Sunday, May 19, 2019

1985 Alternate Oscars








My choices are noted with a ★. A tie is indicated with a ✪. Historical Oscar winners are noted with a ✔. Best foreign-language picture winners are noted with an ƒ. A historical winner who won in a different category is noted with a ✱.

For a long time, I had Akira Kurosawa's Ran down as the best picture of 1985, and it's a beautiful, beautifully-made movie. But Filmsite.org defines classic movies as "renowned films of first rank, reference points in film mythology, or films that have become a part of American cultural folklore."

That sure sounds like Back to the Future to me so that's what I'm going with. But you decide.


Note: William Hurt won the Oscar for best actor in 1985, but to me, it was such a joint effort with Raul Julia that to split them apart would be like trying to assess Laurel without Hardy or Curly without Moe. They win together or don't win at all.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

1984 Alternate Oscars








My choices are noted with a ★. Historical Oscar winners are noted with a ✔.

The Academy Awards for 1984 are remembered now mostly for Sally Field's "You like me! You really, really like me!" speech — followed by the fastest case of buyers remorse in Oscar history. I've already recognized Field for her work in Norma Rae so I'm going to skip over her in favor of some very good actresses who never received the accolades they deserved.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

1983 Alternate Oscars








My choices are noted with a ★. Historical Oscar winners are noted with a ✔.

I think I was one of twelve people who actually saw A Christmas Story in a theater back in 1983. But having been a fan of Jean Shepherd for years, there was no way I was going to miss it.

Rumor has it you can see A Christmas Story on cable television sometime around December 24th or 25th, but don't quote me.

By the way, in case you've never seen the 1976 PBS special Phantom of the Open Hearth, based on another of Shepherd's classic story collections Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories: and Other Disasters, here it is complete for your entertainment:



P.S. Am I the only person who sees the movie title Terms of Endearment and immediately thinks of Sterling Archer's "Terms of En-Rampagement"?

Sunday, April 28, 2019

1982 Alternate Oscars








My choices are noted with a ★. A tie is indicated with a ✪. Historical Oscar winners are noted with a ✔. Best foreign-language picture winners are noted with an ƒ.

A great year for science fiction ...


Postscript I'm home from the hospital, four days earlier than expected. The surgery was a complete success, and the recovery so far has, according to my surgeon, "obliterated the benchmark." Apparently my heretofore unknown superpower is fighting cancer.

My new stomach and I are still getting to know each other but so far so good. It looks like I'll be around to chat movies with you for a long, long time. Thanks so much to everyone for their good thoughts. — Mythical Monkey

Sunday, April 21, 2019

1981 Alternate Oscars








My choices are noted with a ★. Historical Oscar winners are noted with a ✔. Best foreign-language picture winners are noted with an ƒ.

Would Henry Fonda have won the Oscar for On Golden Pond if he had already won as he should have for The Grapes of Wrath? Well, maybe. I think Hollywood liked the idea of him and his daughter Jane reconciling at last, if only on the big screen — which, come to think of it, is the only place that counts. It didn't hurt that he was dying.

As for Katharine Hepburn, this was her fourth Oscar, and like the one for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, it was her co-star who did all the heavy lifting. I've already given her three alternate Oscars, and so have you (per current vote tallies). That's plenty. Let's give somebody else a chance.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

1980 Alternate Oscars








My choices are noted with a ★. Historical Oscar winners are noted with a ✔. A historical winner who won in a different category is noted with a ✱.

The Academy nominated Mary Tyler Moore as the lead in Ordinary People and Timothy Hutton as supporting actor, I think largely based on their stature in the film industry — this was Hutton's first feature whereas Moore had been a star of television for twenty years. But I think it's pretty clear Hutton was the lead, so I've nominated Hutton and Moore for alternate Oscars in the categories where I think they belong.

I've blogged ahead to the middle of June so that there will be no interruption in the weekly voting, but starting tomorrow I won't be here to read or answer comments for quite a while. Feel free to have your say and I'll catch up later this Spring.


Oh, and a happy 25th anniversary today to Turner Classic Movies, the best movie network on the planet! Fingers crossed for another 25!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

1979 Alternate Oscars








My choices are noted with a ★. Historical Oscar winners are noted with a ✔.

As I look at my list of movies from 1979, I find it interesting just how many of them — Apocalypse Now, Manhattan, North Dallas Forty, All That Jazz, even the robot in Alien — were about the destructive nature of what we now call toxic masculinity. So, of course, the Academy (always with a finger on the pulse of its own product) gave all the Oscars to the movie about toxic feminism, Kramer vs. Kramer. Pee-yew!

Okay, I exaggerate. But Kramer vs. Kramer is, at its heart, comfort food for men in need of reassurance when what they desperately needed was a cold, hard slap in the face.

For years, I had Woody Allen's Manhattan down as the best picture of the year (I first saw it forty years ago, the summer I turned eighteen), but in revisiting it recently, I saw not the wistful romance I remembered but the uncomfortable story of a sweet seventeen year old girl (Mariel Hemingway) who finds herself in the clutches of a creepy, balding homunculus twenty-five years her senior (Woody Allen). Woody works overtime to remake the girl in his own crabbed, misanthropic image, but — good for her! — she wriggles free of his grasp at the last minute. The cinematography (Gordon Willis) is gorgeous, the Gershwin music sublime, and maybe I'm just cranky because both Mariel Hemingway and I are now old enough to be the girl's grandparents, but I don't find this stuff amusing anymore.