Thursday, June 29, 2017

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Part One: The 1980 Retro Hollmann Awards

The first day of the 1980 Retro Hollmann Awards. I have ordered the categories the same way they came in the original Oscar telecast of March 31, 1981. Just nine categories for today, starting with Best Ensemble (not an Oscar category, but...look, just read on).

Best Ensemble
Howard Feuer / Jeremy Ritzer, casting directors

2. The Blues Brothers; 3. Raging Bull; 4. Airplane; 5. Breaker Morant

What other film could win this category but Fame? I knew I would nominate it when I saw the students, by turns friendly and vicious, with unexpected chemistry and vulnerability in star-making roles (Barry Miller, hello!). But then came the teachers, each fully realized, demanding but not heartless, with their own backstories (Anne Meara, hello!). But what gives it the win - the equal attention in the development of the parents, some pushy, some distant, some not understanding why their kid wants to perform but backing them 100 percent anyway (Eddie Barth, hello!).

In second place, the comic geniuses and genuine music legends of The Blues Brothers. In third, the family and "the Family" crossing paths, and each other, in Raging Bull. In fourth, the mix of comic talents and seasoned dramatic actors to harness Airplane!'s absurdity. In fifth, the three accused, their attorney, and the powers closing in around them in Breaker Morant.

Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and more after the jump....

Best Supporting Actor
Joe Pesci as Joey La Motta
Raging Bull

2. Gene Kelly in Xanadu; 3. Tsutomu Yamazaki in Kagemusha; 4. Dabney Coleman in Nine to Five; 5. Scatman Crothers in The Shining

As I said before: "There was not a moment of this performance that I doubted." Pesci's Joey is a watcher, a thinker, it's why he manages instead of boxing - he navigates when he should kowtow and when he can bust balls, he wisely separates his brother from his wife, he makes friends with the right people without making a commitment to them. It's what makes his outburst at the club, defending his sister-in-law, so fascinating. Is that Joey the brother or Joey the lover?

In second place, Kelly charms and skates in Xanadu. In third, the brotherly affection Yamazaki shares for both his real brother and his double in Kagemusha. In fourth, Coleman's deliciously duplicitous boss in Nine to Five. In fifth, Crothers' quiet control of a man with a gift, who knows there's danger out there, in The Shining.

Best Production Design

The Shining
Roy Walker, production designer
Les Tomkins, art director

2. The Empire Strikes Back; 3. Saturn 3; 4. Kagemusha; 5. Flash Gordon

Even a hotel as vast as the Overlook becomes claustrophobic, the large picture windows trapping you in its aquarium, the same-patterned carpet creating a maze, the impersonal rooms leaving no room for yourself, the bar becoming the only space for warmth and security. The Shining's sets are the horror.

In second place, cloud cities and alien swamps in The Empire Strikes Back. In third, the rock, metal, and shag carpets of Saturn 3. In fourth, Kagemusha's fortresses and dreamscapes. In fifth, hahahaha Flash Gordon!

Best Costume Design

The Empire Strikes Back
John Mollo

2. The Elephant Man; 3. Flash Gordon; 4. Kagemusha; 5. Xanadu

The Empire Strikes Back has it all - the ghostlike snowtroopers, more terrifying than the typical Imperial soldier; cozy-looking yet battle-ready winter wear; a sleeveless Luke; the creation of Boba Fett; and Cloud City's numero one wearing sky blue - Lando, you clenched this win, baby.

In second place, The Elephant Man keeps it classy with period detail. In third, Flash Gordon brings kitsch to a high-art level. In fourth, Kagemusha serves up warrior and master of the house realness. In fifth, Xanadu outlandishly, inventively marries the old with the new.

Best Visual Effects

The Empire Strikes Back
Richard Edlund / Brian Johnson, special visual effects

2. Altered States; 3. Flash Gordon; 4. Xanadu; 5. Battle Beyond the Stars

Well of course I'm giving the win to The Empire Strikes Back, which expands on the original's action sequences - mostly flying and dogfighting - by giving us AT-AT walkers vs. snowspeeders, expanding the abilities of the Rebel's computers, flying through an asteroid field, raising a sunken X-wing from the swamps, even introducing us to Cloud City!

In second place, Altered States takes us through some bad trips, man. In third place, Flash Gordon has flying men, hovercraft, and lava lamp skies. In fourth place, Xanadu's neon muses. In fifth place, Battle Beyond the Stars also has space battles.

Best Sound

Charles L. Campbell, supervising sound editor
Louis L. Edemann / David A. Pettijohn / Bruce Richardson, sound editors
Kim Ornitz, sound mixer
Robert Glass / Christopher Jenkins / Robert Knudson, sound re-recordists

2. The Empire Strikes Back; 3. The Blues Brothers; 4. Mad Max; 5. Altered States

Cruising's soundscape encompasses a lot. The hard rock music in the sex clubs, tricks running through the branches of Central Park, a knife penetrating into naked flesh, layered erotic whispers becoming haunting death chants, dead silence except for a victim's pleas, and of course - the creak of rubber and leather, at times enticing, other times threatening, and worn by kinks and cops alike.

In second place, the pew-pew-whoosh of The Empire Strikes Back. The Blues Brothers' musical numbers and action sequences put it in third. Mad Max's gearhead heaven in fourth. Altered States baboon screams, water-filled chambers, and silence in fifth. 

Best Score

1. Somewhere in Time
John Barry

2. Mad Max
Brian May

3. The Elephant Man
John Morris

4. The Stunt Man
Dominic Frontiere

5. American Gigolo
Giorgio Moroder

Best Editing

Raging Bull
Thelma Schoonmaker

2. Cruising; 3. American Gigolo; 4. Mad Max; 5. Ordinary People

Schoonmaker's work in Raging Bull shines in the boxing ring, of course, getting every punch, every spurt of blood, every reaction, every flashbulb - it's a controlled chaos! At home, she knows just when to cut to a reaction, and when to stay on one face - my favorite thing she does, that people don't do anymore, is staying on someone's shot when someone else is talking. We get to watch them squirm.

In second place, Cruising's brutal murders and slap-happy cops. In third, American Gigolo ratcheting up the tension. In fourth, Mad Max's violence and chases. In fifth, Ordinary People cutting away to escape.

Best Supporting Actress

Cathy Moriarty as Vikki La Motta
Raging Bull

2. Lee Remick in The Competition; 3. Wendy Hughes in My Brilliant Career; 4. Eileen Brennan in Private Benjamin; 5. Glenda Jackson in HealtH

There are few debut performances like Cathy Moriarty's in Raging Bull, meeting her trained co-stars toe-to-toe - she's carnal and cute, she's a loving wife and furious ex, she's fucking exhausted. As I said before: "It's heartbreaking. It stings. It's real."

In second place, Remick's Greta Vandemann is steely and realistic in The Competition. In third, Hughes's Aunt Helen is affectionate, helpful, but burdened by a social position that should not be hers to bear, in My Brilliant Career. In fourth, Brennan's Doreen Lewis is strong, subtly cutting, and hilarious in Private Benjamin. In fifth, Jackson's Isabella Garnett is dignified and wacky in HealtH

So far Raging Bull leads with three wins! Tomorrow: Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress, Best Picture - and moooooore....

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