Back in 2009, I wrote a series of posts about each of the categories that have awards at the Oscars.  I organized it by category because almost all things written about the Oscars group them by years and never discussed the categories as a whole.  In 2010, I went back to that series and added the 2009 nominees to the original posts (you can find that original post here, but this post supersedes everything in it).  Once I concluded that series (it ran every day from the day of the nominations to the day of the Oscars) I would go on to write a series about all the films ever nominated for Best Picture, writing a review of every nominee because it didn’t seem like anyone had ever done that.  When that ended (in early 2013), I went on to other things, including beginning my Nighthawk Awards, my list of my own personal awards from each year.  I have been doing that series for four years now and am rapidly approaching the end (if I did as many years in 2017 as I did in 2016, I would finish it this year).  So, partially in an effort to put off the end of that series, I am starting this series.  This is essentially the same as the Best Picture series, except with the category of Best Animated Film.  So now, just before I post each Nighthawk Awards, starting with 2001, I will do a separate piece on the nominees for Best Animated Film.  This post is going up after the 2000 post because that was when the Academy finally decided to create this category, probably inspired, in part by the run of great animated films from previous years like Toy Story 2, Princess Mononoke, South Park, The Iron Giant and Chicken Run.  Also, with the rise of Pixar, the greater American visibility of Ghibli and new films from Aardman and DreamWorks, there were a lot more animated films out there and they wouldn’t just be giving the award to Disney every year (well, they would be mostly giving the award to Pixar, who was first distributed, then later, owned by Disney, so they actually were pretty much giving it to Disney almost every year), so it was time for the award. (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…)

Oskar Schindler watches in horror the liquidation of the Krakow ghetto.

Oskar Schindler watches, in horror, the liquidation of the Krakow ghetto.

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. Schindler’s List  **
  2. The Age of Innocence
  3. In the Name of the Father  *
  4. Much Ado About Nothing
  5. A Perfect World
  6. The Remains of the Day  *
  7. My Neighbor Totoro
  8. Nightmare Before Christmas
  9. Three Colors: Blue
  10. Shadowlands
  11. In the Line of Fire
  12. Menace II Society

Analysis:  Schindler’s List crushes all previous Consensus records.  It sweeps the six major critics awards (a first) and wins all 10 awards.  While its total nominations have been beaten, the two other films which would sweep the critics awards (L.A. Confidential, The Social Network) would lose the Oscar and PGA and still fall short of the 10 wins for Schindler.  It still holds the Consensus record for points and it earns 49.19% of all the points, while no other post-1947 film has earned over 40%.  Even with the addition of the BFCA and the expansion of the guilds, only one film has managed to earn more total awards points in the years since (The Social Network).  Schindler’s List, even without the BFCA is still 9th all-time in total awards nominations and 2nd in wins (behind only Sideways).  It is still 5th all-time in total critics points.
It kills me to have to pick between Schindler and The Age of Innocence.  This is the second year in a row where the top two films have the same score.  The Age of Innocence is the best #2 in this category since Annie Hall.
This list has all twelve of the **** films for the year. (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…)

The talent from down under shines in The Two Towers: David Wenham, Karl Urban and, of course, Miranda Otto.

My Top 20:

  1. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  2. Gangs of New York
  3. Spirited Away
  4. The Hours
  5. The Pianist
  6. Talk to Her
  7. Minority Report
  8. Y tu mamá también
  9. Chicago
  10. Adaptation
  11. Solaris
  12. Road to Perdition
  13. The Quiet American
  14. Catch Me If You Can
  15. Lilo & Stitch
  16. Heaven
  17. 8 Women
  18. 24 Hour Party People
  19. Sunshine State
  20. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

(more…)

George Lucas and Steven Spielberg present a special Oscar to their hero: Akira Kurosawa

So, does this supersede my original list?  Well, lists are always organic – they grow and evolve over time.  I’ve fiddled with some of the categories and new films have come out and I’ve seen more films from some directors.  So, my original list was what it was in October of 2009.  This is where I am now, two years later, and one year overdue.  The list will continue to evolve over time.  The list never quite stops.  But here’s where I put it up.

I will remind people again that if you don’t see a director and you’re wondering why, please check the Introduction first.  It became clear on the original list that people didn’t read that instruction.  Please don’t repeat that.  And don’t ask about Godard.  See the Intro.

Also, we’ll again find out who reads this part, the film in parenthesis is not necessarily their best film (hell, with Mankiewicz, it’s his worst).  But it is the film I chose to write about, for whatever reason. (more…)

The bas-relief on Boston Common that lead to the film Glory

My Top 20:

  1. Glory
  2. Field of Dreams
  3. Henry V
  4. Born on the Fourth of July
  5. Crimes and Misdemeanors
  6. Say Anything
  7. When Harry Met Sally
  8. The Little Mermaid
  9. My Neighbor Totoro
  10. Do the Right Thing
  11. My Left Foot
  12. Dead Poets Society
  13. Heathers
  14. sex, lies and videotape
  15. Batman
  16. Black Rain  (Imamura)
  17. Drugstore Cowboy
  18. Hanussen
  19. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  20. The Mighty Quinn

(more…)