Posts tagged “1956

Mike’s Top Ten of 1956

What we need to talk about for 1956 is the biggest thing in popular culture — rock ‘n’ roll. Music changed forever in the 50s, and this feels like the signature year to bring it up. Elvis’s first movie — Love Me Tender — came out this year, and there was a proliferation of films with rock ‘n’ roll stars in them performing their hits. This goes back to what I brought up in a previous year — teenagers were now the target audience. So they put all their favorite stars in the films. It’s actually a great time capsule, watching those films. You actually get to see these stars perform their hits.

The other thing — at least for me — about 1956 is the amount of straight up hidden gems that are in it. Sure, the big films are represented, as they should be. But my top ten has at least two films that most people haven’t heard of and another film that most people haven’t seen. And there’s also amazing stuff below that as well.

This is one of those years where just about every single movie going down to tier two is something I really enjoy. (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Picture – 1956

A lot of people have strong opinions about this year. I don’t know why. It’s not that surprising a decision at all. Especially compared to 1952. I remember hearing Robert Osborne (of TCM) talk about this, and he mentioned that some famous critic called this the worst Best Picture winner of all time, and he (normally a respectful dude) was just like, “That’s stupid.” Because it is. Sure, it’s not a really strong film, but you can’t be surprised that it won.

The only surprise here was that Around the World in 80 Days only won Best Picture. Which is telling, I feel. Best Director went, instead, to George Stevens for Giant (talked about here). Which is a well-deserved Oscar, for one of the greatest directorial efforts of all time, I feel. It’s also a decision that lessens the impact of the Best Picture win. Then Best Actor was Yul Brynner for The King and I (talked about here), which I like because I like Yul Brynner, but I think it was a weak decision, because Rock Hudson and James Dean (mostly Hudson) gave better performances. Still, it’s okay. Then Best Actress was Ingrid Bergman for Anastasia (talked about here), which I think was a terrible decision. It’s mostly a fairy tale of a film, and there were such better choices in the category, specifically Carroll Baker for Baby Doll (holy shit, was she so much better). Then Best Supporting Actor was Anthony Quinn for Lust for Life (talked about here). The performance isn’t worth it (he’s only on screen for like, eight minutes), but the actor is. Plus the category was pretty weak, so it’s fine. And Best Supporting Actress was Dorothy Malone for Written on the Wind (talked about here). I love that decision. She’s so gloriously over the top. It’s a fun choice (even though Patty McCormack in The Bad Seed was fucking incredible).

So, overall, 1956 is a decent year. Strong categories. And yeah, Around the World in 80 Days is not really a good film. But it’s spectacle. It’s big and it’s spectacle. I understand why it won. Sure, it probably shouldn’t have won, but it’s not that bad. I don’t know. It’s weak, but I can understand it.

BEST PICTURE – 1956

And the nominees were…

Around the World in 80 Days (United Artists)

Friendly Persuasion (Allied Artists)

Giant (Warner Bros.)

The King and I (20th Century Fox)

The Ten Commandments (Paramount) (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor – 1956

I don’t really like 1956. I hate almost all the decisions. Save two.

Around the World in 80 Days wins Best Picture. Mostly people don’t like this one. It’s definitely not the weakest ever, because I can at least understand why they’d vote for it, but, Giant is such a better film. On so many levels. So I don’t like that one. And I don’t like Best Actor, which went to Yul Brynner for The King and I (talked about here). I like Yul Brynner, and I like that he has an Oscar, but, for a variety of reasons explained in the article, I don’t think he should have won. I also despise the Best Actress choice for the year, which was Ingrid Bergman for Anastasia. You can read all the reasons I hate that decision here.

The two decisions I do like from 1956 were Best Supporting Actress, which went to Dorothy Malone for Written on the Wind (talked about here), which I really like (even though the category was tough to call), and Best Director, which went to George Stevens for Giant (talked about here), which is seriously one of the most gorgeously shot films of all time.

Now, this category — I don’t like. And it has nothing (really) to do with who won. It’s just — I felt the category was weak, the performance was barely worth an Oscar, plus, he had one already. Add to that a film and an actor I really like not winning, and it adds up to me just not liking this one.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – 1956

And the nominees were…

Don Murray, Bus Stop

Anthony Perkins, Friendly Persuasion

Anthony Quinn, Lust for Life

Mickey Rooney, The Bold and the Brave

Robert Stack, Written on the Wind (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Actor – 1956

I don’t know what to do with 1956. I don’t hate it, but I don’t really like it either. I just end up shaking my head, going, “What can you do?”

Around the World in 80 Days wins Best Picture, and, again — what can you do? I understand that it’s big and expansive and a greatly entertaining film. But did it need to win Best Picture just because it was the biggest thing out there? (Note: This same argument would be had with Titanic.) Best Actress was Ingrid Bergman for Anastasia (talked about here), which I consider one of the worst single Best Actress decisions ever made, just because she had one already, and all of the other nominees gave much better performances than she did. Best Supporting Actor was Anthony Quinn for Lust for Life, which I’m not the biggest fan of, but he’s Anthony Quinn, so, meh. Best Supporting Actress was Dorothy Malone for Written on the Wind (talked about here), which I love as a decision. And Best Director was George Stevens for Giant (talked about here), which — thank god they didn’t fuck that one up. That’s one of the best directorial efforts ever put to film.

Which brings us to this category. I don’t like this. I love Yul Brynner, but I don’t like this decision.

BEST ACTOR – 1956

And the nominees were…

Yul Brynner, The King and I

James Dean, Giant

Kirk Douglas, Lust for Life

Rocky Hudson, Giant

Laurence Olivier, Richard III (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Director – 1956

I love 1956. The year, not the Oscar year. The Oscar year is pretty forgettable. Mostly because the Best Picture choice is kind of throwaway. Around the World in 80 Days is not a bad film by any means — it’s big, expansive, lot of cameos, lots of fun, escapist entertainment — but it’s not a very good Best Picture choice. It is in scope, but not in quality.

Best Actor this year was Yul Brynner for The King and I, and I always maintain the decision was a bad choice because Brynner is essentially a supporting role (for the most part) in the film. But, he’s Yul Brynner, so I don’t really have a problem with it. But, I still would have gone another way in that one. Then Best Actress was Ingrid Bergman for Anastasia, a decision (as I said here) I consider one of the worst decisions of all time in the Best Actress category. All of the other choices were better in that category (especially Carroll Baker in Baby Doll). Then Best Supporting Actor was Anthony Quinn for Lust for Life, a decision I don’t like, but am okay with, because Anthony Quinn is awesome. Then Best Supporting Actress was Dorothy Malone for Written on the Wind (talked about here), which is the one decision for this year, aside from this category, that I like.

So, with only 2 out of 6 good decisions (2 more are acceptable, though both are pretty weak), and a really weak Best Picture choice, 1956 is kind of a “bleh” year for me. I like this category though. So I got that going for me. Which is nice.

BEST DIRECTOR – 1956

And the nominees were…

Michael Anderson, Around the World in 80 Days

Walter Lang, The King and I

George Stevens, Giant

King Vidor, War and Peace

William Wyler, Friendly Persuasion (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actress – 1956

I love 1956. This is a great year for Oscar films disguised under a bad cloud of what actually won. Around the World in 80 Days is considered (somewhat unfairly) as one of the worst Best Picture choices of all time. It’s a bad choice, but not that terrible. Yul Brynner as Best Actor for The King and I is a really bad choice, mostly because he’s nothing more than a supporting actor in the film. Ingrid Bergman as Best Actress for Anastasia (as I’ve talked about here) was a terrible decision. Anthony Quinn as Best Actor for Lust for Life was a mostly poor decision, but I haven’t yet fully decided my feelings on that one. And George Stevens as Best Director for Giant was the lone good decision this year. That’s about it. I love 1956. Back up in that other article, I listed all the great films that came out that year. That list about covers it.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – 1956

And the nominees were…

Mildred Dunnock, Baby Doll

Eileen Heckart, The Bad Seed

Dorothy Malone, Written on the Wind

Mercedes McCambridge, Giant

Patty McCormack, The Bad Seed (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1956

I fucking love 1956. There’s something great and terrible and yet okay about this year, all at the same time.

First off, I feel this is a particularly strong year for movies. I’ll tell you why in a second but first let’s go over the Oscar films. Around the World in 80 Days wins Best Picture in what some consider to be a terrible decision. It’s routinely listed among the worst choices of all time. Personally I don’t feel that way. Because the film — yes its long, yes it’s overdone, yes its kinda boring. But, the film is epic. There are cameos galore, which is kind of amazing. So many fucking famous people are in this movie, some of them for like, a second. That’s part of the fun of this movie. Also, is is perhaps one of the greatest scales of pictures I’ve ever seen. They shot the film in like, thirteen different countries. I understand why it won, even though I’d have much preferred the film that won Best Director (for George Stevens, his second), Giant, instead. But you know, shit happens. It’s not a bad decision, no matter what everybody says.

Now, for the other categories. Best Actor went to Yul Brynner for The King and I, which I do consider one of the worst decisions of all time. It’s not that I don’t like Yul Brynner (I fucking love Yul Brynner), it’s just that, it’s not a lead role. Dude’s basically a supporting character in the film, and the way I can prove it is that, when he won the Tony Award for the broadway version, it was for Supporting Actor in a Musical. The reason I consider it a terrible decision is because he was up against both James Dean and Rock Hudson for Giant, which were two vastly better performances than his. Similarly, and I’ll get to that in a second, I consider this Best Actress category to be just as bad if not worse than Best Actor. Best Supporting Actor for this year went to Anthony Quinn for Lust for Life, which I consider a poor, but not bad, decision, mostly because of a weak category, and Best Supporting Actress went to Dorothy Malone for Written on the Wind, a decision I love to death. (more…)