Posts tagged “1963

Mike’s Top Ten of 1963

A lot changed this year. This was the year John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and you definitely saw a shift in the types of films that came out after that event occurred. Plus, this was the year — I guess it’s because of Cleopatra — where it became clear the foundation of the studio system was really on its way out. This feels like the year that demarcates ‘business as usual, but with some more nuanced and realistic subject matter’ with ‘last gasp of the old ways before everything changes’.

There’s a lot of good stuff under the line this year. A lot of cool little gems worth checking out. As for the top — most of the top ten is incredible. A couple of really beloved films generally considered some of the best ever made. And there’s a handful of great films that aren’t as well seen as you’d think. It’s not as overall strong as some of the other years, but it for sure makes its mark.

If there’s one thing I’d like to stress about this year, it’s that you should really go see films #5 and #6 if you haven’t yet. (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Picture – 1963

1963 is one of the toughest Academy years to deal with. It’s arguably worse than 1968, since, at least there, the film that one is a okay choice depending on the category. Here — you don’t know what to vote for. And it’s not that the year itself is horribly weak (though the nominees all-around were on the weak side). It’s just that the more daring films like 8 1/2 and The Cardinal weren’t nominated. So it leaves us with a category where we wonder — what do we do? (Which is probably how we got our eventual winner.)

Tom Jones, aside from Best Picture, won Best Director for Tony Richardson (talked about here). It’s not a good decision (How does Fellini not win?), but it’s understandable. Best Actor this year was Sidney Poitier for Lilies of the Field (talked about here), which is a great decision historically, but they really did pick one of the worst performances to award him for (he’s seriously playing a magical negro). Best Actress was Patricia Neal for Hud (talked about here), which I don’t love as a decision, but I guess is okay. Melvyn Douglas won Best Supporting Actor for the film (talked about here), which I am okay with. (It’s his second win, in 1979, that I hate.) And Best Supporting Actress was Margaret Ruherford for The V.I.P.s (talked about here), which — there really was no other choice in the category, logistically. So, meh. Whatever.

Overall, what 1963 got right was giving Sidney Poitier an Oscar. Otherwise, the other decisions are either forgettable or just okay. The real weakness for this year is the fact that the Best Picture category consisted of a comedy, a religious film that’s not really about anything, an epic western that’s more entertainment than “Best Picture,” a film about a Greek immigrant, which is terrific but seems to be little-seen (the kind of movie that would be nominated that people wouldn’t know about), and an epic failure (that’s great, but still thought of as a disaster). What do you vote for with that?


And the nominees were…

America, America (Warner Bros.)

Cleopatra (20th Century Fox)

How the West Was Won (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

Lilies of the Field (United Artists)

Tom Jones (United Artists) (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor – 1963

I really don’t like 1963. In fact, I might go so far as to call it the single weakest year in the history of the Academy Awards. It has a weak Best Picture winner — Tom Jones — among a weak set of nominees, a weak Best Director winner — Tony Richardson for Tom Jones (talked about here) — a weak Best Actor winner — Sidney Poitier for Lilies of the Field (talked about here), which is a decision that is great historically, but I feel is weak because it’s basically like the mostly white Academy giving a black actor an Oscar on their own terms. Poitier played so many great roles, many of which were worth Oscars, yet they gave him an Oscar for playing a magical negro.

The year also features a weak Best Actress winner — Patricia Neal for Hud (talked about here), which I hate as a decision for many reasons, as talked about in the article — and a weak Best Supporting Actress winner — Margaret Rutherford for The V.I.P.s (talked about here), which is actually an okay decision, but the category was weak as hell and was crippled by three Tom Jones nominations.

The lone good decision from 1963 comes from this category (and even this one is slightly, ever so, but still, tainted by the terrible second win by Douglas in 1979). When your only good decision comes from the Best Supporting Actor category, you’re one shitty Oscar year.


And the nominees were…

Nick Adams, Twilight of Honor

Bobby Darin, Captain Newman, M.D.

Melvyn Douglas, Hud

Hugh Griffith, Tom Jones

John Huston, The Cardinal (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actress – 1963

I hate 1963. It’s such a weak year. Perhaps the weakest set of Best Picture nominees of all time. Tom Jones wins Best Picture, and honestly, I can’t criticize it all that much because — does it really matter what won here? Tony Richardson wins Best Director for the film (talked about here), which is pretty terrible, since he beat Federico Fellini for 8 1/2. Which one of those films sounds like it should have won?

Best Actor this year was Sidney Poitier for Lilies of the Field (talked about here). This was a big decision, historically, him being the first black actor to win Best Actor and all, and I’m totally okay with it. But I can’t help but feel weird about it since he gave much better performances over his career, and the performance was a ‘magical negro’ performance, which makes it feel like a back-handed compliment by the Academy. Best Actress was Patricia Neal for Hud (talked about here), which I really hate as a decision, and Melvyn Douglas also won Best Supporting Actor for the film, which is actually a really good decision.

So, in all, 1963 has about one good decision, plus a really good historical one, which actually works, since the year as a whole sucked, and it was actually a good year to do it in. As for this category — does it really matter what happened?


And the nominees are…

Diane Cilento, Tom Jones

Edith Evans, Tom Jones

Joyce Redman, Tom Jones

Margaret Rutherford, The V.I.P.s

Lilia Skala, Lilies of the Field (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1963

I consider 1963 one of the worst years in Academy history. Or rather, one of the worst years in terms of its Best Picture nominees and its Best Picture choice. This is definitely one of the top five weakest sets of nominees I’ve ever seen. Tom Jones wins Best Picture in a field that includes Cleopatra, How the West Was Won, Lilies of the Field and  America, America. What would you have voted for there? (Personally, I have it down between Cleopatra or America, America. But it’s still a terrible set of five.) There was no good choice here.

Best Actor this year was Sidney Poitier for Lilies of the Field, which I consider a good decision historically, but also kinda racist, which I talked about here. Best Director this year was Tony Richardson for Tom Jones, which makes sense since they went that way for Best Picture. Best Supporting Actor was Melvyn Douglas for Hud, which I actually like as a decision, even though it would have been so much more interesting if they gave it to John Huston. (Right?) And Best Supporting Actress was Margaret Rutherford for The V.I.P.s, which was really the only decision in that category (it had three Tom Jones nominees and a Lilies of the Field nominee).

Now we come down to this one. What the fuck happened here? This is the capper on a terribly bad and uninteresting year. Worst of the 60s, actually. They had the opportunity to give an Oscar to Leslie Caron, Shirley MacLaine (already overdue and once blatantly snubbed), or Natalie Wood (ditto what I said about Shirley MacLaine). And they give it to Patricia Neal? Seriously? What a bad end to a terrible year this was.


And the nominees were…

Leslie Caron, The L-Shaped Room

Shirley MacLaine, Irma La Douce

Patricia Neal, Hud

Rachel Roberts, This Sporting Life

Natalie Wood, Love with the Proper Stranger (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Director – 1963

You can tell a year is a bad one when only two of the Best Picture nominees got nominations for Best Director. The only other times that’s happened since the switch to five nominees (ie, between 1944 and 2008) was in 1954 (only On the Waterfront and The Country Girl were nominated for Best Director, while Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Three Coins in the Fountain and The Caine Mutiny, were not), 1955 (only Marty and Picnic were, while Mister Roberts, The Rose Tattoo and Love is a Many-Splendored Thing were not), and 1966 (A Man for All Seasons and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? were, while The Russians are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, Alfie and The Sand Pebbles were not). All other years, at least three Best Picture nominees were also nominated for Best Director.

Not much of a pattern there, except two of them were very weak years, and two were landslides, basically. Waterfront was not losing, so it didn’t really matter what else was nominated (plus Three Coins in the Fountain is a really boring romance that I don’t know how it was nominated, so that probably explains something), and Man for All Seasons and Virginia Woolf were far and away the best two choices that year. The other two, though, it’s clear how weak they were. And this year, 63, is by far the weakest year in Academy history (probably next to 1968, which still isn’t as weak as this is).

The Best Picture for 1963 was Tom Jones. Which is unusual. It makes no sense on any level except, they nominated shitty films and that’s the one they enjoyed the most. Best Actor was Sidney Poitier for Lilies of the Field, which I’ve talked about before. Best Actress was Patricia Neal for Hud. Best Supporting Actor was Melvyn Douglas for Hud, and Best Supporting Actress was Margaret Rutherford for The V.I.P.s. Pretty ho-hum year. Not memorably in any sense. (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Actor – 1963

I hate having to talk about 1963. This is a year where there were no good nominees for Best Picture, and one of the worst choices among the bad choices won. So you get a year where an undeserving film won, but, because they didn’t nominate any good films, nothing could be done about it.

Not only that, they also seemed to get every single award wrong. Every one. I’m not making that up, either. In all the categories, there was clearly a better choice to be made. Let’s start with this one, because, historically, it’s the one that does work, but, when you isolate it — it was a bad choice.


And the nominees were…

Albert Finney, Tom Jones

Richard Harris, This Sporting Life

Rex Harrison, Cleopatra

Paul Newman, Hud

Sidney Poitier, Lilies of the Field (more…)