Monday, April 29, 2019

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The 1961 Retro Hollmann Awards, Part One

The first nine categories of the Retro Hollmann Awards of 1961! Each category is presented in the same order as the original Academy Awards telecast, with only two exceptions: the first two, for they did not exist at the time - one of them still doesn't, but that's OK. On to the awards!

Best Ensemble
A Raisin in the Sun

2. Flower Drum Song; 3. The League of Gentlemen; 4. The Innocents; 5. Judgment at Nuremberg

Of course, if any film was going to win this, it'd be the one up for five acting nominations. The family unit itself is beautifully played, with the realistic moments of frustration and love, doubt and certainty. But there's also generous room for the guests in their household: Bobo, George Murchison, that too-polite white guy, Mr. Asagai.

In second place, the dynamite song-and-dance ensemble of Flower Drum Song. In third, the conspirators - and the women in their lives - in The League of Gentlemen. In fourth, the concerned staff, mischievous children, and checked-out uncle in The Innocents. In fifth, the all-star cast of Judgment at Nuremberg.

The remaining eight categories are after the jump.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Throne of Blood
Masanori Kobayashi, makeup artist
Yoshiko Matsumoto / Junjirô Yamada, hair stylists

2. Black Sunday; 3. The Ballad of Narayama; 4. The Human Condition: Road to Eternity; 5. Yojimbo

Took a lot of thinking and hard decision-making, but in the end I went for Throne of Blood and its feudal blood, sweat and dirt, its androgynous witch, its spooky Lady Washizu. Its mimicking of Noh masks keeps everything off-kilter and terrifying - possibly the best depiction of this tale's particular supernaturalism.

In second, the harrowing gore of Black Sunday. In third, the frightening old age and battered teeth of The Ballad of Narayama. In fourth, the blood, sweat and dirt (something I love, I guess!) of The Human Condition: Road to Eternity. In fifth, the comic styles of Yojimbo.

Best Costume Design

Flower Drum Song
Irene Sharaff

2. El Cid; 3. West Side Story; 4. The Innocents; 5. A Majority of One

What can I say? I love Nancy Kwan's fan burlesque in "Drifting Through My Memory", the gorgeously fitted suits on the menfolk during "Chop Suey", Patrick Adiarte's baseball uniform in "The Other Generation", Miyoshi Umeki's orange number in "Don't Marry Me".

In second, the medieval Spain comes to life in El Cid. In third, rival streetwear in West Side Story. In fourth, the large-ass dresses in The Innocents. In fifth, cultures collide in A Majority of One.

Best Supporting Actor
George Chakiris as Bernardo
West Side Story

2. Ivan Dixon in A Raisin in the Sun; 3. Tatsuya Nakadai in Yojimbo; 4. George C. Scott in The Hustler; 5. Martin Stephens in The Innocents

Like I said, it's a sexy, charming, heartbreaking performance.

In second, Dixon's impossibly charming Joseph Asagai. In third, Nakadai's smiling, psychotic Unosuke. In fourth, Scott's smug, oily Gert Gordon. In fifth, Stephens' threatening, mysterious Miles.

Best Film Editing
West Side Story
Thomas Stanford

2. Breathless; 3. The Parent Trap; 4. La Dolce Vita; 5. The Innocents

It's all right there in the opening sequence, right when the Jets are revealed: a friend, a group, a gang, wider and wider. When Bernardo suddenly appears: a lone figure standing awkwardly by, interrupting the white boys' dance. The turf war building, expanding from faux politeness to threatening gestures to the brawl in the park. There's danger, effortless cool, a sense of geography.

In second - look, the style of jump-cutting employed in the film makes for an experience that is truly...Breathless. In third, both the comic timing and visual effects in The Parent Trap. In fourth, la Dolce Vita's three hours go by swiftly. In fifth, the haunting overlays in The Innocents.

Best Score
presented in order of preference

1. Breakfast at Tiffany's
Henry Mancini

2. Yojimbo
Masaru Satô

3. A Raisin in the Sun
Laurence Rosenthal

4. The Savage Innocents
Angelo Francesco Lavagnino

5. The Human Condition: Road to Eternity
Chûji Kinoshita

Best Sound
West Side Story
Fred Hynes, sound recording supervisor
Gordon Sawyer, sound supervisor

Gilbert D. Marchand, sound editor

2. The Innocents; 3. The Guns of Navarone; 4. Paris Blues; 5. Yojimbo

Every little sound element is perfect, from the seamless mix of the vocals and instrumentals to the snapping fingers to the rattling fences to Maria's clicking heels to the chilling, echoing gunshot in the climax.

In second, the whispers and silences of The Innocents. In third, the bombs and bullets of The Guns of Navarone. In fourth, the conversations against live jazz in Paris Blues. In fifth, the clanging swords of Yojimbo.

Best Visual Effects

Mysterious Island
Ray Harryhausen, special visual effects creator

Vic Margutti, special photographic effects

2. The Guns of Navarone; 3. Babes in Toyland; 4. The Absent-Minded Professor; 5. The Human Condition: Road to Eternity

Am I dumb that I cannot see the seams attaching the live actors and Harryhausen's stop motion effects? It's breathtaking to see Joan Greenwood fight a giant chicken, Gary Merrill and friends against a gargantuan crab, the young things trapped by behemoth bees. They also blow up a pirate ship!

In second, terrifying rock climbs and the staggering scale of The Guns of Navarone. In third, some animated assistance in Babes in Toyland. In fourth, flubber's bouncy effects in The Absent-Minded Professor. In fifth, the explosive The Human Condition: Road to Eternity.

Best Supporting Actress
Image result for rita moreno west side story
Rita Moreno as Anita
West Side Story

2. Ruby Dee in A Raisin in the Sun; 3. Fay Bainter in The Children's Hour; 4. Diana Sands in A Raisin in the Sun; 5. Mercedes McCambridge in Angel Baby

Like I said, she's the best thing in an already superlative film.

In second, Ruby Dee's exhausted, supportive, sick-of-it Ruth Younger. In third, Fay Bainter's proper, domineering Mrs. Amelia Tilford. In fourth, Diana Sands' passionate, independent Beneath Younger. In fifth, Mercedes McCambridge's spiritual, mad Sarah Strand.

Nine down, nine to go. West Side Story currently leads with four awards, and one apiece to Breakfast at Tiffany's, Flower Drum SongMysterious Island, A Raisin in the Sun and Throne of Blood. We finish up tomorrow with, among others, the Screenplay awards, Best Actress, and Best Picture of the Year!

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