“The probing fingers continued to move up and there was no way to stop them. Helplessly I stood there as his hands settled firmly upon the packets taped under my arms.” (p 7)

My Top 10

  1. Midnight Express
  2. Heaven Can Wait
  3. Watership Down
  4. Superman
  5. The Chess Players
  6. California Suite
  7. Invasion of the Body Snatchers
  8. Conflagration

Note:  There were originally 10 films on this list but after re-watching them (which I had to do anyway because they earned nominations from the WGA and Oscars), I cut both Same Time Next Year and Bloodbrothers. (more…)


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

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

One final happy moment from a very unhappy film.

One final beautiful moment from a very bleak film.

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 with an asterisk (*) were Consensus nominees (a scale I put together based on the various awards) while those with a double asterisk (**) were the Consensus winners.

I’m listing the top 10 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. The Deer Hunter  **
  2. Midnight Express  *
  3. Interiors
  4. Autumn Sonata
  5. Watership Down
  6. Heaven Can Wait  *
  7. The Ascent
  8. The Chess Players
  9. Superman
  10. Halloween

Analysis:  The Deer Hunter is the second weakest winner ever.  Not to-date, but ever (only The Informer is weaker and they only finished two spots apart in my Best Picture list).  It wouldn’t make the Top 5 in either of the next two years.  It wouldn’t even be the #2 film in any remaining year.  The Top 5 is the weakest since 1970.  This is the last year where the Top 10 doesn’t average a 90 (it averages an 89.5) and is the lowest in six years.
The Deer Hunter is the first War film since 1957 to win Best Picture.  Watership Down is the first Animated film since Bambi to earn a Best Picture nomination.  The first seven films are ****. (more…)

The rabbits prepare to defend their warren in Watership Down (1978) - the best animated film since the 50's

1970  –  1979

Total Films I’ve Seen:  755

Films That Make the Top 5 in Any Category:  38

Best Film Not to Make the Top 5 in Any Category:  Mean Streets

Film of the Decade:  The Godfather

Worst Film of the Decade:  Caligula

Worst Best Picture Nominee of the Decade:  Love Story

Worst Film of the Decade Made by a Top 100 Director:  The Brood (more…)

One of the quieter moments between Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro in The Deer Hunter (1978)

The 51st annual Academy Awards, for the film year 1978.  The nominations were announced on February 20, 1979 and the awards were held on April 9, 1979.

Best Picture:  The Deer Hunter

  • Midnight Express
  • Heaven Can Wait
  • Coming Home
  • An Unmarried Woman

Most Surprising Omission:  Interiors

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  Autumn Sonata

Best Eligible English-Language Film Not Nominated:  Interiors

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #41 (more…)

The closing "God Bless America" scene in The Deer Hunter

My Top 20:

  1. The Deer Hunter
  2. Midnight Express
  3. Autumn Sonata
  4. Interiors
  5. Watership Down
  6. The Ascent
  7. Heaven Can Wait
  8. The Chess Players
  9. Superman
  10. Coming Home
  11. Halloween
  12. Pretty Baby
  13. Invasion of the Body Snatchers
  14. California Suite
  15. Get Out Your Handkerchiefs
  16. Bread and Chocolate
  17. Animal House
  18. The Buddy Holly Story
  19. Days of Heaven
  20. The Last Wave (more…)