Thursday, August 9, 2018

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The 1959 Retro Hollmann Awards: Part Two

Yesterday, the 1959 Retro Hollmann Awards began with Best Costume Design, Best Actor, and more.

We continue with six more categories!

The full list of nominations here.

And now - on to Best Supporting Actor.

Best Supporting Actor

Martin Landau as Leonard
North by Northwest

2. Stephen Boyd in Ben-Hur; 3. Sô Yamamura in The Human Condition: No Greater Love; 4. Murray Hamilton in Anatomy of a Murder; 5. Joseph N. Welch in Anatomy of a Murder

When Edmond O'Brien presented the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, he called the category "the best picture-stealer". That was more or less my criteria for this win. As the faithful, coded-gay assassin Leonard, Martin Landau is eighth-billed in the credits and number one in my heart. Landau is the one who gives Leonard a motivation beyond blind obedience to a cause, not with words, but with a walk and a glance and a sneer and the right pauses in the right places. There's a reptilian menace in his physicality, lithe but dangerous. It's a scene-stealer, a movie-stealer - it's the Best Supporting Actor performance of the year.

In second, Stephen Boyd's spurned former friend, armed with superiority and a broken heart. In third, Sô Yamamura's veteran, balancing his survival skills with what he knows to be right. In fourth, Murray Hamilton's cautious and loyal bartender proves a worthy opponent for James Stewart's defense attorney. In fifth, Joseph N. Welch's folksy, occasionally befuddled judge.

After the jump: Best Director, Best Supporting Actress, Best Sound, and more.....

Best Sound

Franklin Milton, recording supervisor
Sash Fisher / William Steinkamp, sound recordists
Milo B. Lory, special sound effects

2. The Diary of Anne Frank; 3. Black Orpheus; 4. House on Haunted Hill; 5. The Five Pennies

The chariot race, yes, with its crowd and horses and chariots. But let's talk about the galley: the chains, the oars, the grunts of the men, the drum keeping time, the water against the wood of the ship, the score underlining the drudgery, the crash of another ship, the splintering of wood, the rush of the ocean spray, men screaming, dying, slipping away. You could just listen to this movie, sans dialogue, and know what hell they're going through.

In second, the little noises magnified by fear in The Diary of Anne Frank. In third, the constant, noisy blend of people and music of Black Orpheus. In fourth, the creaking doors and eerie screams of House on Haunted Hill. In fifth, the "live" music and nightclub chatter of The Five Pennies.

Best Supporting Actress

Juanita Moore as Annie Johnson
Imitation of Life

2. Ruby Dee in Take a Giant Step; 3. Naima Wifstrand in The Magician; 4. Paulene Myers in Take a Giant Step; 5. Serafima Birman in Ivan the Terrible, Part Two: The Boyars' Plot

Annie Johnson is the sweetest woman alive, who seems to live for her daughter and serving Lora Meredith. It's ages before we know about her life outside the Meredith home, but once we do, it makes sense - Juanita Moore's been laying the groundwork the whole time, not just in her delivery of the required lines remarking on her faith or her pride or her concern for her daughter, but also in her studied navigation of human behavior...and the confidence with which she speaks her mind. This is a woman who knows people, who may serve but is absolutely in command. It's why it's heartbreaking to see her so helpless when dealing with Sarah Jane. Moore knows Annie; it's clear before her incredulous look at Lana's Lora ("You never asked!"). A sublime, subtle performance that grows with each viewing.

In second, Ruby Dee's friendly, lonely, attainable housekeeper. In third, Naima Wifstrand's is-she-or-isn't-she witch of a granny. In fourth, Paulene Myers' chatty, calculating prostitute. In fifth, Serafima Birman's desperate twist on her plotting boyarina.

Best Score

1. Ivan the Terrible, Part Two: The Boyars' Plot
Sergei Prokofiev

2. Black Orpheus
Luiz Bonfá / Antônio Carlos Jobim

3. North by Northwest
Bernard Herrmann

4. The Nun's Story
Franz Waxman

5. The 400 Blows
Jean Constantin

Best Ensemble


2. The Human Condition: No Greater Love; 3. Li'l Abner; 4. Anatomy of a Murder; 5. Take a Giant Step

Every character in Sapphire is up to something, every actor is delivering an undercurrent that's not always explored. Whether it's the all-business sleuth, the wealthy black student, the poor immigrant, the racist police sergeant, the cagey landlady, even the bartender - everyone is vividly living their lives when the movie intrudes on it.

In second, the soldiers, prisoners, comfort women, and pencil pushers of The Human Condition: No Greater Love. In third, the hillbillies and guv'ment men of Li'l Abner. In fourth, the lawyers and witnesses of Anatomy of a Murder. In fifth, the family and various strangers of take a Giant Step.

Best Director
Masaki Kobayashi
The Human Condition: No Greater Love

2. Sergei Eisenstein for Ivan the Terrible, Part Two: The Boyars' Plot; 3. Fred Zinnemann for The Nun's Story; 4. Ingmar Bergman for The Magician; 5. Otto Preminger for Anatomy of a Murder

Visually spectacular - the line of comfort women coming to visit the prison camp, soldiers marching in the snow, Kaji hanging from the ceiling, Madame Jin stroking Chen's sweaty chest, a bag of flour splitting open. Wonderfully paced - see my Best Editing write-up. Incredible, specific performances. Kobayashi's patient eye misses nothing.

In second, Sergei Eisenstein's wonderfully loopy Ivan the Terrible, Part Two: The Boyars' Plot. In third, Fred Zinnemann's patient The Nun's Story. In fourth, Ingmar Bergman's eerie The Magician. In fifth, Otto Preminger's sardonic Anatomy of a Murder.

Tomorrow: The final six categories, including Best Actress and Best Picture of the Year.

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