Posts tagged “1979

Mike’s Top Ten of 1979

If I had an affinity for 1978 because it has two of my all-time favorite films, double down on that for 1979. I’ve got two top ten favorite films this year. And there’s a bunch of stuff I love down below the line too.

There’s just so much great stuff here. And, in a way, this is really the last of the auteur years. People often point to the 70s as being the best decade in American film. Typically what they mean is 1967-1976. That’s the decade. But even so, that ’70s’ mentality hung around for the last couple years after Star Wars, before it started getting phased out. This is the last year where it had a noticeable presence. 1980 was the year where it officially ‘ended’, before being turned over to big corporations and mainstream filmmaking. This year still feels like it has some freedom for the cool auteur stuff to come out. Though you can definitely see things coming to an end based on what we had five years before this. (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Picture – 1979

What a way to end the 70s. Though I guess this did foreshadow what the 80s would be. I feel like many people would agree — even those who think it is a terrific film, like myself — that Kramer vs. Kramer is just not as strong a Best Picture choice as Apocalypse Now or All That Jazz would have been. And to be honest with you — I could have actually lived with the choice, had the Academy not also given the film’s director Robert Benton Best Director for it as well (talked about here). Had there been a split, I could have been okay with it. But since there wasn’t, I just can’t be.

The film also won Best Actor for Dustin Hoffman (talked about here), who, even though he was up against Roy Scheider, Peter Sellers, Jack Lemmon and Al Pacino, not only deserved it, but was terribly overdue by this point. So it was a fantastic decision, and Best Supporting Actress for Meryl Streep (talked about here), who, as she tends to often do, blew her competition out of the water. Best Actress this year was Sally Field for Norma Rae (talked about here), which is a fantastic decision (in a tough category, too. Bette Midler gave her a real run for her money). And Best Supporting Actor was Melvyn Douglas for Being There (talked about here), which is the single worst Best Supporting Actor decision of all time. Not that Douglas was bad, it’s just — how does he beat Robert Duvall for Apocalypse Now? Seriously?

So, overall, 1979 is a great year. With a terrible Best Picture choice. Again, could have been lessened by a different Best Director choice, but alas — we must deal yet again with the Academy being the Academy. (Shame, too, since it’s a really terrific film. It sucks when good films beat better films and have to live with it.)


And the nominees are…

All That Jazz (20th Century Fox)

Apocalypse Now (United Artists)

Breaking Away (20th Century Fox)

Kramer vs. Kramer (Columbia)

Norma Rae (20th Century Fox) (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor – 1979

1979 is a year I can say a lot about. I’ll try not to here. At least, not at once. The main thing here is that Kramer vs. Kramer wins Best Picture, beating out Apocalypse Now and All That Jazz. It also beat Norma Rae and Breaking Away, but the first two are the real important ones. It’s not a question of whether or not it’s a good film, it’s just — is it really better to have won over those two? Did history really hold up on that one? I consider this one of those — the Academy being the Academy. And the Academy being wrong — decisions.

Also this year, Robert Benton wins Best Director for Kramer vs. Kramer (talked about here), because, I guess, Francis Ford Coppola and Bob Fosse didn’t produce the two best individual efforts of their careers. Dustin Hoffman won Best Actor for the film as well (talked about here), and this I agree with. He was amazing here, and due. Meryl Streep also won Best Supporting Actress for the film (talked about here). She was also amazing, and totally deserved it. And Best Actress this year was Sally Field for Norma Rae (talked about here), which is also a good decision. So, this year, on the whole, had some great decisions in it. Three, in fact. The problem here is the other three. Especially this one.

This category is the worst Best Supporting Actor decision of all time. If there ever was a year where “veteran Oscar” was what happened, this is it. I’m not even going to hide my opinion here or mask who I’m voting for. Robert Duvall delivered one of the most iconic performances of all time. Even if you haven’t seen Apocalypse Now, I bet you can quote that napalm speech. This is a character so strong, it’s possible you remember him even more than Marlon Brando in this movie. Or Dennis Hopper. That’s how fucking strong he is. Literally, the first half of this movie is his. That’s how good he is. And Melvyn Douglas wins because he’s old and dying. That’s just terrible. (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Actor – 1979

Oh, this is tough. This may be my favorite Best Actor category of all time. They’re all really good in this category. They all either gave awards-worthy performances or were terribly overdue. And also gave awards-worthy performances. Just — wow. Before we get into it, let’s recap.

I’m not a fan of the the overall 1979 at all. Kramer vs. Kramer wins Best Picture over Apocalypse Now, All That Jazz, Norma Rae and Breaking Away. Those last two, I can abide. The first two, I cannot. Same goes for Best Director. Robert Benton (for Kramer) beats Francis Ford Coppola and Bob Fosse (talked about here). That’s the worst offense of all. The direction didn’t carry that film, writing did. That’s what makes me unable to abide the Best Picture decision. The weak, “Here you go,” of giving it Best Director too. Meryl Streep also won Best Supporting Actress for the film, which, as I said here, is a perfect decision. When Meryl wins a category, she really wins a category.

Sally Field as Best Actress for Norma Rae, which, as I said here, is a great decision. And Best Supporting Actor was the biggest offense of them all. The worst decision in the history of the that category. Melvyn Douglas wins for Being There, beating Robert Duvall for Apocalypse Now. Even Dustin Hoffman, upon accepting his award for Best Actor, after saying he refused to believe he beat “Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Peter Sellers,” said, “I refuse to believe Robert Duvall lost.” That’s how bad it was.

Which brings us into this category — it’s a great one.


And the nominees are…

Dustin Hoffman, Kramer vs. Kramer

Jack Lemmon, The China Syndrome

Al Pacino, …And Justice for All

Roy Scheider, All That Jazz

Peter Sellers, Being There (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actress – 1979

1979 is well-covered on this blog. I don’t like it. I don’t mind Kramer vs. Kramer winning Best Picture over Apocalypse Now and All That Jazz so much. The films speak for themselves, and it’s pretty clear which ones are better. My problem is that Robert Benton won Best Director for Kramer vs. Kramer over Francis Ford Coppola and Bob Fosse (talked about here). That’s sickening.

Best Actor this year was (rightfully) Dustin Hoffman for Kramer vs. Kramer, and I fully support that decision, because he’d won one of these twice over by this point and had nothing to show for it. As much as I love Peter Sellers and Roy Scheider, Hoffman was the choice. Best Actress was Sally Field for Norma Rae, which, as I said here, I love as a decision. And Best Supporting Actor this year was Melvyn Douglas for Being There, which is no secret that it’s the single worst Best Supporting Actor decision of all time. The worst. Robert Duvall was clearly the choice there for Apocalypse Now.

Which brings us to this category — a slam dunk if there ever was one. When Meryl wins a category, she really wins a category.


And the nominees were…

Jane Alexander, Kramer vs. Kramer

Barbara Barrie, Breaking Away

Candace Bergen, Starting Over

Mariel Hemingway, Manhattan

Meryl Streep, Kramer vs. Kramer (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Director – 1979

I am so disappointed in 1979. And a lot of it has to do with this category. Kramer vs. Kramer is a film I love dearly, but it should not have won Best Picture this year. Apocalypse Now and All That Jazz were far superior films. However, I could have lived with Kramer winning Best Picture had it not also won this category, which is the last Oscar it should have won. Just watching the films, you can see how far and away better Coppola’s and Fosse’s efforts were. Had the Academy recognized that, I could have lived with them thinking Kramer vs. Kramer was the better film. But they didn’t. Which is why 1979 will always be a sore spot for me. (Among another category…)

As for the rest of the year, Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep win Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress, respectively, for Kramer vs. Kramer, and Sally Field wins Best Actress for Norma Rae (which I talked about here). These decisions I agree with wholeheartedly. They were incredible, and the best decisions in their respective categories. Best Supporting Actor, however, is a decision I consider to be the worst of all time in its category, and possibly even the second worst single Oscar decision of all time. Melvyn Douglas wins for Being There, beating Robert Duvall, for Apocalypse Now. Which performance do you remember? I rest my case. That decision is really the nail in the coffin for me, and it’s why, no matter how hard I try, 1979 upsets me. Half the decisions are great, and the other half are bad beyond words (or questionable at best). It pains me.


And the nominees were…

Robert Benton, Kramer vs. Kramer

Francis Ford Coppola, Apocalypse Now

Bob Fosse, All That Jazz

Edouard Molinaro, La Cage aux Folles

Peter Yates, Breaking Away (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1979

I love 1979 and hate 1979 at the same time. One of the greatest films ever made, Apocalypse Now, is nominated for Best Picture, as is one of my five favorite films of all time, All That Jazz. And neither wins Best Picture. Now, Kramer vs. Kramer — I think it’s a good film. I think it’s a great film, even. But I do not think this film should have won Best Picture at all. I think that was a terrible decision. And I might have been able to live with it had they not also given Best Director to Robert Benton. Did they see the directorial efforts of those other two films?

And then, Best Actor this year was Dustin Hoffman for Kramer, which is absolutely perfect. He was way overdue by this point, and gave the best performance of his career. It’s a shame he beat Roy Scheider and Peter Sellers, but it’s fine. Then Meryl Streep wins Best Supporting Actress as the other Kramer, which is one of the best decisions ever made in that category (whenever Meryl wins an Oscar, it’s pretty much automatically one of the best decisions in that category). Then, Best Supporting Actor was Melvyn Douglas for Being There, which, if you didn’t know, was the WORST DECISION OF ALL TIME IN THAT CATEGORY. Worst. Ever. Know why? He beat Robert Duvall for Apocalypse Now. I’ll ask you, dear reader — which performance do you remember? Charlie don’t surf, but it seems he votes in the Academy.

So that’s 1979. I love it, because great films are involved, and because, while I know they made the wrong decision, Kramer vs. Kramer is a better film than a lot of other films that have won Best Picture (looking at you, Ordinary People). And yet — I really only agree with three of the six decisions this year, and two of them I consider to be two of the worst all time. So this year is a big sore spot for me.


And the nominees were…

Jill Clayburgh, Starting Over

Sally Field, Norma Rae

Jane Fonda, The China Syndrome

Marsha Mason, Chapter Two

Bette Midler, The Rose (more…)