Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Katie-Bar-The-Door Awards (1953)

I've seen The War of the Worlds many times since I was a kid, and I think what I like most about it, aside from the sound effects, is that everybody seems knocked out that Gene Barry is a "scientist." Like "scientist" was a handy jack-of-all-trades profession that made him an expert in astronomy, biology, geology, fishing and forest fires.

That, and the only woman on the entire west coast is a scientist freak—did her thesis on scientists! Not science, mind you, scientists. Is that even a subject?

Anyway, every time I see The War of the Worlds, I think, "Why didn't I become a scientist?"

winner: From Here To Eternity (prod. Buddy Adler)
nominees: The Big Heat (prod. Robert Arthur); The Naked Spur (prod. William H. Wright); Pickup on South Street (prod. Jules Schermer); Shane (prod. George Stevens); Stalag 17 (prod. Billy Wilder); The War of the Worlds (prod. George Pal)

PICTURE (Comedy/Musical)
winner: Roman Holiday (prod. William Wyler)
nominees: The Band Wagon (prod. Arthur Freed); Genevieve (prod. Henry Cornelius); Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (prod. Sol C. Siegel)

PICTURE (Foreign Language)
winner: Tôkyô monogatari (Tokyo Story) (prod. Takeshi Yamamoto)
nominees: El (prod. Óscar Dancigers); I Vitelloni (prod. Jacques Bar, Mario De Vecchi and Lorenzo Pegoraro); Madame de... (The Earrings Of Madame de...) (prod. Ralph Baum); Le salaire de la peur (The Wages of Fear) (prod. Raymond Borderie and Henri-Georges Clouzot); Ugetso Monogatari (prod. Masaichi Nagata); Les vacances de Monsieur Hulot (Mr. Hulot's Holiday) (prod. Fred Orain and Jacques Tati)

ACTOR (Drama)
winner: Montgomery Clift (From Here To Eternity)
nominees: Charles Boyer (Madame de... a.k.a. The Earrings of Madame de...); William Holden (Stalag 17); Alan Ladd (Shane); Burt Lancaster (From Here To Eternity); Yves Montand (Le salaire de la peur a.k.a. The Wages of Fear); Vincent Price (House of Wax); Chisu Ryu (Tôkyô monogatari a.k.a. Tokyo Story); James Stewart (The Naked Spur); Richard Widmark (Pickup on South Street)

ACTOR (Comedy/Musical)
winner: Jacques Tati (Les vacances de Monsieur Hulot a.k.a. Mr. Hulot's Holiday)
nominees: Fred Astaire (The Band Wagon); Howard Keel (Kiss Me Kate); Gregory Peck (Roman Holiday)

winner: Gloria Grahame (The Big Heat)
nominees: Danielle Darrieux (Madame de... a.k.a. The Earrings of Madame de...); Chieko Higashiyama (Tôkyô monogatari a.k.a. Tokyo Story); Deborah Kerr (From Here To Eternity); Evelyn Keyes (99 River Street); Jean Peters (Pickup on South Street)

ACTRESS (Comedy/Musical)
winner: Jane Russell (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes)
nominees: Leslie Caron (Lili); Kathryn Grayson (Kiss Me Kate); Audrey Hepburn (Roman Holiday); Marilyn Monroe (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes)

winner: Yasujirô Ozu (Tôkyô monogatari a.k.a. Tokyo Story)
nominees: Luis Buñuel (El); Henri-Georges Clouzot (Le salaire de la peur a.k.a.The Wages of Fear); Federico Fellini (I Vitelloni); Samuel Fuller (Pickup on South Street); Anthony Mann (The Naked Spur); Kenji Mizoguchi (Ugetso Monogatari); Max Ophüls (Madame de... a.k.a. The Earrings of Madame de...); George Stevens (Shane); Billy Wilder (Stalag 17); Fred Zinnemann (From Here To Eternity)

DIRECTOR (Comedy/Musical)
winner: William Wyler (Roman Holiday)
nominees: Henry Cornelius (Genevieve); Howard Hawks (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes); Vincente Minnelli (The Band Wagon); Jacques Tati (Les vacances de Monsieur Hulot a.k.a. Mr. Hulot's Holiday)

winner: Frank Sinatra (From Here To Eternity)
nominees: Eddie Albert (Roman Holiday); Charles Coburn (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes); Van Heflin (Shane); Lee Marvin (The Big Heat); Robert Ryan (The Naked Spur); Jack Palance (Shane); Robert Strauss (Stalag 17); Brandon de Wilde (Shane)

winner: Thelma Ritter (Pickup On South Street)
nominees: Jean Arthur (Shane); Nanette Fabray (The Band Wagon); Setsuko Hara (Tôkyô monogatari a.k.a. Tokyo Story); Kay Kendall (Genevieve); Geraldine Page (Hondo); Donna Reed (From Here To Eternity)

winner: Daniel Taradash, from the novel by James Jones (From Here To Eternity)
nominees: Marcel Achard, Max Ophüls and Annette Wademant, from the novel by Louise de Vilmorin (Madame de... a.k.a. The Earrings of Madame de...); Dalton Trumbo, Ian McLellan Hunter and John Dighton, from a story by Dalton Trumbo (Roman Holiday); A.B. Guthrie, Jr, additional dialogue by Jack Sher, from the novel by Jack Shaefer (Shane); Billy Wilder and Edwin Blum, from the play by Donald Bevan and Edmund Trzcinski (Stalag 17); Kôgo Noda and Yasujirô Ozu (Tôkyô monogatari a.k.a. Tokyo Story)

Gordon Jennings (The War of the Worlds) (Special Effects); Loren L. Ryder (The War of the Worlds) (Sound); Duck Amuck (Animated Short)

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Katie-Bar-The-Door Awards (1952)

"Looking up at him, I thought this is no actor but the hero of all mythology brought miraculously to life, a purely beautiful being."—Louise Brooks, on meeting John Wayne for the first time

winner: High Noon (prod. Stanley Kramer)
nominees: The Bad and the Beautiful (prod. John Houseman); Bend of the River (prod. Aaron Rosenberg); The Narrow Margin (prod. Stanley Rubin)
Must-See Drama:

PICTURE (Comedy/Musical)
winner: Singin' In The Rain (prod. Arthur Freed)
nominees: The Importance of the Being Earnest (prod. Teddy Baird); Limelight (prod. Charles Chaplin); Monkey Business (prod. Howard Hawks); Pat and Mike (prod. Lawrence Weingarten); The Quiet Man (prod. Merian C. Cooper and John Ford)
Must-See Comedy/Musical:

PICTURE (Foreign Language)
winner: Ikiru (prod. Sôjirô Motoki)
nominees: Casque d’Or (prod. Raymond Hakim, Robert Hakim and André Paulvé); Le plaisir (prod. Édouard Harispuru, M. Kieffer and Max Ophüls); Jeux interdits (Forbidden Games) (prod. Robert Dorfmann); Saikaku ichidai onna (The Life of Oharu) (prod. Hideo Koi and Kenji Mizoguchi); Umberto D. (prod. Giuseppe Amato, Vittorio De Sica and Angelo Rizzoli)
Must-See Foreign Language:

ACTOR (Drama)
winner: Takashi Shimura (Ikiru)
nominees: Gary Cooper (High Noon); Kirk Douglas (The Bad and the Beautiful); José Ferrer (Moulin Rouge); Stewart Granger (Scaramouche and The Prisoner of Zenda); Charles McGraw (The Narrow Margin); Robert Mitchum (Macao, The Lusty Men and Angel Face); Robert Ryan (On Dangerous Ground); James Stewart (Bend of the River)

ACTOR (Comedy/Musical)
winner: John Wayne (The Quiet Man)
nominees: Cary Grant (Monkey Business); Gene Kelly (Singin' In The Rain); Michael Redgrave (The Importance of Being Earnest); Spencer Tracy (Pat And Mike)

winner: Shirley Booth (Come Back, Little Sheba)
nominees: Marlene Dietrich (Rancho Notorious); Julie Harris (The Member of the Wedding); Jennifer Jones (Ruby Gentry); Jean Simmons (Angel Face); Lana Turner (The Bad and the Beautiful); Marie Windsor (The Narrow Margin)

ACTRESS (Comedy/Musical)
winner: Maureen O'Hara (The Quiet Man)
nominees: Joan Greenwood (The Importance of Being Earnest); Katharine Hepburn (Pat and Mike); Judy Holliday (The Marrying Kind); Anna Magnani (Le carrosse d'or a.k.a. The Golden Coach); Debbie Reynolds (Singin' In The Rain); Ginger Rogers (Monkey Business)

winner: Fred Zinnemann (High Noon)
nominees: René Clément (Jeux interdits a.k.a. Forbidden Games); Vittorio De Sica (Umberto D.); Akira Kurosawa (Ikiru); Anthony Mann (Bend of the River); Kenji Mizoguchi (Saikaku ichidai onna a.k.a. The Life of Oharu); Max Ophüls (Le plaisir)

DIRECTOR (Comedy/Musical)
winner: Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly (Singin' In The Rain)
nominees: Anthony Asquith (The Importance of Being Earnest); Charles Chaplin (Limelight); George Cukor (Pat and Mike); John Ford (The Quiet Man)

winner: Donald O'Connor (Singin' In The Rain)
nominees: Ward Bond (The Quiet Man); Barry Fitzgerald (The Quiet Man); Buster Keaton (Limelight); Victor McLaglen (The Quiet Man)

winner: Jean Hagen (Singin' In The Rain)
nominees: Edith Evans (The Importance of Being Earnest); Gloria Grahame (The Bad and the Beautiful); Katy Jurado (High Noon); Margaret Rutherford (The Importance of Being Earnest)

winner: Adolph Green and Betty Comden (Singin' In The Rain)
nominees: Carl Foreman, from the story "The Tin Star" by John W. Cunningham (High Noon); Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto and Hideo Oguni (Ikiru); Frank S. Nugent, from a story by Maurice Walsh (The Quiet Man)

"Make 'Em Laugh" (Singin' In The Rain) music and lyrics by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown (Song)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Katie-Bar-The-Door Awards (1951)

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote that American lives have no second act, but Alec Guinness, being British, had three—first, as a comedic actor, then as a dramatic one, then as Obi Wan Kenobi.

winner: The African Queen (prod. Sam Spiegel)
nominees: Ace In The Hole (prod. Billy Wilder); The Day The Earth Stood Still (prod. Julian Blaustein); Detective Story (prod. William Wyler); A Place In The Sun (prod. George Stevens); The River (prod. Jean Renoir and Kenneth McEldowney); Scrooge (prod. Brian Desmond Hurst); Strangers on a Train (prod. Alfred Hitchcock); A Streetcar Named Desire (prod. Charles K. Feldman); The Thing From Another World (prod. Howard Hawks)

PICTURE (Comedy/Musical)
winner: The Lavender Hill Mob (prod. Michael Balcon)
nominees: Alice In Wonderland (prod. Walt Disney); An American In Paris (prod. Arthur Freed); The Man In The White Suit (prod. Michael Balcon)

PICTURE (Foreign Language)
winner: Journal d'un curé de campagne (Diary Of A Country Priest) (prod. Union Générale Cinématographique)
nominees: Bakushû (Early Summer) (prod. Takeshi Yamamoto)

ACTOR (Drama)
winner: Marlon Brando (A Streetcar Named Desire)
nominees: Humphrey Bogart (The African Queen); Montgomery Clift (A Place In The Sun); Kirk Douglas (Ace In The Hole and Detective Story); Michael Rennie (The Day The Earth Stood Still); Alastair Sim (Scrooge)

ACTOR (Comedy/Musical)
winner: Alec Guinness (The Lavender Hill Mob and The Man In The White Suit)
nominees: Fred Astaire (Royal Wedding); Cary Grant (People Will Talk); Gene Kelly (An American In Paris); Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis (That's My Boy)

winner: Vivien Leigh (A Streetcar Named Desire)
nominees: Anita Björk (Fröken Julie a.k.a. Miss Julie); Katharine Hepburn (The African Queen); Patricia Neal (The Day The Earth Stood Still); Eleanor Parker (Detective Story); Jan Sterling (Ace In The Hole)

ACTRESS (Comedy/Musical)
winner: Joan Greenwood (The Man in the White Suit)
nominees: Jeanne Crain (People Will Talk); Kathryn Grayson (Show Boat); Jane Powell (Royal Wedding)

winner: Elia Kazan (A Streetcar Named Desire)
nominees: Robert Bresson (Journal d'un curé de campagne a.k.a. Diary Of A Country Priest); Alfred Hitchcock (Strangers on a Train); John Huston (The African Queen); George Stevens (A Place in The Sun); Billy Wilder (Ace In The Hole); Robert Wise (The Day The Earth Stood Still)

DIRECTOR (Comedy/Musical)
winner: Charles Crichton (The Lavender Hill Mob)
nominees: Alexander Mackendrick (The Man In The White Suit); Vincente Minnelli (An American in Paris)

winner: Robert Walker (Strangers on a Train)
nominees: Porter Hall (Ace In The Hole); Oscar Levant (An American In Paris); Karl Malden (A Streetcar Named Desire); Vincent Price (His Kind of Woman); Peter Ustinov (Quo Vadis)

winner: Kim Hunter (A Streetcar Named Desire)
nominees: Lee Grant (Detective Story); Thelma Ritter (The Mating Season); Elizabeth Taylor (A Place In The Sun); Shelley Winters (A Place In The Sun)

winner: James Agee and John Huston, from the novel by C.S. Forester (The African Queen)
nominees: Billy Wilder, Lesser Samuels and Walter Newman (Ace In The Hole); Edmund H. North, from the story "Farewell to the Master" by Harry Bates (The Day The Earth Stood Still); T.E.B. Clarke (The Lavender Hill Mob); Raymond Chandler and Czenzi Ormonde, adaptation by Whitfield Cook, from the novel by Patricia Highsmith (Strangers on a Train); Tennessee Williams, adaptation by Oscar Saul, from the play by Tennessee Williams (A Streetcar Named Desire); Charles Lederer, from the short story "Who Goes There" by John W. Campbell, Jr. (The Thing From Another World)

Russell Harlan (The Thing From Another World) (Cinematography); Phil Brigandi and Clem Portman (The Thing From Another World) (Sound); Bernard Herrmann (The Day The Earth Stood Still) (Score)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Katie-Bar-The-Door Awards (1950)

Spencer Tracy's performance in Father of the Bride is one of those that looks effortless until you start thinking of all the ways it could have gone wrong. The film's producers initially talked of casting Jack Benny, which on the surface makes sense—he was one of the most popular entertainers in America and he was famous for playing cheapskates:

"Your money or your life!"
"I'm thinking, I'm thinking!"

But Benny in the title role would have very quickly become a one-note joke—he's cheap, we get it.

And then there's the remake with Steve Martin, a very fine comic actor, but boy, was he a disaster in this part. His relationship to his daughter isn't touching, it's creepy, bordering on the incestuous. Not to mention I did the math in my head while I was sitting in the theater watching this some twenty-plus years ago (good lord, when did I get to be this old?) and I realized the wedding was costing him something like $125,000—those are 1991 dollars, mind you—a ridiculous amount of money. That Martin was unable to make his objections to this runaway insanity seem even remotely reasonable is an indictment of both him and the remake's writers.

With apparent ease, Tracy steered his performance away from all these potential disasters, and in the process, makes us feel sympathy for him—the money, the loss of his "little girl"—even as we laugh at his foibles.

It's another movie, perhaps as in all of his movies, where you're tempted to say, "He's not really acting, he's just playing himself." Except that when you see his top six or eight movies—Fury, Libeled Lady, Captains Courageous, Woman of the Year, Adam's Rib, Bad Day at Black Rock—and compare them to each other, you realize he's covered a lot of ground. What he consistently does is find the core of humanity in his character, no mean trick, I think.

winner: Sunset Boulevard (prod. Charles Brackett)
nominees: All About Eve (prod. Darryl F. Zanuck); The Asphalt Jungle (prod. Arthur Hornblow, Jr.); Gun Crazy (prod. Frank King and Maurice King); The Gunfighter (prod. Nunnally Johnson); In A Lonely Place (prod. Robert Lord); Night and the City (prod. Samuel G. Engel); Wagon Master (prod. Merian C. Cooper and John Ford); Winchester '73 (prod. Aaron Rosenberg)

PICTURE (Comedy/Musical)
winner: Harvey (prod. John Beck)
nominees: Born Yesterday (prod. S. Sylvan Simon); Cinderella (prod. Walt Disney)

PICTURE (Foreign Language)
winner: Rashômon (prod. Minoru Jingo )
nominees: Los olvidados (prod. Óscar Dancigers, Sergio Kogan and Jaime A. Menasce); Orphée (Orpheus) (prod. André Paulvé); La Ronde (prod. Ralph Baum and Sacha Gordine)

ACTOR (Drama)
winner: William Holden (Sunset Boulevard)
nominees: Dana Andrews (Where The Sidewalk Ends); Humphrey Bogart (In A Lonely Place); Marlon Brando (The Men); José Ferrer (Cyrano de Bergerac); John Garfield (The Breaking Point); Stewart Granger (King Solomon's Mines); Gregory Peck (The Gunfighter); James Stewart (Winchester '73); Richard Widmark (Night and the City, Panic in the Streets and No Way Out)

ACTOR (Comedy/Musical)
winner: Spencer Tracy (Father Of The Bride)
nominees: Ronald Colman (Champagne For Caesar); Broderick Crawford (Born Yesterday); James Stewart (Harvey); Clifton Webb (Cheaper By The Dozen)

winner: Gloria Swanson (Sunset Boulevard)
nominees: Anne Baxter (All About Eve); Peggy Cummins (Gun Crazy); Bette Davis (All About Eve); Gloria Grahame (In A Lonely Place); Eleanor Parker (Caged)

ACTRESS (Comedy/Musical)
winner: Judy Holliday (Born Yesterday)
nominees: Joan Bennett (Father Of The Bride); Betty Hutton (Annie Get Your Gun)

winner: Akira Kurosawa (Rashômon)
nominees: Luis Buñuel (Los olividados); Jean Cocteau (Orphée a.k.a. Orpheus); Jules Dassin (Night and the City); John Huston (The Asphalt Jungle); Joseph H. Lewis (Gun Crazy); Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve); Anthony Mann (Winchester '73); Nicholas Ray (In A Lonely Place); Billy Wilder (Sunset Boulevard)

DIRECTOR (Comedy/Musical)
winner: Henry Koster (Harvey)
nominees: George Cukor (Born Yesterday); Vincente Minnelli (Father Of The Bride); George Sidney (Annie Get Your Gun)

winner: George Sanders (All About Eve)
nominees: Louis Calhern (The Asphalt Jungle); Sam Jaffe (The Asphalt Jungle); Toshirô Mifune (Rashômon); Erich von Stroheim (Sunset Boulevard)

winner: Celeste Holm (All About Eve)
nominees: Jean Hagen (The Asphalt Jungle); Josephine Hull (Harvey); Machiko Kyo (Rashômon); Marilyn Monroe (The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve); Nancy Olson (Sunset Boulevard); Thelma Ritter (All About Eve)

winner: Joseph L. Mankiewicz, from the story "The Wisdom of Eve" by Mary Orr (All About Eve)
nominees: Mary Chase and Oscar Brodney, from the play by Mary Chase (Harvey); Akira Kurosawa and Shinobu Hashimoto, from the stories "Rashômon" and "In A Grove" by Ryûnosuke Akutagawa (Rashômon); Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder and D.M. Marshman, Jr. (Sunset Boulevard)

Hans Dreier, John Meehan, Sam Comer and Ray Moyer (Sunset Boulevard) (Art Direction-Set Decoration); Russell Harlan (Gun Crazy) (Cinematography)