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…)
This is where this category gets really interesting, because more people will have exponentially stronger opinions from here on out. So here’s 1971-1975
1971: “THEME FROM SHAFT,” FROM SHAFT
The 70s had balls. That’s the best way to describe it. In the 80s, you’d look at this list and assume Nicholas and Alexandra was going to win. In the 60s, you’d assume Fiddler on the Roof. Nothing against either of those films, they’re both actually really amazing (this entire list is), it’s just — here, in the 70s — the right film won.
Outside of Best Picture, The French Connection won Best Director for William Friedkin (talked about here) and Best Actor for Gene Hackman (talked about here). Both were awesome decisions. Best Actress was Jane Fonda for Klute (talked about here), which is another great decision and another 70s decision. Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress were Ben Johnson (talked about here) and Cloris Leachman (talked about here) from The Last Picture Show. I don’t love either decision, but am more okay with Supporting Actress. Still, I’d have gone another way on both of them.
Again, though, the 70s are just terrific at awarding good things. There’s so much good stuff nominated that almost no matter what they choose, the result will be good (or at the very least, acceptable). It’s amazing.
BEST PICTURE – 1971
And the nominees were…
A Clockwork Orange (Warner Bros.)
Fiddler on the Roof (United Artists)
The French Connection (20th Century Fox)
The Last Picture Show (Columbia)
Nicholas and Alexandra (Columbia) (more…)
Love 1971. Here’s a real 70s year. Best Picture was The French Connection, and William Friedkin won Best Director for it (talked about here), and Gene Hackman won Best Actor for it (talked about here). All perfect decisions.
Whether I like the decisions or not (and I largely like them), this is a very 70s year. And that’s awesome.
And this category is no different. Great 70s decision, and a great award for a great actress.
BEST ACTRESS – 1971
And the nominees were…
Julie Christie, McCabe & Mrs. Miller
Jane Fonda, Klute
Glenda Jackson, Sunday Bloody Sunday
Vanessa Redgrave, Mary, Queen of Scots
Janet Suzman, Nicholas and Alexandra (more…)
I love 1971 because a real 70s film won. There are few films that perfectly encapsulate the 70s more than The French Connection. What a great film. All due respect to A Clockwork Orange and The Last Picture Show (and even Nicholas and Alexandra and Fiddler on the Roof… strong year), but The French Connection should have won.
Gene Hackman won Best Actor for the film (talked about here), which I love, and William Friedkin won Best Director for it (talked about here), which he deserved (between this and The Exorcist, he deserved a statue).
Best Actress this year was Jane Fonda for Klute, which was also a very 70s decision. I like it. And Best Supporting Actress was Cloris Leachman for The Last Picture Show (talked about here), which I’m okay with, even though I’d have gone another way.
And then there’s this category. I don’t like it. Not even a little bit. I just don’t see it at all. I don’t see it in the performance or the actor. Add to that one of my favorite actors in a great film, and I just can’t abide this one.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – 1971
And the nominees were…
Jeff Bridges, The Last Picture Show
Leonard Frey, Fiddler on the Roof
Richard Jaeckel, Sometimes a Great Notion
Ben Johnson, The Last Picture Show
Roy Scheider, The French Connection (more…)
It’s time for another one of these. Perhaps my favorite recurring feature on the blog (next to the Pic of the Day). Me listing my favorite films of a particular decade. We’re up to the 70s now.
This one will be just like those other ones. Same Ten films per year, same 11-15 (or 20, if it’s particularly strong) at the bottom, so when I come back to these lists, I can easily know which films almost made the cut so I don’t have to put too much work into updating them. The only difference is the fun list at the bottom. The first time was the “Terrible Ten” list of films I hated from that year. The second was “Films of my Childhood,” a list of films I saw and loved when I was a kid. This one will be, simply — 70s Recommendation. I will be recommending certain films from the decade (that don’t already appear on my Top Ten lists) that I feel greatly represent the 70s as a decade. You’ll see what I mean when you see the lists. Just know, though, that these films are either wonderfully representative (the way the Awesomely 80s Films were of that decade), or are real hidden gems of the decade that not many people may have seen (or would think to see) nowadays.
Also, as always, the list is based on what I’ve seen. As I see more films of the decade (and like them), the lists will be altered accordingly. Now, let’s get listing: (more…)
I love 1971. As a whole. Not so much this category. I’ll get to that in a second. But, for me, 1971 is really where the “70s,” as its imagined as a decade, really took hold in the Academy. 1967 is the year where most people saw a marked change in the industry, Bonnie and Clyde and all, but it never really came into the Academy until this year. Between 1967 and 1971, it was kind of like a fluorescent light flickering before it turned on. In the four years before 1971, only Midnight Cowboy felt like the kind of film that was an example of the “gritty” 70s. So that’s why I love this year.
The French Connection wins Best Picture and Best Director for William Friedkin (talked about here). I love the decisions. I think they were the best decisions they could have made. Then Best Actress was Jane Fonda for Klute, which is another great decision (it’s also a very 70s film). Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress were Ben Johnson and Cloris Leachman, both from The Last Picture Show. I don’t particularly like either decision, but, as I said here, I do like the Cloris one because she’s awesome, even though I’d have voted for Ann-Margret in that category. But in all, this year is a very 70s year. And I love the 70s.
As for this particular category, it’s not that strong. And, I like it because Gene Hackman is an actor who should have an Academy Award, and he gave my favorite (and the most iconic) performance in the category. But, I feel as though if the category were stronger, he might not have won. But, fortunately, it isn’t, so it all worked out.
BEST ACTOR – 1971
And the nominees were…
Peter Finch, Sunday Bloody Sunday
Gene Hackman, The French Connection
Walter Matthau, Kotch
George C. Scott, The Hospital
Topol, Fiddler on the Roof (more…)