Best Actress – 1980

Official Nominations: Sissy Spacek. Ellen Bursytn. Goldie Hawn. Mary Tyler Moore. Gena Rowlands.

That’s a pretty great line-up for any year, with mostly very strong performances across the board. Few of the films the performances can be found in are personal favourites and some of the films are both less memorable and less remembered than others. I could see three of these being respectable winners, but it’s difficult arguing against Sissy Spacek being the best choice. I’ve gone on the record plenty of times saying I’m not a fan of biopics and the Academy’s predictable, inevitable voting for these performances, but Sissy Spacek is one of the finest performers of her generation with this being up there are one of her finest showcases. It’s a film and performance made with love.

Nobody remembers Resurrection but Burstyn is suitably brilliant in it as the widow who discovers healing powers and becomes an overnight celebrity, a beacon of hope for the sick and religious alike, and an object of cynicism and ridicule from sceptics. It’s an interesting movie, and unusually not the sort of thing The Academy would usually go for. It doesn’t always hit the right balance between tone and subject matter, but the cast is great – Sam Shepard, Richard Farnsworth, Lois Smith, Jeffrey DeMunn. Goldie Hawn’s turn in Private Benjamin basically set her up for life while Mary Tyler Moore played against type in Ordinary People – as good as she is, it does feel like a nomination to prop up the film or to acknowledge her TV work rather than strictly role and performance based. Finally, Gena Rowlands earned another nomination working under her husband – I’m always pleased to see Rowlands nominated for awards because she was never a typical actress and she rarely picked traditional material. Both of these points ring true for Gloria.

My Winner: Sissy Spacek

The Silver Screen: Coal Miners Daughter - Second Home

My Nominations: Sissy Spacek. Ellen Bursytn. Goldie Hawn. Gena Rowlands. Angie Dickinson.

This should be fairly easy – I replace Mary Tyler Moore with Angie Dickinson from Dressed To Kill as the ill-fated housewife Kate who becomes the pray of Norman Bates a psychotic killer. She’s good, film’s good, all good. I’m not sure who else you would pick this year.

My Winner: Sissy Spacek.

Let us know in the comments who you would pick as winner!

Best Foreign Film – 1980

Official Nominations: Moscow Does Not Believe In Tears. Confidence. Kagemusha. The Last Metro. The Nest.

Official Winner Moscow Does Not Believe In Tears also holds the title for most cliche Russian movie title ever. It’s also very Russian in its style and form – not impenetrable for other viewers but not 100% coherent. It feels to me like an overly long drama, centering on the lives of three women who want to succeed in Moscow. The film’s second half focuses on the later life of one of the women, but there’s nothing out of the ordinary here. Istvan Szabo’s Confidence is a gripping POW film while Kagemusha is one of Kurosawa’s later return to form movies. It’s about two brothers, ostensibly the rulers of a clan in trouble, who find a lowly thief who looks exactly like one of the brothers. They decide he could be a useful political decoy and lo and behold the brother is killed so the decoy takes over. There’s a lot of political intrigue and a multitude of characters and battles, but it’s all about the look – the way Kurosawa composes every shot in gorgeous colour.

The Last Metro is Truffaut again, his final film of any great success. Catherine Deneuve and Heinz Bennent star as a husband and wife who own and work in a small Parisian theatre during the Occupation in WWII. Deneuve must hide her husband while keeping the theatre running, avoiding Nazis, and dealing with the attentions of Gerard Depardieu. It flaunt’s several of Truffaut’s favoured styles and themes and may be a shade too long, but is otherwise great. The Nest makes for interesting and uncomfortable viewing, kind of like a reverse Lolita in which a lonely old widower and a lonely young teenage girl begin a relationship which becomes increasingly intense, the ‘twist’ being that the girl acts like the adult or force and the man becomes childlike and subservient. It’s good, but likely a hard sell for most.

My Winner: Kagemusha

Kagemusha, 40 Years Later: Akira Kurosawa's Overshadowed Epic

My Nominations: Kagemusha. The Last Metro. Cannibal Holocaust. The Changeling. City Of Women. Death Watch. The Gods Must Be Crazy. Inferno. The Long Good Friday. Out Of The Blue.

An abundance of foreign treats for a new decade, ranging in quality admittedly – some of these I’m adding more by their reputation or influence, others in the hope that others will go watch them. Nevertheless, they’re all good. Starting with The Changeling – it’s a film I came late to in horror though its one most in the genre have a lot of fondness for. It has a great look, a few chills, and a good lead performance by Scott – there are better films on the list though. Staying in Canada, we have the cult Dennis Hopper movie Out Of The Blue. It has two strong leads in Hopper and Linda Manz as a father and daughter – she is a precocious punk wannabe while he is a con stuck in prison as she runs wild – it’s gritty and rough and hard and interesting for punk fans.

Back to horror, and you can’t talk about the Foreign Films of 1980 without mentioning Cannibal Holocaust – possibly still the most notorious video nasty of all time. I can’t go so far as calling it tame by today’s standards as it remains one of those films that will leave an impression on anyone who watches – you may feel as if a little piece of yourself has been stolen, or you may feel as if your eyes have been opened to new cinematic possibilities. It’s gruesome, it has plenty of shocking moments and violence, and of course the real animal cruelty is enough to put anyone off – most viewers may want to watch the version which cuts that stuff out. Having said that, it has a gorgeous score, it’s well directed, and it’s incredibly influential. It’s gruelling in the same way as Texas Chainsaw Massacre is and speaks to the primitive and progressive in us all. Dario Argento provides a somewhat classier Italian horror offering with Inferno. As is generally the case with Argento movies, the story can be muddled and takes a back seat to the visuals. While not as immediately captivating as Suspiria there are sets dressed up in such grim lighting that individual moments will leave a lasting impact – whether it’s the haunting stare of a woman, or the sight of rats swarming a man.

Moving to Sci Fi – Death Watch from France features an appealing Western cast to suck in a wider audience – Harry Dean Stanton, Romy Schneider, Harvey Keitel, Max Von Sydow – and it is based on the British sci-fi classic The Unsleeping Eye. Set in a world where death by sickness or disease has essentially been wiped out, a woman named Katherine learns she has an incurable disease and becomes an overnight celebrity sensation. In a move which, I’m fairly certain has already been seen today, a TV company offers her a tonne of money if they can make a reality show out of her final days. It’s a little overlong and somewhat dated in look and tone now, but the cast and core conceit keep it relevant and watchable today. City Of Women takes a light approach to its alternate reality – a world where a womanizer finds himself trapped by a range of angry women. Once again this would be a great film to see realized in modern form today, but it’s doubtful we’d see a version as witty and provocative and certainly not as fantastical as Fellini’s version, and any version would be subjected to savage criticism by all sides.

It’s difficult to find anyone who has seen or heard of The Gods Must Be Crazy, but the South African film was a ridiculous success becoming a worldwide hit falling slightly behind The Empire Strikes Back. It’s an incredibly short-sighted movie in terms of racial and cultural issues, even for 1980, but alongside other riotous comedies of the period it fares very well. The Long Good Friday takes another cultural minefield – 1980s Northern Ireland and its relationship to the British gangster scene – and fares much better by taking the view that you’re probably going to get all sorts of fucked up if you become embroiled with any of the groups involved. It’s a taut, non-patronizing thriller which doesn’t need to be overtly stylish to entrap its viewer.

My Winner: Kagemusha

Let us know your winner in the comments!

Best Writing (Original) – 1980

Official Nominations: Melvin And Howard. Brubaker. Fame. Mon Oncle D’Amerique. Private Benjamin.

Be honest – how many of these films have you, or has the average person heard of. Fame should be a given, Private Benjamin is probably there too. There others? Unless you were there at the time and an Oscars nerd most people won’t be aware of the other three nominees. That’s not to say they’re not good choice or good scripts, but it does suggest that better or more viable options were overlooked. Melvin And Howard won a number of Awards this year – it’s a fine standalone and it hasn’t aged as badly as even some of the bigger comedies of the era. Even so, it’s not that funny – it’s the light sort of self serving humour The Academy always falls back on when they absolutely have to nominate a Comedy. It does get credit for being one, maybe one of the first, of those biopics about some random person with no discernible talent who meets with a stroke of bizarre luck, or whose story is so offbeat and little known that it just about deserves to be told.

Brubaker is a lower tier prison movie – by this point we’d seen a lot better and we would see better again in the future. Not happy with winning Best Picture, Robert Redford had to through his acting hat into the ring with this one but up against the titans who were nominated, Brubaker got relegated to Best Writing. The category was a little different in 1980, but given that it was clearly based on a book and it not an original story, it shouldn’t really be here. Fame tried to bring back the Musical by focusing on a younger set of characters and audience. It’s tolerable, cheesy, dated as hell as all Musicals tend to be within a few years of release. It doesn’t do nearly enough to rally against the dangers of fame to impressionable youth and those scavengers ready to exploit them. At least it broaches these topics and it’s merely a collection of songs and dances in pretty clothes. It’s not strong enough to be here.

Mon Oncle D’Amerique – you always know The Academy’s desperate or up to some funny business when it nominates a foreign movie here. Both Resnais and Depardieu were high on the list of ‘lets give these guys awards’ for The Academy which surely played a part in this being nominated, but it is a fairly interesting film both for the topics discussed, the real life people involved, and its structure. French Philosopher and Scientist Henri Laborit is the lead character, taking the audience on a virtual tour of his brain (and by extension the human psyche) via connected fictional stories. It’s the sort of nonsense you could see Charlie Kaufman tackling now. Private Benjamin is one of those classic fish out of water stories, elevated by a few funny moments and a star turn by Goldie Hawn. It’s a crap selection of movies all round and I’m not sure any deserve the nomination, never mind the win. I’ll go with the most entertaining one.

My Winner: Private Benjamin

See the Cast of 'Private Benjamin' Then and Now

My Nominations: 9 To 5. The Big Red One. The Blues Brothers. Caddyshack. The Empire Strikes Back. The Fog. Heaven’s Gate. The Long Good Friday. Used Cars.

The problem with this category this year is that there’s no stand out. There isn’t a single film you can point to as having the originality and the the dialogue and the one-line zingers you would normally expect a winner to contain. What you do have is you pick of comedies to choose from. Rather than go through each, as in truth they all strike the same anarchic nerve and each have their classic zingers – The Blues Brothers, Caddyshack, Used Cars – each have more memorable dialogue than any of the official nominees, while 9 to 5 surely deserves a nod if Private Benjamin gets one. I’m no fan of 9 To 5, but fair is fair.

That leaves us with a selection of unlikely heroes which were never going to be nominated. Heaven’s Gate had no hope even before it was released, and it was such a disaster that it basically destroyed the Auteur system until the 90s Indie scene offered some new hope. Upon re-evaluation, it’s a damn strong movie. It’s no Deer Hunter, but had the original vision been allowed to be seen, and had the thing been kept on budget, the last 40 years of cinema could have been very different. It plods, it’s bloated, but it’s somehow worth it. The Big Red One has seen less re-evaluation and is both less famous and less infamous than Heaven’s Gate, a Sam Fuller War movie with an interesting cast and one which questions the value and human cost of war before the swath of Vietnam movies would ask the same questions later in the decade.

The Long Good Friday is that rare example of a British gangster movie which I enjoy, and an Irish crossover movie which doesn’t embarrass. It didn’t make a huge splash in the US, but was popular enough that it set up Bob Hoskins for life. The Fog sees John Carpenter continue the unbelievable run kicked off with Assault On Precinct 13. It’s the perfect campfire ghost story blown up for the big screen, a terrific example of a simple, hokey premise given weight, drama, and scares thanks to a script which keeps things simple yet offers some self aware smarts over a decade before that became the norm.

My final choice is hardly unexpected. As the sequel to A New Hope, Empire had some big shoes to fill. The script more than lives up to the original by complicating relationships, offering new characters, worlds, and languages, peppering the movie with one-liners still in regular use today, and providing more of what people enjoyed about the first movie. Plus there’s the small matter of one of the greatest twists in movie history. As much as a Star Wars fan as I am, I would like to pick something else here – but I don’t see any other viable choice.

My Winner: The Empire Strikes Back

Let us know which movie you would pick as winner!

Best Picture – 1980

Official Nominations: Ordinary People. The Coal Miner’s Daughter. Raging Bull. The Elephant Man. Tess.

This should be easy. Forget all of the nonsense about what The Academy wants to vote for, forget all of the nonsense about campaigning and politics and how simple it is to predict what will win based on the rest of Awards Season – all you should focus on is what deserves to win. Naturally that’s about as subjective as things come, which is why I’m a fan of Awards like this either being based on concrete metrics and data, or being made retroactively. I’d be much happier if The Oscars took place at a 2-3 years distance from release date as by that time you would see some of the influence and staying power of a particular film coming through.

Remember The Nightman Scoring System? If you don’t, click that link. That is roughly how films should be evaluated and scored. It’s a little simplistic but you can play around with the categories and make it fit. The system works. If you put these five films through that System, looking at how much money a movie made, looking at performance, directing, music, everything else – I’m fairly certain one movie would be the clear winner. Raging Bull is your clear winner for this year. An artistic, cinematic, and personal achievement, one which changed how we expect actors to perform, and one which acts as straightforward entertainment while not cheapening itself for mass consumption. It’s one of the best movies of the decade, and one of the best movies ever made.

Your second place choice is something you could make most of the same arguments for – The Elephant Man is also a stunning achievement but perhaps less accessible than Raging Bull if only for its subject matter. It’s a shame these came out in the same year – put The Elephant Man out in 1981 and that’s your winner. It’s about as accessible and mainstream as David Lynch gets. We’re left with the also rans. Tess is mainly here on the strength of Polanski’s other work – good film, just not Best Of The Year good. The Coal Miner’s Daughter is Oscar-bait – biography, musical, American Dream stuff. Similar almost to The Elephant Man and Raging Bull except those both upend the fist-pumping American Dream story and format. Again, good film, great lead performance – not year best worthy.

Which leads us to one of the divisive wins in Oscars history – Ordinary People. It’s not exactly spoken in the same breath as Raging Bull these days, but when it is it’s along the lines of ‘how the hell did this beat Raging Bull’. There’s one simple reason, and that reason is that The Academy loves Robert Redford. I’m not going to sit here and bad mouth the movie though – it’s a very good movie. Take Raging Bull and The Elephant Man out and this is your clear winner. It’s another incisive slice-down through, not the American Dream but the American Norm – an affluent family rocked and failing to cope with the death of a family member. It doesn’t need to be two hours long and while Redford’s first time directing is mature and assured, it doesn’t have the immediate or long-lasting impact of Lynch or Scorsese.

My Winner: Raging Bull

Original Raging Bull Movie Poster - Jake La Motta - Martin Scorsese

My Nominations: Raging Bull. The Elephant Man. The Empire Strikes Back. The Shining. The Blues Brothers. Cannibal Holocaust.

Only two of the true nominations make it over to my list, joining an all time infant terrible, an all time horror masterpiece, an all time cult classic, and one of the all time greats regardless of genre. Cannibal Holocaust – there’s no way anyone in their right mind would ever nominate this – it’s cheap, nasty, badly dubbed, and features real life animal cruelty and death. I am clearly not in my right mind, so it goes on the list. The film is unforgettable and parts of it will sneak up on you years later, like a trigger. How many films have had the impact this one had? Not only did it essentially create the Found Footage genre (regardless of whether you feel that’s a positive or negative, it remains a fact) but it also led to a genuine public outcry and Criminal Proceedings where the director had to prove he didn’t murder his cast. No other film on either list, or in 1980 can say the same.

The Blues Brothers is my idea of the perfect musical – the music is actually good, the musical interludes make sense, it doesn’t take itself seriously, plus it’s actually funny and mostly avoids any romance nonsense. Is it Best Of The Year quality…. probably not, but it has taken on that quality of transcending its release and remains a well loved cult favourite. If any Horror movie of the 1980s deserved Academy recognition it was surely The Shining. Frequently at or near the top of any serious list of the Best Horror Movies ever made, plus it was directed by Academy favourite Kubrick and starred Academy favourite Nicholson. This is maybe the glaring omission of the year – did we really need The Coal Miner’s daughter when we already had two better biopics this year? The Shining didn’t receive a single nomination, a travesty with hindsight and giving some weight to the argument that you need some time before trying to aware the best for something as subjective as film.

The final nomination from my side is what most people call ‘the best Star Wars movie’. I prefer Jedi, but I’m in the minority. It ups the ante from A New Hope, expanding the universe and the interweaving stories of each character, it blurs its own narrative constructs of morality and takes the tale far beyond the typical heroic journey, plus it has bad-ass action, a great soundtrack, and has arguably the most impressive and iconic visuals in the entire franchise. As Raging Bull already has my Official Win, I’m handing this one to Empire.

 My Winner: The Empire Strikes Back

Let us know in the comments which movies you would nominate and what your winner would be!

Best Original Score – 1980

Official Nominations: Fame. Altered States. Tess. The Elephant Man. The Empire Strikes Back.

Fame won the official award this year, but for me you think of the songs (or at least the title song) rather than the score. Deserves the nomination – not the win. Altered States getting nominated is pretty funny because… have you seen Altered States? It’s weird to me that such a weird and not remotely Hollywood film got nominated, but it’s wonderful that it did because it is a great score – horror movie strings and all manner of jump-scare sounds and offbeat rhythms. The Elephant Man is all carnival-esque rhythms and beats which recur over and over throughout the film reminding us of how most people feel towards Merrick even as his story progresses – the main theme for some reason always felt like a missing piece from The Godfather. 

The Empire Strikes Back builds upon everything that made A New Hope so good and adds a number of pieces which have become just as memorable and powerful – The Imperial March in particular becoming synonymous with ‘evil’. The pieces we know from the original often take on darker hues as you would expect given the nature of the film. Finally, Tess… not one of my most favourite Polanski movies, but another with a good score. If it has strings, if it’s emotive, then it’s for me.

My Winner: The Empire Strikes Back

The Empire Strikes Back (soundtrack) - Wikipedia

My Nominations: The Elephant Man. The Empire Strikes Back. The Blues Brothers. Cannibal Holocaust. Dressed To Kill. Flash Gordon. The Fog. Friday The 13th. Raging Bull. The Shining.

Only two make it to my list due to some other excellent scores this year. The Blues Brothers updates a number of Blues and rock standards while retaining their core power. It’s one of the only musicals I enjoy and definitely one of the few musical scores I can stand listening to. If Altered States is getting nominated, then there’s no way I’m not nominating Cannibal Holocaust. It’s a horrible, disgusting movie (I love it) but the soundtrack is downright beautiful – the choice of this wavering synth to play the main melody is perfect – beauty skewered. It’s weird because once you’ve seen the movie you can’t help but recall images from it when you hear the music, again making something so sweet leave the bitterest taste in your mouth. It’s a crime this wasn’t nominated with its outlandish disco beats and synthetic beeps and throbs merging with the more traditional strings wonderfully.

Keeping things Italian, Pino Donaggio follows in Riz Ortolani’s footsteps by creating another horror soundtrack which has a beauty all of its own, one which doesn’t (at least on the surface) seem to fit the film it was written for. Look deeper, like with Cannibal Holocaust, and it’s perfect. While Flash Gordon is mainly known for Flash’s Theme, the rest of the score by Queen helps to make a pretty bad film watchable beyond its camp value. Raging Bull’s score is a bit of a cheat nomination given that it’s a mixture of existing popular music from La Motta’s time, and other traditional classical pieces – but it’s the way they are mixed as a whole and how the score works alongside the dialogue and direction which earns its nomination.

Our final entries are all from horror films – if horror as a genre is (stupidly) usually passed over by the Academy for most categories, it should at the very least be a stalwart in this category. Out of my three picks, only The Shining stood any chance of officially being nominated – though its mixture of original and non-original pieces probably exlcudes it. No matter, it still works as an effectively creepy score, evoking birds eye views of cars travelling down winding rounds, empty ballrooms, long corridors, and little dead girls. Friday The 13th isn’t one of my favourite horror scores, but there’s no getting away from how famous parts of it have become, particularly the ‘ki ki ki, ma ma, ma’ and piercing strings of the main title. Finally, The Fog soundtrack is another winner by Carpenter – there haven’t been too many directors in the history of cinema who have also written the music for their own films, and none to the same level of success as Carpenter has. This one has all the creepy factors of his Halloween score, but it’s a little slower, more tense, more malevolent, but maybe lacking that all important widespread appeal motif. In any other year, this would be my winner…. in fact, Empire got my win from the officials so lets split the difference and give it to Carpenter.

My Winner: The Fog

Let us know what you pick as the Best Score of 1980!

Best Cast – 1979

My Nominations: 1941. Alien. Apocalypse Now. Kramer Vs Kramer.

Steven Spielberg’s 1941 is one of the least remembered in his filmography, and in line with this curio is quite the unusual cast, containing comedy masters, new faces, and veterans – Dan Akroyd and John Belushi, Toshiro Mifune and Warren Oates, Nancy Allen and Tim Matheson, along with Spielberg favourites and many many more – John Candy, Lorraine Gary, Robert Stack, Patty LuPone, Michael McKean, James Caan, Ned Beatty, Christopher Lee, Mickey Rourke, Dick Miller, John Landis, Sam Fulller – you get the idea.

Alien is one of the great centralized ensemble casts, an an example of of each actor bringing each character fully to life (only to be killed off). Sigourney Weaver is the standout, but John Hurt and Ian Holm aren’t far behind, without forgetting Skerritt, Cartwright, Kotto, and Harry Dean Stanton. Apocalypse Now is in a similar vein, but has the added benefit of the central group coming into contact with a variety of other characters – any film with Dennis Hopper, Marlon Brando, and Martin Sheen is always going to make a category like this, but then we also throw in Laurence Fishbourne, Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest, Albert Hall. Kramer Vs Kramer is hard to avoid given both leads received Oscars.

My Winner: Alien

40 Years Ago: The 'Alien' Cast Gets an Actual Terrifying Surprise

Let us know your winner in the comments!

1980 Academy Awards – An Introduction

53rd Academy Awards.jpg

The 53rd Academy Awards saw Johnny Carson leading the proceedings once again and featured Ordinary People picking up the most wins, with The Elephant Man, Raging Bull, and The Coal Miner’s Daughter and others earning high numbers of nominations. This year saw many interesting movies in multiple genres being awarded or nominated, and of course many others not appearing at all. As we proceed into the 80s we’ll be getting into the territory of the films I know and love most and as such the number of films which would never get nominated in a million years in the real world, will be nominated by me. Exciting!

Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton were some of the performers this year, while Lilian Gish, Peter Ustinov, Luciano Pavarotti, and Sigourney Weaver were some of those handing out the awards. Henry Fonda got an Honorary Award, as did the Special Effects team who worked on The Empire Strikes Back.

Join us over the next few weeks to see which films I nominated and awarded, and feel free to add your thoughts and picks!

Best Stunt Work – 1979

My Nominations: Apocalypse Now. Escape To Athena. Mad Max. Moonraker. The Warriors.

There’s no getting away from Apocalypse Now, even its stunt work is top notch in those small set piece moments. Escape To Athena is a movie I loved as a kid and treated it as a James Bond spin-off as it features Roger Moore arsing about with guns. There’s a tonne of your typical 70s War action and there’s a great motorbike chase later on. It’s a lot of fun. Mad Max doesn’t go all out crazy in the stunt department when compared with the sequels, but it does still contain some epic 70s era car and bike goodness – Australia seemed to take a few more risks in their approach in this regard – they had less money and possibly spectacle, but many of the stunts look more dangerous and real and come across as more thrilling. Moonraker isn’t the greatest Bond movie, but it still has its share of memorable stunts – my favourite being the cable car fight. There’s also falling out of an airplane, an unusual chase through Venice, and of course the Space scenes. Finally, The Warriors is peppered with mini riots and alley and subway gang fights and chases which are deliberately messy.

My Winner: Mad Max

Mad Max Movies: Stunts by Guy Norris and Grant Page | NFSA

Let us know your winner in the comments!

Best Visual Effects – 1979

Official Nominations: Alien. 1941. The Black Hole. Moonraker. Star Trek.

The reason Star Trek didn’t win this award, apart from Alien being the obvious winner, is simply because Star Wars had raised the game so much and Star Trek doesn’t make that next leap. With the pedigree involved – Douglas Trumbull, John Dykstra et al, it is an effects bonanza, but alongside the revelations of Alien it seems meek. Steven Spielberg movies were beginning to get shoehorned into categories such as this rather than admitting their overall quality. In truth the film isn’t one of his best, and the Visual Effects are notable. Also notable is Disney’s first attempt at stealing Star Wars – The Black Hole has plenty of good effects which look great when you’re a kid, while Moonraker gets a nod for it’s floating and laser shooting. Alien has to be the winner – its effect and setting by and large aiming for realism rather than the fantastical, and among all of the Star Wars copycats it goes for something completely different, and succeeds.

My Winner: Alien

fx alien miniature 1979 special effects Science Fiction Movies practical effects Richard J Anobile martinlkennedy •

My Nominations: Alien. 1941. The Black Hole. Moonraker. Star Trek. Phantasm.

Although obviously low budget and ropey in places, the effects in Phantasm are so fresh and imaginative that they overshadow more expert and money-laden ones in bigger movies. It’s the only other film I nominate this year, but it hasn’t a hope against Alien. 

My Winner: Alien

Let us know your winner in the comments!

Best Make-Up – 1979

alien 40th anniversary | Explore Tumblr Posts and Blogs | Tumgir

My Nominations: Alien. Apocalypse Now. Dracula. Hair. Mad Max. Nosferatu. Star Trek. Zombie Flesh Eaters.

We’re really on the precipice of peak Make-Up now, with the official aware still a couple of years away. Yet look at some of these nominees and think of how iconic they are in terms of film history and this category. Apocalypse Now may not seem like a Makeup movie at first, think of both Kurtz and Willard’s later arrivals in the film, one camouflaged in muck and ooze, the other adorned in sweat and shadow, along with all of the crazed followers of Kurtz and the many painted soldiers Willard meets heading up river. Mad Max would really amp things in sequels but even in the original there are notable effects to make certain characters look more monstrous or off-putting. Frank Langella’s Dracula is one of the more seductive takes on the eternal creature, but elsewhere there are plenty of ghostface and fanged loons dripping or hunting blood.

Nosferatu takes a more demonic, animalistic approach to its antagonist, and is memorable as the original version from decades earlier. Hair, as the name suggests, would have been a sure fire nominee if this category had already existed with early awards more focused on hair and costume and base makeup rather then the outlandish. Speaking of the outlandish, Zombie Flesh Eaters features such delights as a zombie fighting a shark and a wooden splint through the eye – it’s great. Star Trek features the expected array of aliens with less of the hokey nature of the original series. Finally, Alien features arguably the greatest original creature in the history of cinema – but does it class as Makeup? We don’t have a Best Creature Design category yet, so in lieu of that ever happening, it’s getting my vote. Beyond that, it has plenty of great, squirting stuff going on.

My Winner: Alien