Sunday, January 27, 2019

1969 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.

Four Western heroes and a couple of midnight cowpokes up for best actor this year. I nominated Redford and Newman as a pair because (1) they were so often mentioned together in the same breath, and because (2) it's my blog and there's nothing you can do about it.

In the supporting category, Sergio Leone cast Henry Fonda against type in Once Upon a Time in the West and the result was one of the greatest villains in movie history. But I've already handed Fonda an alternate Oscar for The Grapes of Wrath, the best performance of his career, so I opted instead for Jason Robards' wonderful comedic bandit, Cheyenne, in the same movie.

Lot of juggling in the alternate Oscar business.

1969 was maybe the last great year for Westerns. Some really good Westerns still to come, for sure, most of them starring Clint Eastwood, but as a whole the genre crests the hill in 1969. Or maybe when you have a year with The Wild Bunch, Once Upon a Time in the West, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, True Grit, Support Your Local Sheriff! and literally a hundred more, it only seems that way.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

1968 Alternate Oscars

My choices are noted with a ★. Historical Oscar winners are noted with a ✔. (Note: Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand tied for best actress.)

I saw the road show presentation of 2001: A Space Odyssey back in 1968 and it opened up my seven-year-old head like a can opener. Into that space flowed the Beatles, Batman, Laugh-In, the Smothers Brothers, Apollo 8, Mad Magazine, Captain Kangaroo, Charlie Brown, Richard Nixon, Billy Graham, Viet Nam, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, reruns of Bugs Bunny, Bullwinkle, Jonny Quest, my college-aged brother's record collection, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King — heady stuff at an impressionable age.

I didn't understand the culture of 1968 back in 1968, but I absorbed it like a sponge. No wonder I am the way I am.

P.S. Little known fact: Sondra Locke, who like your faithful correspondent was born in middle Tennessee, once hitched a ride with my parents ...

Sunday, January 13, 2019

1967 Alternate Oscars

My choices are noted with a ★. A tie is indicated with a ✪. Historical Oscar winners are noted with a ✔.

Hollywood had been sneaking out of the Production Code's bathroom window for a while now but in 1967, it kicked the entire rotting edifice to the ground and defiantly announced, "Dad, I'm pregnant!"

Or something like that.

In any event, the look and feel of Hollywood movies changed radically in 1967, which was both good and bad, depending on who was making the movie. Not everyone knows what to do with their freedom, but them that do — whoa, Nellie!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

1966 Alternate Oscars

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

I would tell you that I'd rather watch a spaghetti Western over an art film any day, or possibly vice versa, but The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is both — a masterpiece that stands alongside Ford's The Searchers and Hawks' Rio Bravo as one of the greatest Westerns ever made. And you know the Monkey loves him a good Western.