.
  • I ♥ Huckabee’s  –  This came out in October but I saw it sometime in December at the Fox Tower on the same day that I saw Sideways.  I still think it’s pretty good.  My second film of the fall with Jude Law.
  • Vera Drake  –  Another October release that I don’t think I saw until much later once it started getting awards attention.  I’m pretty certain I saw it by myself, which became a running theme through the awards season since we now had Thomas.
  • Team America: World Police  –  I saw this with John and we thought it was very uneven – some very funny parts (“America, Fuck Yeah!”) and some very not so funny parts (the whole plot with North Korea).  Good puppet sex though until it went kind of over the line.
  • Sideways  –  Again, I saw this, maybe in December, on the same day and at the same theater as Huckabee’s.  A critics film, so a film for me.
  • Ray  –  This was John and I again, awards for me, the music for him (I don’t much like the music of Ray Charles).
  • The Incredibles  –  Veronica finally gets back to the movies with me for one of our favorite Pixar films.  Plus, one of my absolute favorite Pixar shorts: Boundin’.
  • Finding Neverland  –  I think Veronica might have gone along to this one because of Johnny.  Depp is very good and it’s a low level **** film but I don’t think it really merited its Oscar noms.
  • Kinsey  –  This was definitely just me again.  I never even got Veronica to see this in spite of all the great acting.
  • Alexander  –  John and I again and I remember us discussing on our way out of the theater whether this was better or worse than Troy.  For the record, I have this as two spots better, at #208 while Troy is at #210.
  • A Very Long Engagement  –  Yet another film for John and I, partially because we had both loved Amelie so much.  This was what finally bumped Eternal Sunshine from my top spot and I think it stayed there longer than any other early film since Silence of the Lambs stayed my #1 from February of 91 to the end of the year.
  • Closer  –  Yet another film for John and I, because hey, Natalie Portman doing a strip club scene.  And because of the brilliant writing and acting.  Just brilliant.  Not the best film with Jude Law in the fall but the one with his best performance.
  • House of Flying Daggers  –  Three amazing films in a row for John and I makes up for Alexander.  I remember us discussing on our way out of the theater whether Zhang Ziyi was hotter than Natalie Portman.  One of the most gorgeous films ever made to look at.
  • The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou  –  I think this might have been Tavis and I.  I wasn’t going to miss the new Wes Anderson after how much I loved Tenenbaums.  Not as good, but still very interesting.
  • Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events  –  Veronica makes it to another movie.  We had loved the book series, which would eventually end the next year with a very disappointing finale.  Fantastic music in this film and a good job of combining the first three books.  It always make V feel weird to see how Emily Browning’s career has worked out since (especially as we watch American Gods).  We do highly recommend the Netflix television version of the books.  Jude Law film #4, since he’s the narrator.
  • The Aviator  –  Saw this was Tavis at the newly opened Century in Beaverton, the first film I ever saw there.  Immediately became my #1 film of the year.  Still my #1 film of the year.  Though he’s barely in it, this Jude Law film #5 and since I didn’t see Alfie until it was out on video, that was it for Mr. Law.
  • Million Dollar Baby  –  A great film but I always was apprehensive because I hoped it wouldn’t win the Oscar over Marty because it wasn’t nearly as good as The Aviator.
  • Mar Adentro  –  I think John and I saw this together.  Excellent film.
  • The Phantom of the Opera  –  I literally screamed on my way out of the theater, which I saw with Kari.  I waited years for this, having seen Michael Crawford on stage back in 1991 and hoped Antonio Banderas would star in it.  Instead they got that fucking talentless waste Gerard Butler.  And even worse, they made the end of the film pointless.  In the original stage production, when Raoul goes to face against him in the graveyard, they don’t actually fight – Christine pulls him back before he gets close to Erik.  But on film, they fight and Raoul actually wins and then Christine pulls him back.  They actually defeated him.  That means any further deaths in the film are on them for being complete fucking idiots, although really it’s Joel Schumacher who’s the idiot for doing such a shitty job with such great material.  The art direction and costumes were good, Minnie Driver was enjoyable and at least Emmy Rossum was truly worth obsessing over (in the stage show, Sarah Brightman’s odd looks made that seem strange).  Fuck you Butler and Schumacher for botching this.
  • Hotel Rwanda  –  Having a six month old at home when I went to see this, getting my awards fix on, and seeing the scene where Don Cheadle’s Paul Rusesabagina tell his wife that if things look hopeless that she should take the children to the top of the hotel and jump off to spare them the horrors that would follow I was shaken to the core like rarely ever before.  Not a film I have ever had the desire to rewatch in spite of how good it is (and how good Cheadle and Sophie Okonedo are).
  • The Merchant of Venice  –  This didn’t open in Portland until sometime in January and I think I might have skipped class to go see it, although it wouldn’t have been my Shakespeare class because I liked that class a lot.  Very good production.  Watching Lynn Collins in this, I never would have expected to see her in weakly written roles in Wolverine and John Carter.

Endnote:  That’s two more films than the year before and the most in quite a while.  But it goes way down after this.

Oscar-Nominated Films I Have Not Seen:

  • none

Oscar Quality:

Best Picture:  It’s #16 of all-time, which is quite solid, but is a bit of a comedown after the previous three years.  All five nominees make my list which is better than 2001 or 2003 but two of them are low **** and one (Ray) is low ***.5 and that keeps it from reaching the Top 10.

The Winners:  The average winner among the nominees rank at 1.90 which is weaker than the year before but better than most years.  That’s partially because in ten of the categories the Oscar went to the best nominee.  But it’s also because, for the first time since 1991 not a single Oscar went to the weakest nominee.  Among all films, the average winner ranks at 4.45, which is, again, weaker than the year before, but stronger than most years.  One two categories have a winner outside the Top 10: Picture (13th) and Score (12th), though both Director and Sound are in 10th.  I do agree completely with 8 winners, including both Screenplay categories for a second straight year.

The Nominees:  The overall Oscar Score is 78.1, which is down from the previous three years but still better than most years before 2001.  It’s lead by the acting, with an incredible 94.0, the third best to-date and only the third time all four categories have earned over a 90.  The Tech score is a solid 70.5, while the major categories are a solid 76.1.

Golden Globe Best Picture – Comedy / Musical:  It’s the 8th best year all-time, which is great, but still slightly down from the year before.  The only reason it’s as low as it is, is because it got caught up in the pre-release hype for Phantom of the Opera, which turned out to be a low ***.  Outside of that, you had two Top 20 films (Sideways, Eternal Sunshine), the only year prior to 2014 to have two such films.  There is also another **** film (The Incredibles) and a low level ***.5 film (Ray).  If they had dropped Phantom and gone for Shrek 2 or any of the high ***.5 films (Shaun of the Dead, Life Aquatic, Huckabee’s, Garden State, Saved), this year would be 2nd place all-time and easily the best to-date.  Even nominating Being Julia, which won Comedy Actress, instead of Phantom would have had this year at 4th all-time and the second best to-date.

Top 5 Films of the Year:

1  –  The Aviator  (reviewed here)

The Amelie team does it again.

2  –  A Very Long Engagement  (dir. Jeunet)

All those young boys, they went off to die.  “History is littered with wars which everybody knew would never happen” goes the famous quote by Enoch Powell.  But of all the wars in human history, how many died and how many died for so little reason?  Their country dragged these men away and made them go fight and die.  This is a story of not just a few that tried to get out of this, that were willing to wound themselves, to give themselves permanent injuries to avoid the most permanent injury and for this, were sentenced to no man’s land without weapons.  For not being willing to die for their country, they were banished to go die for nothing.

This is enough of a tragedy and it’s where we open the film.  But it’s not just about that.  It’s about one particular boy who is left out there to die and the girl who has been left behind to mourn him, to love him, to miss him, to find him.  Because she does not believe that he died out there in that field.  She would know if he was dead, she’s certain of it.  And so she sets out on a quest, to find out what happened, to find out if he has survived, to find out where he is.

For this quest, we have a re-uniting of much of the team that produced Amelie.  Jean-Pierre Jeunet, instead of bringing forth a new and brilliant film, instead takes a first-rate novel of tragedy and romance and brings it faithfully to the screen.  He again has Audrey Tautou as his heroine, this time, instead of breathing life into Paris she is in Southern France, struggling to walk and to find her way.  Much of the technical team is the same and even some of the supporting actors (the man who played her father is now unrelated to her while the man in love with the other waitress is now her uncle).

I saw this film in the theater and it was the film that finally pushed out Eternal Sunshine as my #1 (see above).  I didn’t know if the bulk of the credit went to Jeunet for his wonderful direction and moving script, for Tautou, who here got to play a dramatic role that is equal the comedic one she played in Amelie or to Bruno Delbonnel, the amazing cinematographer who bleeds life out of the countryside and lets us see the drab yellows and browns that are what is life when life has been so casually tossed aside.

This is a film that is a reminder of the enormous waste of the first World War.  It was fought for nothing, had no meaning, left millions upon millions dead, and then, for added misery, helped bring about the Spanish Influenza Pandemic that killed millions more.  And yet, it has continually bred great art, from All Quiet on the Western Front to The Grand Illusion to Paths of Glory to A Very Long Engagement.

3  –  Sideways  (reviewed here)

What would you choose to forget?

4  –  Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind  (dir. Gondry)

What would you choose to forget?  Who would you choose to forget?  These are the questions that might go through the head of someone who is cursed to never forget.  Fights, bitter moments, embarrassments, horrifying things right before my eyes; these are all the things I might choose to forget if I could but I can’t and I can see them as clearly know as I could then.  But entire relationships?  I may still harbor bitterness over Deborah, but I don’t want to forget her.  I wish I could go back and be better to Kari but I’m not willing to wipe the bad or the good away.

But that very idea, that you could wipe away specific parts of your memory, to have a relationship cease to exist, not only in fact, but in memory as well, is the fascinating idea at the heart of this film.  It’s easy to see how it won Best Original Screenplay (sweeping every award in the category).  In fact, this startlingly original film (more original than you realized if you had read the original script, in which all of this continues into the future, years and years from now) was the fourth in a decade to win Best Original Screenplay without a Best Picture nomination.  In the 20 years prior to 1995, only two films had done that.  But, in just 10 years, we got The Usual Suspects, Almost Famous, Talk to Her and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, all of them films that were better than the actual Best Picture winners in their respective years and none of them received even a nomination.  But clearly the writers knew what they were doing.

Joel Barrish is hurt.  He’s discovered that Clementine, the very free spirit that he’s been living with (and fighting with, because they are very, very different), after a fight has gone and erased him from her mind.  So, in a fit of rare spontaneity (the same kind of rareness that helped him to meet her in the first place), he decides to do the same.  And that’s where this film gets interesting in a way we couldn’t have expected.  We follow them through their relationship even as it is literally disintegrating, being wiped from his memory.  He repents, he tries to hide her, he tries to find some part of his subconscious where he can still remember something about her.

Jim Carrey found a meteoric rise to stardom with stupid comedies like Dumb & Dumber, Ace Ventura and The Mask.  But he showed that he was interested in something more and in films like The Truman Show and Man on the Moon, he showed considerable amounts of talent, even if the Academy couldn’t be bothered to acknowledge that.  Here, he submerges the more outre parts of his personality to find Joel, a kind, quiet man who is desperately hurt by what has happened.  He found someone who made him live and he has lost it.  Carrey’s performance (which also went un-noticed by the Academy – and this seemed to be his final gasp for real respectability because he’s never really returned to worthwhile roles since) is perfectly counter-balanced by Kate Winslet.  Winslet never had problems getting noticed by the Academy and this was no exception (although it would still take her more nominations and four more years before she would finally win an Oscar).  Her Clementine is pretty much unhinged in that way that seems sexy to such a shy, repressed man like Joel.  People like this need a measure of balance in their life, whether it’s a Joel who needs to learn how to live or a Clementine who needs something to keep her at least a little grounded lest she just take off and never come back to earth.

Working around their relationship are the four very good performances from Tom Wilkinson, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo and Elijah Wood as the people who work at Lacuna, the company that erased Joel from Clementine and are in the process of erasing Clementine from Joel.  They aren’t just an extra bit of plot padding, because what we learn from watching them shows some more insights into human nature and we wonder, if we would chose to erase someone, what might happen when we meet that person again.  Once you have found something, do you keep going back for more, no matter the cost?

5  –  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban  (reviewed here)

The Razzies:  I think the Razzies did a pretty good job here.  Yes, they missed my Worst Film of the Year, but they nominated the next four and gave the award to one of them.  The one nominee that’s not in my Bottom 5, Alexander, I think is a low ** film because of the quality of the direction, the cinematography, the performances outside of Farrell.

5 Worst Films  (#1 being the worst):

  1. Twentynine Palms
  2. Super Babies: Baby Geniuses 2
  3. White Chicks
  4. Surviving Christmas
  5. Catwoman

note:  The list of Presumably Crappy Films That I Would Confirm are Crappy But I Haven’t Seen Them and Don’t Intend to See Them are: Along Came Polly, Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, Christmas with the Kranks, Club Dread, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, A Dirty Shame, Eurotrip, The Exorcist: The Beginning, Fat Albert, Garfield, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, The Punisher, Raising Helen, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, Seed of Chucky, Starsky & Hutch, The Stepford Wives, Thunderbirds.

Another shitty nihilistic film.

Twentynine Palms  (dir. Bruno Dumont)

In the early part of the decade, some films got made that all seemed to be similar.  People would wander in the desert.  There would be nice shots of the natural beauty contrasted against the idiots who didn’t seem to know what they were doing.  Long stretches would go by when nothing would happen.  Gerry was a film like this and it was a waste of a talented director and two talented actors.  The Brown Bunny was like this and it was just a waste but at least provided some amusing back and forth between its director and the country’s foremost critic.  Then there is the worst of them, Twentynine Palms.  In Gerry, nothing ever happens.  In The Brown Bunny, it seems like nothing ever happens until we suddenly see more of its director than we want to see that up close.  In Twentynine Palms nothing happens for long periods of time then far too much happens and none of it has any meaning, which I suppose some would argue is the point, but I would argue that saying this film has a point is giving it far too much credit.

There is a man and a woman.  They seem like they don’t communicate very well but you eventually realize she speaks Russian and he speaks English and they are communicating in uneasy French.  They drive around and look at things and it’s all boring.  They have random bouts of sex, including what seems to be him trying to force her to go down on him in a pool multiple times and it’s pretty boring as well.

For well over an hour nothing of any consequence happens and then suddenly we end up in Deliverance in the desert.  Out of basically nowhere, a truck of hicks terrorize them.  The violence that takes up the last half hour and ends with both of them dead is just as pointless and boring as the nothingness that went on during the first 2/3 of the film.

I try to save my zero star rating for films that are not just badly made but that also offer utter pointlessness and more repugnancy.  This one’s got all of that.

Points:

  • Most Nighthawk Nominations:  The Aviator  (14)
  • Most Nighthawk Awards:  The Aviator  (10)
  • Most Nighthawk Points:  The Aviator  (685)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Award:  The Phantom of the Opera
  • 2nd Place Award:  A Very Long Engagement  (Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Editing)
  • 6th Place Award:  Kill Bill Volume 2  (Director, Original Screenplay, Sound Editing)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Nominations:  The Aviator  /  Closer  (6)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Awards:  The Aviator  (5)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Points:  The Aviator  (430)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Drama Award:  The Manchurian Candidate
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Nominations:   Sideways  /  Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind  (6)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Awards:  Sideways  (5)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Points:  Sideways  (425)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Comedy Award:  Bon Voyage

Note:  * means a Nighthawk record up to this point; ** ties a Nighthawk record.
Note:  House of Flying Daggers has more 2nd place finishes (5) but they add up to fewer points.

Progressive Leaders:

  • Most Nighthawk Nominations:  The Wizard of Oz  /  The Godfather  /  The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King  (18)
  • Most Nighthawk Awards:  The Wizard of Oz  /  Bonnie and Clyde  /  Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon  (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  /  Kagemusha  /  House of Flying Daggers  (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  (375)
  • Composer:  John Williams  (875)
  • Foreign Film:  Akira Kurosawa  /  Ingmar Bergman  (600)

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

  • Drama:  105 (55)  –  The Aviator  (65.3)
  • Foreign:  92  –  A Very Long Engagement  (65.8)
  • Comedy:  44 (13)  –  Sideways  (61.6)
  • Crime:  11 (4)  –  Maria Full of Grace  (69.2)
  • Musical:  11 (2)  –  Ray  (57.5)
  • Kids:  10 (1)  –  The Incredibles  (63.9)
  • Action:  9 (4)  –  House of Flying Daggers  (70.9)
  • Sci-Fi:  9 (3)  –  Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence  (53.1)
  • Horror:  9 (3)  –  Shaun of the Dead  (44.2)
  • Suspense:  8  –  The Manchurian Candidate  (65.5)
  • Fantasy:  7 (2)  –  Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind  (72.6)
  • War:  4 (3)  –  Tae Guk Gi: Brotherhood of War  (67.8)
  • Adventure:  4  –  Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow  (66)
  • Mystery:  3 (2)  –  Silver City  (85.3)
  • Western:  1  –  The Alamo  (53)

Analysis:  Not only are the 92 Foreign films a new high but they account for 39% of the films, the highest since 1977.  Several genres are almost the same as the year before; Drama, Foreign, Crime and Mystery are all within a point of the year before and Suspense is within two points.  But Sci-Fi is way up (13 points) and Action is even better (20 points) while Comedy is down (6 points).  For the first time in 15 years, Musical is one of the top 5 genres.
Action is up because, for the first time since 1964 and only the second time ever, there are two Action films in the Top 10 (House of Flying Daggers, Kill Bill).  There are four Action films in the Top 20 for the only time.  There are also two Fantasy films in the Top 10 for the third time in four years, although it’s the first time since 1981 it’s happened without a Lord of the Rings film.  There are three Fantasy films in the Top 20 for just the second time.  After not happening from 1966 to 2001, for the second time in three years only one Comedy makes the Top 20.  For the first time since 1941 and only the second time ever, there are two Kids films in the Top 20.  While there are plenty of Musicals, there are none in the Top 20 for the first time in seven years.

Studio Note:  Just over 36% of the total films are from the major studios, the last time it will be more than 1/3 of the total films until 2016.  That’s lead by 17 films from Warner Bros and 15 from Disney.  There are also 14 from Sony Pictures Classics and 10 from Miramax (in the last year with the Weinsteins fully involved) and both average a low ***.5 (76.2 for Miramax, 76.3 for SPC).  There are 6 final films from United Artists before it kind of fades out of existence.
Warner Bros is the only major with more than 1 Top 10 film (it has two) and more than two Top 20 films (it has three).  Miramax has two Top 10 films and four in the Top 20 and to finish off the Weinstein era, it finally wins the Nighthawk.

96 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):

  • 2046  (Wong, Hong Kong)
  • 3-Iron  (Kim, South Korea)
  • 5×2  (Ozon, France)
  • Aaltra  (Delepine, Belgium)
  • Agnes and His Brothers  (Roehler, Germany)
  • Anatomy of Hell  (Breillat, France)
  • Antares  (Spielmann, Austria)  *
  • Appleseed  (Aramaki, Japan)
  • As It Is in Heaven  (Pollak, Sweden)  **
  • Bad Education  (Almodovar, Spain)
  • Beneath Her Window  (Pevec, Slovenia)  *
  • Black Friday  (Kashyap, India)
  • Bright Future  (Kurosawa, Japan)
  • Brothers  (Bier, Denmark)
  • Campfire  (Cedar, Israel)  *
  • Changing Times  (Techine, France)
  • The Chorus  (Barratier, France)  **
  • Christmas in Love  (Parenti, Italy)
  • Cronicas  (Cordero, Ecuador)  *
  • Crying Ladies  (Miely, Philippines)  *
  • Days and Hours  (Zalica, Bosnia)  *
  • District B13  (Morel, France)
  • Don’t Move  (Castellitto, Italy)
  • Downfall  (Hirschbiegel, Germany)  **
  • A Driver for Vera  (Chukrai, Ukraine)  *
  • Duck Season  (Eimbcke, Mexico)
  • Garcon stupide  (Baier, Switzerland)
  • Le genre humain  (Lelouch, France)
  • Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence  (Oshii, Japan)
  • Gilles’ Wife  (Fonteyne, Belgium)
  • Godzilla: Final Wars  (Kitamura, Japan)
  • Goose Feather  (Samardzic, Serbia)  *
  • The Grand Voyage  (Ferroukhi, France)
  • The Great Water  (Trajkov, Macedonia)  *
  • Hawaii, Oslo  (Poppe, Norway)  *
  • Head On  (Akin, Germany)
  • House of Flying Daggers  (Yimou, China)  *
  • Howl’s Moving Castle  (Miyazaki, Japan)
  • I Love Cinema  (Fawzy, Egypt)  *
  • Innocent Voices  (Mandoki, Mexico)  *
  • Intimate Strangers  (LeConte, France)
  • Karena: The Prophecy  (Delaporte / Pinon, Canada)
  • The Keys to the House  (Amelio, Italy)  *
  • Kings & Queen  (Desplechin, France)
  • Kontroll  (Antal, Hungary)  *
  • Kung Fu Hustle  (Chow, Hong Kong)
  • The Legend of Buddha  (Phalke, India)
  • Lila Says  (Doueiri, Lebanon)
  • Long Dark Night  (Vrdoljak, Croatia)  *
  • Lost Embrace  (Burman, Argentina)  *
  • Machuca  (Wood, Chile)  *
  • Mar Adentro  (Amenabar, Spain)  ***
  • Maria Full of Grace  (Marston, Colombia)
  • The Memory of a Killer  (Van Looy, Belgium)  *
  • Mila from Mars  (Sophia, Bulgaria)  *
  • Mind Game  (Yuasa, Japan)
  • Moolaade  (Sembene, Senegal)
  • The Motorcycle Diaries  (Salles, Brazil)
  • Mountain Patrol: Kekexili  (Lu, China)
  • My Name is Bach  (de Rivaz, Switzerland)  *
  • Night Watch  (Bekmambetov, Russia)  *
  • Nobody Knows  (Koreeda, Japan)  *
  • Orient-Express  (Nicolaescu, Romania)  *
  • The Overture  (Vichailak, Thailand)  *
  • The Passion of the Christ  (Gibson, USA)
  • Private  (Costanzo, Italy)
  • Producing Adults  (Salmenpera, Finland)  *
  • Punto y Raya  (Schneider, Venezuela)  *
  • Red Lights  (Kahn, France)
  • Robbing Peter  (De La Vega, Mexico)
  • Running on Karma  (To / Wai, Hong Kong)  *
  • Schultze Gets the Blues  (Schorr, Germany)
  • Shwaas  (Sawant, India)  *
  • Sky Blue  (Kim, South Korea)
  • Steamboy  (Ohtomo, Japan)
  • Swades: We the People  (Gowarike, India)
  • The Syrian Bride  (Riklis, Israel)
  • Tae Guk Gi: Brotherhood of War  (Kang, South Korea)  *
  • Thirst  (Wael, Palestine)
  • Three Dancing Slaves  (Morel, France)
  • Tony Takitani  (Ichikawa, Japan)
  • A Touch of Spice  (Boulmetis, Greece)  *
  • A tout de suite  (Jacquot, France)
  • Travellers and Magicians  (Norbu, Bhutan)
  • Triple Agent  (Rohmer, France)
  • Tropical Malady  (Weerasethakul, Thailand)
  • Turtles Can Fly  (Ghobadi, Iran)  *
  • Up and Down  (Hrebejk, Czech Republic)  *
  • A Very Long Engagement  (Jeunet, France)
  • Walk on Water  (Fox, Israel)
  • Weeping Meadow  (Angelopoulos, Greece)
  • The Welts  (Piekorz, Poland)  *
  • When the Sea Rises  (Moreau, France)
  • Whisky  (Rebella / Stoll, Uruguay)  *
  • Woman is the Future of Man  (Hong, South Korea)
  • Yesterday  (Roodt, South Africa)  **

Note:  Way up, to 96 films, the second most to-date and the third most ever.  France leads the way with 15 films, followed by Japan with 9.  I have my first film from Ecuador.  There are six Sci-Fi films, the most ever in one year and as many as the previous eight years combined.

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

  • Afghanistan:  Earth and Ashes  (dir. Rahimi)
  • Brazil:  Olga  (dir. Monjardim)
  • Canada:  Far Side of the Moon  (dir. Lapage)
  • Colombia:  El Rey  (dir. Dorado)
  • Estonia:  Revolution of Pigs  (dir. Funk)
  • Iceland:  Cold Light  (dir. Oddsson)
  • Malaysia:  A Legendary Love  (dir. Hin)
  • Netherlands:  Simon  (dir. Terstall)
  • Palestine:  The Olive Harvest  (dir. Elias)
  • Portugal:  The Miracle According to Salome  (dir. Barroso)
  • Taiwan:  20:30:40  (dir. Chang)

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 a solid 41 for 52 (80%) if I include the disqualified submissions.  The submissions are down by four from the year before.  It’s the last year with fewer than 60 submissions.
The countries that don’t submit this year after submitting the year before are Turkey (only post 1998 miss), Lebanon, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Cuba, Indonesia, Peru, Nepal, Bolivia, Armenia, Mongolia and Sri Lanka.  Romania, India and Switzerland are back after one-year gaps and haven’t missed any years since.  Back after longer lay-offs are South Africa, Macdenia, Estonia and Ecuador while Malaysia submits for the first time.
These are my first miss (Malaysia, Palestine), second (Afghanistan), third (Colombia), third miss in third submission (Estonia), fifth (Brazil), ninth (Portugal), 13th (Taiwan), 14th (Canada), 15th (Iceland) and 17th (Netherlands)

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

  • The Silence of Neto  (1994)
  • A Slipping Down Life  (1999)
  • Big Animal  (2000)
  • Dog Days  (2001)
  • Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack  (2001)
  • Millennium Mambo  (2001)
  • The Seagull’s Laughter  (2001)
  • Shaolin Soccer  (2001)
  • Abouna  (2002)
  • Broken Wings  (2002)
  • Callas Forever  (2002)
  • The Clay Bird  (2002)
  • Close Your Eyes  (2002)
  • Hero  (2002)
  • Secret Things  (2002)
  • Sex is Comedy  (2002)
  • Springtime in a Small Town  (2002)
  • The Trilogy: After the Life  (2002)
  • The Trilogy: An Amazing Couple  (2002)
  • The Trilogy: On the Run  (2002)
  • Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself  (2002)
  • Baadasssss  (2003)
  • Bon Voyage  (2003)
  • The Brown Bunny  (2003)
  • Buddy  (2003)
  • Carandiru  (2003)
  • Crimson Gold  (2003)
  • Distant  (2003)
  • Dogville  (2003)
  • The Dreamers  (2003)
  • Free Radicals  (2003)
  • Fuse  (2003)
  • Godzilla: Tokyo SOS  (2003)
  • Goodbye Lenin  (2003)
  • Goodbye, Dragon Inn  (2003)
  • I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead  (2003)
  • I’m Not Scared  (2003)
  • Intermission  (2003)
  • Ju-on: The Grudge  (2003)
  • Kitchen Stories  (2003)
  • Last Life in the Universe  (2003)
  • Love Me if You Dare  (2003)
  • The Mother  (2003)
  • Ned Kelly  (2003)
  • Nicotina  (2003)
  • Nina’s Tragedies  (2003)
  • Noi Alboni  (2003)
  • Osama  (2003)
  • Pornography  (2003)
  • Reconstruction  (2003)
  • The Return  (2003)
  • The Saddest Music in the World  (2003)
  • Saints and Soldiers  (2003)
  • Seawards Journey  (2003)
  • Seducing Doctor Lewis  (2003)
  • Since Otar Left  (2003)
  • Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring  (2003)
  • Strayed  (2003)
  • A Tale of Two Sisters  (2003)
  • Tamala 2010: A Punk Cat in Space  (2003)
  • A Thousand Clouds of Peace  (2003)
  • Time of the Wolf  (2003)
  • Twentynine Palms  (2003)
  • The Twilight Samurai  (2003)
  • Untold Scandal  (2003)
  • Valentin  (2003)
  • Virgin  (2003)
  • Vodka Lemon  (2003)
  • Warriors of Heaven and Earth  (2003)
  • Young Adam  (2003)
  • Zelary  (2003)

Note:  These 71 films average a 63.7, although that goes up almost a point without Twentynine Palms.  Hero is the only one to earn any Nighthawk nominations.

Films That Weren’t Eligible at the Oscars:

  • Anatomy of Hell
  • Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius
  • Bright Future
  • Bright Young Things
  • Broken Wings
  • The Brown Bunny
  • Callas Forever
  • Close Your Eyes
  • Crimson Gold
  • Distant
  • Dog Days
  • Hero
  • Ju-On: The Grudge
  • Kaena: The Prophecy
  • Kitchen Stories
  • Last Life in the Universe
  • Millennium Mambo
  • Modigliani
  • Moolaade
  • Nina’s Tragedies
  • Noi Alboni
  • Pornography
  • Primer
  • Producing Adults
  • Reconstruction
  • Red Lights
  • Riding the Bullet
  • Running on Karma
  • Secret Things
  • Seducing Doctor Lewis
  • Sex is Comedy
  • Shaolin Soccer
  • Silver City
  • Since Otar Left
  • Springtime in a Small Town
  • Strayed
  • Super Babies: Baby Geniuses 2
  • A Tale of Two Sisters
  • Tamala 2010: A Punk Cat in Space
  • The Time of the Wolf
  • The Trilogy: After the Life
  • The Trilogy: An Amazing Couple
  • The Trilogy: On the Run
  • Twentynine Palms
  • The Twilight Samurai
  • Vodka Lemon
  • Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself
  • Woman Thou Art Loosed
  • Zelary

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 were 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.  Hero is a prominent example (it was nominated for Best Foreign Film in 2002).  I’m really kind of stunned that Silver City wasn’t eligible.

Films Not Listed at Oscars.org:

  • Abouna
  • Antares
  • As It Is in Heaven
  • Beneath Her Window
  • Big Animal
  • Buddy
  • The Clay Bird
  • Dandelion
  • Days and Hours
  • A Driver for Vera
  • Free Radicals
  • Fuse
  • Le genre humain
  • Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack
  • Godzilla: Tokyo SOS
  • Goodbye, Dragon Inn
  • Goose Feather
  • I Love Cinema
  • Long Dark Night
  • Mila from Mars
  • My Name is Bach
  • Orient-Express
  • Punto y Raya
  • Robbing Peter
  • The Seagull’s Laughter
  • Shwaas
  • The Silence of Neto
  • Triple Agent
  • Virgin

Note:  I used to use the list at Oscars.org for deciding which year films are eligible in before it went apparently defunct.  Thankfully, I copied all the lists while it was still live.  Some films, however, didn’t appear in that database.  For those films, I use the IMDb.  These are the films that weren’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:

  • 2046  (2005)
  • 3-Iron  (2005)
  • 5×2  (2005)
  • Aalta  (2005)
  • Appleseed  (2005)
  • Bride and Prejudice  (2005)
  • Brothers  (2005)
  • Campfire  (2005)
  • Christmas in Love  (2005)
  • Crash  (2005)
  • Cronicas  (2005)
  • Don’t Move  (2005)
  • Down to the Bone  (2005)
  • Downfall  (2005)
  • Eros  (2005)
  • Garcon stupide  (2005)
  • Godzilla: Final Wars  (2005)
  • The Grand Voyage  (2005)
  • The Great Water  (2005)
  • Head On  (2005)
  • Howl’s Moving Castle  (2005)
  • In My Country  (2005)
  • Innocent Voices  (2005)
  • Keane  (2005)
  • Kings & Queen  (2005)
  • Kontroll  (2005)
  • Kung Fu Hustle  (2005)
  • Lila Says  (2005)
  • Lost Embrace  (2005)
  • Machuca  (2005)
  • Melinda and Melinda  (2005)
  • The Memory of a Killer  (2005)
  • Millions  (2005)
  • My Summer of Love  (2005)
  • Nine Songs  (2005)
  • Nobody Knows  (2005)
  • The Overture  (2005)
  • Palindromes  (2005)
  • Private  (2005)
  • Red Dust  (2005)
  • Schultze Gets the Blues  (2005)
  • Steamboy  (2005)
  • The Syrian Bride  (2005)
  • Thirst  (2005)
  • Three Dancing Slaves  (2005)
  • Tony Takitani  (2005)
  • A Tout de Suite  (2005)
  • Travellers and Magicians  (2005)
  • Tropical Malady  (2005)
  • Turtles Can Fly  (2005)
  • Up and Down  (2005)
  • Walk on Water  (2005)
  • Weeping Meadow  (2005)
  • The Welts  (2005)
  • Whisky  (2005)
  • Wolf Creek  (2005)
  • Yesterday  (2005)
  • Agnes and His Brothers  (2006)
  • Changing Times  (2006)
  • Clean  (2006)
  • Dead Man’s Shoes  (2006)
  • District B13  (2006)
  • Duck Season  (2006)
  • Gilles’ Wife  (2006)
  • Hawaii, Oslo  (2006)
  • The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things  (2006)
  • Look Both Ways  (2006)
  • Mountain Patrol: Kekexili  (2006)
  • Night Watch  (2006)
  • On the Outs  (2006)
  • Pinocchio 3000  (2006)
  • Somersault  (2006)
  • Swades: We the People  (2006)
  • When the Sea Rises  (2006)
  • Woman is the Future of Man  (2006)
  • Black Friday  (2007)
  • Crying Ladies  (2008)
  • A Touch of Spice  (2009)

Note:  These 78 films average a 66.6.  It includes three **** films (Downfall, Don’t Move, Kung Fu Hustle), a whole mess of ***.5 films (all of which, except Palindromes are on my Best Foreign Film Top 20 above) and only four films below **.5: The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things (**), Pinocchio 3000 (*.5), Godzilla: Final Wars and Wolf Creek (both *).

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