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 Director- 1962

Actual Nominatons:  David Lean. Pietro Germi. Robert Mulligan. Arthur Penn. Frank Perry.

Although it was close between Lean and Germi, there can really only be one winner from these nominations- Lean’s singular vision and epic may never be a favourite of mine, but the man knew how to direct with a wider scope than many others would dare. Lean was the official winner and gets my nod too. Divorce, Italian Style is impressive but was a one off and didn’t exactly have a massive impression on filmmakers to come. Mulligan gives a fairly straight interpretation of Mockingbird and it could have just as easily been any other director of the time. Perry’s first film shows a promising new talent while Penn’s second film shows his command of both Stage and film work as he is able to translate faithful from one to the other.

My Winner: David Lean

My Nominations: Terence Young, John Ford, John Frankenheimer, J. Lee Thompson, David Lean, Stanley Kubrick, Orson Welles, Robert Aldrich.

My nominations are a much more sparklng and worthy bunch with John Frankenheimer appearing for 2 films, and Terence Young bringing Bond to life in vicious, suave fashion. Kubrick and Welles pop up too with strong work, but not strong enough to get my vote. Thompson comes close to a win with Cape Fear, Aldrich’s Baby Jane is not too far behind, while Hathaway and Marshall each provided segments to How The West Was Won. But Frankenheimer gets my win thanks to Birdman and Manchurian Candidate, two very different films with opposing styles.

My Winner: John Frankenheimer

1960 Academy Awards Prize Summary

Now that my choices for 1960 are over, I’m giving a handy, useless, summary of my thoughts. Once I have completed my re-imagnining of a particular year I will list my overall choices of winners from the actual nominations, as well as the numbers from my own nominations and winners. For any stats geeks amongst out there, you may find something of interest here. For everyone else, please accept my apologies. Note- I am not including a nomination per film when an actor or director is nominated for that film- so if Audrey Hepburn was nominated as Best Actress for Breakfast At Tiffany’s it would only be 1 nomination for Hepburn, not 1 for her and 1 for the film. Additionally, at the bottom I’ve added a recommended viewing list for anyone with similar tastes to me.

My Winners From The Actual Nominations: 

Spartacus: 3

The Apartment: 3

Psycho: 2

The Alamo: 2

The Magnificent Seven: 1

Alfred Hitchcock: 1

Sal Mineo: 1

Exodus: 1

Jack Lemmon: 1

Melina Mercouri: 1

Never On Sunday: 1

Shirley Knight: 1

The Dark At The Top Of The Stairs: 1

The Virgin Spring: 1

The Time Machine: 1

Sons And Lovers: 1

Elmer Bernstein: 1

My Own Nominations:

The Magnificent Seven: 13

Spartacus: 12

Psycho: 7

The Lost World: 6

Peeping Tom: 5

Village Of The Damned: 4

The Apartment: 4

The Alamo: 4

The Last Voyage: 3

The Bad Sleep Well: 3

Breathless: 3

House Of Usher: 3

The Brides Of Dracula: 3

Exodus: 3

Sons And Lovers: 2

Jigoku: 2

The Virgin Spring: 2

The Dark At The Top Of The Stairs: 2

Night And Fog In Japan: 2

Ocean’s Eleven: 2

Swiss Family Robinson: 2

Never On Sunday: 1

The Time Machine: 1

The 3 Worlds Of Gulliver: 1

Butterfield 8: 1

It Started In Naples: 1

The Story Of Ruth: 1

Eyes Without A Face: 1

The Young One: 1

Late Autumn: 1

Elmer Gantry: 1

Alfred Hitchcock: 1

Stanley Kubrick: 1

Michael Powell: 1

Nagisa Oshima: 1

John Sturges: 1

Akira Kurosawa: 1

Jean-Luc Godard: 1

Billy Wilder: 1

Horst Bulcholz: 1

Charles Bronson: 1

Laurence Olivier: 1

Dean Stockwell: 1

Sal Mineo: 1

Melina Mercouri: 1

Elizabeth Taylor: 1

Sophia Loren: 1

Elana Eden: 1

Dorothy McGuire: 1

Alida Valli: 1

Toshiro Mifune: 1

Yul Brynner: 1

Steve Mcqueen: 1

Carl Boem: 1

Kirk Douglas: 1

Shirley Knight: 1

Shirley Jones: 1

Janet Leigh: 1

Audrey Hepburn: 1

The Unforgiven: 1

13 Ghosts: 1

The Little Shop Of Horrors: 1

Alakazam The Great: 1

Elmer Bernstein: 1

Bernard Hermann: 1

Alex North: 1

Ernest Gold: 1

Dimitri Tiomkin: 1

My Winners From My Nominations:

The Magnificent Seven: 6

Psycho: 3

Spartacus: 2

Eyes Without A Face: 1

Alfred Hitchcock: 1

Horst Bulcholz: 1

Alida Valli: 1

Anthony Perkins: 1

Audrey Hepburn: 1

The Unforgiven: 1

The Virgin Spring: 1

Jigoku: 1

The Lost World: 1

The Apartment: 1

The Alamo: 1

Alakazam The Great: 1

Elmer Bernstein: 1

So unlike the official 1960 Academy Awards where The Apartment was biggest winner and most nominated, The Magnificent Seven, Spartacus, and Psycho lead the pack for me.

Recommended Viewing List:

Spartacus. The Apartment. Psycho. The Magnificent Seven. Village Of The Damned. Peeping Tom. The Lost World. Breathless. Jigoku. The Virgin Spring. The Dark At The Top Of The Stairs. Eyes Without A Face. Night And Fog In Japan.

Best Picture- An Introduction

The problem I, and many other movie fans have with the Oscars, is that it appears to be repressed and has an upper class selective nature rather than one based on ‘upper quality’. All this means is that it is likely that you’re favourite film of any given year will likely not win or receive any awards. I, and many others are big movie fans but we grew up on a diet of action movies, horror movies, science fiction, and comedy- in other words the genres which The Oscars would not touch with a 20 metre rolled up red carpet. We are wise enough (or at least some of us) to recognize that many of our favourite films are not Oscar worthy, but that is not to say they are inferior.

There are two types of non Oscar Worthy film I would like to mention here- the first is the type of film that we absolutely love, which entertains thoroughly, but doesn’t particularly have anything original, doesn’t progress a genre, and doesn’t have any standout plot, dialogue, or performances. Imagine Commando– one of my favourite films which I absolutely love and will defend to the death- it is a great film, but it is not Oscar Worthy in the traditional sense. The second type is that film which we know is a classic of the genre- one which few fans can argue over and is generally agreed by all to be perfect. Usually this type of film will have originality in a few areas, as well as having 5 star plot, acting, and everything else which films which win Oscars should have. These films however cannot be considered Oscar worthy because of their genre, because of their tone, or because of a myriad of other small details. It is on a rare occasion that these films are recognized by the Oscars committee, but are usually relogated to ‘minor’ awards such as effects, sound, editing etc. It is as if they know the film is good but are too embarrassed, too scared to put them in with the big boys- this would upset the decorum. Most of the time though these films are passed over, even when it is clear they are more than just popcorn gobblers. Take Die Hard for example- similar in most ways to Commando except that it has a relatively big name cast, original plotting, fast dialogue. Unfortunately it has guns and swearing too.

I won’t get into how it’s all subjective, the fact remains that there have been some very good films in these forgotton genres, some which truly are Oscar worthy, but which were and are completely overlooked. Since the Oscars began there have been clear genre favourites- Musicals, costume epics, biographies, and heartwarming character pieces. Understandably these were the norm back in the twenties and thirties, and these types of films were big budget extravagances with all the top stars, and genuinely did break boundaries, while horror and action movies were mostly cheap and created cult stars. This bias though has held over for reasons absurd- you can be sure that anytime a musical is released that it will be top of the Oscars list, regardless of quality- the unofficial rule would appear to be that a poor musical must be nominated over a flawless horror movie. A follow up rule to this is that Oscar loves his ‘big issue’ movies- a movie which deals with one taboo or subject- racism and homophobia have been the two big ones recently. This explains why otherwise average movies such as Crash and Brokeback Mountain clean up at the awards. Sure they’re decent movies, but for an already enlightened audience they don’t tell us anything we don’t already know. Racism is bad, there are still many racist people about from all walks of life, nothing is (sorry) balck and white. Well done for spouting the obvious, I proclaim thee best film of the year.

Anyway, what do I know? I’m just a fan- a popcorn gobbler who enjoys seeing things go boom as much as he enjoys Capra and Fellini. Perhaps I’m blinded by my love of horror, action, etc because that’s what I was weened on- but if that is true then it follows that The Oscars are equally selective. The only difference is I give everything a chance and give credit where credit is due. So there follows my selections of Best Film winners, from those which were nominated, and from my own nominations. For each award I’m going to start with 1960 and work my way from there- simply because I’ve seen more films since that date than before. I’ll update as I go along. If anything is missing it’s because I haven’t seen the film, but I’ll try to cover every year anyway- you can entertain yourself by picking your own! Chump.