Best Director – 1972

Official Nominations: Bob Fosse. John Boorman. Francis Ford Coppola. Joseph L Mankiewicz. Jan Troell.

Bob Fosse picked up his win here. Seriously. As much as you may love Cabaret, and as much as Fosse does a great job, there is only one winner here. Indeed, I’d probably put Boorman and Mankiewicz higher than Fosse for two very different types of taut thriller in Sleuth and Deliverance respectively. Jan Troell shouldn’t be here at all given that The Emigrants movie came out in 1971 – remembering I don’t care for what and when a film finally showed in LA or USA. My winner is Coppola – isn’t everyone’s? The Godfather is a masterclass from A-Z in the art of Cinema.

My Winner: Francis Ford Coppola

My Nominations: Francis Ford Coppola. Bob Fosse. John Boorman. Joseph L Mankiewicz. Werner Herzog. Bruce Lee. Bernardo Bertolucci. Ronald Neame. Andrei Tarkovsky.

The four big shots all make it over to my list – you can’t really argue against any of them being nominated. I don’t think you can argue against Coppola still winning here – most of my additions would never stand a chance of getting nominated in reality, but each is strong in their own right. I didn’t go so far as giving John Waters one (matron). Herzog’s Aguerre was famous just as much for trouble on set so the fact that such a great movie emerged from the other side speaks volumes, while Bruce Lee made his only complete movie (Way Of The Dragon) as director, one which remains at the top of the martial arts genre. One of the great shames of his early death was not only that he didn’t appear in any more films, but that he didn’t direct any more. Bertolucci gets an obvious nomination for Last Tango In Paris, beauty and disgust colliding, while Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris is incredibly influential in many departments. My final nomination is for Ronald Neame’s The Poseidon Adventure – arguably the most thrilling of all the disaster movies although I admit the nomination is more to do with scope than overall quality.

My Winner: Francis Ford Coppola

Let us know in the comments who you choose as the Best Director of 1972!

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Best Supporting Actor – 1972

Official Nominations: Joel Grey. Eddie Albert. James Caan. Robert Duvall. Al Pacino.

Part of me is glad that Joel Grey won here – the Buffy part. Buffy fans will know what I’m talking about. However, he’s going up against The Godfather cast so good luck. I’m not sure Robert Duvall does enough here to warrant a nomination, especially when some others from the movie didn’t make it. He’s great, no doubt, but I’d take a few others over him. James Caan is more obviously notable over the understated Duvall, starring as the hot-headed Sonny. Al Pacino is the star of the show, still a little odd that he didn’t get the main actor nod but he’s my winner here regardless in a role that grows and grows from reluctant first scene to crushing last. Finally, Eddie Albert gets his second nomination, this time for The Heartbreak Kid. It’s funny, he’s great, but he has no chance against Pacino here.

My Winner: Al Pacino

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My Nominations: Joel Grey. Eddie Albert. James Caan. Robert Duvall. Al Pacino. Jon Voight.

I don’t have any issue with any of the nominations this year. There’s a case for Voight being a lead in Deliverance, but due to the ensemble nature of the film I’m happy to have him here. Out of the four central characters in the movie I feel he gives the most committed and varied performance. There are plenty of other great performances this year, but I don’t think any compete with those above and certainly won’t impact my choice of winner.

My Winner: Al Pacino

Let us know in the comments who you pick as the Best Supporting Actor of 1972!

Best Actress – 1972

Official Nominations: Liza Minnelli. Diana Ross. Maggie Smith. Cecily Tyson. Liv Ullmann.

This one was never in doubt – Minnelli’s first singing role for Bob Fosse’s comeback movie? Never in doubt. If you’ve read this blog or my Oscars posts for any length of time then you’ll know I’m not a Musical fan. I’d go out of my way to not watch a Musical. I’m not a fan of Minnelli either and as objectively great as Cabaret is, it’s just not my thing. Some people don’t like Musicals, some people don’t like action movies, some people don’t like Police Academy (seriously, there are people like that out there). Minnelli gives herself over to the performance completely and gets the deserved nomination and win, and yet it’s such an obvious performance… I think that’s one of the many places where me and Musicals part ways – I know I’m watching an actor, I know I’m watching a show, and I’m entirely disconnected from it to the point that it would make a difference if I was watching it on screen or seeing her swinging her hips in my face in my own kitchen.

Diana Ross, another singer/actor delivers probably her best work in Lady Sings The Blues as Billie Holiday. It could have, well, it should have been grittier but it’s a performance I enjoy more than Minnelli’s. Maggie Smith is back again, another performer I’m not a fan of, being another bird-like eccentric creature with a minor collection of physical ticks. Cecily Tyson is in with a chance for her honest, non showy performance in Sounder while Liv Ullmann doesn’t need to be here at all due to her film coming out the previous year, ignoring those wacky Academy rules.

My Winner: Diana Ross.

My Nominations: Liza Minnelli. Diana Ross. Ruby Dee. Susannah York. Maria Schneider.

There isn’t really anything from the official list I’d want to have on my list. I mean yeah, Minnelli should be here and there’s no use in me being a dick about it, but still… not my thing. Is there going to be anything else this year that was ever going to legitimately beat her win – nope – but I’m basically picking my own favorites here as long as they’re not awful. There’s a case for Diane Keaton here, but I don’t think she does enough in The Godfather to warrant a nomination in lead or supporting categories. Ruby Dee is here for Buck And The Preacher – not a huge role or a huge film, but I’m not spoiled for choice. Susannah York is great as the tormented lead in Images while tormented is perhaps not a strong enough word for Maria Schneider in Last Tango In Paris. 

My Winner: Maria Schneider

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Let us know in the comments who you would pick as your winner for the best Actress of 1972!

Best Actor – 1972

Official Nominations: Marlon Brando. Michael Caine. Laurence Olivier. Peter O’Toole. Paul Winfield.

The 1972 saw at least two of who most critics consider the ‘best actor ever’ going toe to toe – with Brando coming out on top for The Godfather – one of the single most famous performances in history. Olivier, already a Best Actor winning an million time nominee is typically brilliant in Sleuth, and yet he is overshadowed by Michael Caine who delivers a performance good enough to win any year that he doesn’t go up against Don Corleone. Peter O’Toole can make a claim for appearing on any Best Actor Ever list, here picking up one of his many nominations and certainly his most bizarre. I can’t see a film like The Ruling Class ever being made outside of the weirdest Indie House, never mind it being featured at The Oscars. Nevertheless, it leaves an impression and O’Toole is great – you can’t help but wonder if Jack Nicholson had starred instead, would he have won? Finally, Paul Winfield has a more wholesome nomination for Sounder – a little film completely lost to time but one worthy of catching, not least because Winfield gets a deserved nod.

One other notable thing to mention is that each of the nominees this year made other notable performances in different films, some of them worthy of nominations themselves – Brando has Last Tango In Paris, Winfield had Trouble Man (maybe not..), Caine had Pulp, O’Toole had Man Of La Mancha, and Olivier had Lady Caroline Lamb. There’s not many years these days where the many or any of the nominees have multiple notable movies in a single year.

My Winner: Marlon Brando

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My Nominations: Marlon Brando. Michael Caine. Robert Redford. Bruce Dern. Bruce Lee.

The five officials are good enough to be on any list, but I’ll switch things up a little more and keep the only two genuine official contenders. I’d also be tempted to include Pacino here rather than the supporting category, but lets give someone else a chance. Robert Redford had two hits this year, with Jeremiah Johnson where he stars as a veteran and mountain man and The Candidate as a Democrat asked to enter a political race against the Republican powerhouse. Both these films are wonderful Redford showcases but feel as if they have been left behind in time. Although Dern deserves a shout for The King Of Marvin Gardens it is Silent Running which gets my vote. Dern gives a one man show for much of the film, growing steadily more manic and desperate, though his wide-eyed behaviour may be too much for some. Finally, Bruce Lee also appears in a couple of hits this year – while there doesn’t appear to be a lot of difference between the two characters he plays – both are moral and driven to rage and revenge by tragedy – but you’d be hard-pushed to find anyone who commanded the screen with such vitality than Lee.

My Winner: Marlon Brando

Let us know in the comments who you pick as the Best Actor of 1972!

Best Picture – 1972

Official Nominations: The Godfather. Deliverance. Cabaret. The Emigrants. Sounder.

1972 largely continued the successful changes which 71 started with the new breed of actors and directors coming to power. This is highlighted by The Godfather which introduced the world to some of the most powerful figures in Hollywood for the rest of the century. Many still cite this as the greatest film of all time, it is easily my pick for this year’s best film, and its influence can be seen today in a wide range of media. It is epic in every sense of the word, groundbreaking, genre-defining, and timeless. There isn’t much else I can say about it here so I’ll move onto the competition.

Boorman’s Deliverance at another time could have won the award, a deeply unsettling and frankly accurate look at one of America’s darker underbellies and at how modern civilized man can be hopeless when confronting nature or something outside of their experience. There are several monumental scenes, an effective, evocative soundtrack, tight direction, and a cast who give possibly the best performances of their careers.

On the opposite end of the scale, the dreaded Musical is still hanging in there. It even attempts to be more modern and seedy to cash in on the shifts in society and Hollywood –  to its credit Cabaret at least looks the part – Bob Fosse and Liza Minelli run the show. However, looks are one thing, music is another and here the songs are hideous. Add that to the fact that the story doesn’t do anything for me personally and it’s not a film which is going to do well in my rundown of awards.

The other two options this year stood no chance against the top three – The Emigrants and Sounder are both films no-one remembers and in addition they seem like odd nominations; the former being a Swedish film which appeared in the previous year’s Best Foreign Film category, while the latter is a very good, but small drama.

My Winner: The Godfather

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My Nominations:  The Godfather. Deliverance. Fist Of Fury. The Getaway. The Last House On The Left. Way Of The Dragon. Last Tango In Paris.

The two big shots transfer to my list, joining a quintet of classics. The Getaway is a perfect match for McQueen and Peckinpah but was a film which the critics did not love at the time. The only one of my picks I could see getting an official nomination is of course Last Tango In Paris. Perhaps it was too controversial, but either way it wasn’t going to win against The Godfather – the film would go on to receive two nominations for Best Actor and Best Director the following year. My last three choices are personal and stand not even the remotest chance of being nominated for such things, but regardless, each is a defining moment for their respective genres and a prime example of their art.

The Last House On The Left is mean, repulsive, cheap, and brilliant – gotta love those Keystone cops. It’s as shocking as The Exorcist would prove to be and while most of the performances are forgettable the violence and action will stay in your soul and stomach forever. It’s essential viewing for horror fans. Essential viewing for action movie fans are Fist Of Fury and The Way Of The Dragon – both Bruce Lee classics. In Fist Of Fury, Lee deals with racism, rival schools, and local authorities, taking them out with honour and rage in a variety of fantastic fight scenes but haunted by fatalism and futility. In Way Of The Dragon the action is moved to Rome where racism and mobsters rule and again Lee must defend those he loves and his own identity. The fights in The Colosseum are superb, Lee (who also writes and directs) commands every scene he is in, whether fighting or not. It may be the best Martial Arts movie of all time.

My Winner: The Godfather

Let us know in the comments which film you picked as the Best Picture 1972!

Academy Awards 1972 – An Introduction

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The 45th Academy Awards were marred by multiple controversies – The Godfather having it’s nomination for Best Score removed, Brando boycotting the whole thing, and Cabaret getting the most nominations without winning Best Picture. It was another year where lessons from past years were seemingly forgotten, with strange nominations in the face more obvious and deserving choices. There were even some strange choices for the wins. Both of the two aforementioned led the way for wins and nominations meaning other films were unrepresented, especially in the wins category. Edward G Robinson and Charles S Boren received Honorary Awards.

Carol Burnett, Charlton Heston, Michael Caine, and Rock Hudson hosted the show, which also saw James Coburn, Billy Dee Williams, Julie Andrew, John Wayne and other presenting. Meanwhile, Michael Jackson, John Williams, and a host of Disney Characters all performed music.

At least one of the two big winners will also be a big winner in my picks while the other may be sorely disappointed. There will be plenty of surprise nominations in some of the major categories and the usual mix of personal favourites popping up. Join us in the next few weeks to see what makes the cut!

Best Cast – 1971

My Nominations: The Anderson Tapes. The French Connection. Klute. The Last Picture Show. McCabe And Mrs Miller. Nicholas And Alexandra. Walkabout. Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory.

Another year, and another chance to talk about my favourite category – pub time/break time/lunch time discussions over who should have won Best Film are all well and good, but this is where the real action is at. There are some undoubtedly great casts and performances this year, so lets take a look.

The Anderson Tapes is a film no-one remembers much now. Before The Conversation, before Watergate it takes a look at surveillance, with criminals, Feds, bugs, cameras etc all playing their part  – Sean Connery, Martin Balsam, Ralph Meeker, and Christopher Walken all feature. The French Connection is an obvious choice with both Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider being nominated individually and Fernando Rey as the primary villain. Klute features a masterclass by Jane Fonda, alongside Scheider (again) and Donald Sutherland while The Last Picture Show’s cast got a bunch of nominations and awards – Jeff Bridges, Timothy Bottoms, Cybill Shepherd, Ben Johnson, Ellen Burstyn, Randy Quaid, and Cloris Leachman.

McCabe And Mrs Miler was largely snubbed this year, but we can add it here for Julie Christie, Warren Beatty, Shelly Duvall, Keith Carradine, Rene Auberjonois, while Nicholas And Alexandra featured Laurence Olivier, Jack Hawkins, Janet Suzman, Tom Baker, Michael Redgrave, Michael Jayston, Ian Holm, Curt Jurgens, Brian Cox and more. Walkabout mainly features three performers, Jenny Agutter, David Gulpilil, and Luc Roeg, while Willy Wonka has a much larger ensemble lead by Gene Wilder but also with Jack Albertson, Peter Ostrum, Julie Dawn Cole, Rusty Goffe and others.

My Winner: The Last Picture Show.

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Let us know in the comments what your winner for the Best Cast category is!