Sunday, November 4, 2018

1957 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.

Alternate Oscar guru Erik Beck of the Boston Becks (who somewhere along the line became Erik Beck of the San Diego Becks — that's some move!) considers 1957 rather than 1939 the best year for movies. He makes a good case.

I originally had eleven movies in my top ten which is a bit of problem if you're at all familiar with the concept of math. I suppose I could have made an exception and nominated all eleven this year, but that would have required me to noodle together a whole new template on Photoshop and who's got time for that?

Eight picks were carved in stone from the get-go: the Academy's choice for best picture, The Bridge on the River Kwai; and my own pick, of course, The Seventh Seal; along with Fellini's Nights of Cabiria; Kubrick's anti-war classic, Paths of Glory; Sweet Smell of Success, maybe the most cynical picture of the decade; 12 Angry Men, starring a dozen really pissed-off dudes; Bergman's second great movie of the year, Wild Strawberries; and Billy Wilder's courtroom classic, Witness for the Prosecution.

On the chopping block? The Cranes Are Flying, the first great movie to come out of the Soviet Union since Stalin destroyed the Russian film industry; A Face in the Crowd, about a populist blowhard who rises to fame and fortune stoking the fears and prejudices of white, rural America; and Throne of Blood, Akira Kurosawa's samurai take on Shakespeare's Macbeth.

After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, Throne of Blood wound up the odd man out. It's the lowest rated of the bunch on the Internet Movie Database (8.1, mind you, which is terrific) and, well, we've already nominated a lot of Kurosawa movies with more to come. If you really, really wanted to vote for it, my apologies.

Speaking of math, there really should be ten nominees for best actor this year: Tony Curtis, Kirk Douglas, Henry Fonda, Andy Griffith, Alec Guinness, William Holden, Charles Laughton, Robert Mitchum, Victor Sjöström and Max von Sydow. Eleven, if you consider Burt Lancaster in Sweet Smell of Success a lead.

It's a great year for actors. I went with the five who I thought gave the best performance of their careers in 1957.

1 comment:

Erik Beck said...

Thanks for the shout out. I thought I was going to have add a comment about how 1957 is the best year in film history, especially for international film, but you already covered it.