Monday, May 30, 2016

Pin It


The 1983 Retro Hollmann Awards

Took a lot to get all my thoughts and other elements organized - plus I forgot my charger at work for a few days - but now we're back on.

As mentioned, 61 films were watched during this Retro tribute to 1983. And many of them had elements worth reading - so many, in fact, that a good half of those films screened are nominees here.

I had hoped to do this in three parts, but due to time running out...all 18 categories will be announced within this single post. Beginning with two that were not in play at that year's Oscars, Best Ensemble and Best Makeup.

Best Ensemble
The Big Chill
Wallis "Wally" Nicita, casting director
2. Fanny and Alexander; 3. Flashdance; 4. A Christmas Story; 5. Streamers

The cast of The Big Chill really feels like a solid group of friends with 20 years of history together. Likewise, Fanny and Alexander feels like a genuine family unit, Flashdance feels like a makeshift family, A Christmas Story feels like a family in a small town, and Streamers...Streamers is just great, man.

Best Makeup

City of the Living Dead
Franco Rufini, makeup artist/special effects makeup
Luciano Vito, hair stylist
2. The Hunger 3. The Evil Dead 4. Fanny and Alexander 5. Krull

Krull boasts a wizened seer, dirty vagabonds, and an actual cyclops. Fanny and Alexander is my hat-tip to those difficult hairstyles of the early 20th-century, and the pale sweat of mortal illness. The remaining honorees are of the horror genre: the gallons of blood and rotting Deadites of The Evil Dead, the mummified corpses, sickly Susan Sarandon, and glamour queen beauty of Catherine Deneuve in The Hunger. But above all the rest? City of the Living Dead, with its decayed corpses, disembowelments, guts spewed out the mouth, brains ripped from skulls. Great fun.

For the remaining 16 awards, run past the jump.

Best Original Song
1. "Flashdance...What a Feeling"
music by Giorgio Moroder; lyrics by Keith Forsey/Irene Cara
2. "Over You"
music & lyrics by Austin Roberts/Bobby Hart
Tender Mercies
3. "Where Is It Written?"
music by Michel Legrand; lyrics by Alan Bergman/Marilyn Bergman
4. "No Wonder"
music by Michel Legrand; lyrics by Alan Bergman/Marilyn Bergman
5. "Chameleon Days"
music and lyrics by Dick Hyman

Best Supporting Actor

William Hurt as Nick Carlton
The Big Chill 
2. Kevin Kline, The Big Chill; 3. Rip Torn, Cross Creek; 4. Jerry Lewis, The King of Comedy; 5. Jan Malmsjö, Fanny and Alexander

Hurt, my favorite actor, easily tops this line-up. His performance in The Big Chill is by turns sad and funny; he simultaneously is the most authentic one in the group, and the least willing to open up. And he command every scene he's in. No less great is Kline as Harold, playing mein host for the funeral party, the only character who accepts he's exactly as dorky and WASPy as he once feared becoming. I've written about the truth in Torn's performance as father in Cross Creek. Lewis, playing a version of Lewis, wrings some bitter laughs in a performance that seems to be loogied out of his system. And Malmsjö's Bishop is an all-too-human menace.

Best Sound
Don Digirolamo/Robert Glass/Robert Knudson, sound re-recording mixers
Louis L. Edelman/Cecelia Hall/George Watters II, sound effects editors
2. Return of the Jedi; 3. Zelig; 4. Christine; 5. Tender Mercies

I love the soundscape of Flashdance - the music and cacophony of the clubs, the machinery of the steelmills, the trains, the dancing. It just edges out Return of the Jedi's new additions to the Star Wars sounds - speeder, Jabba, Ewoks, Death Star hums. Zelig recreates archival audio, Christine finds horror in a car's engine and radio, and Tender Mercies has live performances!

Best Editing
Ron Fricke/Alton Walpole
2. Zelig; 3. Flashdance; 4. The King of Comedy; 5. Scarface

With its fluid transitions from the ancient to the modern, from nature to civilization, from destruction to construction...what else but Koyaanisqatsi could win an editing award? Kudos, too, though, to the team that put Woody Allen with Adolf Hitler in Zelig; that made those dances truly flash in Flashdance; that provided deadly laughs and uncomfortable silences in The King of Comedy; and that tracked the action of shoot-outs, assassinations, dances, and jealous siblings in Scarface.

Best Cinematography
The Right Stuff
Caleb Deschanel
2. Children of Nagasaki; 3. Flashdance; 4. The Hunger; 5. Fanny and Alexander

Three of these nominees were also up for the Academy Award: The Right Stuff, Flashdance and Fanny and Alexander. I felt they deserved the company of Children of Nagasaki, which progresses from seemingly-natural lighting to more deliberately-rendered images as the story progresses; and of The Hunger with its dreamy horrors.

Best Visual Effects
Return of the Jedi
Roy Arbogast, special effects supervisor
Patricia Rose Duignan, production supervisor for ILM
Bruce Nicholson, optical photography supervisor for ILM
2. The Right Stuff; 3. Krull; 4. City of the Living Dead; 5. Videodrome

The top two spots are taken by space adventure. Return of the Jedi has a dogfight among the stars, a second Death Star explosion, AT-AT walkers, Jabba's skiff...there's so much going on! The Right Stuff is grounded in reality, giving us jaw-dropping recreations of launches, landings, orbits, and flight! Krull bridges sci-fi and fantasy, with its extraterrestrial floating fortress, made possible by the spectacular blending of matte painting and live action sets. Then comes the horror of City of the Living Dead's maggot storms and Videodrome's squirming, erotic tapes and TVs.

Best Costume Design
Fanny and Alexander
Marik Vos
2. The King of Comedy; 3. Danton; 4. Scarface; 5. A Christmas Story

Much like its production design, Fanny and Alexander's costume work perfectly illustrates spring, summer, fall and winter, both seasonally and emotionally, while also drawing a distinction between the Bishop, the Ekdahls, and Uncle Isak. The King of Comedy builds its characters sartorially, wittily. Danton and A Christmas Story provide terrific period work; Scarface perfect in its excess.

Best Production Design
Fanny and Alexander
Anna Asp, art director
Susanne Lingheim, set decorator
2. City of the Living Dead; 3. The King of Comedy; 4. Scarface; 5. Krull

I wrote before about the details that make Fanny and Alexander top of its class. City of the Living Dead could get it in solely on its portrayal of a subterranean passage to the Gates of Hell. The King of Comedy's use of color and art deco designs, as well as Pupkin's homemade set, make for an unsettling experience. Scarface's merits include that famous marble bathroom, contrasted with small-enough-for-mice lodgings Tony's mother insists on living in. Krull has a great forest and an absolutely bonkers villainous lair.

Best Original Score
1. Koyaanisqatsi
Philip Glass
2. Educating Rita
David Hentschel
3. Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence
Ryuichi Sakamoto
4. The Right Stuff
Bill Conti
5. Danton
Jean Prodromidès

Best Supporting Actress
Mary Kay Place as Meg
The Big Chill
2. Eileen Atkins, The Dresser, 3. Glenn Close, The Big Chill; 4. Gunn Wållgren, Fanny and Alexander; 5. Mona Malm, Fanny and Alexander

Fifth things first: Malm's Alma is a badass, big and sexy and doesn't give a fuck. Wållgren is the matriarch we all want, kind, a little frivolous, with secrets of her own. Close is the emotional anchor. And my top two: Place and Atkins are both authoritative, sensitive, funny, with decades of history behind every line and look.

Best Original Screenplay
Ingmar Bergman
Fanny and Alexander
2. The Big Chill; 3. The King of Comedy; 4. Risky Business; 5. Silkwood

Fanny and Alexander, as I wrote before, ruminates on family, religion, love, childhood, aging, with magic, ghosts, mysterious androgynes, and living statues. The Big Chill, as I wrote before, is frank and funny, but never trivial, never false. The King of Comedy is a biting work, vicious, hilarious. Risky Business has unexpected depths in its teen comedy trappings, a criticism of upper middle class privilege. And Silkwood, as I wrote before, plants its seeds subtly, laying a thriller underneath the story of a woman fighting for what's right.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Oliver Stone
from a screenplay by Howard Hawks/Ben Hecht and a novel by Armitage Trail
2. Yentl; 3. Cross Creek; 4. A Christmas Story; 5. Children of Nagasaki

Scarface cleverly updates the Depression-era story of a gangster (based on Al Capone) to an 80s-set tale of the opportunities afforded Cuban refugees...and the legitimate bad seeds who will make bad name for themselves no matter what. Oh, and 80s excess. Following: Yentl's feminist rewrite of Isaac Bashevis Singer's source material, Cross Creek's engaging telling of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' life, A Christmas Story's hilarious and relatable Christmas family shenanigans, and Children of Nagasaki's brutally beautiful account of the atomic bomb and its aftermath.

Best Director
Ingmar Bergman for Fanny and Alexander
2. Martin Scorsese for The King of Comedy; 3. Lawrence Kasdan for The Big Chill; 4. Bob Fosse for Star 80; 5. Barbra Streisand for Yentl

Streisand's directorial debut is as confident as it is inspired, stunning visually, thematically, and thesp-ically. Fosse really gets under Hollywood's sweaty, sleazy underbelly, and you feel like you just watched a dirty movie next to a freebasing trick by the end. Kasdan's wrangling of that ensemble, and ability to keep in interesting, gets him a nod. Scorsese adds some off-putting touches to further get us into Pupkin's deranged psyche. But I got to give it to Bergman! Again!

Best Actor
Robert De Niro as Rupert Pupkin
The King of Comedy
2. Eric Roberts, Star 80; 3. Go Kato, Children of Nagasaki; 4. Eddie Murphy, Trading Places; 5. Tom Cruise, Risky Business

De Niro and Roberts have similar roles, wannabe-showbiz guys who delude themselves by thinking their lack of success is due to a jealous, petty system, not their own shortcomings. Roberts really digs deep into the depravity and desperation, but I give the edge to De Niro for finding ways to make Pupkin's mild-mannered politeness increasingly disturbing. Go Kato plays the real-life Dr. Nagai, a noble, commanding performance that could move you to tears. I thought Murphy's performance had the right combination of smarts, skepticism, and naiveté to believably execute the prince and the pauper riff - and, of course, he's fucking funny. Cruise surprised me most, convincingly out of his depth in dealing with Rebecca de Mornay's prostitute, but also pulling no punches in this kid's entitlement.

Best Actress
Julie Walters as Susan/Rita
 Educating Rita
2. Meryl Streep, Silkwood; 3. Debra Winger, Terms of Endearment; 4. Mary Steenburgen, Cross Creek; 5. Barbra Streisand, Yentl 

I wrote about my top three earlier: the perfect Julie Walters, the subtle Meryl Streep, the realism of Debra Winger. Add to that group Mary Steenburgen, steely and strong for a city gal, but with the sensitivity of a modern woman. Then Barbra Streisand as Yentl, a feminist hero masquerading as a man - what a blend of comedy and drama!

Best Picture
Fanny and Alexander
Jörn Donner

2. The Big Chill (Michael Shamberg)
3. The King of Comedy (Arnon Milchan)
4. Cross Creek (Robert R. Radnitz/Martin Ritt)
5. Scarface (Martin Bregman)
6. Krull, 7. A Christmas Story, 8. Flashdance, 9. Star 80, 10. Risky Business

[UPDATED: Producers nominated for Best Picture, as of 1/13/2017]

You May Also Enjoy:

Like us on Facebook

No comments: