Archive for October, 2011

The Oscar Quest: Best Director – 1947

1947 is a pretty weak year, I feel. Gentleman’s Agreement was the obvious choice for Best Picture, but the nominees felt really weak. The Bishop’s Wife is weak, Crossfire is a B movie, and, in a stronger year, it would be more awesome that it got nominated. Here, it brings the rest of the nominees down. Great Expectations also doesn’t help make the nominees any stronger, even though it’s a great film. And Miracle on 34th Street also doesn’t help make things stronger. So, while they made the right choice, I can’t help but feel the year is a blank in history. The other categories don’t help matters much.

Ronald Colman wins Best Actor for A Double Life, which is a career achievement award. The category was really weak. Gregory Peck gave the best performance, but he won one later, so the Colman win works. Though, again, it doesn’t help this year seem stronger. Best Actress went to Loretta Young for The Farmer’s Daughter, which is considered by many (but not me. You know my preoccupation with 1970) to be the worst Best Actress decision of all time. Rosalind Russell really should have won that for Mourning Becomes Electra. Then Best Supporting Actor was Edmund Gwenn for Miracle on 34th Street (talked about here), which makes perfect sense, since he played Santa Claus. The lone strong decision of this this year (outside of this category). And Best Supporting Actress was Celeste Holm for Gentleman’s Agreement (talked about here), which is a good decision, but the category was really shitty. It doesn’t help the year any.

And the year is capped off by this decision, which — what the hell did you think they were gonna do?

BEST DIRECTOR – 1947

And the nominees are…

George Cukor, A Double Life

Edward Dmytryk, Crossfire

Elia Kazan, Gentleman’s Agreement

Henry Koster, The Bishop’s Wife

David Lean, Great Expectations (more…)


Pic of the Day: “What an excellent day for an exorcism.”


The Oscar Quest: Best Actor – 1979

Oh, this is tough. This may be my favorite Best Actor category of all time. They’re all really good in this category. They all either gave awards-worthy performances or were terribly overdue. And also gave awards-worthy performances. Just — wow. Before we get into it, let’s recap.

I’m not a fan of the the overall 1979 at all. Kramer vs. Kramer wins Best Picture over Apocalypse Now, All That Jazz, Norma Rae and Breaking Away. Those last two, I can abide. The first two, I cannot. Same goes for Best Director. Robert Benton (for Kramer) beats Francis Ford Coppola and Bob Fosse (talked about here). That’s the worst offense of all. The direction didn’t carry that film, writing did. That’s what makes me unable to abide the Best Picture decision. The weak, “Here you go,” of giving it Best Director too. Meryl Streep also won Best Supporting Actress for the film, which, as I said here, is a perfect decision. When Meryl wins a category, she really wins a category.

Sally Field as Best Actress for Norma Rae, which, as I said here, is a great decision. And Best Supporting Actor was the biggest offense of them all. The worst decision in the history of the that category. Melvyn Douglas wins for Being There, beating Robert Duvall for Apocalypse Now. Even Dustin Hoffman, upon accepting his award for Best Actor, after saying he refused to believe he beat “Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Peter Sellers,” said, “I refuse to believe Robert Duvall lost.” That’s how bad it was.

Which brings us into this category — it’s a great one.

BEST ACTOR – 1979

And the nominees are…

Dustin Hoffman, Kramer vs. Kramer

Jack Lemmon, The China Syndrome

Al Pacino, …And Justice for All

Roy Scheider, All That Jazz

Peter Sellers, Being There (more…)


Pic of the Day: “It’s sad, when a mother has to speak the words that condemn her own son. But I couldn’t allow them to believe that I would commit murder. They’ll put him away now, as I should have years ago. He was always bad, and in the end he intended to tell them I killed those girls and that man… as if I could do anything but just sit and stare, like one of his stuffed birds. They know I can’t move a finger, and I won’t. I’ll just sit here and be quiet, just in case they do… suspect me. They’re probably watching me. Well, let them. Let them see what kind of a person I am. I’m not even going to swat that fly. I hope they are watching. They’ll see. They’ll see and they’ll know, and they’ll say, ‘Why, she wouldn’t even harm a fly.’”


The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor – 1954

1954. On the Waterfront. Case closed. It wins Best Picture, Best Director for Elia Kazan (talked about here), Best Actor for Marlon Brando and Best Supporting Actress for Eva Marie Saint (talked about here). All four perfect decisions for all time.

The other decision that wasn’t this category was Grace Kelly for Best Actress for The Country Girl. This is perhaps the single most contested decision in Academy history, as a lot of people feel Judy Garland should have won for A Star is Born. I, personally feel the category is too close to call, and the fact that Grace Kelly also made Dial M for Murder, Rear Window, Green Fire and The Bridges at Tokyo-Ri, decidedly tips the scale solely in her favor. That’s just an incredible list there for a single calendar year.

Which brings us to this category. Also, look how short this synopsis was. That’s called restraint. It doesn’t happen often with me. Anyway, this category — the Waterfront log jam led to Edmond O’Brien winning, which, I’m glad happened. Because Edmond O’Brien is the fucking man.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – 1954

And the nominees were…

Lee J. Cobb, On the Waterfront

Karl Malden, On the Waterfront

Edmund O’Brien, The Barefoot Contessa

Rod Steiger, On the Waterfront

Tom Tully, The Caine Mutiny (more…)


Pic of the Day: “You… You are the Phantom!” “If I am the Phantom, it is because man’s hatred has made me so. If I shall be saved, it will be because your love redeems me.”

 


The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1941

The great thing about the 1940-1945 years is that you could always count on the same actresses being in almost every category. Put it this way: of the 30 nominees for Best Actress between 1940 and 1945, the nominees in just this category account for 15 of them. And add Katharine Hepburn, Jennifer Jones and Ingrid Bergman to that list, and 22 of the 30 nominees are accounted for. That’s pretty insane.

As for 1941 — we all know how bad it was. How Green Was My Valley beats Citizen Kane for Best Picture and John Ford beats Orson Welles for Best Director (talked about here). ’nuff said there. Donald Crisp won Best Supporting Actor for the film, which does actually make sense, though, as I said here, I’d totally have given it to Sydney Greenstreet for The Maltese Falcon. That man is awesome. Then Gary Cooper wins Best Actor for Sergeant York (talked about here), which I don’t like, but understand (you really think they were gonna give it to Orson?). And Best Supporting Actress was Mary Astor for The Great Lie, which is a fine decision, since she was also in The Maltese Falcon this year. So even though it’s for the more forgotten of the two films, it’s cool that she won.

Now for this category. This is pretty cut and dry. It’s a make up Oscar. Everyone understands this, and it’s totally acceptable. Just know, I wouldn’t (and won’t) vote for it. I thought there was a better performance. But since all the principals (for the most part) won Oscars, this is a fine decision.

BEST ACTRESS – 1941

And the nominees are…

Bette Davis, The Little Foxes

Olivia de Havilland, Hold Back the Dawn

Joan Fontaine, Suspicion

Greer Garson, Blossoms in the Dust

Barbara Stanwyck, Ball of Fire (more…)