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The Oscar Quest: My Oscar Nominations — Best Director (1970-1989)

This is part of a series of articles where I’m putting forth my opinions about what I’d nominate in all of the Oscar Quest categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress). Normally I take the categories as they are, but I thought it would be fun to figure out what I’d vote for if I had a ballot each year. Keep in mind, this is only for NOMINATIONS and nothing else.

My only problem with this is that I knew if I did it, too many people, were they doing the same thing, would put on movies that just didn’t belong on an Oscar ballot. (I would too, in some cases. We just like what we like.) My problem was that people would take this exercise as an opportunity to really just go off the rails with stuff (which, if you read through all these articles, you’ll see me call people out for it, since I know exactly which films and which performances people would put on). So my way around this was by creating what I call a “Compromise List” — after I tell you what was actually nominated and what I’d put on my ballot, I’m making a list whereby I try to make everyone happy and keep it mostly close to what would be there, Academy-wise. You’ll see. My lists usually end up being better and not crazy.

The things to take into account with the performance categories — I can only nominate what I’ve seen. So me not seeing something will be a big reason why some stuff doesn’t appear. And, as always, I tell people not to bother me with one random person in one random category, since I have everything to think about. If you want to say something, wait until you’ve seen all the films/tried this yourself before you do it. And I don’t care about foreign performances, for the most part. There’s a long and complicated answer there, but — I don’t. And the big rule for anyone doing this — if someone won a category, YOU CAN’T LEAVE THEM OFF THE COMPROMISE LIST. Can’t do it.

Otherwise — here’s the next set of categories.

1989

Actual Nominees:

  • Woody Allen, Crimes and Misdemeanors
  • Kenneth Branagh, Henry V
  • Jim Sheridan, My Left Foot
  • Oliver Stone, Born on the Fourth of July
  • Peter Weir, Dead Poet’s Society

 

 

 

 

My Vote: Jim Sheridan, My Left Foot

Spike Lee needs to be here. Otherwise the category is a joke. I’m taking off Woody. He didn’t need it. (He never needs it.)

Other than that — I think it’s fitting that Bruce Beresford isn’t there, so I’d leave it. I, personally, would nominate Phil Alden Robinson for Field of Dreams, but I think Branagh works, and I think Peter Weir being who he is doesn’t come off this list. So I’m just making the one change. (Though I probably should make two. Meh.)

Compromise List:

  • Kenneth Branagh, Henry V
  • Spike Lee, Do the Right Thing
  • Jim Sheridan, My Left Foot
  • Oliver Stone, Born on the Fourth of July
  • Peter Weir, Dead Poet’s Society

My Vote: Spike Lee, Do the Right Thing

1988

Actual Nominees:

  • Charles Crichton, A Fish Called Wanda
  • Barry Levinson, Rain Man
  • Mike Nichols, Working Girl
  • Alan Parker, Mississippi Burning
  • Martin Scorsese, The Last Temptation of Christ

 

 

 

 

My Vote: Barry Levinson, Rain Man

The only person I’d want to change is Nichols, but I’m aware that probably wouldn’t happen. (Though why not Stephen Frears for Dangerous Liaisons?)

Compromise List:

  • Charles Crichton, A Fish Called Wanda
  • Barry Levinson, Rain Man
  • Mike Nichols, Working Girl
  • Alan Parker, Mississippi Burning
  • Martin Scorsese, The Last Temptation of Christ

My Vote: Barry Levinson, Rain Man

1987

Actual Nominees:

  • Bernardo Bertolucci, The Last Emperor
  • John Boorman, Hope and Glory
  • Lasse Hallstrom, My Life as a Dog
  • Norman Jewison, Moonstruck
  • Adrian Lyne, Fatal Attraction

My Vote: John Boorman, Hope and Glory

I kinda like this list. Spielberg didn’t need it, Brooks being left off both doesn’t make sense and does make sense. Brooks only got nominated for Best Director for Terms, and that’s probably because they said, “Well, he’s mostly a writer.” And yet — Woody Allen. I don’t get it. So in a way, he should be here, but on the other hand, I totally get why he isn’t. So I don’t know.

I’m gonna leave it. Jewison — meh. But it was gonna happen anyway. ’87 was pretty rough as a year. I’m gonna leave it.

Compromise List:

  • Bernardo Bertolucci, The Last Emperor
  • John Boorman, Hope and Glory
  • Lasse Hallstrom, My Life as a Dog
  • Norman Jewison, Moonstruck
  • Adrian Lyne, Fatal Attraction

My Vote: Bernardo Bertolucci, The Last Emperor

1986

Actual Nominees:

  • Woody Allen, Hannah and Her Sisters
  • James Ivory, A Room with a View
  • Roland Joffe, The Mission
  • David Lynch, Blue Velvet
  • Oliver Stone, Platoon

 

 

 

 

My Vote: Oliver Stone, Platoon

Don’t get the Allen nomination, but I’m resigned to them when his films are nominated for Best Picture. Ivory I should also be resigned to. But Randa Haines got a DGA nomination for Children of a Lesser God, and how about letting a woman get on this list? So I’m taking off Ivory (since I’m not taking off Lynch). I should take off Joffe, based on empirical stuff, but based on the actual direction — Ivory comes off.

Compromise List:

  • Woody Allen, Hannah and Her Sisters
  • Randa Haines, Children of a Lesser God
  • Roland Joffe, The Mission
  • David Lynch, Blue Velvet
  • Oliver Stone, Platoon

My Vote: Oliver Stone, Platoon

1985

Actual Nominees:

  • Hector Babenco, Kiss of the Spider Woman
  • John Huston, Prizzi’s Honor
  • Akira Kurosawa, Ran
  • Sydney Pollack, Out of Africa
  • Peter Weir, Witness

 

 

 

 

My Vote: Akira Kurosawa, Ran

1985 is rough. But I don’t have too much to change. It’s not a particularly director-ly year. I’m just gonna leave it.

Compromise List:

  • Hector Babenco, Kiss of the Spider Woman
  • John Huston, Prizzi’s Honor
  • Akira Kurosawa, Ran
  • Sydney Pollack, Out of Africa
  • Peter Weir, Witness

My Vote: Akira Kurosawa, Ran

1984

Actual Nominees:

  • Woody Allen, Broadway Danny Rose
  • Robert Benton, Places in the Heart
  • Milos Forman, Amadeus
  • Roland Joffe, The Killing Fields
  • David Lean, A Passage to India

 

 

 

 

My Vote: Milos Forman, Amadeus

The only change I’d want to make (that makes sense) is taking off Woody Allen. I don’t understand his nominations, most of the time. I truly don’t. Plus Norman Jewison got a DGA nomination for A Soldier’s Story, which was also nominated for Best Picture. But Woody is Woody, so I’ll let this one stand, since it doesn’t change the fact that 1984 sucks.

Compromise List:

  • Woody Allen, Broadway Danny Rose
  • Robert Benton, Places in the Heart
  • Milos Forman, Amadeus
  • Roland Joffe, The Killing Fields
  • David Lean, A Passage to India

My Vote: Milos Forman, Amadeus

1983

Actual Nominees:

  • Bruce Beresford, Tender Mercies
  • Ingmar Bergman, Fanny and Alexander
  • James L. Brooks, Terms of Endearment
  • Mike Nichols, Silkwood
  • Peter Yates, The Dresser

 

 

 

 

My Vote: James L. Brooks, Terms of Endearment

Philip Kaufman should be here for The Right Stuff. I’d also nominate Lawrence Kasdan for The Big Chill, since it’ll make it more interesting for me (plus it’s not like Bruce Beresford did anything particularly groundbreaking or cinematic), but I’m willing to stick with just Kaufman. Based on the empirical evidence, Nichols comes off. Based on the directorial efforts, Beresford comes off. But he got fucked over in 1989, so I’m leaving it.

Oh, wait — forgot about Peter Yates. Oh yeah, he’s fucking coming off. Never mind.

And let’s not even get into Scorsese for The King of Comedy. I’m pretty sure I put that on the Best Picture list, didn’t I? Fuck it, let’s put it on!

Compromise List:

  • Bruce Beresford, Tender Mercies
  • Ingmar Bergman, Fanny and Alexander
  • James L. Brooks, Terms of Endearment
  • Philip Kaufman, The Right Stuff
  • Martin Scorsese, The King of Comedy

My Vote: Philip Kaufman, The Right Stuff

1982

Actual Nominees:

  • Richard Attenborough, Gandhi
  • Sidney Lumet, The Verdict
  • Wolfgang Petersen, Das Boot
  • Sydney Pollack, Tootsie
  • Steven Spielberg, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

 

 

 

 

My Vote: Sidney Lumet, The Verdict

Love this list. Wouldn’t change a goddamn thing.

Compromise List:

  • Richard Attenborough, Gandhi
  • Sidney Lumet, The Verdict
  • Wolfgang Petersen, Das Boot
  • Sydney Pollack, Tootsie
  • Steven Spielberg, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

My Vote: Sidney Lumet, The Verdict

1981

Actual Nominees:

  • Warren Beatty, Reds
  • Hugh Hudson, Chariots of Fire
  • Louis Malle, Atlantic City
  • Mark Rydell, On Golden Pond
  • Steven Spielberg, Raiders of the Lost Ark

 

 

 

 

My Vote: Steven Spielberg, Raiders of the Lost Ark

This works really well. Leaving it.

Compromise List:

  • Warren Beatty, Reds
  • Hugh Hudson, Chariots of Fire
  • Louis Malle, Atlantic City
  • Mark Rydell, On Golden Pond
  • Steven Spielberg, Raiders of the Lost Ark

My Vote: Steven Spielberg, Raiders of the Lost Ark

1980

Actual Nominees:

  • David Lynch, The Elephant Man
  • Roman Polanski, Tess
  • Robert Redford, Ordinary People
  • Richard Rush, The Stunt Man
  • Martin Scorsese, Raging Bull

 

 

 

 

My Vote: Martin Scorsese, Raging Bull

We’d all love Kubrick, but the change that makes the most sense is Apted for Coal Miner’s Daughter instead of Polanski. But honestly, it’s Roman, so I’ll leave it. The other four are great.

Compromise List:

  • David Lynch, The Elephant Man
  • Roman Polanski, Tess
  • Robert Redford, Ordinary People
  • Richard Rush, The Stunt Man
  • Martin Scorsese, Raging Bull

My Vote: Martin Scorsese, Raging Bull

1979

Actual Nominees:

  • Robert Benton, Kramer vs. Kramer
  • Francis Ford Coppola, Apocalypse Now
  • Bob Fosse, All That Jazz
  • Edouard Molinaro, La Cage aux Folles
  • Peter Yates, Breaking Away

 

 

 

 

My Vote: Francis Ford Coppola, Apocalypse Now

I’m so goddamn happy Woody Allen didn’t make it on here I’m willing to leave it alone. (Though no James Bridges for The China Syndrome?)

Compromise List:

  • Robert Benton, Kramer vs. Kramer
  • Francis Ford Coppola, Apocalypse Now
  • Bob Fosse, All That Jazz
  • Edouard Molinaro, La Cage aux Folles
  • Peter Yates, Breaking Away

My Vote: Francis Ford Coppola, Apocalypse Now

1978

Actual Nominees:

  • Woody Allen, Interiors
  • Hal Ashby, Coming Home
  • Warren Beatty & Buck Henry, Heaven Can Wait
  • Michael Cimino, The Deer Hunter
  • Alan Parker, Midnight Express

 

 

 

My Vote: Michael Cimino, The Deer Hunter

How about Terrence Malick instead of Woody Allen? Sound good? Don’t care, doing it anyway.

Compromise List:

  • Hal Ashby, Coming Home
  • Warren Beatty & Buck Henry, Heaven Can Wait
  • Michael Cimino, The Deer Hunter
  • Terrence Malick, Days of Heaven
  • Alan Parker, Midnight Express

My Vote: Michael Cimino, The Deer Hunter

1977

Actual Nominees:

  • Woody Allen, Annie Hall
  • George Lucas, Star Wars
  • Herbert Ross, The Turning Point
  • Steven Spielberg, Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • Fred Zinnemann, Julia

 

 

 

 

My Vote: George Lucas, Star Wars

It’s perfect. Leave it alone.

Compromise List:

  • Woody Allen, Annie Hall
  • George Lucas, Star Wars
  • Herbert Ross, The Turning Point
  • Steven Spielberg, Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • Fred Zinnemann, Julia

My Vote: George Lucas, Star Wars

1976

Actual Nominees:

  • John G. Avildsen, Rocky
  • Ingmar Bergman, Face to Face
  • Sidney Lumet, Network
  • Alan J. Pakula, All the President’s Men
  • Lina Wertmuller, Seven Beauties

 

 

 

 

My Vote: John G. Avildsen, Rocky

Scorsese for Taxi Driver. Done. No Bergman. Otherwise, it’s perfect. I know Ashby, but Wertmuller earned it.

Compromise List:

  • John G. Avildsen, Rocky
  • Sidney Lumet, Network
  • Alan J. Pakula, All the President’s Men
  • Martin Scorsese, Taxi Driver
  • Lina Wertmuller, Seven Beauties

My Vote: Alan J. Pakula, All the President’s Men

1975

Actual Nominees:

  • Robert Altman, Nashville
  • Federico Fellini, Amarcord
  • Milos Forman, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • Stanley Kubrick, Barry Lyndon
  • Sidney Lumet, Dog Day Afternoon

 

 

 

 

My Vote: Sidney Lumet, Dog Day Afternoon

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mgrxvTdl-Q

Compromise List:

  • Robert Altman, Nashville
  • Milos Forman, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • Stanley Kubrick, Barry Lyndon
  • Sidney Lumet, Dog Day Afternoon
  • Steven Spielberg, Jaws

My Vote: Sidney Lumet, Dog Day Afternoon

1974

Actual Nominees:

  • John Cassavetes, A Woman Under the Influence
  • Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather Part II
  • Bob Fosse, Lenny
  • Roman Polanski, Chinatown
  • Francois Truffaut, Day for Night

 

 

 

 

My Vote: Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather Part II

Great category. Too bad they didn’t pull a Soderbergh and nominate Coppola twice.

Compromise List:

  • John Cassavetes, A Woman Under the Influence
  • Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather Part II
  • Bob Fosse, Lenny
  • Roman Polanski, Chinatown
  • Francois Truffaut, Day for Night

My Vote: Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather Part II

1973

Actual Nominees:

  • Ingmar Bergman, Cries and Whispers
  • Bernardo Bertolucci, Last Tango in Paris
  • William Friedkin, The Exorcist
  • George Roy Hill, The Sting
  • George Lucas, American Graffiti

 

 

 

 

My Vote: George Roy Hill, The Sting

Sidney Lumet. Seprico. Should be there instead of Bergman, but I’m cool with it. I’ll leave it. At least it got the Picture nomination too (despite my feelings about it).

Compromise List:

  • Ingmar Bergman, Cries and Whispers
  • Bernardo Bertolucci, Last Tango in Paris
  • William Friedkin, The Exorcist
  • George Roy Hill, The Sting
  • George Lucas, American Graffiti

My Vote: George Roy Hill, The Sting

1972

Actual Nominees:

  • John Boorman, Deliverance
  • Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather
  • Bob Fosse, Cabaret
  • Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Sleuth
  • Jan Troell, The Emigrants

 

 

 

 

My Vote: Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather

It works entirely except for Troell. But whatever. I’ll leave it.

Compromise List:

  • John Boorman, Deliverance
  • Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather
  • Bob Fosse, Cabaret
  • Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Sleuth
  • Jan Troell, The Emigrants

My Vote: Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather

1971

Actual Nominees:

  • Peter Bogdanovich, The Last Picture Show
  • William Friedkin, The French Connection
  • Norman Jewison, Fiddler on the Roof
  • Stanley Kubrick, A Clockwork Orange
  • John Schlesinger, Sunday Bloody Sunday

 

 

 

 

My Vote: William Friedkin, The French Connection

To me,  Schlesinger doesn’t hold up. Give me Franklin Schaffner instead. At least his was a Best Picture nominee.

Compromise List:

  • Peter Bogdanovich, The Last Picture Show
  • William Friedkin, The French Connection
  • Norman Jewison, Fiddler on the Roof
  • Stanley Kubrick, A Clockwork Orange
  • Franklin J. Schaffner, Nicholas and Alexandra

My Vote: William Friedkin, The French Connection

1970

Actual Nominees:

  • Robert Altman, MASH
  • Federico Fellini, Satyricon
  • Arthur Hiller, Love Story
  • Ken Russell, Women in Love
  • Franklin J. Schaffner, Patton

 

 

 

 

My Vote: Franklin J. Schaffner, Patton

Take off Fellini, put on Bob Rafelson. Let’s be serious now. I’ll even give you Russell. I can understand that (and use it to make sense of that awful Best Actress decision). Plus he’s Ken Russell. Fellini’s nomination makes no sense at all. That movie is ridiculous.

Compromise List:

  • Robert Altman, MASH
  • Arthur Hiller, Love Story
  • Bob Rafelson, Five Easy Pieces
  • Ken Russell, Women in Love
  • Franklin J. Schaffner, Patton

My Vote: Franklin J. Schaffner, Patton

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One response

  1. BlueFox94

    These Best Director lists are what I’ve been anticipating for a while. There are a couple of comments I’d like to make for this one:

    1.) 1988 – Robert Zemeckis, heck, “WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT” in general should’ve gotten more Oscar attention. It is my fave film of the year and I’ve seen 1988 as a whole.
    Should’ve replaced Mike Nichols, even if both got DGA noms (the one who didn’t being Scorsese)

    2.) 1985 – You just completely glossed over the absence of Steven Spielberg. What happened?…

    3.) 1975 – … And you DO remember to give it to Spielberg (rightfully) here?

    Can’t wait for 1950-69 :D

    October 14, 2012 at 3:17 pm

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