Greetings, Glancers! We continue my new series of posts which will detail my favourite films of every year since 1950. Why 1950? Why 10? Why anything? Check out my original post here. As with most of these lists the numbering doesn’t really matter much, though in most cases the Number 1 will be my clear favourite. As I know there are plenty of Stats Nerds out there, I’ll add in some bonus crap at the bottom but the main purpose of these posts is to keep things short. So!
10: Barbarella (France/Italy)
9: Hell In The Pacific (USA)
8: If (UK)
7: The Producers (USA)
6: Planet Of The Apes (USA)
5: 2001 A Space Odyssey (UK/USA)
4: Bullitt (USA)
3: Rosemary’s Baby (USA)
2: Once Upon A Time In The West (Italy/USA/Spain)
1: Night Of The Living Dead (USA)
How Many Of My Films Were In The Top 10 Grossing Of The Year: Five (including the top grossing film)
How Many Of My Films Were Nominated For the Best Picture Oscar: Zero
My Nominations: Candy. Bullitt. The Detective. Faces. Hell In The Pacific. The Lion In Winter. Once Upon A Time In The West. The Producers. Rosemary’s Baby. The Shoes Of The Fisherman.
It’s the last award of 1968, and one of the categories I always look forward to most – do we go with the film with the most impressive list of performers appearing on screen together, or do we go for a smaller, tighter cast who give undoubtedly brilliant performances? Candy is a forgotten romp and a definite product of its time – it does however bring together the obvious talents of Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, James Coburn, Walter Matthau, and a bunch of cameos. It is what it is, but it’s interesting to see all these folks together. Bullit gives us Steve McQueen, Jacqueline Bisset, and Robert Vaugn as the A-Listers along with veterans such as Simon Oakland and Don Gordon, with Hell In The Pacific is only two actors at the top of their game – Toshiro Mifune and Lee Marvin. Faces is the critical darling of the bunch with two of its central cast being nominated for Oscars, while John Marley and Gina Rowlands are equally strong. The Lion In Winter is another epic costume drama, and although these movies were losing their star power, you can’t argue with Peter O’Toole, Anthony Hopkins, Katherine Hepburn, and Timothy Dalton. The Producers has a tonne of comic talent, but is led by Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, while Rosemary’s Baby brings together veterans and young blood in the clashing of Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes with Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer. The Shoes Of The Fisherman is a film with some giants – John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier, Anthony Quinn, Vittorio De Sica, Oskar Werner, and an always good Burt Kwok. No-one remembers The Detective either, even though it features Bisset, Lee Remick, Jack Clugman, Ralph Meeker, Robert Duvall, and possibly Frank Sinatra’s best performance. My final pick is one which has featured in most of my nominations this year – Once Upon A Time In The West sharing Charles Bronson, Henry Fonda, Claudia Cardinale, and Jason Robards, along with a host of cameos. It’s a difficult choice and any of these would be a worthy winner.
My Winner: The Producers
Which movie of 1968 is your pick for the winner of Best Cast? Let us know in the comments!
My Nominations: Bullitt. The Love Bug. Once Upon A Time In The West. Planet Of The Apes. Where Eagles Dare
There is an obvious choice for winner here with Bullitt – famous for one of the greatest car chases in history. It has all the ingredients – classic cars, great drivers, solid direction throughout iconic streets, and realism. It’s that final part which means it doesn’t get my vote – it’s a deserving winner, but with stunt work sometimes I want something a little more over the top. The Love Bug does deliver over the top thrills, Once Upon A Time In The West features another selection of shoot-outs and fights, while Planet Of The Apes has many exciting scenes. My win goes to Where Eagles Dare, something of a forgotten war movie which is strange given its unquestionable star power. It has a lot of set pieces, from treacherous car chases to fights on top of cable cars, as well as parachute stunts, fights, and gunplay. Yakima Cannutt directed most of the action scenes while a host of the best stunt performers in the business helped to create the thrills.
My Winner: Where Eagles Dare.
Which film of 1968 do you think deserves the Best Stunt Work award? Let us know in the comments!
Official Nominations: 2001: A Space Odyssey. Ice Station Zebra.
There was always only going to be one winner this year, right? It still looks amazing today, so imagine how impressive it was upon release. From the ships to the new techniques such as front projection, rotating sets, and on to the trippy light show, the work by Kubrick, Turnbull and the many many others is one of the most obvious Oscar wins of all time. Ice Station Zebra by comparison has a lot of good moments but they pale in comparison with the miniature work in particular looking out of date alongside Kubrick’s masterpiece.
My Winner: 2001: A Space Odyssey.
My Nominations: 2001: A Space Odyssey. Ice Station Zebra. Destroy All Monsters. Planet Of The Apes.
Any nominations I put alongside 2001 are going to look silly so I’ll keep Ice Station Zebra, add in Destroy All Monsters for Kaiju fun, and Planet Of The Apes because why the hell not?
My Winner: 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Are there any other films released in 1968 which you feel deserves recognition for Visual Effects? Let us know in the comments!
Official Nominations: The Windmills Of Your Mind – The Thomas Crown Affair. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. For Love Of Ivy – For Love Of Ivy. Funny Girl – Funny Girl. Star! – Star!
Unsurprisingly, Musicals make up the bulk of the nominations, but surprisingly a non-musical thriller picks up the win. The Windmills Of Your Mind, by Michel Legrand, Alan Bergman, and Marilyn Bergman merges the French New Wave cool with beach side 60s pop, the swaying melancholy melodies juxtaposed by the lightning fast lyrics and vocals. The win seems to be because the song is unusual and doesn’t have an obvious hook, but is nevertheless an interesting song and winner. Other artists would cover the song at a much slower pace – I’ll leave it up to you to decide which style is best. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is absolute nonsense, twee, grating, but still damn catchy. At barely a minute long it feels like it doesn’t deserve a nomination, but it’s pretty iconic and memorable. For Love Of Ivy feels like an early Motown-lite song, showcasing the increasing talents of Quincy Jones but it’s a largely forgettable ballad. Funny Girl is all about the performance, with Streisand giving it her all, but the song itself, while lyrically interesting, has nothing strong in either melody or innovation. Between Jimmy Van Housen and Sammy Cahn you would expect a big band, swinging song with a hook, but Star! is bland from a musical perspective. The lyrics are fine, but the song itself is just another by the numbers Musical standard with nothing to make it stand out.
My Winner: The Windmills Of Your Mind.
My Nominations: Consider Yourself. Food Glorious Food. The Windmills Of Your Mind. Once Upon A Time In The West Theme. All I Needed Was The Rain. A Little Less Conversation.
While the songs from Oscar! may not necessarily be considered originals as they are the same as those from the Stage version, they had not yet appeared on film so that’s good enough for me. I’ve never been a fan of musicals, but both Consider Yourself and Food Glorious Food are such a part of British childhood that they are inescapable – luckily both songs are good fun (but I despise those feckin accents). I may be cheating a little when I include the Once Upon A Time In The West theme, but its wordless vocals area again good enough for me – it’s a glorious piece of music. A Little Less Conversation became a huge hit over thirty years after the release of Live A Little, Love A Little with an awful remix which plagued TV and radio – the original is much better. Finally, another Elvis song from another Elvis movie – All I Needed Was The Rain from Stay Away, Joe – a blues rock drawl featuring thunder and dog howls.
My Winner: Once Upon A Time In The West Theme.
Official Nominations: The Lion In Winter. Oliver! Rosemary’s Baby. The Odd Couple. Rachel Rachel.
A strong group this year with a varied array of genres – costume drama, musical, horror, comedy. The most notable aspect this year is how rigidly each movie sticks to its subject material. Rachel Rachel, the adaptation of Margaret Lawrence’s novel, is the obvious weak link here – a poignant drama with some good dialogue but it can’t stand up against the other nominees. The Lion In Winter was the official winner, though I can’t honestly select here given that it is essentially the same as the stage play from which it was adapted, and one which doesn’t particularly grab me. Oliver! is a much more impressive choice even though it basically follows suit from the stage play. The Odd Couple is another stage adaptation, once again following the script from the play, but is the most entertaining of the nominations. My winner though has to be Rosemary’s Baby – with Polanski adapting Ira Levin’s terrifying novel. In all honesty, we have five strong films here with strong screenplays, although much credit should go to the original writers given that the adaptations rarely vary.
My Winner: Rosemary’s Baby
My Nominations: Oliver! Rosemary’s Baby. The Odd Couple. Rachel Rachel. Bullitt. The Planet Of The Apes. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Almost all the official nominations make it over to my list, joining Planet Of The Apes, Bullitt, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Each of those movies features some quotable dialogue and smart writing, but my winner remains the same.
My Winner: Rosemary’s Baby
Which film of 1968 do you think deserves the Best Adapted Screenplay award? Let us know in the comments!
Official Nominations: The Producers. Faces. 2001: A Space Odyssey. The Battle of Algiers. Hot Millions.
Some strong entries this year, with 2001 being packed with some classic movie dialogue which people recognize even if they haven’t seen the movie. I’m not 100% comfortable picking it in this category given that it was still loosely based on an Arthur C Clarke short story. The Producers features one of the all time best first screenplays by a writer, with Mel Brooks peppering the script with belly laughs, subtle laughs, songs, and satire. The three remaining nominations are largely forgotten films – 1966’s The Battle Of Algiers showcasing the reality and horror of war like few others, Faces takes an equally honest and bleak view of marriage, while Hot Millions was one of the first movies to consider the possibility of computers in crime but seems dated and not particularly funny these days.
My Winner: The Producers
My Nominations: The Producers. Night Of The Living Dead. If… The Night Of The Following Day. Once Upon A Time In The West. Yellow Submarine. Death By Hanging.
Only one movie makes it over to my list, as I try to add a variety of other strong screenplays. Night Of The Living Dead has some of the horror genre’s most famous dialogue, while If… is an unflinching and violent tale free of movie glamour and embellishment. The Night Of The Following Day is a forgotten Brando movie featuring a now cliche twist, Yellow Submarine is completely buck nuts, while my final two nominations highlight the best from the rest of the world. Once Upon A Time In The West ironically became one of the finest Westerns ever with its screenplay looking to borrow as many Western cliches as possible, while Death By Hanging is an absurd and often astonishing look at crime, punishment, and justice with a lot of humorous dialogue managing to tow the line between laughs and serious discussion.
My Winner: The Producers
Which movie of 1968 do you think deserves the Best Original Screenplay Oscar? Let us know in the comments!
Official Nominations: Romeo And Juliet. Star! Oliver! The Lion In Winter. Planet Of The Apes
No surprises this year, as is standard for this category, with musicals and historic and costume dramas leading the year. Perhaps Morton Haack’s work on Planet Of The Apes is a surprise given the type of film, but it is a deserving nomination. Two time winner Danilo Donati’s Romeo And Juliet is the ‘weak link’ here, while Star! is a little too generic in its extravagance. Oliver! is a good choice for winner, the costumes as important as the music, setting, and performances. My pick though is for The Lion In Winter with Margaret Furse and Lee Poll – it’s all very brown and drab and selected to make England look barren and frigid, but with a flawless eye for detail.
My Winner: The Lion In Winter
My Nominations: 2001: A Space Odyssey. Barbarella. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Once Upon A Time In The West. The Lion In Winter. Planet Of The Apes.
Only two make it over to my list, joining Once Upon A Time In The West – another movie highlighting the skill of Carlo Simi. My other selections are more iconic, with 2001: A Space Odyssey making sure that wardrobe was as integral a piece of the puzzle as the effects, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang throwing as much colour and razzle dazzle at the screen as possible. My controversial winner though has to be the most iconic of the bunch, with Jacques Fonteray and Paco Rabanne’s Barbarella sexing up the decade like no other movie.
My Winner: Barbarella
Which movie of 1968 do you think deserves the 1968 Best Costume Oscar? Let us know in the comments!
Official Nominations: Romeo And Juliet. Ice Station Zebra. Star! Oliver! Funny Girl.
There is one obvious outcast here, and that one will obviously be my choice of winner. The other nominees each feel and look too much like stage adaptations to deserve a Best Cinematography win under my criteria so therefore my winner is Ice Station Zebra and Daniel L Fapp.
My Winner: Ice Station Zebra
My Nominations: Ice Station Zebra. Planet Of The Apes. Bullitt. Hell In The Pacific. Once Upon A Time In The West. The Charge Of The Light Brigade.
It’s bizarre that in a year filled with so many stunningly shot films that The Academy fell back upon its old traditional ways and awarded wins and nominations to films which would look essentially identical on stage as they do on film. In that light, my list is almost completely different to the official one, with Planet Of The Apes shooting Earth as a foreign land and offering one of cinema’s most memorable shots and Bullitt showcasing a violent San Francisco in an all American ultra-modern fashion. Hell In The Pacific is a frequently beautiful looking film which doesn’t shy away from showing the wrath of nature and how insignificant man is, while The Charge Of The Light Brigade looks great even if it is largely forgettable. My winner is no surprise, with Tonino Delli Colli again working wonders with Sergio Leone in Once Upon A Time In The West to depict wide barren lands sparsely populated with distant bandits and assassins who seem to hang on the edge of a horizon.
My Winner: Once Upon A Time In The West
Over to you, which movie of 1968 do you think has the Best Cinematography? Let us know in the comments!
My Nominations: Asterix and Cleopatra. The Little Norse Prince. The SuperVIPs. Yellow Submarine.
Asterix and Cleopatra is a surprisingly deep film with a lot of character and pot detail as well as some well drawn action sequences and musical numbers. The Super VIPs is a great little movie, well ahead of its time, charting the adventures of two superheroes – one a muscle bound freak, the other a stunted little man. It has a lot of humour which adults and kids alike will appreciate, making it look like a precursor to modern animated movies. Yellow Submarine is a bit of an illogical mess, but thanks to great artwork and (of course) music, it has a very unique style. The Little Norse Prince is one of the first Toei animated films I ever saw, pitting both Miyazaki and Takahata together and showcasing their flair for fast paced action, involving stories and characters, and fine animation which was beginning to move away from the Disney style to create a true, high quality competitor.
My Winner: The Little Norse Prince
Which animated movie of 1968 do you think deserves the win? Let us know in the comments!