We all got it comin, kid.

We all got it comin, kid.

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. Unforgiven  **
  2. The Crying Game  *
  3. The Player  *
  4. The Last of the Mohicans
  5. Howards End  *
  6. Reservoir Dogs
  7. Raise the Red Lantern
  8. Aladdin
  9. Flirting
  10. Singles

Analysis:  These are the only **** films.  There’s a four point drop from the #10 to the #11 film.  The #11 film is also an Oscar and Consensus nominee: A Few Good Men. (more…)

This is not gonna end well for anyone at the table.

This is not gonna end well for anyone at the table.

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. Alien
  2. Apocalypse Now  *
  3. All That Jazz
  4. Manhattan  *
  5. Picnic at Hanging Rock
  6. Being There
  7. Kramer vs. Kramer  **
  8. Breaking Away  *
  9. Love on the Run
  10. The Muppet Movie

Analysis:  Manhattan not only earns a Consensus nom but has the most Consensus points for any film to-date other than Day for Night to fail to earn an Oscar nomination (it won the BAFTA and NBR and earned a Globe nom).  It would be another 13 years before another film had more points without an Oscar nom (The Player) and it’s still tied for 8th most all-time.  All That Jazz is an oddity – the only film between 1974 and 1988 to earn an Oscar nom without any other Picture noms, but at least the Academy got that one right.
This is really a great group, especially the top 7.  The Top 10 is the 7th best to this date.  The first nine films are all **** and the #10 is a very high ***.5.  Actually, the list continues with three very high ***.5 (Life of Brian, Nosferatu, And Justice for All). (more…)

chaplin4

That wonderful final shot.

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.  Films in blue were nominated.  But remember, there’s still only eight categories at this point.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. City Lights
  2. Dracula
  3. The Public Enemy
  4. Le Million
  5. Earth

(more…)

Bela Lugosi with the lovely, but tragic Helen Chandler in Dracula (1931).

Bela Lugosi with the lovely, but tragic Helen Chandler in Dracula (1931).

My Top 6:

  1. Dracula
  2. Le Million
  3. The Front Page
  4. Animal Crackers
  5. Little Caesar
  6. The Criminal Code

Note:  So, this time I managed to get to six.  There is a long list of notable adaptations at the bottom, none of which managed to place high enough in my esteem to actually break into my contenders.  As it is, there is a significant difference between the top two (which are almost a tie) and all the rest of the scripts on the list. (more…)

One of the brilliant scenes in Murnau's Nosferatu that's not in the original source.

One of the brilliant scenes in Murnau’s Nosferatu that’s not in the original source.

My Top 5:

  1. Nosferatu
  2. L’Argent
  3. The Wind
  4. The Docks of New York
  5. Street Angel

Note:  There is only a top 5 for this year.  There were more than enough adapted screenplays to have a Top 10 if the quality of the scripts had merited it.  They do not.  And there wouldn’t even have been 5 if I hadn’t seen L’Argent last week. (more…)

Words guaranteed to bring a good (and gory) time.

When Star Wars was released in 1977, it had a lot of things going for it.  One of those things was the casting.  Diane Crittenden, Irene Lamb and Vic Ramos, the casting directors for the film had done their job perfectly.  We had three relative unknowns in the main lead roles.  But to supplement their performances, we had two great British actors.  The first, of course, was Sir Alec Guinness, already an Oscar winner, and, back in the 50’s, star of the Ealing Comedies, one of the best group of films ever created in a single genre by a single studio (see a future post).  But for the villain, they brought in Peter Cushing.  By this time, Guinness had been in 37 films (including two Best Picture winners and two Graham Greene adaptations) and Cushing had appeared in 83 films (including a different Best Picture winner and a different Graham Greene adaptation), but they had never done a film together (and wouldn’t in a sense here, either, because they never appear onscreen together).  Part of this was that while Guinness was rising with David Lean films and starring at Ealing, Cushing was further east, on the other side of Heathrow Airport, starring in another great group of films created in a single genre by a single studio.  He was one of the two key actors in the Hammer Horror films.  And rather appropriately, Christopher Lee, who would be his onscreen enemy in so many of these films, would eventually take over the role of Star Wars villain starting with Attack of the Clones.

There had been great Horror films before.  In fact, none of the films that Hammer would make would rival the best of the films produced by Universal between 1923 and 1935.  But while Universal had a great run of success with The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Phantom of the Opera, The Man Who Laughs, Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man and The Bride of Frankenstein, it trailed off badly after that.  There was also irony going on during that stretch.  While those films combined for one measly Oscar nomination (Bride of Frankenstein – Best Sound), it was Paramount’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde that would actually win a major Academy Award (Best Actor for 1932-33 – Frederic March).  There were a couple of other Horror gems during this time (Vampyr, King Kong), but after 1935, it all went south.  I have not seen a single Horror film released between 1935 and 1956 better than a mid *** except The Body Snatcher.  There were just endless sequels, getting worse and worse, as budgets got lower and lower and acting became nonexistent.  They weren’t even good entertainment anymore, they couldn’t frighten and they were just boring.

Then came 1957 and a film called The Curse of Frankenstein. (more…)

The wonderful Annotated editions of The Wizard of Oz and Classic Fairy Tales from W.W. Norton

Back in 2000, Norton, that wonderful publisher that has ruled the roost of critical editions for great works of literature for decades, released The Annotated Alice.  It was a large hardcover book, almost the size of a coffee-table book.  It had wonderful annotations throughout the text as well as wonderful illustrations throughout the entire text of both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.  It was not a brand new book, however.  It was a reprint of a book originally printed by Crown Publishers in 1960 (it has been printed both by Bramhall House and by Clarkson N. Potter – both of them were imprints of Crown, but I can’t tell what was published by which and when).  It was apparently the brainchild of Clarkson N. Potter, a publisher with some great ideas.  After Alice, he spent the next two decades culling some of the great works of literature and having them all printed in these large hardcover formats with illustrations and annotations throughout. (more…)