“We set out to save the shire. And it has been saved. But for not for me.”

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category (or Globe, in the Globes section).  Films in blue were nominated.  Films (or directors) in olive are links to earlier posts that I don’t want to have show up in blue and be mistaken for a nominee.  Films with an asterisk (*) were Consensus nominees (a scale I put together based on the various awards) while those with a double asterisk (**) were the Consensus winners.

I’m listing the top 20 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King  **
  2. Mystic River  *
  3. Lost in Translation  *
  4. In America
  5. City of God
  6. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World  *
  7. Finding Nemo
  8. Kill Bill Volume 1
  9. A Mighty Wind
  10. Whale Rider
  11. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
  12. American Splendor  *
  13. Dirty Pretty Things
  14. The Station Agent
  15. Nowhere in Africa
  16. The Triplets of Belleville
  17. Tokyo Godfathers
  18. The Barbarian Invasions
  19. The Last Samurai
  20. 21 Grams

Analysis:  After three straight years where the Consensus race came down to less than 100 points, Return of the King almost doubles any other film.  Master and Commander, on the other hand, becomes another film to earn nominations from the five awards groups but win none of them.
The Top 10 is eight points lower than the year before and it still tied for the second best to-date (and third best ever).  The Top 20 is 14 points lower than 2002 and 13 points lower than 2001 but still the third best to-date.  The Top 5, though, is actually the best since 1996 and tied for the third best ever.
The first 18 films are **** films.  The last two are ***.5. (more…)

Bring on the cave troll.

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 (because that’s how many **** films there are) but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring  *
  2. The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain
  3. Moulin Rouge  *
  4. Mulholland Drive  **
  5. Memento
  6. Gosford Park
  7. In the Bedroom  *
  8. The Royal Tenenbaums
  9. Vanilla Sky
  10. Amores Perros
  11. The Man Who Wasn’t There
  12. The Others
  13. Ghost World
  14. Monster’s Ball
  15. A.I. Artificial Intelligence
  16. The Princess and the Warrior
  17. Black Hawk Down
  18. The Devil’s Backbone
  19. Monsters Inc.
  20. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

(more…)

swI have always been a proponent of the idea that I can separate what I think is brilliant from what I personally enjoy.  Let’s just look at 2015.  I think that Carol and The Revenant were the two best films of the year.  But if I’m going to sit and watch a movie from 2015, odds are it will be The Force Awakens (this is borne out by the fact that I’ve seen Carol twice, The Revenant all the way through once and The Force Awakens, at a modest count, 21 times complete plus the final 20 minutes about 15 more).

To that extent, I have finally culled together a list of my 100 Favorite Films, the ones I am most likely to sit still and watch, or at least not change the station if I come across them.  They’re not heavy Drama.  In fact, when I went through the genres, only one film on the entire list is one that I classify primarily as Drama (Casablanca).

It’s really hard to do this kind of list when you’ve seen as many films as I have (14,000+).  I put it together by going through year by year and adding films, and once I hit 100, knocking off the films at the bottom.  When I first read Veronica a list of 50 films, I then pointed out that those were the 50 I was about to delete because they didn’t make the list and she was stunned.  “But you love those films!” she pointed out.  “But I love the Top 100 even more,” I replied.  It was very, very tough.  Though they are easily two of the greatest directors of all-time if not the two greatest directors of all-time, not a single Kurosawa or Kubrick film ended up on the list.  There is no Bergman.  There is no David Lean.  The Ealing Comedies and the Hammer Horror, both of which I love so much I wrote about them only have one film each.  I did For Love of Film posts for James Bond (1 film) and Star Trek (2 films).  It’s really, really hard to narrow it all down. (more…)

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

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

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category (or Globe, in the Globes section).  Films in blue were nominated.  Films (or directors) in olive are links to earlier posts that I don’t want to have show up in blue and be mistaken for a nominee.  Films with an asterisk (*) were Consensus nominees (a scale I put together based on the various awards) while those with a double asterisk (**) were the Consensus winners.

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

Nighthawk Awards:

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

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

Not exactly a "meet cute". More of a "meet dirty, smelly and cramped".

Not exactly a “meet cute”. More of a “meet dirty, smelly and cramped”.

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category (or Globe, in the Globes section).  Films in blue were nominated.  Films (or directors) in olive are links to earlier posts that I don’t want to have show up in blue and be mistaken for a nominee.  Films with an asterisk (*) were Consensus nominees (a scale I put together based on the various awards) while those with a double asterisk (**) were the Consensus winners.

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

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Out of Sight  *
  2. Shakespeare in Love  *
  3. Saving Private Ryan  **
  4. The Big Lebowski
  5. Gods and Monsters  *
  6. The Truman Show
  7. Ringu
  8. Pleasantville
  9. Insomnia
  10. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Analysis:  Only the top 9 are ****.  As is discussed down below, this is not a strong year for great films but it is a very strong year for very good films.
With Out of Sight (NSFC, BSFC wins, BFCA nom) and Gods and Monsters (NBR win, Globe, PGA, BFCA noms) in instead of The Thin Red Line and Life is Beautiful, the Consensus nominees are a lot better than the Oscar nominees.
Out of Sight is a great film, but let’s be fair.  It would have finished 6th in 1996 and fifth in 1997.  The most recent year where it even would have finished second is 1988.  In spite of that, this Top 5 is one point better than 1995. (more…)

Probably my mother's favorite movie, at least in part because Chris Cooper actually plays the hero.

Probably my mother’s favorite movie, at least in part because Chris Cooper actually plays the hero.

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

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Lone Star
  2. Trainspotting
  3. The English Patient
  4. Fargo
  5. Hamlet
  6. Secrets & Lies
  7. Jerry Maguire
  8. In the Bleak Midwinter
  9. Cold Comfort Farm
  10. The Crucible
  11. Romeo + Juliet
  12. Emma

Analysis:  There are a lot of years that have a better #1 film than Lone Star.  But not many have a better #2 than Trainspotting.  Even fewer have a better #3 than The English Patient.  The Top three films are tied with several others years for third best to-date (behind 1946 and 1950).  But Fargo is the best #4 film to-date (actually, it’s almost certainly the best #4 film ever).  And only a handful of years have a #5 film as good as Hamlet.  As a result, this year is tied with 1946 for the best Top 4 to-date and Top 5 to-date (and, probably, all-time).  There is a three point drop after that, so it’s only the second best Top 6, then another two point drop.  But, because all 10 films are ****, it is in the 6th best Top 10 to-date, behind only 1989, 1960, 1994, 1962 and 1991.
One thing I must make mention of here.  I don’t count documentaries, as I have mentioned in the past.  That is particularly relevant in this year, a year in which I actually went to see two documentaries in the theater (The Celluloid Closet, Looking for Richard) and there are a couple of others which are phenomenal (When We Were Kings, Paradise Lost).  I went with 12 films because this is my whole list of **** films.
Two of these films rank among the films I have watched the most over the last 20 years (Trainspotting, In the Bleak Midwinter). (more…)

Astute readers will realize I have used this picture before. Being astute, they will also realize it's the perfect image to encompass the only film to sweep the big 5 at the Oscars that deserved all five.

Astute readers will realize I have used this picture before. Being astute, they will also realize it’s the perfect image to encompass the only film to sweep the big 5 at the Oscars and the Nighthawks.

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 12 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.  I’m going with 12 because most categories have at least that many, if not more on my list and they stay strong 12 deep.  In future years, it will probably even expand beyond 12.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. The Silence of the Lambs  **
  2. JFK  *
  3. Beauty and the Beast
  4. The Fisher King
  5. Boyz N the Hood
  6. Europa Europa
  7. The Commitments  *
  8. Grand Canyon
  9. Thelma & Louise
  10. Dead Again
  11. Homicide
  12. Barton Fink

Analysis:  All 12 of these films are **** as well as three others: The Killer, Truly Madly Deeply and City of Hope.  The Top 10 for this year are the third best to-date and the Top 20 are the best to-date (the rest of the Top 20 are Life is Sweet, Ju Dou, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Bugsy and La Femme Nikita).  The #6-10 films are the third best to-date and the #11-20 are the best in a single year so far (beaten out by the combined year of 1912-26).  Dead Again is the best #10 film since the combined year of 1912-26.
The Silence of the Lambs is the first Oscar winner I agree with since 1984.  It is also the first film to win four critics awards and go on to win the Oscar.  Even today, it is one of only four films to do that (Schindler’s List, No Country for Old Men, The Hurt Locker).  It is still in the Top 10 today of all critics winners with 1187 points and is one of only four films in history to earn at least 250 points from four different critics groups (GoodFellas, LA Confidential, The Social Network).
Since 2011, when I wrote my most recent review of JFK, I have had my view on what happened on November 22, 1963 changed considerably by reading all 1600+ pages of Vincent Bugliosi’s masterful Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, including going through a lot of the footnotes on the accompanying CD-ROM.  That Bugliosi’s book changed my mind about what happened on that day has not changed my mind about Stone’s film.  I think now what I thought then: “Stone isn’t really showing us an analysis of anything, no matter how many research notes he gives us.  He is using one particular case to explore history.”
This category earned a 71.8 Oscar Score, the highest in nine years. (more…)