Best Actress – 1975

Official Nominations: Louise Fletcher. Isabelle Adjani. Ann-Margret. Glenda Jackson. Carol Kane.

Louise Fletcher won this year, and there isn’t really any other choice. Her Nurse Ratched is one of Cinema’s most notorious villains, all the more startling because of the fact that she is human – not murderous or outlandishly evil, just evil in the plainest sense – someone with power but a complete lack of compassion in a position which requires the highest levels of human understanding. She’s exquisite and holds her own against Nicholson like few others have.

In another year, Isabelle Adjani could have been winner, but here she had to be content with being the youngest nominee in this category. The Story Of Adele H is a Truffaut movies for people who don’t like Truffaut movies, and Adjani is great in her breakout role as Victor Hugo’s daughter. It’s always interesting when a foreigner in a foreign film gets nominated for an Acting Oscar, this one is all the more so given it was basically her breakout, big screen lead debut. Ann-Margret is another weird choice for this year, in what comes close to being a bewildering British romp that you imagine would alienate most US viewers. Again, it’s a great performance but it’s amusing that it saw a nomination. Glenda Jackson is a much more traditional vote and The Academy loved Jackson in the 70s, but it’s not something you’d pick for the win and the film is largely forgettable. Finally, Carol Kane stars as Gitl, a Jewish woman who moves to America, specifically New York and struggles to fit in while also trying to hold her family together. Another good performance, but not a hope against Fletcher.

My Winner: Louise Fletcher

My Nominations: Louise Fletcher. Isabelle Adjani. Karen Black. Veronica Cartwright. Susan Sarandon. Katharine Ross.

Only Fletcher and Adjani make it over to my list. Karen Black joins her for another standout performance in the maligned Day Of The Locust and Veronica Cartwright as the heroin addicted ex star deciding to resort to porn in the under-appreciated Inserts. Susan Sarandon gets her first major hit and major cult success as Janet in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, holding her own in a memorable cast, while Katharine Ross both charms and chills as the original Stepford Wife(ves).

My Winner: Louise Fletcher

Let us know your winner in the comments!

Best Actor – 1975

Official Nominations: Jack Nicholson. Al Pacino. Walter Matthau. Maximillian Schell. James Whitmore.

Holy Heavens, the 70s are all about Al and Jack. That’s three years in a row where this pair have been fighting it out, and this year I have no clue who you are supposed to choose. Both are awesome, both deserve to win, and it really doesn’t matter which you choose. For those not in the know, Nicholson picked up the official win as RP McMurphy, a man convicted of rape who sneaks into a mental institution to avoid a harsher time in prison. There he clashes with staff and acts as some sort of inspiring hero to the other inmates. It’s perfect. Pacino is Sonny, a nobody who decides to rob a bank, but things go terribly wrong from the start. Again – perfect.

After Jack Lemmon received a nomination a few years back, Matthau gets his turn in The Sunshine Boys, a fairly famous adaptation of a fairly famous play. Alongside George Burns, he is funny, snarky, stormy, and still enthusiastic and ambitious. Schell received a nomination for The Man In The Glass Booth – a nice mirroring of Judgement Of Nuremberg. Here he plays a rich survivor of a concentration camp who is kidnapped and taken to Israel to stand trial – saying anymore would spoil things, but again he is great. Finally, James Whitmore receives a nomination for Give Em Hell, Harry! You know The Academy loves biographies, and biographies of Presidents – star in one of those and you’re almost guaranteed a nomination. It’s fine, authentic, nothing more.

My Winner: Jack Nicholson

My Nominations: Jack Nicholson. Al Pacino. Ryan O’Neal. Roy Scheider.

Jack and Al make it to my list, and are greeted by a couple of snubs. Ryan O’Neal was already beloved and as Barry Lyndon he should have cemented this status, though the film was not overly well received by critics or audiences at the time. Kubrick generally got terrific performances from his male leads, and here it is no different, with O’Neal as the raconteur, drunk, abuser, duelist. Schneider is an altogether more lovable character, a family man, a cop, a person who cares deeply for his town and his willing to put his own career, sanity, and life on the line to protect it. Sheriff Brody is one of Cinema’s finest lawmen and Scheider plays him almost straight down the middle – we can feel and understand his panic stricken moods, his guilt, his need to act.

My Winner: Jack Nicholson

Who gets your vote in 1975? Let us know in the comments!

1975 Academy Awards – An Introduction

The 48th Academy Awards ushered in the era of the blockbuster, with Stephen Spielberg’s Jaws earning all of the money but a host of nominations and wins too. There were several films which had high numbers of nominations – One Flew over The Cuckoo’s Nest leading the way with nine, closely followed by Barry Lyndon with seven and Dog Day Afternoon with six. Rest assured that each of these will feature heavily in my personal picks, along with some other interesting selections.

We had five hosts this year – George Segal, Goldie Hawn, Gene Kelly, Robert Shaw, and Walter Matthau while presenters included Roy Scheider, Ben Johnson, Isabelle Adjani, and Gore Vidal. Performing for the crowd this year were John Williams, Diana Ross, and Keith Carradine amongst others, while Mary Pickford, Mervyn LeRoy, and Jules C Stein picked up Honorary Awards.

Join us over the next few weeks to see what I picked in each category, and be sure to leave you own – the world is (n’t) watching (!).

Chart Music Through The Years – 1975

Yes! Back thanks to an almost universal lack of demand, I stretch back the scalp of time and feast upon the mushy innards of the past – in this instance I return to the UK music charts. If you’re interested, you can read my original post here – https://carlosnightman.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/the-uk-top-40/

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Greetings, Glancers. We’re going back through time again today to a when before I was. The world was a different place in 1975, with what we know today as the modern world sticking its bloody head out of the womb. The hippy dream was emitting a death rattle on Watergate’s floor, Thatcherism and Reaganism were on the rise bringing in a wave of wealth and prosperity for the wealthy and prosperous, Spain clambered out of a dictatorship paving the way for drunken sun-worshipers from Blighty, and terrorists continued to maim and kill in the UK, Vietnam, Laos, and everywhere else. On a lighter note, Fawlty Towers was first aired, Jaws reminded drunken sun-worshipers of the dangers of water, Space Mountain opened its doors, Saturday Night Live kicked off, and Ali floored Frazier.

In the music world, Queen released a little song called Bohemian Rhapsody, Iron Maiden was formed, Alice Cooper became a solo act, Fleetwood Mac gained a Buckingham and a Nicks, Led Zep sold out Madison Square Gardens, Pink Floyd wished you were here, and Janis Ian won her first Grammy. From a historical POV, you would think that the beginnings of punk were coming into view while the more overblown rock and prog bands were at or just past their peak, with Disco still on the rise, Motown on the wane, and indie artists influenced by past masters picking up their first instruments. The ten songs below suggest that pop, Disco, folk, Motown were comfortable together in the charts giving a variety rarely seen nowadays. But are the songs any good? There are a few here I don’t recognise so lets plug in the earphones and hit play.

  1. Art Garfunkel: I Only Have Eyes For You
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Don’t Look At Me

Swirling guitars. Slow beat. Sweet, plain vocals. Ah yes, I know this from Buffy, where it is used in the episode of the same name. This is a different version though. I can’t say this version is too interesting, it’s a little boring and sappy. The violins in the background don’t add anything, which is criminal.

2. David Essex: Hold Me Close

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Don’t Touch Me

Of course I know this one, but I didn’t until I heard the verses. The introduction is okay, the verses catchy, the singing is a little strained and stretched, and I’m not quite sure what Essex was trying to accomplish singing in this style. Regardless, it’s fun and lighthearted stuff.

3. The Drifters: There Goes My First Love

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Pain Is Pant Pissingly Hilarious!

Funky horns and cymbals. And yes, I know this one. Big vocals, catchy melodies and lyrics and woo-oohs. A nice, bittersweet song for nostalgia fans of all ages and eras. It’s an unusually cheery song for a topic filled with heartache. Simple, easy, straight to the point, and memorable.

4. David Bowie: Space Oddity

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Maybe The Drifters Were Laughing About This

One of my favourite Bowie songs, and years ahead and indescribably different from anything else in this top 10. I know it, you know it, all together now – ‘Ground control to Major Tom’.

5. Morris Albert: Feelings

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Keep Them To Yourself, Mate, Alright?

I was half expecting this to be some crooning disaster, but it’s a highly melancholy song with an effective acoustic intro. The vocals aren’t very good at the start and the piano doesn’t do anything for me, but the strings are good – need a little more oomph though. Those backing vocals are pretty bad too. Good intro, bad first verse and chorus, much stronger second verse and chorus. With a bit more tinkering to my tastes I’d enjoy this one more.

6. ABBA: SOS

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Sex On Swedes?

It’s ABBA so you already know what it’s going to feel like. I’ve always liked how the cascading piano intro merges with the ominous guitar. I think ABBA don’t get enough credit for their verses, but it’s usually the chorus which gets the plaudits – you all know the chorus, but for my money it’s the operatic, wind-swept, moors-evoking, verses which make this one good.

7. The Chi-Lites: It’s Time For Love

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Elementary, My Dear

Noise disaster intro. I imagine this sounded like the future at the time, but it’s laughable now. Anyway, onto the singing. Good enough vocals, is there a bloke in there too? Is it a woman? I have no idea. Plain melodies, slow beat, a little tame. Probably a song for slow dances at Prom and then back seat luvin’. But it’s not that good as either of those things. Nor is it as good stretching your calf muscles. And it’s unnecessarily long, too too long.

8. Smokie: Don’t Play Your Rock And Roll To Me

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Smokie? Who The Fuck Is Smokie?

Give a little bit, give a little bit of your love to me! No? Oh, this is a different song apparently. Smooth, bland, dire hand claps. But then they have to go and add some strings to make me like it a little bit. Vocals are good in places, but it’s mostly forgettable pap but nice enough to chill to on a Summer’s day.

9. The Four Seasons: Who Loves You

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Fucking Giants

Assuming this is some sort of remix, taking Frankie Valli and updating with a disco vibe. As awful as that sounds, this isn’t bad. There isn’t a lot to it, but it’s catchy and fun. It has no need at being stretched past four minutes as it’s pretty much the same forty seconds or so repeated over and over, with a funky breakdown in the middle.

10. Band Of The Black Watch: Scotch On The Rocks

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Fucking Shite

Great name for a band, lets see what they sound like. Wait a minute, it’s Black Watch, not Black Witch. Oh lord, no, anything but this. An utter disaster that would sound pretty bad played with any other instrument, but the old strangled cat in a bag gets squeezed for this one. It’s the same twee riff over and over again. How this ever made the charts, nay, how this ever got recorded is a testament to man’s worthlessness.

An unfortunate end then to a decent collection of tunes. When I think of 1975, I think of the giants of rock at their peak, just before most of them began falling apart, but these ten songs do not speak of such things, nor do the top selling singles of the entire year. I get the impression therefore that these songs do not accurately reflect the quality of music released in 1975 – albums such as Blood On The Tracks, Physical Graffiti, Welcome To My Nightmare, Between The Lines, Toys In The Attic, Born To Run, Wish You Were Here, A Night At The Opera, and Horses. To that end, here are ten songs which I feel everyone should listen to at least once from 1975, some famous, some less so. Enjoy!

  1. One Day In Your Life – Michael Jackson
  2. Jive Talkin – The Bee Gees
  3. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
  4. Kashmir – Led Zeppelin
  5. Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
  6. Only Women Bleed – Alice Cooper
  7. At Seventeen – Janis Ian
  8. Thunder Road – Bruce Springsteen
  9. Walk This Way – Aerosmith
  10. Squeeze Box – The Who

What were you listening to in 1975? For those born after, which songs from this year above or otherwise do you still listen to regularly? Let us know in the comments!