Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Katie-Bar-The-Door Awards (1987)

Empire of the Sun was the pivot on which Steven Spielberg's career turned. Before, it was all pure fun and escapism; after, his films are characterized by deep shadows.

Ostensibly, Empire of the Sun is the story of one boy's experiences during World War II as he survives internment in a Japanese prison camp in China, but more broadly speaking, it's about the end of childhood.

Childhood is characterized above all by a sense of invulnerability, the fantasy that you're the center of the universe, that everyone is watching you, everyone cares what happens to you. Growing up is largely a process of being disabused of this notion, from the first time you fall and skin your knee, to the dream that didn't come true, to the death of someone important to you. It's a nearly universal experience, that moment of passing through something and coming out the other end changed forever, so much so that when once in a blue moon, you meet someone who's never had life kick them in the ass, they're like freaks with two heads.

But their moment is coming. It comes for everybody eventually.

winner: Empire Of The Sun (prod. Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall)

PICTURE (Comedy/Musical)
winner: The Princess Bride (prod. Rob Reiner and Andrew Scheinman)

PICTURE (Foreign Language)
winner: Der Himmel über Berlin (Wings of Desire) (prod. Anatole Dauman and Wim Wenders)

ACTOR (Drama)
winner: Joe Mantegna (House of Games)

ACTOR (Comedy/Musical)
winner: Nicolas Cage (Raising Arizona and Moonstruck)

winner: Glenn Close (Fatal Attraction)

ACTRESS (Comedy/Musical)
winner: Cher (Moonstruck)

winner: Wim Wenders (Der Himmel über Berlin a.k.a. Wings of Desire)

DIRECTOR (Comedy/Musical)
winner: Rob Reiner (The Princess Bride)

winner: Peter Falk (Der Himmel über Berlin a.k.a. Wings of Desire and The Princess Bride)

winner: Anjelica Huston (The Dead)

winner: William Goldman, from his novel (The Princess Bride)


Erik Beck said...

The argument could easily be made that The Color Purple is actually where Spielberg began that turn.

But, there are those who would argue that Spielberg did his sentimental stuff to Walker's novel and made it easier to swallow.

But either way, Empire was the next step in a journey that began with Color Purple and eventually came to Schindler and Ryan.

Anonymous said...

great post! I've been wrapping up my 87 personal awards, and I love that you gave so much love to The Princess Bride, and the Huston win is brilliant!