Best Writing (Original): 1965

Official Nominations: Darling. Cassanova 70. The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg. The Train. Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines.

This was an interesting year for original writing, with the daring Darling deservedly picking up the win. It deals with a host of taboo subjects in a frank and often shocking manner. In another year The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg may have won thanks to the unique…lyricial style of the screenplay. The other entries are bizarre, but justified in their own weirdness, with Cassanova 70 dealing with sex and death fetish in a typically Italian comedic style, while Magnificent sees a host of British comedians hamming it up and providing a variety of humourous, energetic japes. The Train is a solemn, cynical affair, and while the film is action packed, the whole plot about stealing priceless art echoes the absurdity of war when we see that no-one even cares about the art and it is discarded.

My Winner: Darling.

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My Nominations: Darling. The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg. Alphaville. Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, Help!, Repulsion

Darling and Cherbourg make the transition to my nominaitons, and are aided and abetted by a quartet of newbs which echo the bizarre real world nominations. Polanski, Brach, and Stone’s screenplay for Repulsion is almost the antithesis of Darling with a much colder, stilted approach to relationships and existence as a whole. On the other side of the extreme is Meyer’s exhuberant, ridiculous Faster, Pussycat! which contains more pulpy one-liners than drunken stand-up comedian with a gun to his head. Help! is The Beatles take on Bond, and it is filled with strange asides, improvisation, and timeless nonsense, while Alphaville is Godard’s semi-original take on the character of Lemmy Caution, completely twisting the character and throwing him into a futuristic setting.

My Winner: Repulsion.

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Which film do you think has the best original screenplay of 1965? Let us know in the comments!

Best Director: 1965

Official Nominations: Robert Wise. David Lean. John Schlesinger. William Wyler. Hiroshi Teshigahara.

Robert Wise unsurprisingly picked up the win for The Sound Of Music. He is known for his musicals, but also did good work in the sci-fi genre. He brings his characteristic style to the film, but I just can’t enjoy this film without pretending there are zombies everywhere. David Lean extends his epic vision to Doctor Zhivago giving him the greatest financial success of his career. In spite of its success and the grand scale of proceedings, the handling of the central romance is clumsy and many scenes feel stretched or unnecessary. With Darling, Schlesinger starts to push the boundaries he would later crumble. It may have been one of the first films to depict the swinging 60s, but Schlesinger paints a darker picture than the one most people remember. William Wyler’s The Collector shocked quite a few viewers when released and it is a surprise that it was such a critical success given the Academy’s usual dim view on horror films. This is more accurately a thriller, and in the wrong hands could easily have become cheap exploitation, but Wyler’s perfection and eye for detail means everything is cold, calculated, and deliberate. Teshigahara’s The Woman In The Dunes was nominated in the previous year’s Best Foreign Film category and magically appears in the 1965 Director category. The film is avant-garde and has some blinding visuals and powerful moments, and is the director’s best film.

My Winner: Hiroshi Teshigahara.

My Nominations: Hiroshi Teshigahara. William Wyler. Jean-Luc Godard. Sergio Leone. Roman Polanski. Akira Kurosawa.

Wyler and Teshigahara make the transition over to my nominations and join a cast of experts from around the world. Godard release 2 films this year, Pierrot Le Fou and Alphaville. While PLF has the usual flare and pop culture knowing it is Alphaville which really stretches conventions, being one of the most bold sci-fi films of the decade. Leone gets another vote for his latest expansion of the spaghetti Western (For A Few Dollars More), and Kurosawa (Red Beard)gets a nod thanks to a much smaller, introspective piece than he was famed for. My win goes to Polanski, whose cutting exploration of paranoia, psychosis, pain, and suburban claustrophobia can still be used as a teaching tool on low-budget, situational directing for newbs.

My Winner: Roman Polanski
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Let us know who you think deserves the Best Director Oscar of 1965? Let us know in the comments!