“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees but I also wrote more about the year, originally, here.  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 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. Good Night and Good Luck  *
  2. Munich
  3. Brokeback Mountain  **
  4. King Kong
  5. Kingdom of Heaven
  6. A History of Violence
  7. Batman Begins
  8. The Constant Gardener
  9. Pride and Prejudice
  10. Downfall
  11. Cache
  12. Syriana
  13. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
  14. Saraband
  15. Match Point
  16. Twin Sisters
  17. Corpse Bride
  18. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  19. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  20. Kung Fu Hustle

Analysis:  A truly fantastic year.  Brokeback ranks among the best ever #3 films, King Kong among the best #4 films and Kingdom among the best #5 films.  A History of Violence would be a nominee in most years.  The Top 5 is tied for 10th all-time.  The Top 10 is second all-time behind only 2002.  Downfall is the third best #10 film ever.  The Top 20 is the best all-time as is the 11-20.  Not only are all 20 of these films **** films, but there are actually a record 26 (the others are Sin City, Capote, Proof, Cinderella Man, Don’t Move, Elizabethtown).
I feel a little weird about this year.  Brokeback is a brilliant film and I have thought so since I saw it in the theater, but except for the stretch from when I saw it to when I first saw Munich, it has never been my #1 film.  It was Munich for years then eventually moved to Good Night and Good Luck.  But all three films are just about a tie and they come one right after the other on my grand list of all Best Picture nominees.  There’s no question, given how the year went, that it should have won Best Picture.  It won three of the six critics awards and the other four awards groups.  Only three films have more Consensus points without winning the Oscar and all three of those (LA Confidential, Social Network, Boyhood) lost the PGA and DGA and the first two also lost the Globe while Brokeback won all of those.  It was the first film ever to sweep the other four awards groups and lose the Oscar (La La Land would later do it but it would lose to a film that won more critics awards and won the Globe – Drama).  It joined The Aviator as only the second film to this point to win both the Globe and the PGA and fail to win the Oscar.  It is the only film to win the PGA, DGA and WGA and fail to win the Oscar.  Yet, it would lose to Crash, the film with the lowest Consensus point total to win the Oscar since 1995 and the first film since 1973 to win the Oscar without a Globe nomination and only the second Oscar winner to fail to be nominated for a Globe.  In fact, ironically, the most comparable year to this one is 1995, when Ang Lee’s film also looked like it should have won but lost to a film that had not done nearly as well with earlier awards groups, though at least that year had been more telegraphed when Lee failed to earn a Best Director nomination at the Oscars.
Crash, at #101, becomes the fourth Oscar winner to fail to make the Top 100 for the year.  It also finishes a period of twelve years when the Oscars awarded the worst of the five nominees a whopping seven times; it has not done so again since (through 2016).  It joins 1989 and 2000 as years where the Picture winner isn’t in my Top 50 but the Director winner is my #2.

  • Best Director
  1. Steven Spielberg  (Munich)  *
  2. Ang Lee  (Brokeback Mountain)  **
  3. Peter Jackson  (King Kong)
  4. Ridley Scott  (Kingdom of Heaven)
  5. George Clooney  (Good Night and Good Luck)  *
  6. David Cronenberg  (A History of Violence)  *
  7. Christopher Nolan  (Batman Begins)
  8. Fernando Meirelles  (The Constant Gardener)
  9. Joe Wright  (Pride and Prejudice)
  10. Michel Haneke  (Cache)
  11. Stephen Gaghan  (Syriana)
  12. Chan Wook Park  (Oldboy)
  13. Robert Rodriguez  (Sin City)
  14. Woody Allen  (Match Point)
  15. Oliver Hirschbiegel  (Downfall)
  16. Ingmar Bergman  (Saraband)
  17. Stephen Chow  (Kung Fu Hustle)
  18. Ben Sombogaart  (Twin Sisters)
  19. Mike Newell  (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
  20. Ron Howard  (Cinderella Man)

Analysis:  George Clooney not only becomes the first Director to earn nominations from all five awards groups (DGA, Oscar, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA) without winning anything (Sofia Coppola, in 2003, earned those five but also won a critics award), but he also is nominated but fails to win the Satellite and the Indie Spirit (and even the Nighthawk), becoming the most complete non-winning nominee in film history (he even places at the CFC but doesn’t win).  Ang Lee crushes it at the Consensus Awards, finishing with the second highest point total to-date (behind only Soderbergh in 2000 who had two films); he becomes the only person to win all seven awards groups (Oscar, DGA, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA, Satellite, Indie) and only the second to sweep the awards groups since the advent of the Indies (Oliver Stone won all five before the BFCA and Satellite existed in 1986).
This is the only Nighthawk nom for Clooney (directing, that is).  It is the second nom for Ridley Scott, 26 years after he won the award.  It’s the fourth nom for Ang Lee.  It’s the fifth nom for Peter Jackson.  It’s the ninth nom and sixth win for Spielberg; he moves up to 675 points and breaks out of the tie and takes 2nd place by himself.
Ang Lee earns my highest rating, the last 2nd place in this category to do so (through 2016).  The Top 5 ties 1986 for the best Top 5 of all-time.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Brokeback Mountain  **
  2. Munich  *
  3. Pride and Prejudice
  4. The Constant Gardener  *
  5. A History of Violence  *
  6. Batman Begins
  7. Downfall
  8. Capote  *
  9. Proof
  10. King Kong
  11. Saraband
  12. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
  13. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  14. Don’t Move
  15. Corpse Bride
  16. The Ice Harvest
  17. Sin City
  18. Oliver Twist
  19. Breakfast on Pluto
  20. Mrs Henderson Presents

Analysis:  I have already read several of the source materials for this year: Brokeback, Munich, Pride & Prejudice, A History of Violence, Batman Begins, Proof, King Kong (seen the original), Wallace & Gromit (seen the shorts), Harry Potter, Sin City and Oliver Twist.
Munich is the weakest #2 in this category in five years but the category stays fairly strong all the way down through the Top 10.  It also has a great Oscar score (97.3), the third best ever.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Good Night and Good Luck  *
  2. Kingdom of Heaven
  3. Cache
  4. Match Point
  5. Syriana  *
  6. Twin Sisters
  7. Elizabethtown
  8. The Upside of Anger
  9. The Squid and the Whale  **
  10. The Matador
  11. Cinderella Man  *
  12. Palindromes
  13. The Weather Man
  14. The Grand Voyage
  15. Kung Fu Hustle
  16. The Ballad of Jack and Rose
  17. The War Within
  18. Infernal Affairs
  19. Walk on Water
  20. Turtles Can Fly

Analysis:  Syriana was considered an Adapted Screenplay by the WGA.
Woody Allen earns his first writing Nighthawk nom since 1997 and moves up to 920 points.
This is the last year to date (through 2016) where both Screenplay winners earn my highest rating.  After that though, it’s not nearly as strong.  This is one of the few categories in this year where the second 5 is much weaker than the Top 5.

  • Best Actor:
  1. Heath Ledger  (Brokeback Mountain)  *
  2. David Strathairn  (Good Night and Good Luck)  *
  3. Philip Seymour Hoffman  (Capote)  **
  4. Ralph Fiennes  (The Constant Gardener)
  5. Viggo Mortenson  (A History of Violence)
  6. Joaquin Phoenix  (Walk the Line)  *
  7. Bruno Ganz  (Downfall)
  8. Russell Crowe  (Cinderella Man)  *
  9. Orlando Bloom  (Kingdom of Heaven)
  10. Eric Bana  (Munich)
  11. Jeff Daniels  (The Squid and the Whale)
  12. Erland Josephson  (Saraband)
  13. Pierce Brosnan  (The Matador)
  14. Matthew MacFadyen  (Pride and Prejudice)
  15. Kevin Costner  (The Upside of Anger)
  16. Daniel Autiel  (Cache)
  17. Christian Bale  (Batman Begins)
  18. Daniel Day-Lewis  (The Ballad of Jack and Rose)
  19. Terrence Howard  (Hustle & Flow)  *
  20. Cillian Murphy  (Breakfast on Pluto)

Analysis:  Hoffman is the first Actor to win 10 awards, taking home everything but the NYFC (which went to Ledger), though his record will be broken the next year.
This is the first Nighthawk nom for David Strathairn.  It’s the first for Heath Ledger and the first of his two wins.  It’s the second nom for Viggo Mortenson.  It’s also the second nom for Philip Seymour Hoffman.  It’s the sixth nom for Ralph Fiennes.
Even with Howard down at 19th, the Oscar Score is an excellent 94.7, the second highest since 1993.
Is there anyone who, in 2004, watched Troy, and though that Orlando Bloom and Eric Bana might be in any Top 10 list for acting in 2005?  I certainly didn’t.

  • Best Actress
  1. Gwyneth Paltrow  (Proof)
  2. Keira Knightley  (Pride and Prejudice)
  3. Naomi Watts  (King Kong)
  4. Reese Witherspoon  (Walk the Line)  **
  5. Judi Dench  (Mrs Henderson Presents)  *
  6. Joan Allen  (The Upside of Anger)
  7. Alexandra Maria Lara  (Downfall)
  8. Laura Linney  (The Squid and the Whale)
  9. Nadja Uhl  (Twin Sisters)
  10. Juliette Binoche  (Cache)
  11. Liv Ullmann  (Saraband)
  12. Charlize Theron  (North Country)  *
  13. Vesela Kazakova  (Stolen Eyes)
  14. Toni Collette  (In Her Shoes)
  15. Felicity Huffman  (Transamerica)  *
  16. Renee Zellweger  (Cinderella Man)
  17. Zhang Ziyi  (Memoirs of a Geisha)  *
  18. Vera Farmiga  (Down the Bone)
  19. Valeria Bruni Tedeschi  (5×2)
  20. Camilla Belle  (The Ballad of Jack and Rose)

Analysis:  This is one category where I’m definitely not with the Consensus at all.  Paltrow only earned a Globe nom, Knightley came in 6th at the Consensus and Watts didn’t earn anything at all while three of the Consensus nominees don’t even make my Top 10.
This is the first Nighthawk nom for Reese Witherspoon and Keira Knightley.  It’s the third nom for Gwyneth Paltrow and Naomi Watts.  It’s the fourth for Judi Dench.
Keira is the weakest #2 in this category in seven years.  Overall, this is the weakest Top 5 since 1992.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Jake Gyllenhaal  (Brokeback Mountain)  *
  2. George Clooney  (Syriana)  **
  3. William Hurt  (A History of Violence)  *
  4. Matt Dillon  (Crash)  *
  5. George Clooney  (Good Night and Good Luck)
  6. Bob Hoskins  (Mrs Henderson Presents)
  7. Paul Giamatti  (Cinderella Man)  *
  8. Chris Cooper  (Capote)
  9. Donald Sutherland  (Pride and Prejudice)
  10. Gary Oldman  (Batman Begins)
  11. Michael Caine  (The Weather Man)
  12. Liam Neeson  (Batman Begins)
  13. Don Cheadle  (Crash)
  14. Jeffrey Wright  (Syriana)
  15. Anthony Hopkins  (Proof)
  16. Borje Ahlstedt  (Saraband)
  17. Greg Kinnear  (The Matador)
  18. Danny Huston  (The Constant Gardener)
  19. Geoffrey Rush  (Munich)
  20. Michael Caine  (Batman Begins)

Analysis:  This is the first of back-to-back years with strong consensus on the nominees but not on the winner.  Clooney and Giamatti actually tie with the raw total with Clooney pulling ahead in the weighted total and neither is very far ahead of Hurt or Gyllenhaal.  In a distant 5th place is Dillon, who is the first Supporting Actor to go 0 for 5, earning nominations from all five awards groups but not winning anything.
This is the only Nighthawk nom for Matt Dillon and Jake Gyllenhaal.  It’s the fourth and final nom for Bob Hoskins (who earns one because of the double noms for Clooney).  It’s the fifth nom for William Hurt, 18 years after he earned four noms in five years.  It’s the fourth and fifth noms for Clooney.
With Giamatti earning the saming rating as Clooney (and Hoskins), the Oscar Score is a perfect 100 for the first time since 1988.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Michelle Williams  (Brokeback Mountain)  *
  2. Rachel Weisz  (The Constant Gardener)  *
  3. Maria Bello  (A History of Violence)  *
  4. Anne Hathaway  (Brokeback Mountain)
  5. Amy Adams  (Junebug)  *
  6. Gong Li  (Memoirs of a Geisha)
  7. Julia Dufvenius  (Saraband)
  8. Tilda Swinton  (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe)
  9. Zhang Ziyi  (2046)
  10. Catherine Keener  (Capote)  **
  11. Hope Davis  (Proof)
  12. Frances McDormand  (North Country)
  13. Qiu Yuen  (Kung Fu Hustle)
  14. Scarlet Johannsen  (Match Point)
  15. Shirley MacLaine  (In Her Shoes)
  16. Kelly Reilly  (Mrs Henderson Presents)
  17. Susan Sarandon  (Elizabethtown)
  18. Rachel McAdams  (The Family Stone)
  19. Hope Davis  (The Matador)
  20. Maggie Gyllenhaal  (Happy Endings)

Analysis:  Catherine Keener wins the weighted total of the Consensus by one point over Weisz who actually had 5 more points with her raw total (because the BAFTAs nominated her as a lead).  That’s really surprising to me since I didn’t think Keener was nearly as good as the other Consensus nominees.  Like with Supporting Actor, there is a lot of consensus on the nominees (with McDormand a not-so-distant 6th) but not so much on the winner.  Every Consensus nominee won at least one award, something that hasn’t happened again since.
This is the only Nighthawk nom for Rachel Weisz and Maria Bello.  It’s the first for Michelle Williams, Amy Adams and Anne Hathaway, all of whom will earn several more.
This is the weakest Top 5 in six years.

  • Best Editing:
  1. Good Night and Good Luck
  2. Munich
  3. Brokeback Mountain
  4. Batman Begins
  5. The Constant Gardener
  6. A History of Violence
  7. Pride and Prejudice
  8. Syriana
  9. Proof
  10. King Kong
  11. Kingdom of Heaven
  12. Cache
  13. Kung Fu Hustle
  14. Sin City
  15. Match Point
  16. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
  17. Corpse Bride
  18. Cinderella Man
  19. Twin Sisters
  20. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Analysis:  The Top 5 is tied for the second best to-date, really a magnificent Top 5 and it’s hard to not include A History of Violence.

  • Best Cinematography:
  1. Brokeback Mountain  *
  2. King Kong
  3. Munich
  4. Kingdom of Heaven
  5. Memoirs of a Geisha  **
  6. Batman Begins  *
  7. Good Night and Good Luck  *
  8. Pride and Prejudice
  9. The Constant Gardener
  10. A History of Violence
  11. Match Point
  12. Oldboy
  13. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  14. The New World
  15. Syriana
  16. Cache
  17. 2046  *
  18. The Warrior
  19. Downfall
  20. Cinderella Man

Analysis:  Memoirs and Good Night actually tie with the raw total for the Consensus win but Memoirs pulls ahead with the weighted total.
Andrew Lesnie earns his fourth Nighthawk nom, all working with Peter Jackson.  Janusz Kaminski earns his fifth Nighthawk nom, all working with Spielberg.
The Top 5 is tied for the second best all-time.  It kills me to not have Batman Begins in the Top 5.  In fact, the second 5 would make a great Top 5.  This is also the first of three straight years with an Oscar Score above 90.

  • Best Original Score:
  1. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  2. Brokeback Mountain
  3. Memoirs of a Geisha
  4. Batman Begins
  5. King Kong
  6. Munich
  7. A History of Violence
  8. The Constant Gardener
  9. Pride and Prejudice
  10. Corpse Bride
  11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  12. Serenity
  13. Proof
  14. Kingdom of Heaven
  15. The War of the Worlds
  16. Oliver Twist
  17. Syriana
  18. Kung Fu Hustle
  19. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  20. The Interpreter

Analysis:  Hans Zimmer earns his fifth Nighthawk nom and his first working with Christopher Nolan.  John Williams earns yet another win and adds on another nomination to go with it.  This puts him at 975 points which is more than twice as many as any other composer.  After this, it will be another six years before he earns another nomination, the longest gap of his composing career.
Again, tied for the second best Top 5 of all-time.  You can always tell it’s a great year when John Williams ends up in sixth (though, of course, he also ends up in 1st and 3rd.  In fact, on my sliding point scale for the Top 20, Williams earns more points for this year than any composer in any single year in history and would land at #51 all-time just for this year.
The Oscar Score is an impressive 92.9, the highest since 1984 and the second highest to-date.

  • Best Sound:
  1. King Kong
  2. Batman Begins
  3. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  4. Kingdom of Heaven
  5. Munich
  6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  7. The War of the Worlds
  8. Syriana
  9. Cinderella Man
  10. Walk the Line
  11. A History of Violence
  12. Sin City
  13. Brokeback Mountain
  14. Jarhead
  15. Memoirs of a Geisha
  16. Oldboy
  17. Good Night and Good Luck
  18. Kung Fu Hustle
  19. Downfall
  20. Howl’s Moving Castle

Analysis:  The best Top 5 of all-time, three points better than any other year in history except 2002 (one point better) and 2015 (two points better).
With the Oscars going with Narnia as the fifth nominee over the top films on the list, the Oscar Score slips to 74.4, the lowest in five years (though still higher than any year prior to 1970).

  • Best Art Direction:
  1. Memoirs of a Geisha
  2. Kingdom of Heaven
  3. King Kong
  4. Pride and Prejudice
  5. Batman Begins
  6. Good Night and Good Luck
  7. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  8. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  9. Brokeback Mountain
  10. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  11. Oliver Twist
  12. Mrs Henderson Presents
  13. 2046
  14. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  15. Sin City
  16. Breakfast on Pluto
  17. Downfall
  18. The Brothers Grimm
  19. Walk the Line
  20. Munich

Analysis:  A little weaker than the year before and the year after, but still a very strong Top 5.  This is also the start of a stretch of very strong Oscar Scores.  The score this year is 97.5 and only one year in the next decade will have a score below 88.

  • Best Visual Effects
  1. King Kong
  2. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  3. The War of the Worlds
  4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  5. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  6. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
  7. Batman Begins
  8. Kung Fu Hustle
  9. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  10. Kingdom of Heaven
  11. The Brothers Grimm
  12. Zathura: A Space Adventure
  13. Munich
  14. Serenity
  15. The Island
  16. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  17. Jarhead
  18. Sin City
  19. Corpse Bride

Analysis:  Sets a new high for the best Top 5 to-date, which will be beaten by the next year, but still tied for the second best Top 5 of all-time.
In spite of bizarrely going with Narnia over Star Wars, the Oscar Scores is over 90 for the third straight year.
Films in green were Oscar semi-finalists.

  • Best Sound Editing
  1. King Kong
  2. Batman Begins
  3. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  4. Kingdom of Heaven
  5. The War of the Worlds
  6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  7. Munich
  8. Kung Fu Hustle
  9. Syriana
  10. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  11. Sin City
  12. Cinderella Man
  13. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  14. Downfall
  15. Jarhead
  16. Memoirs of a Geisha
  17. The Brothers Grimm
  18. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  19. Corpse Bride
  20. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Analysis:  The second best Top 5 of all-time.  This year and 2002 are significantly better than any other year.
Films in green were Oscar semi-finalists.

  • Best Costume Design:
  1. Memoirs of a Geisha
  2. Kingdom of Heaven
  3. Pride and Prejudice
  4. King Kong
  5. Good Night and Good Luck
  6. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  7. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  8. Oliver Twist
  9. The Brothers Grimm
  10. The Promise
  11. Mrs Henderson Presents
  12. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  13. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  14. Casanova
  15. The Libertine
  16. Downfall
  17. The White Countess
  18. Brokeback Mountain
  19. The New World
  20. Twin Sisters

Analysis:  Tied with several other years for the second best Top 5 of all-time.

  • Best Makeup
  1. Memoirs of a Geisha
  2. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  4. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  5. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  6. King Kong
  7. Kingdom of Heaven
  8. The Brothers Grimm
  9. Breakfast on Pluto
  10. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  11. Oliver Twist
  12. Cinderella Man
  13. Kung Fu Hustle
  14. Batman Begins
  15. Transamerica
  16. Casanova
  17. The Libertine
  18. Sin City
  19. Mrs Henderson Presents
  20. Man with the Screaming Brain

Analysis:  Far, far and away the #1 Top 5 of all-time, by a massive six points.
Films in green were Oscar semi-finalists (that’s right – Memoirs, Harry Potter and Charlie weren’t even semi-finalists).

  • Best Original Song:
  1. “The Remains of the Day”  (Corpse Bride)
  2. Dicholo”  (The Constant Gardener)
  3. Wunderkind”  (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe)
  4. A Love That Will Never Grow Old”  (Brokeback Mountain)
  5. It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp”  (Hustle & Flow)
  6. Can’t Take It In”  (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe)
  7. So Long and Thanks for All the Fish”  (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)
  8. Do the Hippogriff”  (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
  9. There’s Nothing Like a Show on Broadway”  (The Producers)
  10. In the Deep”  (Crash)
  11. One Little Slip”  (Chicken Little)
  12. Same in Any Language”  (Elizabethtown)
  13. “Hustle & Flow”  (Hustle & Flow)

Analysis:  Oscars.org, when it existed, listed songs from different films.  This year they listed 42 songs from 36 different films.  I have seen 24 of those films, accounting for 28 songs.  That site didn’t list “Wunderkind” or “A Love That Will Never Grow Old” (that was declared ineligible by the Oscars in spite of winning the Globe, the second of five straight years where the Globe winner didn’t even earn an Oscar nom).
Passing over most of the best songs, the Oscar Score is a middling 47.4, the worst score in seven years.  The Oscars only nominated three songs and they went for the crappy Dolly Parton song from Transamerica rather than “The Remains of the Day”.

  • Best Animated Film:
  1. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit  **
  2. Corpse Bride  *
  3. Howl’s Moving Castle  *
  4. Steamboy

Analysis:  This is the best year in the history of the category (through 2016) and, because it only has three nominees (two **** films, one high ***.5), it’s hard to beat.  It’s the only year in the history of the category where the nominees average ****.  This is the third time in five years that the Oscars earn a perfect score in this category but it’s also the last time (through at least 2016) that they do so.
Nick Park wins his second Nighthawk, making him the only person completely divorced from Disney (with Ghibli and Pixar both having Disney connections) to ever win two awards.  It’s the eighth nomination for Miyazaki and the first time he doesn’t win since 1992; he’s now up to 260 points and he becomes only the second director to earn eight noms (after Hamilton Luske).  It’s the first nomination for Tim Burton (who didn’t technically directed Nightmare Before Christmas).
It’s the second win for Aardman and the first of back-to-back wins.  It’s the 10th nom for Ghibli.  It’s the first time since 1997 with no nomination for either Disney or Pixar and the first time since 1985 that there are any nominees but none from Disney or Pixar.
For much more on everything about this category go here.

  • Best Foreign Film:
  1. Cache  *
  2. Sophie Scholl – The Final Days
  3. Joyeux Noel  *
  4. Tsotsi  *
  5. Paradise Now  **
  6. Lady Vengeanace
  7. Fateless

note:  Films in orange were submitted to the Academy but not nominated.
Analysis:  Paradise Now only wins the Consensus because Kung Fu Hustle is moved to 2004 because of when it would have been Oscar eligible (had it been submitted).  Cache becomes the first film to win multiple critics awards without earning Oscar, Globe or BAFTA noms in seven years.
Palestine and South Africa earn their only nominations.  Austria earns its first nomination (and win).  France stretches its mark to eight straight years with a nomination.
Michael Haneke is the only director who will earn another nomination, with a nomination and a win ahead of him.
With only two **** films, this is the weakest Top 5 in six years.  But, with four nominees in my Top 5, this year has the highest Oscar Score (92.3) of any year after 2000.

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.

  • Brokeback Mountain  (505)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Original Song
  • Good Night and Good Luck   (355)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Editing, Costume Design
  • King Kong  (335)
    • Picture, Director, Actress, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound, Art Direction, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Costume Design
  • Munich  (250)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Editing, Cinematography, Sound
  • Kingdom of Heaven  (235)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Sound, Art Direction, Sound Editing, Costume Design
  • The Constant Gardener  (140)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actress, Editing, Original Song
  • Memoirs of a Geisha  (140)
    • Cinematography, Original Score, Art Direction, Costume Design, Makeup
  • A History of Violence  (135)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith  (120)
    • Original Score, Sound, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Makeup
  • Pride and Prejudice  (110)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actress, Art Direction, Costume Design
  • Batman Begins  (110)
    • Editing, Original Score, Sound, Art Direction, Sound Editing
  • Cache  (70)
    • Original Screenplay, Foreign Film
  • Syriana  (70)
    • Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor
  • Proof  (70)
    • Actress
  • Mrs Henderson Presents  (65)
    • Actress, Supporting Actor
  • Match Point  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • The War of the Worlds  (40)
    • Visual Effects, Sound Editing
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe  (40)
    • Visual Effects, Makeup, Original Song
  • Corpse Bride  (40)
    • Original Song, Animated Film
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit  (40)
    • Animated Film
  • Saraband  (40)
    • Foreign Film  (2003)
  • Capote  (35)
    • Actor
  • Walk the Line  (35)
    • Actress
  • Crash  (30)
    • Supporting Actor
  • Junebug  (30)
    • Supporting Actress
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire  (30)
    • Visual Effects, Makeup
  • Howl’s Moving Castle  (20)
    • Animated Film
  • Steamboy  (20)
    • Animated Film
  • Twin Sisters  (20)
    • Foreign Film  (2003)
  • Downfall  (20)
    • Foreign Film  (2004)
  • Kung Fu Hustle  (20)
    • Foreign Film  (2004)
  • Paradise Now  (20)
    • Foreign Film
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory  (10)
    • Makeup
  • Hustle & Flow  (10)
    • Original Song

Analysis:  That’s another four more films than the year before.  This is the fourth time in five years that the winner in all the Tech categories earn my highest rating.  The #2 finisher in each Tech category also ties 2001 and 2002 for the strongest ever as a whole.  The acting winners, as a whole, though, are the weakest since 1998.  The Tech nominees, as a whole, crush any other year; 2002 is the only one within 20 points of this year.  The major tech categories (Editing, Cinematography, Score, Sound, AD) are just one point short of the record from 2002.  Good Night and Good Luck ties (with a few other films) for the fewest nominations for a Best Picture winner since 1955 and its three wins ties for the fewest ever and its 355 points ties for the second fewest ever.  The 12 total wins for the BP nominees is the fewest in six years though more than either of the next two years.

Best Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • Sin City

Analysis:  My #21 film.  It earns 8 Top 20 finishes but nothing in the Top 10, peaking in 11th place with Sound Editing.

**** Films with No Nighthawk Nominations:

  • Sin City  (also no Top 10 Finishes)
  • Cinderella Man
  • Don’t Move
  • Elizabethtown

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

  • Turtles Can Fly
  • Innocent Voices
  • The Ice Harvest
  • Palindromes
  • Yesterday
  • The Grand Voyage
  • The Best of Youth
  • The Weather Man
  • Kontroll

note:  Thanks mainly to Best Foreign Film, all of these films earn at least one Top 20 finish, though six of them only earn one and four of those are in Foreign Film.

Biggest Awards Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • Cinderella Man

Analysis:  I have it as a **** film, but in a year packed with **** films, it’s my #24 film.  It has 10 Top 20 finishes and three Top 10 finishes but its highest is Paul Giamatti in #7 for Supporting Actor.  Overall, it earned 15 nominations and 3 wins (BSFC, SAG, BFCA – all for Giamatti).

Nighthawk Golden Globes:

Drama:

  • Best Picture
  1. Good Night and Good Luck
  2. Munich
  3. Brokeback Mountain
  4. King Kong
  5. Kingdom of Heaven

Analysis:  So, obviously, these are not only all **** films but all high **** films.  They are followed by the other **** films, in order: A History of Violence, Batman Begins, The Constant Gardener, Downfall, Cache, Syriana, Saraband, Match Point, Twin Sisters, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Sin City, Capote, Proof, Cinderella Man, Don’t Move.  Then come the ***.5 films, almost all of which are Foreign films, in order: Oldboy, Infernal Affairs, Howl’s Moving Castle, Walk on Water, Oliver Twist, Turtles Can Fly, Innocent Voices, The Warrior, The War of the Worlds, Palindromes, Paradise Now, Sympathy for Mr Vengeance, Yesterday, Steamboy, The Grand Voyage, The Best of Youth.
Brokeback ranks with It’s a Wonderful Life and Henry V (1989) as the best #3 films of all-time.  The Top 5 is tied for third all-time.

  • Best Director
  1. Steven Spielberg  (Munich)
  2. Ang Lee  (Brokeback Mountain)
  3. Peter Jackson  (King Kong)
  4. Ridley Scott  (Kingdom of Heaven)
  5. George Clooney  (Good Night and Good Luck)

Analysis:  This is the only Drama directing nom for Clooney, the fourth for Scott and Lee and the fifth for Jackson.  It’s the 10th nom and fifth win for Spielberg, moving him up to 675 points and he stays in 2nd place.
This is the best Top 5 of all-time.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Brokeback Mountain
  2. Munich
  3. The Constant Gardener
  4. A History of Violence
  5. Batman Begins

Analysis:  Christopher Nolan earns his third Drama writing nom.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Good Night and Good Luck
  2. Kingdom of Heaven
  3. Cache
  4. Match Point
  5. Syriana

Analysis:  Woody Allen earns just his fourth Drama writing nom.

  • Best Actor:
  1. Heath Ledger  (Brokeback Mountain)
  2. David Strathairn  (Good Night and Good Luck)
  3. Philip Seymour Hoffman  (Capote)
  4. Ralph Fiennes  (The Constant Gardener)
  5. Viggo Mortenson  (A History of Violence)

Analysis:  This is the first Drama nom for Ledger, Strathairn and Hoffman, the second for Mortenson and the seventh for Fiennes.

  • Best Actress
  1. Gwyneth Paltrow  (Proof)
  2. Naomi Watts  (King Kong)
  3. Alexandra Maria Lara  (Downfall)
  4. Nadja Uhl  (Twin Sisters)
  5. Juliette Binoche  (Cache)

Analysis:  These are the only Drama noms for Alexandra Maria Lara (who I have seen in other things) and Nadja Uhl (who I have not).  It’s the second now for Gwyneth, the third for Binoche and the third for Watts.
This is the weakest Top 5 in seven years.  Probably part of why my list is so different from the Globes (who nominated Charlize Theron, Zhang Ziyi, Felicity Huffman and Maria Bello (who is in my supporting list) is that three of my Top 5 are foreign language performances.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Jake Gyllenhaal  (Brokeback Mountain)
  2. George Clooney  (Syriana)
  3. William Hurt  (A History of Violence)
  4. Matt Dillon  (Crash)
  5. George Clooney  (Good Night and Good Luck)

Analysis:  This is the first Drama nom for Gyllenhaal, the second for Dillon, the third for Hurt and the first and second for Clooney.
My only explanation for the Globes snubbing Gyllenhaal is that they maybe considered him a lead (the Globes are much more likely to nominate performances in lead).

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Michelle Williams  (Brokeback Mountain)
  2. Rachel Weisz  (The Constant Gardener)
  3. Maria Bello  (A History of Violence)
  4. Anne Hathaway  (Brokeback Mountain)
  5. Amy Adams  (Junebug)

Analysis:  This is the only Drama nom for Maria Bello.  It’s the first Drama noms for Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, Anne Hathaway and Amy Adams.
Bello was nominated as a lead at the Globes.

  • Brokeback Mountain  (395)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress
  • Good Night and Good Luck  (290)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor
  • Munich  (180)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay
  • Kingdom of Heaven  (135)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay
  • A History of Violence  (135)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • King Kong  (130)
    • Picture, Director, Actress
  • The Constant Gardener  (105)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Cache  (75)
    • Original Screenplay, Actress
  • Syriana  (70)
    • Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor
  • Proof  (70)
    • Actress
  • Batman Begins  (40)
    • Adapted Screenplay
  • Match Point  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • Capote  (35)
    • Actor
  • Downfall  (35)
    • Actress
  • Twin Sisters  (35)
    • Actress
  • Crash  (30)
    • Supporting Actor
  • Junebug  (30)
    • Supporting Actress

Analysis:  That’s five more films than the year before.  2004 only had one film with one acting nomination and no other nominations while this year has six.  The major Drama categories as a whole, are the second best of all-time, behind only 2004.  The Drama categories as a whole are the third best all-time.

Best Drama Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • Saraband

Analysis:  My #14 film which makes it the #12 Drama, the last film from Ingmar Bergman.

Comedy / Musical:

  • Best Picture
  1. Pride and Prejudice
  2. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
  3. Corpse Bride
  4. Kung Fu Hustle
  5. Elizabethtown

Analysis:  All five films are **** and I expect people to cringe at my rating for Elizabethtown but the film worked so perfectly for me when it needed to; it is a film I think you have to drop all cynicism aside for it to work.  These are the only **** films.  The ***.5 films, in order are: Walk the Line, The Matador, The Upside of Anger, Breakfast on Pluto, The Ice Harvest, The Squid and the Whale, Mrs Henderson Presents, The Weather Man, Kontroll.
Pride is the weakest winner in 10 years.  The Top 5 is the weakest in eight years.

  • Best Director
  1. Joe Wright  (Pride and Prejudice)
  2. Stephen Chow  (Kung Fu Hustle)
  3. James Mangold  (Walk the Line)
  4. Cameron Crowe  (Elizabethtown)
  5. Neil Jordan  (Breakfast on Pluto)

Analysis:  These are the only Comedy noms for Wright, Chow, Mangold and Jordan.  On the other hand, it’s the fifth nom for Cameron Crowe.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Pride and Prejudice
  2. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
  3. Corpse Bride
  4. The Ice Harvest
  5. Breakfast on Pluto

Analysis:  Neil Jordan earns his only Comedy writing nom.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Elizabethtown
  2. The Upside of Anger
  3. The Squid and the Whale
  4. The Matador
  5. The Weather Man

Analysis:  Cameron Crowe earns his fourth writing Nighthawk (and his sixth nom); he moves up to 400 points and into a tie for 4th place with Preston Sturges and Luis Buñuel.

  • Best Actor:
  1. Joaquin Phoenix  (Walk the Line)
  2. Jeff Daniels  (The Squid and the Whale)
  3. Pierce Brosnan  (The Matador)
  4. Matthew MacFadyen  (Pride and Prejudice)
  5. Kevin Costner  (The Upside of Anger)

Analysis:  This is the only Comedy nom for MacFadyen and Brosnan, the first for Phoenix, the second for Costner and Daniels

  • Best Actress
  1. Keira Knightley  (Pride and Prejudice)
  2. Reese Witherspoon  (Walk the Line)
  3. Judi Dench  (Mrs Henderson Presents)
  4. Joan Allen  (The Upside of Anger)
  5. Laura Linney  (The Squid and the Whale)

Analysis:  Three of the actresses here earn regular Nighthawk nominations while no other Comedy performance lands in the Top 5 overall in the other three acting categories.
This is the only Comedy nom for Joan Allen, the first for Linney and Knightley, the second for Witherspoon and the third for Dench.
This is a rare occasion (the first time since 1989) that the Oscar winner is from the Comedy / Musical category but doesn’t win the Nighthawk Comedy / Musical Award.
While the Drama Top 5 was the weakest in several years, this Top 5 is tied for the best to-date (though it will be thumped by 2007).
The Globes nominated Sarah Jessica Parker (The Family Stone) instead of Allen, which is insane.  I had no hopes for real awards attention for The Upside of Anger, which is really an under-appreciated film, but I thought it might do well with the Globes, given the Drama / Comedy split and was really disappointed when it didn’t.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Bob Hoskins  (Mrs Henderson Presents)
  2. Donald Sutherland  (Pride and Prejudice)
  3. Michael Caine  (The Weather Man)
  4. Greg Kinnear  (The Matador)
  5. Liam Neeson  (Breakfast on Pluto)

Analysis:  This is the only Comedy nom for Neeson, the second for Sutherland and Kinnear, the second nom and win for Hoskins and the fourth for Caine (though the only time he doesn’t win).

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Qiu Yuen  (Kung Fu Hustle)
  2. Kelly Reilly  (Mrs Henderson Presents)
  3. Susan Sarandon  (Elizabethtown)
  4. Rachel McAdams  (The Family Stone)
  5. Hope Davis  (The Matador)

Analysis:  In Best Actress, five of the Top 8 performances were from Comedy films.  Here, the Comedy winner is my #13 overall.
This is the only Nighthawk Comedy nom for Qiu Yuen, Kelly Reilly and Rachel McAdams.  It’s the second nom for Sarandon and Davis.
This is the weakest Top 5 since 1994.  Qiu Yuen is the weakest winner since 1993.

  • Pride and Prejudice  (405)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor
  • Elizabethtown  (205)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actress
  • Kung Fu Hustle  (155)
    • Picture, Director, Supporting Actress
  • Walk the Line  (150)
    • Director, Actor, Actress
  • The Matador  (135)
    • Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Mrs Henderson Presents  (125)
    • Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Breakfast on Pluto  (115)
    • Director, Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor
  • The Upside of Anger  (110)
    • Original Screenplay, Actor, Actress
  • The Squid and the Whale  (110)
    • Original Screenplay, Actor, Actress
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit  (90)
    • Picture, Adapted Screenplay
  • Corpse Bride  (90)
    • Picture, Adapted Screenplay
  • The Weather Man  (70)
    • Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor
  • The Ice Harvest  (40)
    • Adapted Screenplay
  • The Family Stone  (30)
    • Supporting Actress

Analysis:  The Comedy categories, as a whole, are the weakest in seven years, although stronger than the next year will be.  The winners, on the whole, are the weakest since 1995, but, again, are stronger than 2006 will be.

Best Comedy Not Nominated for any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • Kontroll

Analysis:  My #51 film of the year and my #14 Comedy, it’s the only ***.5 film in Comedy that doesn’t earn a nomination.

Roundup for the Year in Film:

Eligible Films I Have Seen:  254

By Stars:

  • ****:  26
  • ***.5:  25
  • ***:  137
  • **.5:  35
  • **:  20
  • *.5:  2
  • *:  5
  • .5:  3
  • 0:  1
  • Average Film Score for the Year, out of 100:  66.03

Analysis:  The average goes up over two points for the highest average since 1961.  This is the year with the most **** films and it’s the only year besides 1928-29 where over 10% of the films are ****.  The ***.5 films are the most in six years.  The *** films are by far the most in a single year.  What’s more, the bad films are way down.  The awful films (* or worse) account for only 3.54% of the films, a slight increase over 2004 but still the second lowest since 1973.  The bad films (** / *.5) fall below 10% of the total for the first time since 1966.  The films that are *** or better account for almost 3/4 of all the films, the most since 1961.  This year also sets a new high for total films, the first of three straight years over 250 before it drops back down.

My Year at the Theater

Introduction:  This is the last year where I am listing the films I saw in the theater.  Things changed drastically for our movie-going when we moved to Boston in August of 2005 and some movies I had to go to by myself, while sometimes we were able to get babysitters.  It’s even tempting to just end it with the move because there is a big line in my head that separates films I saw in Oregon and those I saw after the move to Boston.  The only other year like that is 1992, when I moved from California to Oregon.

  • Pooh’s Heffalump Movie  –  I’m fairly certain I went to see this with Kari at the theater in Cornelius.  Not all that good.
  • Melinda and Melinda  –  I’m almost certain I saw this at Pioneer Place, either by myself or with Tavis, since there was no way Veronica was hiring a babysitter to go watch a Woody Allen film.
  • The Ballad of Jack and Rose  –  This is part of the Oregon / Boston divide.  I seem to remember having seen this before we left for Boston and since it was released in March, I can’t imagine it was already on video before we moved in August.  Plus it had Daniel Day-Lewis.  But honestly, I don’t remember when I would have seen it.
  • Sin City  –  I’m fairly certain we did ask my parents to babysit and went to see this.  I remember loving it though I think I’ve only seen it once since.
  • Kung Fu Hustle  –  V was crazy for this before it ever came out, as soon as she saw the trailer with the dancing axe gang.  At the time, we actually owned Shaolin Soccer, which had been given to us by college friends of hers but had never watched it.  This made us really like Stephen Chow, though his work is very mixed.  V loves this to the point where the poster I have for it (a DVD release poster I got from Borders) always goes up in any apartment we have to represent her (since there’s plenty of movie posters to represent me).
  • Palindromes  –  I’m fairly certain I went by myself.  Definitely saw it at Cinema 21.
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy  –  V and I went to this on opening weekend and enjoyed it, not really knowing who Martin Freeman was at the time.
  • Man with the Screaming Brain  –  This was a combination screening / Bruce Campbell book signing that we saw at the Hollywood Theatre in Portland.  Ridiculously bad film but fun to have Campbell there (this book, Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way was a big disappointment after his first book, If Chins Could Kill).  BoxOfficeMojo doesn’t even list the film (it was actually made for the Sci-Fi Channel but had selected screenings) and I had to look up information elsewhere to figure out when we might have seen it on his tour.
  • Kingdom of Heaven  –  I saw this, I believe with John Ramirez at the Century in Beaverton.  Excellent film (see below).
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith  –  My first showing was midnight at Century in Beaverton with John.  After driving him back to Portland, I got him at around 3:30 AM, then got up, went to class, took V to work, then I ditched my afternoon classes to take her to a noon showing.  Saw it again the next day.  I believe I saw it 10 times in all in the theater and possibly four times just on opening weekend.  I loved it and still do.  John and I had also gone to the midnight toy release at Toys R Us a couple of weeks before the film opened.
  • Howl’s Moving Castle  –  As mentioned in the Best Animated Film post, I actually had already purchased a bootleg DVD of this film (back in March) before this film was finally released (with the Disney English language dub) in June.  Very good, but not nearly on the same level as the previous two Miyazaki films.
  • Batman Begins  –  The brilliant beginning to Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy.  I saw this three or four times, always at the Beaverton Century (Westport).  It stuns the living shit out of me that Wedding Crashers made more than this.
  • March of the Penguins  –  Released in June, but this was the last film V and I saw in the theaters before leaving Oregon.  We saw this at Westport probably the last full week we were in Oregon, in mid-August, when it was the film everyone was seeing and it was clear that everything coming out in August was pure shit.
  • War of the Worlds  –  I think I maybe saw this with John.  Fairly certain V didn’t go, but I’ve always liked Cruise (as an actor) and it was Spielberg.  I still think this is a better film than most people give it credit for.
  • Saraband  –  I went to see this with Kari at Cinema 21.  It had been two years since it had been released in Sweden, the follow-up to Scenes from a Marriage and the last film from Ingmar Bergman.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory  –  V and I went to this in Cornelius when it opened in July.  The first chink in the armor of Johnny Depp.
  • Elizabethtown  –  V and I saw this together in Cornelius when we flew back to Oregon in October for me to take my M.A. Exam.  This cheered me up a lot after that fiasco.  It helped that another Cameron Crowe film, Almost Famous, had been a key movie for us early on.
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire  –  The first film V and I got to see together in Boston, going to the Braintree theater the week after it opened because my parents came to visit for Thanksgiving and could babysit.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe  –  We saw this together at Christmas while in Wisconsin with V’s father babysitting.  Good solid start to the franchise which petered out commercially.
  • Brokeback Mountain  –  I saw this, certain it would win Best Picture and I wanted to keep my streak alive (the last winner I hadn’t seen in the theater was The Last Emperor).  I saw it by myself in Randolph.  Brilliant.
  • King Kong  –  I went to this on opening day, to the first showing before going to work at Borders by myself because we couldn’t get a babysitter.

Endnote:  That’s 14 fewer films than the year before.  But the 20 films listed here are a hell of a lot more than the 10 films I would see in 2006 (V for Vendetta, X-Men: The Last Stand, Superman Returns, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men’s Chest, Clerks II, The Departed, The Prestige, Casino Royale, The Queen, Dreamgirls), six of which I had to see by myself.  That’s why this list ends in this year – because, until 2012, when I would start trying to see the major Oscar contenders, my viewing would rarely hit double-digits and most of them would say “I saw this by myself because we couldn’t get a babysitter”.
From 1989 to 2004, there were 80 Best Picture nominees and I saw 71 of them in the theater, including all 16 winners.  From 2005 to 2011 there were 49 Best Picture nominees and I only saw 15 of them in the theater and that included only 4 of the 7 winners.  This was the year where it started to change (only one nominee) and in 2006 it was almost as bad (2 nominees including the winner).  The next two years were better (7 nominees, both winners), but then things got tighter and the nominees expanded and in those next three years, I would only see 5 of the 29 nominees and only one of the winners.  From 2012 to 2015, I made an effort to see nominees so my Best Picture posts could go up just after the Oscars and I had a friend who loaned me screeners so that I could catch films I didn’t have time to go see.  More telling is that, of the 92 films nominated for Best Picture since we moved to Boston, only 10 of them were films I saw in the theater with Veronica (Juno, Up, Toy Story 3, Hugo, Les Miserables, Argo, American Hustle, Birdman, Grand Budapest Hotel, La La Land).  This is really the last year I was a serious movie theater patron and got to see films with other people and so that’s where this list ends.

Oscar-Nominated Films I Have Not Seen:

  • none

Oscar Quality:

Best Picture:  Only seven years in the history of the Oscars have three nominees that make the Top 50 and two of those don’t have two in the Top 45.  This year has an astounding three films in the Top 45.  What that means is, in spite of Crash (#395, and the fact that it won doesn’t affect placement here), this is the 6th best year in history.  But, because of Crash winning and because it’s surrounded by other good years (three of the four previous years are ahead of it as is 2007), it doesn’t seem as great.  Interestingly enough, it’s one of three years in the Top 10 where none of the nominees earned more than 8 nominations (2007 and 1980 are the others).

The Winners:  Outside of Crash, the Oscars do great.  None of the three Oscars for Crash make the Top 20 while all the other Oscar winners at least earn a Nighthawk nomination.  Overall, that ends up with a 2.05 rank among Oscar nominees (with the three Crash wins coming in 5th, 5th and 4th) while Actor and Foreign Film (both in 3rd) are the only other categories that don’t go to the best or second best choice.  Among all films, the average winner ranks at 9.20, but like 1989 and 2000, the two other years were Picture went to a film not in the Top 60 for the year but Director went to the second best choice, if you take out Picture, it drops considerably (from 9.20 to 4.37).  In fact, for the third year in a row, at least half the Oscar winners are my #1 or #2.

The Nominees:  The Oscar scores are quite strong, with the overall year earning an 84.6, the second highest to-date.  That’s lead by the acting scores, with all of them above 87, three of them above 90 and Supporting Actor at a perfect 100, for an overall 93.6.  The Tech scores are also 84.6, tied for the third highest to-date with Cinematography, Score, Art Direction and Visual Effects all scoring above 90.  In spite of Crash, the major categories score at 79.1, lead by Adapted Screenplay (the category Crash wasn’t nominated in) with a 97.3, the highest in 12 years and the third highest ever.  Overall, the only category to score below 50 is Song and even that is a 47.4.

Golden Globe Best Picture – Comedy / Musical:  This is the last year before the Globes added the Best Animated Film category, so while they can be forgiven for not nominating Kung Fu Hustle (not eligible, as a Foreign Film), they can’t for passing over W&G:CofW-R or Corpse Bride.  I will also not argue about Elizabethtown because it wasn’t a critical hit and I am aware that I have a much higher opinion of it than most people.  Since they did nominate Pride & Prejudice, that covers all the **** films.  Three of their other nominees were ***.5 films: Walk the Line, The Squid and the Whale and Mrs Henderson Presents (I didn’t used to have the last as a ***.5 film but rather a high *** film and its upgrade moves the year up a couple of notches).  The last nominee, The Producers, is a high *** and the Globes liked it so much they unaccountably nominated Will Ferrell for Best Supporting Actor rather than Jake Gyllenhaal.  But the choice of The Producers is undermined by the fact that two considerably better films were nominated for Actor and not Picture: The Matador and Breakfast on Pluto.  Where the Globes missed the boat altogether was in completely slighting The Upside of Anger, which is really a very good film and aside from being a better choice for Picture than The Producers (or, as far as I am concerned, The Squid and the Whale or Mrs Henderson Presents), but absolutely should have been nominated for Actor (over Nathan Lane or Johnny Depp) and Actress (over Sarah Jessica Parker).

Top 5 Films of the Year:

1  –  Good Night and Good Luck  (reviewed here)

2  –  Munich  (reviewed here)

3  –  Brokeback Mountain  (reviewed here)

Lesson #1 of how to do a remake. Lesson #2 will come in 2006.

4  –  King Kong  (dir. Jackson)

It’s always a tricky thing to remake a classic.  Yes, it helps if someone has already remade the classic and done a crappy job and your film is helping to erase that film from collective memory, but still, you’re remaking a classic.  What’s more, in this case, you’re almost doubling the length of the original film (not that cutting down in length is necessarily going to lead to success, as I just watched the 2016 Ben-Hur this morning, which cuts over an hour from the 1959 version and is simply terrible).  So you need to do something that justifies the length of your film.  Sometimes, this film doesn’t justify its length (the scene with all the creatures in the pit, though a nice homage to the now lost scene from the original goes on way too long and is just Jackson indulging his gruesome tendencies developed in his first couple of films) but for the most part it does and it does it with the script (yes, the script is only my #10 but it’s a very strong year for Adapted Screenplay).

Much of the added length to this film comes at the beginning of the film.  Some might say that it’s just dithering around before we get the plot really going but what it really is, is character and story development.  What we get is a good look at the three main characters.  First we have Ann, the talented comedienne who can sing and dance but who has just lost her job when the theater closed and is close to starving.  Then there is Carl, an Orson Welles type (right down to the look) who has grand ideas that are running up against what the studio wants.  Carl takes off with his footage and sends his assistant off to make sure the boat is set to leave so he can film things on the mythical Skull Island while Carl tries to find an actress who will fit into the costumes he already has (there is a great joke about how Fay would fit but she’s filming a movie with RKO, a great nod to the original) and he finds Ann.  It’s Carl’s good luck that she is extremely talented and fantastically beautiful as well with piercing blue eyes.  But what hooks Ann into taking the role is that the film is being written by Jack, who just wants to hand some pages off to his friend Carl and get off the boat but is distracted long enough that he comes along for the ride (which ends with the best lines of the film: “I happen to love the theater, Carl.”  “No you don’t.  If you really loved it, you would have jumped.”).  Yes, it takes over a half hour before we even leave New York but that time hasn’t been wasted.  We’ve gotten to know and care about these characters and that will make all the difference later on when their lives are in jeopardy.  We want these people to survive what’s going to happen to them on that island.

What happens is a reversion to the past (King Kong may have been an original film in 1933 but it was clearly inspired by Conan Doyle’s Lost World), with an ancient tribe (my least favorite part of the film as it seems to smack of racism), dinosaurs and a giant gorilla.  But this gorilla isn’t just claymation like the original or a guy in an ape suit like the remake.  It’s an amazing performance from Andy Serkis.  After Kong appears and takes Ann, there is a magnificent scene where he is trying to establish himself as the alpha male but he also wants to be amused.  Then we get Ann showing off her stuff with what she’s learned on the stage.  It’s a scene that shows how fantastic Watts’ performance is but also how amazing the visual effects are.  Even with another decade of improvements to visual effects technology I don’t think anything could beat the effects in that scene, and it still wouldn’t really be much if nothing for the humor and heart in the scene.

That’s three long paragraphs without talking that much about most of the film, about the wonderful scene of ice skating in Central Park that was actually completely added in post-production, about the brilliant battle at the top of the Empire State Building (since I am afraid of heights, that scene where Kong leaps in the air to take out one of the planes and then almost falls took my breath away), about the way Ann comes out of the smoke to find her friend, this ape that she has come to care about, about the brilliant music that echoes the original Max Steiner score but is also original in its own right, about the wonderful art direction and costumes that help re-create 1930s New York, about the amazing use of sound that deservedly won two Oscars.

People have mixed reactions to Peter Jackson, partially because he turned The Hobbit into three films.  They sometimes see him as just a man who bloats everything out.  But what he really is, is a director who, in spite of making massive epics, keeps finding the heart and core of the acting performances.  No matter what you might think of how long his films are, the acting keeps coming through in every minute and some of that must be coming from the director.  There is probably no other director, even Spielberg, who seems so much at home with brilliant visual effects and brilliant acting.

Remember that the Extended Edition sometimes can really be worth watching.

5  –  Kingdom of Heaven  (dir. Scott)

In 2000, Ridley Scott directed the film Gladiator, a mostly empty epic (with the exception of a really great moment where Maximus proclaims who he is) that somehow managed to not only win Best Picture at the Oscars, but to sweep all five awards groups (Oscar, BAFTA, PGA, BFCA, Globe).  We are reminded of that on the poster of Kingdom of Heaven, where it proclaims “from the director of Gladiator”.  In 2005, Scott would direct Kingdom of Heaven, a brilliant, fascinating and thoughtful epic that managed to earn only three guild nominations and nothing else.  Granted, awards voters at the time couldn’t know exactly how great Kingdom of Heaven is which is why I am writing this review, but they still should have seen that it was a great film and deserving of accolades while Gladiator was neither.

I have reviewed this film once already and I usually don’t review films again in this section because of time and because it’s hard to write a whole new review and not just cover the same ground as you did in the first one.  But, in watching this film again before doing my awards, I watched, for the first time, the extended edition of the film.  The original film, as noted in my review, is a great film, one that gives some actual thought to the problems of the Middle East and of a city that is considered holy by more than one religion.  It looks at the waste of war, the way it destroys not just the soldiers, but also the civilians.  It looks at the way that politics and religion manipulates people, making it feel like it is their duty to kill or to die for things that in the end, might mean nothing.  It contains a line that should resonate, not just with me, an avowed atheist, but with anyone who has ever given any serious thought to religion, one of the best lines I have ever heard in a film: “God will understand, my lord. And if he doesn’t, then he is not God and we need not worry.”

I will mention Gladiator again because while Russell Crowe gives a strong lead performance (though it shouldn’t have won the Oscar), the supporting cast wasn’t nearly as strong.  But here, first we get a strong performance from Orlando Bloom that he has never come close to equalling before or since and an array of the best British character actors of the last 30 years, with people like Liam Neeson as Bloom’s father, David Thewliss and Jeremy Irons as his allies and Brendan Gleeson as his enemy, as well as Michael Sheen as Bloom’s loathsome half-brother just a year before he would become much more well-known for his amazing performance as Tony Blair.  The UK isn’t the only place providing great acting for this film, as Edward Norton plays Baldwin IV (whose face, decimated by leprosy, we never see) and we also get Kiwi Marton Csokas, Sudanese Alexander Siddig as Saladin’s advisor and Syrian Ghasson Massoud as Saladin himself.

The Director’s Cut of this film is one of the best reasons to have such things in the first place (which is appropriate, since Scott’s cut of Blade Runner was one of the first prominent films to do such a thing).  It is a much longer film but it never feels longer because the scenes that have been re-introduced to the film aren’t pointless battle scenes or scenes better left on the cutting room floor.  While there are 45 minutes added in, the bulk of them cover two things.  The first is the time before Bloom ever leaves France and it gives us a much deeper understanding of what has happened in his life, why he would leave and the kind of political fight that would break up families and lead to brothers killing brothers.  The second brings us Baldwin V, the child of Eva Green (yes, she’s in it too and quite good and I haven’t even mentioned her yet) who was completely excised from the theatrical cut of the film.  Sometimes, you can be surprised that an entire subplot was cut and how they managed to do it and it’s fine that they cut it (like Willow) but sometimes they can be added back in quite well (like the Rogue Edition of X-Men: Days of Future Past) and it’s a look at the wonder of editing, how those things can be cut and provide a first-rate film and yet can be re-introduced without harming the film, and in this case, even enhancing it.  Because of the familial losses that we see earlier in the Extended Edition, the presence of Baldwin V and Green’s love for him and attempts to protect him provide greater emotional resonance.  These scenes were cut because they didn’t test well and audiences are idiots (which is why this film made less domestically than Miss Congeniality 2) but they make for a film that isn’t just about the religious and political battles in the Middle East but also about how families function in those times of fury and grief.

The Razzies:  I haven’t seen the winner, Dirty Love, and to be honest, I didn’t try too hard to find it.  I fucking loathe Jenny McCarthy for reasons that should be obvious (hint: vaccines), so I feel no need to watch her stupid movie and I’ll just assume the Razzies got it fairly correct, especially since their other four nominees are my four worst films of the year.  Kudos to the Razzies for getting this one right.

5 Worst Films  (#1 being the worst):

  1. Deuce Bigelow: European Gigolo
  2. Son of the Mask
  3. The Dukes of Hazzard
  4. House of Wax
  5. The Devil’s Rejects

note:  Deuce Bigelow is the last Comedy to be the Worst Film of the Year until 2013.
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: The Amityville Horror, Bewitched, Cheaper by the Dozen 2, Elektra, Herbie: Fully Loaded, The Honeymooners, The Longest Yard, Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous, Monster-in-Law, The Pacifier, Racing Stripes, The Ring Two, Saw II, Stealth.

Let’s be clear. It’s not just your movie that sucks. So do you.

Deuce Bigelow: European Gigolo  (dir. Mike Bigelow)

Rob Schneider is not just a shitty actor; he is also a pretty shitty human being.  When this film was universally panned, Schneider decided to take specific umbrage at the review from the Los Angeles Times and published a full page letter in multiple publications lambasting the critic and claiming, idiotically, that he couldn’t review the film because he wasn’t a Pulitzer Prize winner.  There have been numerous examples through the years of people reacting to bad reviews but this one seemed to be a new level of idiocy.  That prompted Roger Ebert, who was of course a Pulitzer winner, to finish one piece with “Your movie sucks” which became the title of his second (hilarious) collection of reviews of terrible films.  Schneider has continued to be a shitty human being, actually calling California legislators to get them to back down on passing a vaccine bill because apparently he thinks his idiotic (and factually incorrect) belief about autism should be more important than keeping children from getting sick or dying.  He’s the kind of person who tries to bully both the press and the legislature.  No wonder he became a Republican; he fits right into their current mold.

All of this comes up, of course, because his shitty movie is the worst of 2005.  He owns the possessive because he stars in the film, he co-wrote the film, its based on characters from the shitty first film and his little brother co-produced it.  I don’t like giving zero stars to any films but especially to Comedies.  It seems to me it should be saved for those truly bottom of the barrel films and Comedies usually don’t hit that mark.  Just failing to be funny isn’t enough.  That’s why Comedies actually make up the majority of films that have earned 1 through 4 on my 100 point scale but account for less than 1/4 of the zero star films.  But this film hits that mark because it not only completely fails to be funny, for even one second, but also checks off the morally reprehensible mark more than once.  I could say that the film is misogynistic but so are lots of films.  It’s also homophobic, but again, so are lots of films.  But it continues, time and again, to rely on “jokes” that not only fail to be funny but start to fall so far below the lines of taste that you begin to wonder if Tom Green was involved somehow.  You can tell where this film is going in the opening moments, when there is a news report about visually impaired people who are about to fulfill their lifelong dreams of swimming with dolphins.  You know it’s going to go badly and that it will be utterly without taste and you wonder who could have thought of such a thing, let alone thought it would be funny.  Or the moment where Schneider gets on a plane to Europe, carrying his dead wife’s prosthetic leg and manages to smack every person in the face with it.  Who thinks that’s funny, especially more than once?  In what world would that person not have had the thing grabbed out from his arm and been smashed across the face?

I could list some of the other appalling attempts at humor but why bother?  This film, supposedly a “sex comedy” has so little sex in it that you wonder why the hell they wanted to fight for an R-rating.  Some actual sex might have improved the film, although not if it involved Schneider, since the whole point of the first film was how ridiculous it was that any woman would want Schneider, yet they made a second one where he has more women?  But instead it involves pathetic attempts at humor.  If you like Schneider, well then you might also like “comedies” from Adam Sandler and David Spade and the rest of the crappy SNL veterans from the early 90’s and you are welcome to them.  My beloved SNL cast members might not have had cinematic success (Dana Carvey, Jon Lovitz, Jan Hooks, Dennis Miller) but good lord they aren’t as bad as this group.

Points:

  • Most Nighthawk Nominations:  Brokeback Mountain  (11)
  • Most Nighthawk Awards:  Brokeback Mountain  (5)
  • Most Nighthawk Points:  Brokeback Mountain  (505)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Award:  Hustle & Flow
  • 2nd Place Award:  Munich  (Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Editing)
  • 6th Place Award:  A History of Violence  (Picture, Director, Editing)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Nominations:  Brokeback Mountain  (7)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Awards:  Brokeback Mountain  (4)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Points:  Brokeback Mountain  (395)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Drama Award:  Crash
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Nominations:  Pride and Prejudice  (6)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Awards:  Pride and Prejudice  (4)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Points:  Pride and Prejudice  (405)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Comedy Award:  The Family Stone

Note:  * means a Nighthawk record up to this point; ** ties a Nighthawk record.

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  (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  (975)
  • 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:  134 (68)  –  Good Night and Good Luck  (68.2)
  • Foreign:  106  –  Downfall  (68.0)
  • Comedy:  33 (9)  –  Pride and Prejudice  (63.9)
  • Horror:  15 (4)  –  King Kong  (42.5)
  • Kids:  11 (1)  –  Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit  (63.7)
  • Crime:  10 (5)  –  A History of Violence  (71.9)
  • Musical:  10 (5)  –  Walk the Line  (68.8)
  • Fantasy:  10 (2)  –  Corpse Bride  (66.2)
  • Sci-Fi:  9 (3)  –  Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith  (67.6)
  • Action:  8 (3)  –  Batman Begins  (57.8)
  • Mystery:  4 (3)  –  The Constant Gardener  (83.3)
  • Suspense:  4 (1)  –  Infernal Affairs  (76.3)
  • Adventure:  3 (2)  –  The Warrior  (66.3)
  • War:  2  –  Jarhead  (69.5)
  • Western:  1  –  The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada  (74)

Analysis:  For the first time since 1946 Dramas account for over half the total films; they account for 52.76% of the films, the highest total since 1934.  Foreign films account for over 40% of the total films for the first time since 1977 and only the second time ever.  Dramas set a new high (broken the next year) as do Foreign (still standing).  The 33 Comedies, however, are the lowest since 1985.  The 10 Fantasy films are a new high.  The 15 Horror films are the highest since 1999 and tied for the highest since 1990.  Musicals reach double digits for only the third time since 1984.  Crime films have their highest average since 1990.  Dramas have their highest average since 1965.
A Drama wins the Nighthawk making the first back-to-back Drama winners since 1982-83 and the first English language Drama winners back-to-back since 1965-66.

Studio Note:  I have my first film from Roadside Attractions (Walk on Water).  DreamWorks SKG pretty much comes to an end with its last five films that it distributes itself.  The Holy Girl is the last Fine Line film I have seen (two others were released this year that I haven’t seen), giving them 72 total films.  The Weinstein Company starts with its first five films.  IFC Films leaps into the Top 10 for the year with 7 films; they will be in the Top 10 in most years after this.  Sony Pictures Classics hits an all-time high with 18 films but is beaten out by Warner Bros which has 20.  They and Fox (13 films) are the only studios with more than 10 films.  Many of the majors have good years (Fox – 68.69, highest since 1980, Universal – 75.5, highest since 1952, Warners – 66.8, highest since 1995, Disney – 68.7, highest since 1986).  But the majors account for only 27.95% of the total films, the first time it has fallen below 30%.
Universal has two Top 10 films for the first time since 1998 (Munich, King Kong).  Also for the first time since 1998, Disney doesn’t have a Top 10 film and for the first time since 1990 it doesn’t even have a Top 20 film (it peaks with Howl’s Moving Castle at #30).  Warners, on the other hand, has 5 Top 20 films the most by any studio since 1990, though that includes Warner Independent films like Nighthawk winner Good Night and Good Luck.  That gives Warners its 13th Nighthawk Award while no other studio has more than 7 at this point.  Focus Features also manages 3 Top 10 films (Brokeback Mountain, The Constant Gardener, Pride and Prejudice).

74 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):

  • 1888: The Extraordinary Voyage of the Santa Isabel  (Anzola, Venezuela)  *
  • Adam’s Apples  (Jensen, Denmark)  *
  • The Aura  (Bielinsky, Argentina)  *
  • The Ax  (Costa-Gavras, France)
  • Battle in Heaven  (Reygadas, Mexico)
  • Be with Me  (Khoo, Singapore)  *
  • The Beat That My Heart Skipped  (Audiard, France)
  • Black  (Bhansali, India)
  • Blood and Bones  (Sai, Japan)  *
  • Brides  (Voulgaris, Greece)  *
  • The Buffalo Boy  (Mihn, Vietnam)  *
  • Bunty Aur Babli  (Ali, India)
  • C.R.A.Z.Y.  (Vallee, Canada)  *
  • Cache  (Haneke, Austria)  *
  • Caribe  (Ramirez, Costa Rica)  *
  • The Cave of the Yellow Dog  (Davas, Mongolia)  *
  • Cavite  (Llana, The Philippines)
  • Criminal Novel  (Placido, Italy)
  • Dark Night  (Canijo, Portugal)  *
  • Days of Santiago  (Mendez, Peru)  *
  • The Death of Mr Lazarascu  (Puiu, Romania)
  • Don’t Tell  (Comencini, Italy)  **
  • Fateless  (Koltai, Hungary)  *
  • Fearless  (Yu, China)
  • Funky Forest: The First Contact  (Ishii, Japan)
  • Gabrielle  (Chereau, France)
  • Gie  (Riza, Indonesia)  *
  • The Holy Girl  (Martel, Argentina)
  • The House of Sand  (Waddington, Brazil)
  • The Intruder  (Denis, France)
  • Iron Island  (Rasoulof, Iran)
  • The Italian  (Kravchuk, Russia)  *
  • Joyeux Noel  (Carion, France)  **
  • Kissed by Winter  (Johnsen, Norway)  *
  • L’Enfant  (Dardenne, Belgium)  *
  • L’iceberg  (Abel, Belgium)
  • Lady Vengeance  (Park, South Korea)
  • Le courage d’aimer  (Lelouch, France)
  • Look at Me  (Jaoui, France)
  • Lovelorn  (Turgul, Turkey)  *
  • A Midwinter Night’s Dream  (Paskaljevic, Serbia)  *
  • Mother of Mine  (Haro, Finland)  *
  • La Moustache  (Carrere, France)
  • Paheli  (Palekar, India)  *
  • Paradise Now  (Abu-Assad, Palestine)  **
  • Perhaps Love  (Chan, Hong Kong)  *
  • Le Petit lieutenant  (Beauvois, France)
  • Play  (Scherson, Chile)  *
  • The Promise  (Chen, China)  *
  • Renart the Fox  (Schiel, Luxembourg)  *
  • Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles  (Yimou, China)
  • Ruins  (Burger, Slovenia)  *
  • Russian Dolls  (Klapisch, France)
  • Salaam Namaste  (Anand, India)
  • Sex & Philosophy  (Makhmalbaf, Tadjikistan)  *
  • Shyamol Chhaya  (Ahmed, Bangladesh)  *
  • La Sombra del Caminante  (Guerra, Colombia)  *
  • Something Like Happiness  (Slama, Czech Republic)  *
  • Sophie Scholl – The Final Days  (Rothemund, Germany)  **
  • Stolen Eyes  (Spassov, Bulgaria)  *
  • The Sun  (Sokurov, Russia)
  • Tbilisi-Tibilisi  (Zakareishvili, Georgia)  *
  • Three Times  (Hou, Taiwan)
  • Time to Leave  (Ozon, France)
  • The Tin Mine  (Maligool, Thailand)  *
  • To the Other Side  (Loza, Mexico)  *
  • Tsotsi  (Hood, South Africa)  ***
  • Two Sons of Francisco  (Silveira, Brazil)  *
  • Viva Cuba  (Cremata Malberti, Cuba)  *
  • The Wayward Cloud  (Tsai, Taiwan)  *
  • Welcome to Dongmakgol  (Park, South Korea)  *
  • What a Wonderful Place  (Halfon, Israel)  *
  • A Wonderful Night in Split  (Ostojic, Croatia)  *
  • Yaji and Kita: The Midnight Pilgrims  (Kudo, Japan)

Note:  Way down to, to 74 films, the fewest since 1999.  But that doesn’t mean I have a lot fewer countries because only four countries have more than two films (France, leading with 11, India with 4 and Japan and China with 3 each ) and I have my first films from Costa Rica, Mongolia and Singapore.  It’s the first time since 1998 that Japan doesn’t have the second most films.  It’s the first time since 1999 that only one country has more than three films.  For the first time in 11 years I have no films from Spain.  Dramas continue to dominate, accounting for almost 2/3 of all the films.  Not included on the list the Bosnian Oscar submission Totally Personal, which I have seen, but which is a documentary.

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

  • Bolivia:  Say Good Morning to Dad  (dir. Vargas ) – disqualified by the Academy
  • Estonia:  Shop of Dreams  (dir. Urbla)
  • Fiji:  The Land has Eyes  (dir. Hereniko)
  • Iceland:  Ahead of Time  (dir. Gudmundsson)
  • Iran:  So Close, So Far  (dir. Karimi)
  • Iraq:  Requiem of Snow  (dir. Rostami)
  • Poland:  The Collector  (dir. Falk)
  • Puerto Rico:  Cayo  (dir. Juarbe)
  • Slovakia:  The City of the Sun  (dir. Sulik)
  • Spain:  Obaba  (dir. Armendariz)
  • Sweden:  Zozo  (dir. Fares)
  • Switzerland:  Tout un hiver sans feu  (dir. Zglinski)
  • Uruguay:  Alma Mater  (dir. Buela) – not sent in time to qualify

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 49 for 62 (79%).  The submissions are up by ten to a new record high, but that includes several films that were disqualified, details of which can be found by following the link; my own lists include all the submitted films, disqualified or not.  While a few counties are out after submitting in 2004 (Philippines, Afghanistan, Egypt, Ukraine, Macedonia, Malaysia, Ecuador), there are 17 countries submitting that didn’t the year before.  That includes several countries back after one year off (Turkey, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Cuba, Indonesia, Peru, Bolivia, Mongolia), a few countries back after longer gaps (Bangladesh, Georgia, Puerto Rico, Tajikistan, Vietnam) and some countries submitting for the first time (Costa Rica, Fiji, Iraq, Singapore).
These are my first miss (Bolivia, Fiji, Iran, Iraq, Uruguay), second (Poland, Puerto Rico), fourth in four submissions (Estonia), sixth (Slovakia), 13th (Sweden, Switzerland), 16th (Iceland) and 18th (Spain).

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

  • Tonati no Yae-chan  (1934)
  • Ringu 2  (1999)
  • 6ixtynin9  (2000)
  • Prozac Nation  (2001)
  • Pulse  (2001)
  • Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress  (2002)
  • Dark Water  (2002)
  • Dolla  (2002)
  • Funny Ha Ha  (2002)
  • G  (2002)
  • My Mother’s Smile  (2002)
  • Sympathy for Mr Vengeance  (2002)
  • The Tracker  (2002)
  • The Undead  (2002)
  • The Warrior  (2002)
  • The Best of Youth  (2003)
  • Dallas 362  (2003)
  • Drifters  (2003)
  • High Tension  (2003)
  • Infernal Affairs  (2003)
  • Not on the Lips  (2003)
  • Off the Map  (2003)
  • Oldboy  (2003)
  • Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior  (2003)
  • La Petite Lili  (2003)
  • Saraband  (2003)
  • Sexual Dependency  (2003)
  • Spare Parts  (2003)
  • A Talking Picture  (2003)
  • Twin Sisters  (2003)
  • 2046  (2004)
  • 3-Iron  (2004)
  • 5×2  (2004)
  • Aalta  (2004)
  • Appleseed  (2004)
  • Bride and Prejudice  (2004)
  • Brothers  (2004)
  • Campfire  (2004)
  • Christmas in Love  (2004)
  • Crash  (2004)
  • Cronicas  (2004)
  • Don’t Move  (2004)
  • Down to the Bone  (2004)
  • Downfall  (2004)
  • Eros  (2004)
  • Garcon stupide  (2004)
  • Godzilla: Final Wars  (2004)
  • The Grand Voyage  (2004)
  • The Great Water  (2004)
  • Head On  (2004)
  • Howl’s Moving Castle  (2004)
  • In My Country  (2004)
  • Innocent Voices  (2004)
  • Keane  (2004)
  • Kings & Queen  (2004)
  • Kontroll  (2004)
  • Kung Fu Hustle  (2004)
  • Lila Says  (2004)
  • Lost Embrace  (2004)
  • Machuca  (2004)
  • Melinda and Melinda  (2004)
  • The Memory of a Killer  (2004)
  • Millions  (2004)
  • My Summer of Love  (2004)
  • Nine Songs  (2004)
  • Nobody Knows  (2004)
  • The Overture  (2004)
  • Palindromes  (2004)
  • Private  (2004)
  • Red Dust  (2004)
  • Schultze Gets the Blues  (2004)
  • Steamboy  (2004)
  • The Syrian Bride  (2004)
  • Thirst  (2004)
  • Three Dancing Slaves  (2004)
  • Tony Takitani  (2004)
  • A Tout de Suite  (2004)
  • Travellers and Magicians  (2004)
  • Tropical Malady  (2004)
  • Turtles Can Fly  (2004)
  • Up and Down  (2004)
  • Walk on Water  (2004)
  • Weeping Meadow  (2004)
  • The Welts  (2004)
  • Whisky  (2004)
  • Wolf Creek  (2004)
  • Yesterday  (2004)

Note:  There are an astounding 87 films here that average a 66.7.  There are only four films that are below ** (Wolf Creek, Godzilla: Final Wars, G, Undead) while there are 14 ***.5 films and five **** films (all listed above in the Globes sections) which surprisingly only account for 7 Nighthawk nominations (four of them in Foreign Film).

Films That Weren’t Eligible at the Oscars:

  • Appleseed
  • Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
  • The Baxter
  • The Beat That My Heart Skipped
  • The Best of Youth
  • Black
  • Brothers
  • Bunty Aur Babli
  • Campfire
  • Dallas 362
  • Dolls
  • Don’t Tell
  • Downfall
  • 5×2
  • Forty Shades of Blue
  • Free Zone
  • G
  • Garcon Stupide
  • The Great Water
  • Happy Here and Now
  • High Tension
  • Infernal Affairs
  • Kings and Queen
  • Kontroll
  • La Petite Lili
  • Land of Plenty
  • Lila Says
  • Lost Embrace
  • Macuca
  • The Memory of a Killer
  • Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont
  • Mother of Mine
  • Nobody Knows
  • Off the Map
  • Oldboy
  • Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior
  • Paheli
  • Private
  • Pulse
  • Salaam Namaste
  • Saraband
  • Sympathy for Mr Vengeance
  • The Syrian Bride
  • A Talking Picture
  • Three Dancing Slaves
  • The Tracker
  • Travellers and Magicians
  • Turtles Can Fly
  • Walk on Water
  • The War Within
  • The Warrior
  • The Welts
  • What a Wonderful Place
  • Wolf Creek

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.  Downfall is a prominent example, nominated in 2004.

Films Not Listed at Oscars.org:

  • 1888: The Extraordinary Voyage of the Santa Isabel
  • 6ixtynin9
  • Aaltra
  • The Ax
  • Brides
  • The Buffalo Boy
  • C.R.A.Z.Y.
  • Caribe
  • Christmas in Love
  • Criminal Novel
  • Dark Night
  • Days of Santiago
  • Drifters
  • Gie
  • Godzilla: Final Wars
  • The Grand Voyage
  • Kissed by Winter
  • Le courage d’aimer
  • Lovelorn
  • The Man with the Screaming Brain
  • Midwinter Night’s Dream
  • My Mother’s Smile
  • Not on the Lips
  • Our Very Own
  • The Overture
  • Play
  • Prozac Nation
  • Red Dust
  • Ringu 2
  • Room
  • Ruins
  • Sex & Philosophy
  • Sexual Dependency
  • Shyamol Chhaya
  • La Sombra del Caminante
  • Something Like Happiness
  • Spare Parts
  • Stolen Eyes
  • Tbilisi-Tbilisi
  • Thirst
  • The Tin Mine
  • To the Other Side
  • Tonari no Yae-chan
  • Twin Sisters
  • Two Sons of Francisco
  • Weeping Meadow
  • Whisky
  • Yesterday

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:

  • 12 and Holding  (2006)
  • American Gun  (2006)
  • The Aura  (2006)
  • Aurora Borealis  (2006)
  • Battle in Heaven  (2006)
  • Be with Me  (2006)
  • Blood and Bones  (2006)
  • The Cave of the Yellow Dog  (2006)
  • Cavite  (2006)
  • CSA: Confederate States of America  (2006)
  • The Death of Mr Lazarascu  (2006)
  • Edmond  (2006)
  • Evil Aliens  (2006)
  • Fateless  (2006)
  • Fearless  (2006)
  • Four-Eyed Monsters  (2006)
  • Gabrielle  (2006)
  • Hard Candy  (2006)
  • The House of Sand  (2006)
  • Intruder  (2006)
  • Iron Island  (2006)
  • Joyeux Noel  (2006)
  • Keeping Mum  (2006)
  • Kinky Boots  (2006)
  • L’Enfant  (2006)
  • Lady Vengeance  (2006)
  • Lassie  (2006)
  • Man Push Cart  (2006)
  • Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing and Charm School  (2006)
  • La Moustache  (2006)
  • Nanny McPhee  (2006)
  • Le Petit lieutenant  (2006)
  • The Propisition  (2006)
  • The Puffy Chair  (2006)
  • Riding Alone for Thousand of Miles  (2006)
  • Russian Dolls  (2006)
  • Shadowboxer  (2006)
  • Sophie Scholl – The Final Days  (2006)
  • Sorry Haters  (2006)
  • Three Times  (2006)
  • Time to Leave  (2006)
  • Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story  (2006)
  • Tsotsi  (2006)
  • Viva Cuba  (2006)
  • Welcome to Dongmakgol  (2006)
  • A Wonderful Night in Split  (2006)
  • Adam’s Apples  (2007)
  • The Italian  (2007)
  • L’iceberg  (2007)
  • Funky Forest: The First Contact  (2008)
  • The Wayward Cloud  (2008)
  • Yaji and Kita: The Midnight Pilgrims  (2008)
  • The Sun  (2009)

Note:  These 53 films average a 63.3.  It only includes two **** films (Tristram Shandy, Sophie Scholl) and a handful of ***.5 films which are balanced out by a *.5 film (The Wayward Cloud) and two * films (Evil Aliens, Shadowboxer).

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