No one knows how to bring you back around better than Danny Boyle.

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. Slumdog Millionaire  **
  2. The Dark Knight
  3. Wall-E  *
  4. Milk  *
  5. Revolutionary Road
  6. Rachel Getting Married
  7. Let the Right One In
  8. I’ve Loved You So Long
  9. Happy-Go-Lucky
  10. The Visitor
  11. In Bruges
  12. Iron Man
  13. Doubt
  14. Burn After Reading
  15. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
  16. A Christmas Tale
  17. The Reader
  18. The Wrestler
  19. Changeling
  20. Paranoid Park

Analysis:  While there are a solid Top 5 films, this year, as a whole, is quite weak and that is reflected in almost every category.  There is a big drop after the Top 5 with the weakest #6 since 1995, the weakest #7 and #8 since 1990 and the weakest #9 and #10 since 1998.  The Top 10 is the weakest since 1998, #6-10 the weakest since 1990 and #11-20 the weakest since 1992.  The Top 10 films are all **** though #8-10 are just barely.  The rest are ***.5.
With two Oscar nominees not even earning ***.5, the Oscar Score is 48.7, the worst since 2000 and only the fourth score below 50 since 1968.

  • Best Director
  1. Danny Boyle  (Slumdog Millionaire)  **
  2. Christopher Nolan  (The Dark Knight)  *
  3. Gus Van Sant  (Milk)  *
  4. Sam Mendes  (Revolutionary Road)
  5. Tomas Alfredson  (Let the Right One In)
  6. Jonathan Demme  (Rachel Getting Married)
  7. Mike Leigh  (Happy-Go-Lucky)
  8. Baz Luhrmann  (Australia)
  9. Clint Eastwood  (Gran Torino)
  10. Joel and Ethan Coen  (Burn After Reading)
  11. Martin McDonagh  (In Bruges)
  12. Stephen Daldry  (The Reader)
  13. Clint Eastwood  (Changeling)
  14. Woody Allen  (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
  15. Philippe Claudel  (I’ve Loved You So Long)
  16. Thomas McCarthy  (The Visitor)
  17. Marc Forster  (Quantum of Solace)
  18. Sergei Bodrov  (Mongol)
  19. Ed Harris  (Appaloosa)
  20. Arnaud Desplechin  (A Christmas Tale)

Analysis:  Nolan earns the Consensus nomination because of the detailed intricacies that I use for Best Director that I don’t use in other categories.  He’s helped by a mention on the BAFTA longlist (which they no longer release) and placement at both the LAFC and CFC; without those he would have finished behind Daldry like at the Oscars, though Mike Leigh would have actually been the fifth Consensus nominee.
This is the only Nighthawk nom for Gus Van Sant, the first for Tomas Alfredson and the second for Danny Boyle, Christopher Nolan and Gus Van Sant.
This is the weakest Top 5 since 1998.  The Oscar Score is also weak (52.8, the weakest since 1995 and third weakest since 1965).

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Slumdog Millionaire  **
  2. The Dark Knight
  3. Revolutionary Road
  4. Doubt  *
  5. OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies
  6. Let the Right One In
  7. The Reader  *
  8. Iron Man
  9. Appaloosa

Analysis:  Christopher Nolan earns his third writing nom.
There is a very firm Consensus in this category (the other two nominees were Frost/Nixon and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) with all five Consensus nominees earning Oscar and Globe noms, only The Reader failing to earn a WGA or BFCA nom and only Doubt being missing at the BAFTAs.  But I can’t fathom how Frost and Button were such strong nominees.  The two scripts I thought were far superior earned only a WGA nom (The Dark Knight) and a BAFTA nom (Revolutionary Road).  That the Academy nominated those two scripts leads to an Oscar Score of 53.3, the worst since 1979.
This is the weakest Top 5 in nine years.
I have read lots of Batman, Revolutionary Road (Top 100), one of the OSS books (okay), Let the Right One In (really good), The Reader (terrible) and a lot of Iron Man.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Wall-E  *
  2. Milk  **
  3. Rachel Getting Married  *
  4. I’ve Loved You So Long
  5. Happy-Go-Lucky  *
  6. The Visitor
  7. In Bruges  *
  8. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
  9. Burn After Reading  *
  10. A Christmas Tale
  11. Frozen River
  12. The Wrestler
  13. Changeling
  14. Paranoid Park
  15. August Evening
  16. Kung Fu Panda
  17. Synecdoche, New York
  18. Leatherheads
  19. Australia

Analysis:  Mike Leigh earns his third writing nom.
There is actually very little Consensus this year (which is why there are six nominees, since there was a tie for 5th place).  Milk is the only script nominated by both the Oscars and the WGA.  There are 13 films on the Consensus list, the longest since the 50’s, when the WGA had seemingly unlimited numbers of nominees and eight of them earn only a single nom and that happens even with this final year of the BFCA not splitting between Adapted and Original, with Milk being the only original script earning a BFCA nom and no original scripts earning Globe noms.
This is the weakest Top 5 in eight years.

  • Best Actor:
  1. Sean Penn  (Milk)  **
  2. Leonardo DiCarpio  (Revolutionary Road)
  3. Mickey Rourke  (The Wrestler)  *
  4. Christian Bale  (The Dark Knight)
  5. Richard Jenkins  (The Visitor)  *
  6. Frank Langella  (Frost/Nixon)  *
  7. Clint Eastwood  (Gran Torino)
  8. Brendan Gleeson  (In Bruges)
  9. Mathieu Amalric  (A Christmas Tale)
  10. Josh Brolin  (W)
  11. Michael Sheen  (Frost/Nixon)
  12. Michael Fassbender  (Hunger)
  13. Javier Bardem  (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
  14. Colin Farrell  (In Bruges)
  15. Jean Dujardin  (OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies)
  16. Dev Patel  (Slumdog Millionaire)
  17. Benicio del Toro  (Che)
  18. Robert Downey, Jr.  (Iron Man)
  19. George Clooney  (Burn After Reading)
  20. David Kross  (The Reader)

Analysis:  These are the only Nighthawk noms for Mickey Rourke and Richard Jenkins, the second for Christian Bale, the third for Sean Penn and the fourth for Leo.
With seven wins, Penn actually has the fewest wins for a Consensus winner in five years.
DiCaprio is the weakest #2 in this category since 2001 and it’s the weakest Top 5 since 1987.  The Oscar Score is only 77.1, the worst score post-2001 (through 2016) by eight points.

  • Best Actress
  1. Kate Winslet  (Revolutionary Road)  **
  2. Anne Hathaway  (Rachel Getting Married)  *
  3. Sally Hawkins  (Happy-Go-Lucky)  *
  4. Kristin Scott-Thomas  (I’ve Loved You So Long)
  5. Kate Winslet  (The Reader)  **
  6. Meryl Streep  (Doubt)  *
  7. Angelina Jolie  (Changeling)  *
  8. Melissa Leo  (Frozen River)
  9. Catherine Deneuve  (A Christmas Tale)
  10. Michelle Williams  (Wendy and Lucy)
  11. Keira Knightley  (The Duchess)
  12. Frances McDormand  (Burn After Reading)
  13. Rebecca Hall  (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
  14. Lyubov Tolkalina  (Caucasia)
  15. Nicole Kidman  (Australia)
  16. Meryl Streep  (Mamma Mia)
  17. Emma Thompson  (Last Chance Harvey)
  18. Natalie Portman  (My Blueberry Nights)

Analysis:  This is the only Nighthawk nom for Sally Hawkins.  It’s the second nom for Anne Hathaway and Kristin Scott-Thomas.  It’s the fifth and sixth noms for Kate Winslet and her third win.  Meryl Streep earns a nom because of the two for Winslet and it’s her 15th and she breaks the tie with Katharine Hepburn and takes over 1st place all-time with 595 points.
It still stuns me that Hawkins wasn’t nominated for SAG, Oscar or even the BAFTA.  She has the most Consensus points in history without an Oscar nom.  If Winslet’s roles were counted separately, Hawkins would actually win the Consensus.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Heath Ledger  (The Dark Knight)  **
  2. Philip Seymour Hoffman  (Doubt)  *
  3. Emile Hirsch  (Milk)
  4. Josh Brolin  (Milk)  *
  5. Brad Pitt  (Burn After Reading)
  6. Gary Oldman  (The Dark Knight)
  7. Robert Downey, Jr.  (Tropic Thunder)  *
  8. Michael Shannon  (Revolutionary Road)
  9. Eddie Marsan  (Happy-Go-Lucky)  *
  10. Aaron Eckhart  (The Dark Knight)
  11. James Franco  (Milk)
  12. Michael Caine  (The Dark Knight)
  13. Tom Cruise  (Tropic Thunder)
  14. Ralph Fiennes  (In Bruges)
  15. Ralph Fiennes  (The Reader)
  16. Irrfan Khan  (Slumdog Millionaire)
  17. Haaz Sleiman  (The Visitor)
  18. Richard Dreyfuss  (W)
  19. Jeffrey Wright  (W)
  20. Anil Kapoor  (Slumdog Millionaire)

Analysis:  This is the only Nighthawk nom for Emile Hirsch, the first for Josh Brolin, the second for Brad Pitt, the second for Heath Ledger (and his second win) and the fourth for Philip Seymour Hoffman (second in a row).
Ledger manages to win the exact same 8 awards that Javier Bardem won the year before (LAFC, BSFC, CFC, SAG, Oscar, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA).
Hoffman is the weakest #2 in this category since 2002.  In spite of Ledger’s performance, this is the weakest Top 5 since 1996.
The strong category in acting this year, with a 97.1 Oscar Score, the only score above 90.
No other year in film history has two films so stacked with Supporting Actor performances as The Dark Knight and Milk (the closest is 2003, with The Return of the King and Mystic River).

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Penelope Cruz  (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)  **
  2. Amy Adams  (Doubt)  *
  3. Debra Winger  (Rachel Getting Married)
  4. Marisa Tomei  (The Wrestler)  *
  5. Hiam Abbass  (The Visitor)
  6. Rosemarie DeWitt  (Rachel Getting Married)
  7. Viola Davis  (Doubt)  *
  8. Penelope Cruz  (Elegy)
  9. Tilda Swinton  (Burn After Reading)
  10. Hanna Schygulla  (Edge of Heaven)
  11. Frieda Pinto  (Slumdog Millionaire)
  12. Judi Dench  (Quantum of Solace)
  13. Christine Baranski  (Mamma Mia)

Analysis:  This is the only Nighthawk nom for Hiam Abbass.  It’s the second nom for Penelope Cruz, Amy Adams and Marisa Tomei.  It’s the third nom for Debra Winger.
Amy Adams is the weakest #2 in this category since 1999 and this is the weakest Top 5 in nine years.

  • Best Editing:
  1. Slumdog Millionaire
  2. Wall-E
  3. The Dark Knight
  4. Milk
  5. Revolutionary Road
  6. In Bruges
  7. Let the Right One In
  8. Burn After Reading
  9. OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies
  10. Rachel Getting Married
  11. Iron Man
  12. The Visitor
  13. W
  14. I’ve Loved You So Long
  15. Happy-Go-Lucky
  16. Paranoid Park
  17. A Christmas Tale
  18. The Reader
  19. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
  20. Doubt

Analysis:  Wall-E is the first #2 in four years not to earn my highest rating.  This is also the weakest Top 5 in four years.
With undeserved Oscar nominations for Benjamin Button and Frost/Nixon, the Oscar Score is only 64.1, the lowest in five years and one of only two Tech scores below 80 this year.

  • Best Cinematography:
  1. The Dark Knight  *
  2. Slumdog Millionaire  **
  3. Revolutionary Road
  4. Milk
  5. Australia
  6. The Reader  *
  7. Let the Right One In
  8. Changeling  *
  9. Mongol
  10. Gran Torino
  11. Iron Man
  12. Burn After Reading
  13. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button  *
  14. In Bruges
  15. Quantum of Solace
  16. Defiance
  17. Appaloosa
  18. Gomorrah
  19. The Fall
  20. The Duchess

Analysis:  Wally Pfister earns his first Nighthawk (he’ll earn a second in just a couple of years, also working with Christopher Nolan).  Roger Deakins earns his ninth nom (Revolutionary Road); this moves him into a tie for 2nd place with Gordon Willis and Asakazu Nakai.
This is the weakest Top 5 in eight years.  With an Oscar Score of 80 in a traditionally very strong category, this is the weakest score between 2003 and 2015.

  • Best Original Score:
  1. Slumdog Millionaire
  2. Wall-E
  3. Milk
  4. The Dark Knight
  5. Revolutionary Road
  6. OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies
  7. Frost/Nixon
  8. Defiance
  9. The Reader
  10. Changeling
  11. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  12. Appaloosa
  13. Mongol
  14. Australia
  15. The Duchess
  16. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Analysis:  Just like at the Oscars, Thomas Newman continues to rack up nominations but not wins, here earning his sixth and seventh noms for Wall-E and Revolutionary Road.  Danny Elfman also earns his seventh, for Milk.  Hans Zimmer also joins the seven nominee club with The Dark Knight, but he has two wins as well, so he’s in the Top 10 with 225 points.
This is the weakest Top 5 in ten years.  However, the Oscars and I are in sync and the Oscar Score of 93.9 is the highest since 1984 and the second highest to-date.

  • Best Sound:
  1. The Dark Knight
  2. Wall-E
  3. Iron Man
  4. Slumdog Millionaire
  5. Quantum of Solace
  6. Australia
  7. Milk
  8. Defiance
  9. Revolutionary Road
  10. The Reader
  11. Gran Torino
  12. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  13. Appaloosa
  14. Mongol
  15. Frost/Nixon

Analysis:  Wall-E is the first #2 in this category to earn my highest rating in three years.  This is also the first category in which the Top 5 is actually better than the year before.  At 69.2, the only other Tech category below 80 and the lowest Oscar Score in this category since 1999.

  • Best Art Direction:
  1. Revolutionary Road
  2. The Dark Knight
  3. The Duchess
  4. Slumdog Millionaire
  5. Milk
  6. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  7. The Fall
  8. Changeling
  9. The Reader
  10. Australia
  11. Synecdoche, New York
  12. OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies
  13. Burn After Reading
  14. Brideshead Revisited
  15. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
  16. Cadillac Records
  17. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
  18. Happy-Go-Lucky
  19. Doubt
  20. Iron Man

Analysis:  The Top 5 is one point better than 2007 but still the second weakest in five years.

  • Best Visual Effects
  1. Iron Man
  2. The Dark Knight
  3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  4. The Incredible Hulk
  5. Quantum of Solace
  6. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
  7. Hancock
  8. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
  9. The Day the Earth Stood Still
  10. Hellboy II: The Golden Army
  11. The Spiderwick Chronicles

Analysis:  The Dark Knight is the weakest #2 in this category since 1998.  The weakest Top 5 in 10 years but a perfect Oscar Score for the first time in five years.

  • Best Sound Editing
  1. The Dark Knight
  2. Wall-E
  3. Iron Man
  4. Quantum of Solace
  5. Slumdog Millionaire
  6. The Incredible Hulk
  7. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
  8. Australia
  9. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  10. Hancock
  11. Hellboy II: The Golden Army
  12. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
  13. The Day the Earth Stood Still
  14. The Spiderwick Chronicles

Analysis:  The Top 5 earns the same points as the year before but no year has had a worse Top 5 since 2000.

  • Best Costume Design:
  1. The Duchess
  2. Revolutionary Road
  3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  4. Australia
  5. Milk
  6. The Fall
  7. The Reader
  8. Mongol
  9. Brideshead Revisited
  10. The Dark Knight
  11. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
  12. OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies
  13. The Duchess of Langeais
  14. Changeling
  15. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
  16. Leatherheads
  17. Cadillac Records
  18. Frost/Nixon

Analysis:  Revolutionary Road is the weakest #2 in this category since 2000.  The weakest Top 5 in eight years but another perfect Oscar Score, the only one in the category’s history (through 2016).

  • Best Makeup
  1. The Dark Knight
  2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  3. Hellboy II: The Golden Army
  4. Let the Right One In
  5. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
  6. Synecdoche, New York
  7. Slumdog Millionaire
  8. The Duchess
  9. The Reader
  10. Tropic Thunder

Analysis:  Benjamin Button is the weakest #2 in this category since 1997 and this is the weakest Top 5 since 1997.  Yet, the Academy chose well here as well and it’s another perfect Oscar Score, just the second in the category’s history.

  • Best Original Song:
  1. “Jai Ho”  (Slumdog Millionaire)
  2. The Wrestler”  (The Wrestler)
  3. Down to Earth”  (Wall-E)
  4. O Saya”  (Slumdog Millionaire)
  5. Rock Me Sexy Jesus”  (Hamlet 2)
  6. Once in a Lifetime”  (Cadillac Records)
  7. By the Boab Tree”  (Australia)
  8. “Up to Our Nex”  (Rachel Getting Married)
  9. Another Way to Die”  (Quantum of Solace)
  10. Gran Torino”  (Gran Torino)

Analysis:  Oscars.org, when it existed, listed songs from different films.  In this year it lists 49 different songs from 33 films; I have seen 17 of those films, accounting for 29 songs.  With the new rule in place allowing no more than two nominations per film, only two films submit more than two songs: Repo! The Genetic Opera (which I haven’t seen) submits three while High School Musical 3 (which I have, just for the songs and they’re terrible) submits ten.
“Jai Ho” and “Falling Slowly” become the first back-to-back songs that earn my highest rating since 1998-99 and that means this year is still one of the better years for this category in the decade, though weaker than each of the previous two years.  Since I got my current computer in August of 2009, the only Oscar eligible song (from any year in history) that I have played on my iTunes more than “Jai Ho” is “Song of the Lonely Mountain”.
The Oscar Score is a fantastic 95.7, the only time the score has broken 90 since a perfect 100 back in 1949.

  • Best Animated Film:
  1. Wall-E  **
  2. Waltz with Bashir  *
  3. Kung Fu Panda  *

Analysis:  Wall-E is the second best winner in the history of the category, behind only Spirited Away.  Waltz with Bashir, on the other hand, is the weakest #2 in this category since 2000.
This is the second of four straight wins for Pixar.  It’s the sixth straight year without a Nighthawk nomination for a Disney produced film, tying their longest streak in history (71-76 and 82-87).  DreamWorks earns its first nomination in four years.
For much more on everything about this category go here.

  • Best Foreign Film:
  1. Let the Right One In  **
  2. Revanche
  3. I’ve Loved You So Long  *
  4. A Christmas Tale
  5. Summer Hours
  6. The Good, the Bad, the Weird
  7. Waltz with Bashir  **
  8. Ponyo
  9. Gomorrah  *
  10. Everlasting Moments
  11. A Woman in Berlin

note:  Films in orange were submitted to the Academy but not nominated.  Films in green were semi-finalists.
Analysis:  Though Waltz with Bashir and Let the Right One In tie for the Consensus win they would have finished a distant 3rd in 2007 and fourth in 2009.
Austria earns just its second nomination.  It’s the 13th win for Sweden but the first since 1944 that wasn’t directed by Ingmar Bergman.  The other three nominations all go to France, the first time any country has earned three nominations since France in 1983.  This is the last of 11 straight years with a nomination from France.  None of the directors have earned a Nighthawk nom before and as of mid 2017, none have earned another since.
The Top 5 is weaker than the previous two years and is only one point better than 2005, narrowly escaping the bottom spot for the decade.  The Top 10, on the other hand, is the best in four years.  That’s because Let the Right One In is the weakest winner since 1996 but it’s the first time in four years I have a full 10 contenders on my list.

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.

  • Slumdog Millionaire  (485)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound, Art Direction, Sound Editing, Original Song, Original Song
  • The Dark Knight   (470)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound, Art Direction, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Makeup
  • Milk  (375)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Art Direction, Costume Design
  • Revolutionary Road  (370)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Art Direction, Costume Design
  • Wall-E  (270)
    • Picture, Original Screenplay, Editing, Original Score, Sound, Sound Editing, Original Song, Animated Film
  • Doubt  (135)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Rachel Getting Married  (105)
    • Original Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actress
  • I’ve Loved You So Long  (95)
    • Original Screenplay, Actress, Foreign Film
  • Let the Right One In  (95)
    • Director, Makeup, Foreign Film
  • Iron Man  (80)
    • Sound, Visual Effects, Sound Editing
  • Happy-Go-Lucky  (75)
    • Original Screenplay, Actress
  • The Wrestler  (75)
    • Actor, Supporting Actress, Original Song
  • The Visitor  (65)
    • Actor, Supporting Actress
  • OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies  (60)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Foreign Film (2006)
  • Vicky Cristina Barcelona  (60)
    • Supporting Actress
  • Quantum of Solace  (60)
    • Sound, Visual Effects, Sound Editing
  • The Duchess  (50)
    • Art Direction, Costume Design
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button  (45)
    • Visual Effects, Costume Design, Makeup
  • Australia  (40)
    • Cinematography, Costume Design
  • The Reader  (35)
    • Actress
  • Burn After Reading  (30)
    • Supporting Actor
  • A Christmas Tale  (20)
    • Foreign Film
  • Kung Fu Panda  (20)
    • Animated Film
  • Waltz with Bashir  (20)
    • Animated Film
  • The Incredible Hulk  (20)
    • Visual Effects
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian  (10)
    • Makeup
  • Hellboy II: The Golden Army  (10)
    • Makeup
  • Hamlet 2  (10)
    • Original Song

Analysis:  The winners, as a whole, are the weakest since 1998, but better than they will be in each of the next four years.  The #2 finishers, as a whole, are the weakest since 1995.  As you can guess with so many of the categories doing poorly, this is the weakest for Tech categories, as a whole, since 2000, the weakest for Acting categories, as a whole, since 1992, the weakest for the major categories since 1998 and the weakest for all categories, as a whole, since 1998.  This is the start of a trend actually, as the five years that follow will be about the same, way weaker than the seven years that preceded this one.

Best Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • In Bruges

Analysis:  My #11 film, which is high for this, but it’s ***.5, not ****.  It has three Top 8 finishes, peaking at #6 in Editing.

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

  • Paranoid Park

Biggest Awards Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • Frost/Nixon

Analysis:  I made clear my feelings on this film in the review.  It earned 28 nominations across the board, but perhaps fittingly, failed to win any of them setting a new record (shattering the 20 for The Sixth Sense).  In fact, Frost/Nixon and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button both did what had only been done once before: earned Picture, Director and Screenplay nominations from all 5 major groups (Oscars, BAFTAs, guilds, Globes, BFCA) and Actor as well for good measure and didn’t win any of those nominations.  Button at least won 8 other awards, all in Tech categories and also earned three Nighthawk noms, all in Tech categories.

Nighthawk Golden Globes:

Drama:

  • Best Picture
  1. Slumdog Millionaire
  2. The Dark Knight
  3. Milk
  4. Revolutionary Road
  5. Rachel Getting Married

Analysis:  Rachel Getting Married is the weakest #5 film since 2000.  The Top 5 is also the weakest since 2000.
All five of these are **** (though there is a big drop between #4 and 5) and there are three more **** films: Let the Right One In, I’ve Loved You So Long, The Visitor.  There are then a wide array of ***.5 films: Doubt, A Christmas Tale, The Reader, The Wrestler, Changeling, Paranoid Park, Frozen River, Gran Torino, Australia, Waltz with Bashir, Quantum of Solace, Appaloosa and Gomorrah.

  • Best Director
  1. Danny Boyle  (Slumdog Millionaire)
  2. Christopher Nolan  (The Dark Knight)
  3. Gus Van Sant  (Milk)
  4. Sam Mendes  (Revolutionary Road)
  5. Tomas Alfredson  (Let the Right One In)

Analysis:  This is the only Drama nom for Boyle and Van Sant, the first for Alfredson and the second for Nolan and Mendes.
The Top 5 is the weakest for Drama since 2000.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Slumdog Millionaire
  2. The Dark Knight
  3. Revolutionary Road
  4. Doubt
  5. Let the Right One In

Analysis:  Christopher Nolan earns his fifth Drama writing nom.
The weakest Top 5 in Drama since 1999.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Milk
  2. Rachel Getting Married
  3. I’ve Loved You So Long
  4. The Visitor
  5. A Christmas Tale
  • Best Actor:
  1. Sean Penn  (Milk)
  2. Leonardo DiCarpio  (Revolutionary Road)
  3. Mickey Rourke  (The Wrestler)
  4. Christian Bale  (The Dark Knight)
  5. Richard Jenkins  (The Visitor)

Analysis:  These are the only Drama noms for Rourke and Jenkins, the third for Penn, the third for Bale and the fourth for DiCaprio.
The weakest Top 5 in Drama since 2000.

  • Best Actress
  1. Kate Winslet  (Revolutionary Road)
  2. Anne Hathaway  (Rachel Getting Married)
  3. Kristin Scott-Thomas  (I’ve Loved You So Long)
  4. Kate Winslet  (The Reader)
  5. Meryl Streep  (Doubt)

Analysis:  This is the only Drama for Scott-Thomas and the second for Hathaway.  It’s the seventh and eighth for Winslet (and her third win) and she’s now in the Top 10 with 355 points.  Streep is still in 2nd place with 565 points and this is her 13th nom.
The strength of the acting categories, this Top 5 is actually tied with several other years for the 2nd best Top 5 ever in Drama.
Winslet won the Globe for The Reader in Supporting.  I feel I should point out that if Winslet was in Supporting, the fifth nominee would be Angelina Jolie for Changeling who was also the fifth Globe nominee, meaning I agreed with all the nominees in both lead Actress categories at the Globes this year.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Heath Ledger  (The Dark Knight)
  2. Philip Seymour Hoffman  (Doubt)
  3. Emile Hirsch  (Milk)
  4. Josh Brolin  (Milk)
  5. Gary Oldman  (The Dark Knight)

Analysis:  These are the only Drama noms for Hirsch and Brolin, the first for Oldman, the second for Hoffman and the second for Ledger (also his second win).

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Amy Adams  (Doubt)
  2. Debra Winger  (Rachel Getting Married)
  3. Marisa Tomei  (The Wrestler)
  4. Hiam Abbass  (The Visitor)
  5. Rosemarie DeWitt  (Rachel Getting Married)

Analysis:  These are the only Drama noms for Abbass and DeWitt, the second for Adams, the third for Tomei and the fourth for Winger.
The weakest Top 5 in Drama in six years and Adams is the weakest winner since 1999.

  • Milk  (305)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor
  • Slumdog Millionaire  (270)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay
  • The Dark Knight  (260)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor
  • Revolutionary Road  (240)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress
  • Rachel Getting Married  (185)
    • Picture, Original Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress
  • Doubt  (165)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress
  • The Visitor  (105)
    • Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Let the Right One In  (85)
    • Director, Adapted Screenplay
  • I’ve Loved You So Long  (75)
    • Original Screenplay, Actress
  • The Wrestler  (65)
    • Actor, Supporting Actress
  • A Christmas Tale  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • The Reader  (35)
    • Actress

Analysis:  Acting is at its weakest since 2000 as are the major categories.

Best Drama Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • Changeling

Analysis:  My #19 film and my #13 Drama.  It comes closest in Actress, where it finishes in 6th.

Comedy / Musical:

  • Best Picture
  1. Wall-E
  2. Happy-Go-Lucky
  3. In Bruges
  4. Iron Man
  5. Burn After Reading

Analysis:  Not a good sign for Comedy when the best film (by a long way – there is an eight point drop between #1 and 2, the most since 1986) is an Animated Film which won’t figure into the directing or acting categories.  Wall-E is as good as any winner from 2002 to 2015 but Happy-Go-Lucky is the weakest #2 since 1990 and In Bruges the weakest since 1995.  The Top 5 is a little better than 2006 but still the second weakest since 1995.
Wall-E‘s Globe win was for Animated Film, making it ineligible for Picture.
Only the top two films are **** though the other three are high ***.5.  Vicky Cristina Barcelona (which won the Globe) just misses on the #6 spot and is the only other high ***.5.  After that we drop to mid to low ***.5 with the rest of the list: OSS 117: Cairo Nest of Spies, W, Kung Fu Panda.

  • Best Director
  1. Mike Leigh  (Happy-Go-Lucky)
  2. Joel and Ethan Coen  (Burn After Reading)
  3. Martin McDonagh  (In Bruges)
  4. Woody Allen  (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
  5. Jon Favreau  (Iron Man)

Analysis:  This is the only Comedy nom for McDonagh and Favreau and the second for Leigh.  It’s the eighth for the Coens and they move up to 405 points and move into a tie for 5th place with Preston Sturges.  It’s the 13th nom for Woody Allen, though his first in nine years, and he extends his record points to 720, 135 more than any other director.
The weakest Top 5 since 1995 and Leigh is the weakest winner since 1978.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies
  2. Iron Man

Analysis:  The weakest Top 5 since 1990 and the weakest winner since then as well.  There were 17 films that qualified in this category and only three others even earned ***: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Get Smart, Tinker Bell.  Just a terrible year.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Wall-E
  2. Happy-Go-Lucky
  3. In Bruges
  4. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
  5. Burn After Reading

Analysis:  Mike Leigh earns his third Comedy writing nom.  The Coens earn their sixth comedy writing noms.  Woody Allen earns his 22nd nom, though it’s his first in nine years, double the previous longest gap of his career.
A Top 5 weaker than the year before but better than most years.

  • Best Actor:
  1. Brendan Gleeson  (In Bruges)
  2. Josh Brolin  (W)
  3. Javier Bardem  (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
  4. Colin Farrell  (In Bruges)
  5. Jean Dujardin  (OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies)

Analysis:  These are the only Comedy noms for Bardem and Farrell, the first for Gleeson, Brolin and Dujardin.
The weakest Top 5 since 2001 and Gleeson is the weakest winner since 1990.

  • Best Actress
  1. Sally Hawkins  (Happy-Go-Lucky)
  2. Frances McDormand  (Burn After Reading)
  3. Rebecca Hall  (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
  4. Meryl Streep  (Mamma Mia)
  5. Emma Thompson  (Last Chance Harvey)

Analysis:  This is the only Comedy nom for Hawkins and Hall.  It’s the fourth nom for McDormand, the fifth for Streep (moving her to 230 points and into the Top 10) and the sixth for Thompson (moving her up to 270 points).
A year after a new record Top 5, we get the weakest Top 5 since 1994.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Brad Pitt  (Burn After Reading)
  2. Robert Downey, Jr.  (Tropic Thunder)
  3. Eddie Marsan  (Happy-Go-Lucky)
  4. Tom Cruise  (Tropic Thunder)
  5. Ralph Fiennes  (In Bruges)

Analysis:  This is the only Comedy nom for Eddie Marsan (and there’s nothing funny about his performance) and also the only one for Pitt (whose performance is hilarious).  It’s the first for Fiennes, the third for Downey and the third for Cruise.
Surprisingly, the best Top 5 in four years.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Penelope Cruz  (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
  2. Tilda Swinton  (Burn After Reading)
  3. Christine Baranski  (Mamma Mia)

Analysis:  These are the only Comedy noms for Swinton and Baranski.  It’s the second nom (and win) for Cruz.
The weakest Top 5 since 1993 when there was one nominee.

  • Happy-Go-Lucky  (295)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actor
  • In Bruges  (270)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Actor, Supporting Actor
  • Burn After Reading  (250)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Vicky Cristina Barcelona  (230)
    • Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress
  • Wall-E  (180)
    • Picture, Original Screenplay
  • Iron Man  (135)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay
  • OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies  (115)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor
  • Mamma Mia  (65)
    • Actress, Supporting Actress
  • Tropic Thunder  (60)
    • Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor
  • W  (35)
    • Actor
  • Last Chance Harvey  (35)
    • Actress

Analysis:  Four fewer films than the year before as the strong ***.5 films dominate in the absence of **** films.  Acting is at its weakest since 1993 and the major categories the weakest since 1990.  As a whole, the weakest Comedy categories since 1990 and the second weakest since 1984.  Vicky Cristina Barcelona makes it in the Top 10 all-time for Globe Points Without a Picture Nom.

Best Comedy Not Nominated for any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • Kung Fu Panda

Analysis:  My #28 film and my #9 Comedy, it also comes in 6th in Original Screenplay.

Roundup for the Year in Film:

Eligible Films I Have Seen:  241

By Stars:

  • ****:  10
  • ***.5:  20
  • ***:  103
  • **.5:  48
  • **:  34
  • *.5:  7
  • *:  12
  • .5:  5
  • 0:  2
  • Average Film Score for the Year, out of 100:  58.86

Analysis:  The average plummets, dropping almost four points.  That’s because the number of films in all the levels of *** or higher drop while almost all of the levels below *** go up, in spite of fewer overall films (there is one fewer *.5 and two fewer .5).  The percentage of films at *** or better drops to 55%, ten percent lower than the year before and the lowest since 1987.  What’s more, the films at ** or lower account for almost a full quarter of all films, the most since 1996.  The overall average drops below 60 for the first time since 2000 and is the lowest since 1987 and is the lowest ever outside the 70’s and 80’s.  The number of **** films is the lowest since 1998 and this is only the second year since 1990 where the **** films account for less than 5% of the total films.

Oscar-Nominated Films I Have Not Seen:

  • none

Oscar Quality:

Best Picture:  A year after the 2nd best group of nominees in Oscar history, things take a big drop.  This year finishes at 52nd (out of 89), the worst finish of the century and the third worst finish since 1970.  It finishes just behind 2000, even though that year only had two films that made my list and this one has three.  So why is it worse than 2000?  Well, the average nominee is only slightly better (81.8 to 80.8) in spite of having three films above *** but The Reader‘s twelve point advantage over Chocolat is negated somewhat by Slumdog finishing three points behind Crouching Tiger, Milk finishing one point behind Traffic and Benjamin Button three points behind Gladiator (Frost/Nixon and Erin Brockovich have the same rating and cancel each other out).  However, because of the way films are bunched, that means while The Reader has an 81 point rank advantage, Frost/Nixon has a six point deficit, Milk has a 24 point deficit, Button has a 27 point deficit and Slumdog has an astounding 68 point deficit which means the average rank is 8.8 points lower than in 2000 and that’s enough to make this year worse.

The Winners:  This would be a great year with one exception: Best Foreign Film where they picked the 64th best film.  So, the overall average is 5.00 but if you take out Foreign Film it would drop all the way to 1.80 which would be the second best ever.  The only other category to not make the Top 5 with their winner is Art Direction which is 6th and only Actress, Sound and Visual Effects are also outside the top two.  This is reflected better among the nominees, where the average winner is a very strong 1.65.  In an astounding 12 categories, I completely agree with the Oscar winner, tied for the 3rd most all-time and tied for the most post-1961.

The Nominees:  The major nominations for Frost/Nixon (Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Editing) and Benjamin Button (Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actress, Editing) that don’t make my list at all are what keep this from being a great year.  They reduce the major categories Oscar Score to 60.1 (the worst since 1995), the acting to 85.0 (the worst since 2001 – it’s the first time since 2003 that only acting category breaks 90 and the first time since 2001 that only two break 80) and they hold the Tech score at 85.6 in spite of amazing finishes in almost all the other Tech categories.  The overall Oscar Score is 80.0 which is still historically very good but it could have been great if they hadn’t fallen so hard for those two films.

Golden Globe Best Picture – Comedy / Musical:  This is the final of four strange years (1982, 1992, 1994, 2008) in which four of the Globe nominees rank in the Top 150 all-time (out of 334) and the fifth nominee isn’t in the Top 300.  This is the weakest of the four years, not because Mamma Mia is so terrible (it is, but is actually better than Pret-a-Porter, the 1994 film in this position) but because only one film reaches **** and that just barely reaches it, so while all of the other nominees rank in the Top 150, none of them rank in the Top 85.  What we do get in this year (which ranks at #24, one spot below 1992) is four nominees in a very tight range (Happy-Go-Lucky, In Bruges, Burn After Reading, Vicky Cristina Barcelona all range between #86 and #102) and one way below (#323).  This is also a strange year because it’s the second weakest year of the decade so far (seven of the previous eight years are in the Top 20 and four are in the Top 10) but is much better than either of the two years about to follow it which will be the two worst in over 30 years.

Top 5 Films of the Year:

1  –  Slumdog Millionaire  (reviewed here)

2  –  The Dark Knight  (dir. Christopher Nolan)

I am deliberately not reviewing the film because you’ll get a full review of it in less than a couple of months.

3  –  Wall-E  (reviewed here)

4  –  Milk  (reviewed here)

5  –  Revolutionary Road  (reviewed here)

The Razzies:  I won’t argue with anything in this year.  It’s true that my Worst Film of the Year wasn’t nominated but my #2, 3, 4 and 5 all were (as well as two others I gave * to).  They gave the Razzie to The Love Guru, which frankly deserved it for the debacle it was and they nominated The Hottie and the Nottie, Meet the Spartans, Disaster Movie (those two together as one nominee), In the Name of the King and The Happening.  The six nominees average a 6.8.

5 Worst Films  (#1 being the worst):

  1. Death Race
  2. The Hottie and the Nottie
  3. Meet the Spartans
  4. Disaster Movie
  5. The Love Guru

note:  I will mention this tidbit.  I did this list and a few months later, I recorded The Love Guru on the DVR, figuring it had to be the worst film of the year and that I would have to re-watch it.  Imagine my surprise when I looked at my own list and saw it only ranked 5th.  That’s how bad this year was.  Although, to be fair, there are only two more .5 films (House of Usher, Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay).
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: Beverly Hills Chihuahua (I turned to V during a trailer for that before The Dark Knight and said “And Terry Gilliam can’t get films financed?”), College Road Trip, Marley & Me, Meet Dave, Punisher: War Zone, Rambo, Run Fat Boy Run, Saw V, 27 Dresses, Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns, Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys, Witless Protection.  Just remember – those are just the films that I remember well enough to know what they are; it doesn’t mean some other crappy movie that I’ve forgotten isn’t also something I skipped.

It was a terrible film before, but I know, let’s remake and make it even more morally vacant.

Death Race  (dir. Paul W.S. Anderson)

My mother gets people confused.  I am constantly explaining which one is Jim Broadbent and which one is Hugh Bonneville even though they are so different in age that in Iris they played the same character at different ages and that Broadbent has been around for ages and Bonneville was still fairly little known outside of Britain before Downton Abbey.  She can’t remember which one is Jimmy Fallon and which one is Jimmy Kimmell even though she likes one and doesn’t like the other (“Which one has the feud with Matt Damon?” she will ask, knowing she doesn’t like that one).  Imagine if she watched a lot more films.  She would probably confuse Paul Thomas (P.T.) Anderson, one of the greatest directors of all-time with Paul W.S. Anderson, who is, technically, I suppose, a director, though he hasn’t really done anything to qualify for that distinction.

Let’s look at one scene from Death Race, his piece of shit movie without a moral compass in which prisoners in 2012 (yeah, why bother going far into the future for this ridiculousness?) drive in, you guessed it, a death race to vie for their freedom.  In this scene, the main convict, played by Jason Statham, is trying to find out if his predecessor was killed or died by accident and he’s questioning his navigator, who, and I will just say this, looks far too sexy for someone in prison.  For some utterly insane reason, as this conversation goes on, the camera keeps zooming in, then back, then in, then moves around and then back in or maybe out.  It makes you wonder if the cinematographer was having some sort of seizure and that no one was noticing because they were all too busy trying to focus on Statham trying to emote.  What on earth was anyone thinking allowing this scene into the finished film as filmed?

But most of the film is like that.  Roger Ebert, in his half-star review of the film (too generous) commented “Walking out, I had the impression I had just seen the video game and was still waiting for the movie.”  That’s because the film plays up like it’s a video game, with scores moving around and graphics that come straight from video games.  It’s supposed to be what people watching the Death Race are seeing on the screen but have we reached a point where we really think that people would sit and watch races in which people actually die if they fail?  The idea of this that goes along with this film is what helps drop this film on my rating scale to zero stars.  It’s not just a horrible film; it’s also a morally absent film.

Now I want to finish with a word about Jason Statham.  He’s not the worst thing about the film.  It also has Joan Allen in the worst performance of her career (and you can’t even blame the character because she does so much more with a similar character in the Bourne films) and a performance from Jason Clarke so bad you wonder how his career could have survived long enough for him to even be in Zero Dark Thirty, let alone be good in it.  But Statham is the star and it’s interesting because I watched this film the same weekend that I finally saw Allied.  I mention that because Statham is the anti-Brad Pitt.  Statham is a terrible actor; he can’t emote worth a damn, so he’s made for movies like this and Crank and Transporter.  But Statham has charisma and presence, so he works on camera and you can get by without the acting, the way so many stars have.  Pitt, on the other hand, is an extremely talented actor when people let him act but he has no presence on screen.  When he tries to be the big star in films like Seven, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Allied, he’s a disaster.  But when he’s allowed to sink into a character like in 12 Monkeys, the Ocean’s films, Burn After Reading or Moneyball, he’s one of the best in the business.  So, given that this movie needs a star and not actual acting, I suppose we can just be glad they cast Statham and not Pitt.

Points:

  • Most Nighthawk Nominations:  The Dark Knight  (13)
  • Most Nighthawk Awards:  Slumdog Millionaire  (6)
  • Most Nighthawk Points:  Slumdog Millionaire  (485)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Award:  Hamlet 2
  • 2nd Place Award:  The Dark Knight  (Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Art Direction, Visual Effects)
  • 6th Place Award:  Rachel Getting Married  (Picture, Director, Supporting Actress)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Nominations:  The Dark Knight / Milk  (6)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Awards:  Slumdog Millionaire  (3)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Points:  Milk  (305)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Drama Award:  The Wrestler
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Nominations:  In Bruges / Burn After Reading  (6)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Awards:  Wall-E / Happy-Go-Lucky  (2)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Points:  Happy-Go-Lucky  (280)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Comedy Award:  Mamma Mia

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  /  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  (950)
  • 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:  102 (56)  –  Slumdog Millionaire  (65.9)
  • Foreign:  90  –  Let the Right One In  (65.8)
  • Comedy:  45 (13)  –  Happy-Go-Lucky  (50.9)
  • Kids:  20 (1)  –  Wall-E  (55.5)
  • Action:  12 (1)  –  The Dark Knight  (48)
  • Horror:  12 (2)  –  Let the Right One In  (37)
  • Fantasy:  11 (4)  –  Hancock  (65)
  • Suspense:  9 (1)  –  Body of Lies  (51.1)
  • War:  8 (5)  –  A Christmas Tale  (70.4)
  • Crime:  8 (3)  –  In Bruges  (64.1)
  • Musical:  7 (2)  –  Love Songs  (57.9)
  • Sci-Fi:  3  –  Timecrimes  (36)
  • Western:  2 (1)  –  Appaloosa  (61)
  • Mystery:  1 (1)  –  Tell No One  (74)
  • Adventure:  0

Analysis:  The 12 Action films are the most since 1994 and the average is the lowest since 2001.  It’s the first year without an Adventure film since 1973 and the first year missing a film of any genre since 2003.  The 45 Comedies are the most since 2001; the average is the worst since 1981 and second worst ever.  The 102 Dramas are the fewest in five years as are the 90 Foreign films.  The 11 Fantasies are the most to-date.  The 20 Kids films are the second most to-date.  The Sci-Fi average is the worst since 2000.
There are 6 Dramas in the Top 10, the most since 1997.  There are 11 Dramas in the Top 20, the most since 1995.  For the first time since 2000 there are no Fantasies in the Top 20.

Studio Note:  Paramount leads the way with 16 films, followed by IFC with 14 and Universal with 13.  Most of the majors are terrible with only Warners and Disney managing an average above 60.  Columbia averages 48.82, the worst since 2000.  Universal averages a 50.92, its worst in seven years.  Fox averages a 45.33, its worst ever (by a few points) in spite of winning the Nighthawk.  Of the 12 Fox films, only the two Fox Searchlight films (Slumdog, Wrestler) and Australia make the Top 150 for the year.  No major has more than one film in the Top 10 or more than two films in the Top 20.  The only studio with more than one Top 10 film is Sony Pictures Classics (Rachel Getting Married, I’ve Loved You So Long) and the only one with more than two Top 20 films is Focus Features (Milk, In Bruges, Burn After Reading).  GKIDS, Summit Entertainment and Music Box Films all have their first films in this year.

94 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 semi-finalists, three asteriskes were nominated, four asterisks won the Oscar):

  • 1920  (Bhatt, India)
  • Aha!  (Nirjhar, Bangladesh)  *
  • The Baader Meinhof Complex  (Edel, Germany)  ***
  • Blind Mountain  (Yang, China)
  • The Blind Sunflowers  (Cuerda, Spain)  *
  • Cape No. 7  (Wei, Taiwan)  *
  • Captain Abu Reed  (Matalga, Jordan)  *
  • The Chaser  (Na, South Korea)
  • Che  (Soderbergh, USA)
  • A Christmas Tale  (Desplechin, France)
  • The Class  (Cantet, France)  ***
  • Correction  (Anastopoulos, Greece)  *
  • Cossings  (Kim, South Korea)  *
  • Defenders of Riga  (Grauba, Latvia)  *
  • Departures  (Takita, Japan)  ****
  • Dog Eat Dog  (Moreno, Colombia)  *
  • Dostana  (Mansukhani, India)
  • Dunya & Desie  (Nechushtan, Netherlands)  *
  • Eldorado  (Lanners, Belgium)  *
  • Everlasting Moments  (Troell, Sweden)  **
  • Fashion  (Bhandarkar, India)
  • Fears of the Dark  (Burns, France)
  • Fortress  (Nacafzada, Azerbaijan)  *
  • Gangster’s Paradise: Jerusalema  (Ziman, South Africa)  *
  • The Girl Who Leapt Through Time  (Hosoda, Japan)
  • Gomorrah  (Garrone, Italy)  *
  • The Good, the Bad, the Weird  (Kim, South Korea)
  • Goodbye Mothers  (Ismail, Morocco)  *
  • The Headless Woman  (Martel, Argentina)
  • I Am from Titov Veles  (Mitevska, Macedonia)  *
  • I’ve Loved You So Long  (Claudel, France)
  • Illusion of Fear  (Kiriyenko, Ukraine)  *
  • Iska’s Journey  (Bollok, Hungary)  *
  • JCVD  (El Mechri, Belgium)
  • Jellyfish  (Geffen / Keret, Israel)
  • Last Stop 174  (Barreto, Brazil)  *
  • Let it Rain  (Jaoui, France)
  • Let the Right One In  (Alfredson, Sweden)
  • Lion’s Den  (Trapero, Argentina)  *
  • Liverpool  (Alonso, Argentina)
  • Lorna’s Silence  (Dardenne, Belgium)
  • Louise Hires a Contract Killer  (Delepine / Kervern, France)
  • Love of Siam  (Sakveerakul, Thailand)  *
  • Love Songs  (Honore, France)
  • Masquerades  (Salem, Algeria)  *
  • Mermaid  (Melikyan, Russia)  *
  • Mia and the Migoo  (Girerd, France)
  • Mid-August Lunch  (Di Gregorio, Italy)
  • My Darling of the Mountains  (Ishii, Japan)
  • My Father My Lord  (Volach, Israel)
  • The Necessities of Life  (Pilon, Canada)  **
  • No One’s Son  (Ostojic, Croatia)  *
  • North Face  (Stolzll, Germany)
  • O’Horten  (Hamer, Norway)  *
  • Our Beloved Month of August  (Gomes, Portugal)  *
  • Painted Skin  (Chan, Hong Kong)  *
  • Ploning  (Garcia, Philippines)  *
  • Ponyo  (Miyazaki, Japan)
  • The Pool  (Smith, USA)
  • Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi  (Chopra, India)
  • Ramchand Pakistani  (Jabbar, Pakistan)
  • Red Cliff  (Woo, China)
  • The Rest is Silence  (Caranfil, Romania)  *
  • Revanche  (Spielmann, Austria)  ***
  • Salt of This Sea  (Jacir, Palestine)  *
  • Seraphine  (Provost, France)
  • Serbis  (Mendoza, Philippines)
  • The Sky Crawlers  (Oshii, Japan)
  • Snow  (Begic, Bosnia)  *
  • The Song of Sparrows  (Majidi, Iran)  *
  • The Sorrow of Mrs Schneider  (Milkani, Albania)  *
  • Still Walking  (Koreeda, Japan)
  • The Stoning of Soraya M  (Nowrasteh, USA)
  • Summer Hours  (Assayas, France)
  • Sword of the Stranger  (Ando, Japan)
  • Taara Zameen Par  (Khan, India)  *
  • Tear This Heart Out  (Sneider, Mexico)  **
  • Teza  (Gerima, Ethiopia)
  • Three Monkeys  (Ceylan, Turkey)  **
  • Tokyo Sonata  (Kurosawa, Japan)
  • Tony Manero  (Larrain, Chile)  *
  • Treeless Mountain  (Kim, South Korea)
  • Tulpan  (Dvortsevoy, Kazakhstan)  *
  • Tutta la vita davanti  (Virzi, Italy)
  • Under the Bombs  (Aractingi, Lebanon)  *
  • Waltz with Bashir  (Folman, Israel)  ***
  • White Night Wedding  (Kormakur, Iceland)  *
  • Wild Grass  (Resnais, France)
  • The Window  (Sorin, Argentina)
  • A Woman in Berlin  (Farberbock, Germany)
  • Wonderful Town  (Assaret, Thailand)
  • Worlds Apart  (Oplev, Denmark)  *
  • Yella  (Petzold, Germany)
  • Zift  (Gardev, Bulgaria)  *

Note:  An increase from the year before of eight, to the third highest total to-date.  I have my first films from Ethiopia and Jordan.  I have my first film from Latvia in 16 years and my first from Pakistan in 18 years.  For the first time, I have 3 US films (one each in Spanish, Hindi and Persian).  France leads (of course) with 11 films and Japan is back in second with 8, followed by 5 from India and 4 each from Germany, Argentina and South Korea.
Genre films are down, with no Action, Sci-Fi or Western films and Dramas and Comedies accounting for almost 3/4 of the films (69 of 94)

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

  • Afghanistan:  Opium War  (dir. Barmak)
  • Czech Republic:  The Karamazovs  (dir. Zelenka)
  • Egypt:  The Island  (dir. Arafa)
  • Estonia:  I Was Here  (dir. Vilbre)
  • Finland:  The Home of Dark Butterflies  (dir. Karukoski)
  • Georgia:  Mediator  (dir. Tsintsadze)
  • Kyrgyzstan:  Heavens Blue  (dir. Jaoul de Poncheville)
  • Lithuania:  Loss  (dir. Martinsons)
  • Luxembourg:  Nuits d’Arabie  (dir. Kieffer)
  • Poland:  Tricks  (dir. Jakimowski)
  • Serbia:  The Tour  (dir. Markovic)
  • Singapore:  My Magic  (dir. Khoo)
  • Slovenia:  Rooster’s Breakfast  (dir. Nabersnik)
  • Switzerland:  The Friend  (dir. Lewinsky)
  • United Kingdom:  Hope Eternal  (dir. Francis)
  • Uruguay:  Kill Them All  (dir. Schroeder)
  • Venezuela:  The Color of Fame  (dir. Bellame Palacios)

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 50 for 67 (78%) though that is my worst result since 2000.  The 67 submissions are again a new high, three higher than the year before and a high that will actually last for four years after four straight years of new highs.  There are more changes than usual as well, with 9 countries that submitted in 2007 not submitting this year (Cuba, Peru, Bolivia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Puerto Rico, Iraq, Australia, Ireland), all of which except Iraq and Ireland will be back in 2010.  If you do the math, of course, you realize that there are 12 countries in that skipped the previous year.  Those include five countries that had taken just the one year off (Algeria, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco and Lithuania), six countries that had longer gaps (South Africa, Palestine, Afghanistan, United Kingdom, Albania, Latvia) and one country submitting for the first time (Jordan).
This is my 1st miss (Kyrgyzstan, Singapore), 2nd (Lithuania, Uruguay), 3rd, (Afghanistan), 4th (Luxembourg, Poland), 5th (Czech Republic, Estonia, Serbia, UK), 6th (Egypt, Slovenia), 7th (Venezuela), 12th (Finland) and 14th (Switzerland)

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

  • Fate of Graduates  (1934)
  • The Straits of Love and Hate  (1937)
  • Sorrows of the Forbidden City  (1948)
  • Crying Ladies  (2004)
  • Funky Forest: The First Contact  (2005)
  • The Wayward Cloud  (2005)
  • Yaji and Kita: The Midnight Pilgrims  (2005)
  • Alice’s House  (2006)
  • Azur & Asmar: The Prince’s Quest  (2006)
  • Kenny  (2006)
  • Mister Lonely  (2006)
  • OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies  (2006)
  • Priceless  (2006)
  • Reprise  (2006)
  • Still Life  (2006)
  • Summer Palace  (2006)
  • Tell No One  (2006)
  • Times and Winds  (2006)
  • The Witnesses  (2006)
  • Alexandra  (2007)
  • August Evening  (2007)
  • Beaufort  (2007)
  • Ben X  (2007)
  • Boarding Gate  (2007)
  • Bob the Builder: On Site: Roads and Bridges  (2007)
  • Caramel  (2007)
  • Caucasia  (2007)
  • Closing the Ring  (2007)
  • The Counterfeiters  (2007)
  • The Duchess of Langeais  (2007)
  • The Edge of Heaven  (2007)
  • Flawless  (2007)
  • Flight of the Red Balloon  (2007)
  • Funny Games  (2007)
  • Heartbeat Detector  (2007)
  • I Served the King of England  (2007)
  • In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale  (2007)
  • Kabluey  (2007)
  • Katyn  (2007)
  • Kings  (2007)
  • La France  (2007)
  • Mongol  (2007)
  • Mother of Tears  (2007)
  • My Blueberry Nights  (2007)
  • My Brother is an Only Child  (2007)
  • Paranoid Park  (2007)
  • The Pope’s Toilet  (2007)
  • Roman de Gare  (2007)
  • The Romance of Astrea and Celadon  (2007)
  • Snow Angels  (2007)
  • Sukiyaki Western Django  (2007)
  • Timecrimes  (2007)
  • What We Do is Secret  (2007)
  • XXY  (2007)
  • The Year My Parents Went on Vacation  (2007)

Note:  Those three films at the top of the list are all Chinese films that were released this year by Cinema Epoch.  These 55 films average a 61.4 and the only two that are better than *** are Paranoid Park and OSS 117.

Films That Weren’t Eligible at the Oscars:

  • Alexandra
  • August Evening
  • Baghead
  • Beaufort
  • Ben X
  • Blind Mountain
  • Boarding Gate
  • Bob the Builder: On Site: Roads and Bridges
  • Caramel
  • Cassandra’s Dream
  • Chop Shop
  • A Christmas Tale
  • The Counterfeiters
  • Diary of the Dead
  • Dostana
  • The Duchess of Langeais
  • Fashion
  • Fears of the Dark
  • Flawless
  • Flight of the Red Balloon
  • Funky Forest: The First Contact
  • The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
  • House of Usher
  • I Served the King of England
  • In Search of a Midnight Kiss
  • In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale
  • Iska’s Journey
  • JCVD
  • Jellyfish
  • Katyn
  • Kenny
  • Liberty Kid
  • Mister Lonely
  • Mongol
  • Mother of Tears
  • My Brother is an Only Child
  • My Father My Lord
  • My Name is Bruce
  • OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies
  • Paranoid Park
  • Postal
  • Priceless
  • Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
  • Reprise
  • Roadside Romeo
  • Shotgun Stories
  • The Signal
  • Still Life
  • Stuck
  • Sukiyaki Western Django
  • Summer Palace
  • Tell No One
  • Thomas and Friends: The Great Discovery
  • Timecrimes
  • Times and Winds
  • Tinker Bell
  • Viva
  • What We Do is Secret
  • XXY
  • Yaji and Kita: The Midnight Pilgrims
  • The Year My Parents Went on Vacation
  • Yella

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.

Films Not Listed at Oscars.org:

  • Aha!
  • Azur & Asmar: The Prince’s Quest
  • Battle for Haditha
  • The Blind Sunflowers
  • Cape No. 7
  • Caucasia
  • The Chaser
  • Closing the Ring
  • Correction
  • Crossings
  • Crying Ladies
  • Defenders of Riga
  • Dunya & Desie
  • Fate of Graduates
  • Fortress
  • Goodbye Mothers
  • Heartbeat Detector
  • I Am from Titov Veles
  • Illusion of Fear
  • Killshot
  • Kings
  • La France
  • Let the Right One In
  • Love Songs
  • A Matador’s Mistress
  • Mermaid
  • My Darling of the Mountains
  • No One’s Son
  • Our Beloved Month of August
  • Painted Skin
  • Ploning
  • The Pope’s Toilet
  • Ramchand Pakistani
  • The Rest is Silence
  • The Romance of Astrea and Celadon
  • The Secret of the Grain
  • Snow
  • The Sorrow of Mrs. Schneider
  • Sorrows of the Forbidden City
  • The Straits of Love and Hate
  • Tutta la vita davanti
  • The Wayward Cloud
  • Wonderful Town
  • Worlds Apart

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:

  • The Baader Meinhof Complex  (2009)
  • The Brothers Bloom  (2009)
  • Departures  (2009)
  • Dog Eat Dog  (2009)
  • Eldorado  (2009)
  • Everlasting Moments  (2009)
  • Franklyn  (2009)
  • The Headless Woman  (2009)
  • Il Divo  (2009)
  • In the Loop  (2009)
  • Julia  (2009)
  • Last Stop 174  (2009)
  • Lion’s Den  (2009)
  • Liverpool  (2009)
  • Lorna’s Silence  (2009)
  • Love of Siam  (2009)
  • Masquerades  (2009)
  • The Necessities of Life  (2009)
  • O’Horten  (2009)
  • Paris 36  (2009)
  • Phoebe in Wonderland  (2009)
  • Ponyo  (2009)
  • Red Cliff  (2009)
  • Revanche  (2009)
  • Seraphine  (2009)
  • Serbis  (2009)
  • Somers Town  (2009)
  • The Song of Sparrows  (2009)
  • Still Walking  (2009)
  • The Stoning of Soraya M  (2009)
  • Summer Hours  (2009)
  • Tear This Heart Out  (2009)
  • Three Monkeys  (2009)
  • Tokyo Sonata  (2009)
  • Tony Manero  (2009)
  • Treeless Mountain  (2009)
  • Tulpan  (2009)
  • Two Lovers  (2009)
  • Under the Bombs  (2009)
  • White Night Wedding  (2009)
  • The Window  (2009)
  • A Woman in Berlin  (2009)
  • Zift  (2009)
  • Gangster’s Paradise: Jerusalema  (2010)
  • The Garden of Eden  (2010)
  • The Good, the Bad, the Weird  (2010)
  • Kisses  (2010)
  • Let it Rain  (2010)
  • Mid-August Lunch  (2010)
  • North Face  (2010)
  • Prince of Broadway  (2010)
  • Salt of This Sea  (2010)
  • Sita Sings the Blues  (2010)
  • The Square  (2010)
  • Teza  (2010)
  • Wild Grass  (2010)
  • 1920  (2011)
  • The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch  (2011)
  • Mia and the Migoo  (2011)

Note:  These 59 films average a 64.4.  There are only four films below **.5, two ** films (1920, Serbis) and two * films (The Garden of Eden, Franklyn).  There are several ***.5 films, though none are high ***.5. (Summer Hours, The Good the Bad the Weird, Ponyo, Everlasting Moments, A Woman in Berlin) and one **** film (Revanche).

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