To run down the intro quickly — this is a series of articles about what I would nominate in every single Oscar Quest category if I had a ballot. I always felt I should do them, but didn’t want to pull that shit everyone pulls of, “Here’s what I’d nominate,” even though it’s all the same five films they add on and they haven’t even seen half the stuff that was nominated. I know my stuff’s legit, because I’ve seen all the films, but I refused to start this discussion unless I was going to do it with the ability to tell people how to do it the right way, since unless you keep them honest, it’s fucking chaos.
So I decided to, along with picking what I’d vote for, create what I’m calling a Compromise List. The Compromise List is — aside from my personal nominations (which on the whole are pretty close to what would fit the typical notion of “Oscar,” since I’ve seen everything and know what is and what isn’t an “Oscar” movie and actually respect the precedents in place even though I don’t always agree with them enough to not be like, “I vote for Star Trek!”), a list of films that are basically a mix of my nominees and their nominees that I think everyone could live with. The idea is to make a list that works for everyone that’s great, and to cut out all the shit that so clearly shouldn’t be there.
The things to keep in mind: 1) if a category has five nominees, I’m only nominating five films. 2) The lists are only based on what I’ve seen. 3) Don’t bother me with your opinion unless you’re gonna go the full nine and do every single year. 4) If you’re going to attempt something like this — be honest. Don’t get too subjective, and DO NOT take off a film you haven’t seen just to put on a film you have seen. And most importantly, 5) YOU CANNOT take off a Best Picture winner. You can not vote for it on your list, but on your compromise list, the Best Picture winner MUST BE THERE. If it won, you have to include it. No exceptions.
Okay, let’s get to the next set of Best Picture years: (more…)
Today is 1961-1965, and it’s gonna be great:
1961: “MOON RIVER,” FROM BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S
1965 is a playing card year. I mean that in the sense of — there’s a scene in My Cousin Vinny where Pesci explains that the prosecution’s case looks like a brick, and will be presented as such, but in reality, is as thin as a playing card, because the fact remains that the boys are innocent. And that’s what I feel about this year. On the surface, a good year and a good choice. But, when you look at it more closely — it might not be what it appears.
The Sound of Music, outside of Best Picture, wins Best Director for Robert Wise (talked about here). That’s standard operating procedure. Best Actor was Lee Marvin for Cat Ballou (talked about here), which I think is a terrible decision, yet I can’t be too angry with it because I love Lee Marvin. Still, bad decision. Best Actress was Julie Christie for Darling (talked about here), which was such a great decision. Between that and Doctor Zhivago — man did she deserve that. Best Supporting Actor was Martin Balsam for A Thousand Clowns (talked about here), which — one of the worst Best Supporting Actor categories of all time, so — sure. And Best Supporting Actress was Shelley Winters for A Patch of Blue (talked about here), which she totally deserved. And the film is amazing too. Great decision.
So, fine year, fine decisions, for the most part. This is a year I don’t think is quite that good a decision. And on the other side of the coin, I’m not quite sure what beats it. This is a really interesting year to talk about, and one that I don’t think is as simple as you’d think it is.
And the nominees were…
Doctor Zhivago (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
Ship of Fools (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
The Sound of Music (20th Century Fox)
A Thousand Clowns (United Artists) (more…)
I love 1965. It’s such a strong year. And the decisions were largely great. In fact, almost all great.
The Sound of Music wins Best Picture. That’s pretty clear cut. Best Actor was Lee Marvin for Cat Ballou (talked about here), which, as I say, is a good decision because Lee Marvin is awesome, but a terrible one because Richard Burton and Rod Steiger gave much better performances. Best Actress was Julie Christie for Darling (talked about here), which is a top ten Best Actress decision for all time. Best Supporting Actor was Martin Balsam for A Thousand Clowns (talked about here), which was a good decision in what was one of the weakest Best Supporting Actor categories of all time. And Best Supporting Actress was Shelley Winters for A Patch of Blue (talked about here), which was a terrific decision. She was awesome in the film.
And, that leaves us with this category, which — what did you think was gonna happen?
BEST DIRECTOR – 1965
And the nominees were…
David Lean, Doctor Zhivago
John Schlesinger, Darling
Hiroshi Teshigahara, Woman in the Dunes
Robert Wise, The Sound of Music
William Wyler, The Collector (more…)
We’ve reached the 1960s. We had the 2000s and its Terrible Tens, the 1990s and the Films of My Childhood, the 1980s and the Awesomely 80s Movies, and the 1970s and my 70s Recommendations. Now come my favorite films of the 1960s.
Just like the other decades, along with the Top Ten, I’ll also list an 11-15 (or 20, depending on how strong the year is) list at the bottom to make it easier for me in the future. The idea is that when I do revisit these lists and see how my tastes have changed, I’ll have more than just ten films immediately on hand to get a sense of which films made it on or fell off the Top Ten list. (Let me remind you: the lists only include (or exclude) the films from these years that I’ve seen. As I see and like more films from the decade, the lists will be updated accordingly.)
Now there’s the issue of the extra category. As I always do, I like to include an extra category besides the 11-15; the Terrible Ten, the Films of My Childhood, the Awesomely 80s Movies, etc. This time, for the 60s — it’s not a particularly consistent decade. That is, with the 80s, they had 80s movies. The 60s don’t really have that. They were more of a combination of the end of the studio system and the changing film landscape and the end of the production code (epitomized by Bonnie and Clyde). So my 60s list will be what I’m calling “Out with the old, In with the new.” That is, films (good films, mind you. Not just any films. I had to have least liked them enough to put them on) that either typify the fading studio system (“out with the old”) or the emergence of New Hollywood (“in with the new”), as well as “other good films too,” which are ones that don’t necessarily fit in either category, but are also pretty great. “Out with the old, in with the new, and other good films too.”
So here are my Top Tens of the 1960s: (more…)
1965 is a strong year that is relatively unanalyzed. Mostly because, when you glance at it, you see, “Oh, The Sound of Music, and Dr. Zhivago was nominated,” and keept going. Clear-cut, no contention, moving on. But, when you look closer, Darling and A Thousand Clowns (not so much Ship of Fools) were also really strong films nominated for Best Picture. So, while the winner was easy to call, the category itself (among some of the others in the year) was really strong.
Robert Wise won Best Director for The Sound of Music, which comes with the territory (plus Lean won twice). Lee Marvin won Best Actor for Cat Ballou, which, as I said here, I hate. I hate it because it’s a terrible decision (Richard Burton or Rod Steiger really should have won), and because I can’t really argue about it that much, because I love Lee Marvin. Best Actress was Julie Christie for Darling (talked about here), which is a top ten decision for all time. Best Supporting Actress was Shelley Winters for A Patch of Blue (talked about here), which is a terrific decision (which is saying something, since she won one already).
That brings us to this category — one of, if not the weakest Best Supporting Actor category of all time. Holy shit. None of these performances would rate as a #2 for me in any year. And depending on the year, they might not even make #3. This is just terrible. (But fortunately the end decision does, performance quality aside, actually help keep the year strong. There’s no bad decision at all in the year.)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – 1965
And the nominees were…
Martin Balsam, A Thousand Clowns
Ian Bannen, The Flight of the Phoenix
Tom Courtenay, Dr. Zhivago
Michael Dunn, Ship of Fools
Frank Finlay, Othello (more…)
Oh, 1965. This year is a rock to me. It’s just — there. You don’t question a rock, it just, is. The Sound of Music wins Best Picture, and instinctively we all just understand that. It also won Best Director for Robert Wise, which, comes with the territory.
Then, Best Actor was Lee Marvin for Cat Ballou. Rather than explain, you can read my opinions on that here. Best Supporting Actor was Martin Balsam for A Thousand Clowns, which I guess works. I don’t really like the category, so whatever. And Best Supporting Actress was Shelley Winters for A Patch of Blue, which, as I said here, was a great decision.
So that’s 1965. And this category — whoa man, this is a top ten decision of all time. Julie Christie is incredible here. And also, despite that, this category is stacked. There are four legit winners here. Four!
BEST ACTRESS – 1965
And the nominees are…
Julie Andrews, The Sound of Music
Julie Christie, Darling
Samantha Eggar, The Collector
Elizabeth Hartman, A Patch of Blue
Simone Signoret, Ship of Fools (more…)