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…)
Oh man, there’s some great stuff 1966-1970.
1966: “BORN FREE,” FROM BORN FREE
I like me some 1966. I don’t love it. But I like it. It’s a good year. Not terribly memorable, but a year begins with its Best Picture nominees/winner. And this year’s winner (along with the only other potential winner) is a very stagy film. Amazing, but stagy. Which isn’t as sexy as some of the other winners. But it doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a good film.
A Man for All Seasons, outside of Best Picture, wins Fred Zinnemann his second Best Director Oscar (talked about here), which, with this, High Noon and From Here to Eternity (not to mention all the other great films he directed), he’s earned two, and Best Actor for Paul Scofield (talked about here). He did do a great job, and it was really close between him and Richard Burton. Both were very deserving. He was incredible. Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress were Elizabeth Taylor (talked about here) and Sandy Dennis (talked about here) for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, both of whom I felt were deserving in their respective categories (Taylor much more so. She just destroyed the rest of that category). And Best Supporting Actor was Walter Matthau for The Fortune Cookie (talked about here), which — oh man, watch this movie and that performance. It’s genius. It’s a comic role that he plays like a noir. It’s glorious.
So that’s 1966. A very strong year. Every category went with either the best decision or one of the top two. But it’s not very sexy. Some sexiness, but more-so very solid. Maybe we’ll call this the “good husband” year.
BEST PICTURE – 1966
And the nominees were…
A Man for All Seasons (Columbia)
The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming (United Artists)
The Sand Pebbles (20th Century Fox)
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Warner Bros.) (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…)
Love me some 1966. While my personal choice didn’t win Best Picture, a film that was just as good did.
A Man for All Seasons wins Best Picture, Best Director for Fred Zinnemann (talked about here) and Best Actor for Paul Scofield (talked about here). And my personal favorite of the year, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, wins Best Actress for Elizabeth Taylor (talked about here) and this category. All of those decisions are great. Had they gone with either film (the ones where both films were nominated) in any category, it would have been a good decision.
The non-Man for All Seasons or Virginia Woolf win was Best Supporting Actor, which went to Walter Matthau for The Fortune Cookie (talked about here). His only Oscar. Which is awesome.
So that’s 1966. Perhaps the quickest synopsis I’ve ever had. And I don’t have all that much to say about this category either, except — great decision.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – 1966
And the nominees were…
Sandy Dennis, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Wendy Hiller, A Man for All Seasons
Jocelyne LaGarde, Hawaii
Vivien Merchant, Alfie
Geraldine Page, You’re a Big Boy Now (more…)
I like 1966 a lot. Best part about it? The recap takes about fifteen seconds.
A Man for all Seasons and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? win five of the six major awards. Both are amazing films, and really, either one winning all the awards would have been acceptable. A Man for All Seasons won Best Picture, Best Actor for Paul Scofield (talked about here), and, this category. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? won Best Actress for Elizabeth Taylor (talked about here) and Best Supporting Actress for Sandy Dennis. The only award those films didn’t win was Best Supporting Actor, which went to Walter Matthau for The Fortune Cookie (talked about here). See? Real quick. Love it.
And then, there’s this category, which is just all sorts of fucked up. I don’t quite know what to do here, because there are so many minefields to deal with. So I guess we’ll find out what I’m going to do together.
BEST DIRECTOR – 1966
And the nominees were…
Michelangelo Antonioni, Blowup
Richard Brooks, The Professionals
Claude Lelouch, A Man and a Woman
Mike Nichols, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Fred Zinnemann, A Man for All Seasons (more…)
I personally consider this one of the weakest Best Actress categories of all time. The fact that the winner was such a slam dunk hides that fact a bit (kind of like Best Actress 1949), but it’s still pretty weak. There’s only one choice here.
As for the rest of the year — it’s basically split up between two films. A Man for All Seasons wins Best Picture, Best Actor for Paul Scofield (which I talked about here) and Best Director for Fred Zinnemann. Then, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? wins this category and Best Supporting Actress for Sandy Dennis. And Best Supporting Actor is the only outlier, which was Walter Matthau for The Fortune Cookie (which I talked about here).
My thoughts on this year are — I think they got the acting awards 100% correct (Best Actor is a tough choice between Scofield and Burton, and either one was a great decision. That’s one of those where I’ll change my answer every time I’m asked about it), and Best Picture and Best Picture are a matter of opinion between two great films. I tend to go back and forth between which I’d vote for. Still, both are great, so, really this year is a win/win for everybody.
BEST ACTRESS – 1966
And the nominees were…
Anouk Aimée, A Man and a Woman
Ida Kaminska, The Shop on Main Street
Lynn Redgrave, Georgy Girl
Vanessa Redgrave, Morgan!
Elizabeth Taylor, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (more…)