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…)

ran-1985-1You 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. Ran  *
  2. Blood Simple
  3. Kiss of the Spider Woman
  4. The Purple Rose of Cairo  *
  5. Brazil
  6. Witness  *
  7. Back to the Future
  8. The Color Purple  *
  9. After Hours
  10. A Private Function

Analysis:  It’s the fourth time that Kurosawa wins Best Picture at the Nighthawks, although Bergman has won it three times since Kurosawa won it last.
This is the strongest Top 5 in this category in five years, namely because Brazil is the best #5 film in five years.  Witness is the best #6 film in six years.  That strong top 5 means a low Oscar score (54.1 – the lowest since 1977 and second lowest since 1969).  The Oscar itself goes to Out of Africa, the worst choice since the 50’s; it’s the first film since 1974 to win without a single critics award.  But the Consensus Award goes to Prizzi’s Honor, which is my #12. (more…)

I always knew Alfonso had this film in him.  I never knew Sandra had this performance in her.

I always knew Alfonso had this film in him. I never knew Sandra had this performance in her.

My Top 20:

  1. Gravity
  2. The Wolf of Wall Street
  3. Inside Llewyn Davis
  4. American Hustle
  5. Nebraska
  6. Philomena
  7. 12 Years a Slave
  8. Blue is the Warmest Color
  9. Her
  10. Blue Jasmine
  11. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  12. Frozen
  13. Wadjda
  14. Prisoners
  15. The Hunt
  16. August: Osage County
  17. The World’s End
  18. In a World . . .
  19. Captain Phillips
  20. I’m So Excited

note:  There are only three films from this year that I haven’t seen that I have any expectation might eventually make it into my Top 20: The Wind Rises, The Past and The Great Beauty.

(more…)

hustleIn the history of the Golden Globes, only once has the Best Picture – Comedy category produced more than 2 Oscar nominees for Best Picture (that was in 1987, with Hope and Glory, Moonstruck and Broadcast News).  Today, though I had been hoping for 5, they went with 4.

You could argue that there are now more Best Picture nominees at the Academy Awards and so of course this happens.  And yet, in the first four years of the expanded Best Picture lineup, only 5 Globe Picture – Comedy nominees went on to the Oscar lineup.  There were 4 just from this year.

But here is the other big statistic, which I looked up last night, just in case it came true.  And it did.  This is the 86th annual Academy Awards.  In the first 85 years, 14 times a film was nominated in all four acting categories.  Those 14 films were directed by 14 different directors.  And now we have a 15th film – American Hustle.  And not only is American Hustle directed by a director who’s done this before, David O. Russell, but he did it last year!  Hell, last year was the first time in 31 years this happened.  And now Russell has done it in back-to-back years.  It’s truly astounding, and yet, I thought it might happen.

This might also put Jennifer Lawrence in the driver’s seat.  Only two of those 14 films failed to win an acting Oscar – My Man Godfrey and Sunset Boulevard.

As usual, I jotted things down.  I missed one in almost every category – Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Animated Film.  I’m stunned they passed on Inside Llewyn Davis and incredibly stunned they would pick the dreck of The Croods over Monsters University.  But I got Adapted Screenplay and Supporting Actress right and correctly picked Amy Adams, though I thought they would pass on Streep.  I also correctly got Leo over Redford, but missed on Bale instead of Hanks.

On to the trivia: (more…)

No matter what, it's the best soundtrack of the year.

No matter what, it’s the best soundtrack of the year.

For the last several years, I have been putting together a piece on Oscar trivia on the morning of the Oscar nominations and I will do so again this year.  In fact, my initial piece, in 2010, is the reason for the biggest day in this blog’s history – because it had a picture of Kathryn Bigelow, and on the night of the Oscar ceremony a month later, it got swept up in Google searches for her once she won and a blog which normally gets around 1000 hits a day suddenly had 8000 hits in the space of about 12 hours.  My previous pieces of Oscar trivia can be found here (2010), here (2011), here (2012) and here (2013).  I also did a piece on DGA trivia last year and the year before.

So, with a couple of days left before the Oscar nominations, I’ll throw up some trivia I have noticed about this year’s awards groups already. (more…)