Saturday, June 27, 2020

The 1992 Retro Hollmann Awards, Day Two

Yesterday, Bram Stoker's Dracula championed with five wins, while the remaining four awards were split among four films. Today, the final nine of my 1992 Retro Hollmann Awards, including Best Picture of the Year. Remember to check out the alphabetized Top Ten for further writing on those, and the full list of nominees.

Now, the show....

Friday, June 26, 2020

The 1992 Retro Hollmann Awards, Day One

The awarding of the 1992 Retro Hollmann Awards begins! Reference the Top Ten, check out the full list of nominees, then sit back and enjoy as we cover the first nine categories, including Director, Original Screenplay, and Score, and beginning with....

Monday, June 22, 2020

Top Ten of 1992

So, we've talked about the Oscar picks of 1992, and what I would have chosen from the nominees. We've discussed the horror offerings of 1992 and my personal Top Seven. Now, having seen 73 films from 1992, I can safely say that this is my Top Ten - with apologies to the almost-made-its: Glengarry Glen Ross, Shadows and Fog and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

1992, Day Fourteen: Best in Horror

Herewith is our third and final Screen Drafts-inspired perusal of the horror offerings of 1992. I've talked about the Oscar-nominated titles, the theatrical releases, and the home video selections. But as anyone who has listened (or participated) can tell you, the fun in Screen Drafts isn't just hearing the debates and choices, it's coming up with your own list.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

1992, Day Thirteen: Horror at Home

Continuing our look at the horrors of 1992, as inspired by the 1992 Horror episode of the podcast Screen Drafts.

It is up to each new panel of guests to decide for themselves, but there is a rule that allows for titles not released in cinemas to be eligible for the draft. In this case, Joe Begos and Graham Skipper opted to allow for DTV titles to count towards their final seven, and one even made it on there! Following are six direct-to-video titles (one of which was the title played), one made-for-TV movie, and one theatrical release that was just one title too many for yesterday's.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

1992, Day Twelve: Horror in Cinema

As I said on day one, the impetus for choosing 1992 was an episode of Screen Drafts, the movie podcast that pairs experts and enthusiasts in a competitive collaboration to come up with best-of lists. The episode in question was 1992 Horror, drafted by Joe Begos and Graham Skipper, which posited that the 90s in general was an underrated decade for horror, but 1992 in particular boasted some gems. Their final list of seven included both theatrical and straight-to-video releases, and I did my due diligence and watched everything. I listened to the podcast once more and sought out not just their top seven, but films discussed that didn't make the final list, plus a couple of other flicks.

Here's just a sampling: ten horror films theatrically released in US cinemas in 1992, nine of which were mentioned on the podcast:

Thursday, June 11, 2020

1992, Day Nine: Supporting Actress

If you've talked to anyone who was following the 1992 Oscar race, you will hear an oft-told urban legend about hoSupporting Actress shook out. 

Basically, going into the Oscars, this was a three-woman race between Judy Davis (the ninth of sixteen actors nominated for a woody Allen film), Joan Plowright (never nominated veteran and widow of Laurence Olivier) and Miranda Richardson (the critics' darling). Looking back at Inside Oscar's account and contemporaneous sources, Richardson was the favorite, not just for delivering a killer monologue à la Network's Beatrice Straight, but for also having central roles in sleeper hits Enchanted April and The Crying Game. Smart money was on Davis or Richardson; I know one person who put money on Plowright; and of the two "surprise" nominees, Vanessa Redgrave would be the obvious spoiler pick.

No one saw it coming:

You can hear the screams! It's one of Oscar night's biggest shockers, and immediately gave rise to a number of theories. 

The most prevalent one purports that Jack Palance, that doddering old fool, read the wrong name. The Academy, not wanting to start the night by embarrassing an elder statesman of Hollywood, let it slide. That's not how the Oscars work, and if you think it does, then you somehow missed the time Moonlight won Best Picture while the La La Land producers were giving their acceptance speeches - there are measures put in place to prevent it, starting with the damn envelope. But you don't even need to get into the 2016 Oscars to see why the Palance theory doesn't work: just watch the clip! Having told the TelePrompTer to take a hike, less he be distracted, he takes his time reading the card, making sure he gets it right. People have also said he was going off of the memory of the last time he read aloud, but you're telling me Jack Palance isn't aware of Joan Plowright or Vanessa Redgrave?

Even those who accepted that it was the right name had a horrid little theory: it must be because Tomei was the only American nominated - Palance himself points this out before he reads the name - and in a xenophobic fit of solidarity, conferred the honor on her rather than these upstart Brits (well, and Aussie Davis). It's a bizarre theory that flies in the face of both the Academy's international membership ranks and its willingness to award the British. Hedda Hopper used to write op-eds about it. Redgrave herself was a previous winner! That very evening, Emma Thompson won Best Actress. That dog don't hunt.

Finally, there comes the "crotch vote" theory, which is very simple: the mostly male membership voted for Tomei because she was the most fuckable. She's the youngest nominee, undeniably beautiful, and while her character, Mona Lisa Vito, may have a smart mouth, she stands by her man...who just happen to be twice her age. She's not the cold ball-buster Davis plays, nor the cheated-upon housewife portrayed by Richardson, and she's certainly not Plowright or Redgrave.

The theories are not nice, and speak more to the gatekeeping of howe define "An Oscar Movie" than anything else, a gatekeeping that has made certain Oscar ceremonies seem more medicinal than celebratory. Still...if one actually takes the time to sit and watch the performances, did she deserve the win? 

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

1992, Day Eight: Score

Here are three scores that one assumes almost made it - they were, after all, nominated or awarded elsewhere - but didn't make the final cut. Each album cover will bring you to the score's playlist on YouTube, so treat yourselves!


From left to right, you're looking at the Golden Globe-nominated score to 1492: Conquest of Paradise by Vangelis, the LAFCA Award-winning score to Damage by Zbigniew Preisner, and the BAFTA Awards- and Golden Globe-nominated score to The Last of the Mohicans by Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman.

Great work, but not the nominees! The nominees are:

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

1992, Day Seven: Actor

Personally, I think it's interesting to look at the 1992 Best Actor lineup and not only see that there is one former winner, but that it is neither Clint Eastwood (this was his first acting nomination), nor is it Al Pacino (though that would soon be corrected). It's Denzel Washington.

Washington was already on his third nomination in 1992, having been nominated as a Supporting Actor for Cry Freedom and Glory; it was the latter that resulted in his first Oscar win. Malcolm X was his first nod for Lead Actor; his next five nominations would all follow suit: 1999's The Hurricane, 2001's Training Day (another win), 2012's Flight, 2016's Fences (for which he should have won a third Oscar) and 2017's Roman J. Israel, Esq. All told, that's eight nominations, exactly the tally Pacino had before he finally won his first:

Since then, there's been some debate over who should have won this year. Hell, it's a debate that goes even further back, to 1974-75: if Pacino won for either The Godfather: Part Two (as he could've) or Dog Day Afternoon (as he should've), would there have been less pressure to give him a career Oscar, thereby allowing Washington to take what Spike Lee claimed was rightfully his? Would Washington have even won? A second Oscar in three years doesn't always happen, and there were three other nominees, all on their first time; I can especially see a case for veteran Eastwood becoming the first actor-director to claim both prizes in one night. And what about Stephen Rea, star of the indie film du jour and Best Picture contender The Crying Game?

Fortunately, I'm here to settle once and for all not just the coulda-woulda - but more importantly, the shoulda:

Thursday, June 4, 2020

1992, Day Three: Original Song

Except for the recent phenomenons of "Shallow" from A Star is Born and the dance remixes of Frozen's "Let It Go", popular music and Oscar's Original Song category just don't have the same relationship as they did in the '80s and '90s. This year in particular: at the 36th Grammy Awards the following year, these same songs would compete against each other, and not just in the specialty categories for soundtracks. The Bodyguard's soundtrack won Album of the Year, Aladdin's "A whole New world" won Song of the Year, both competed against each other for Record of the Year (tho' The Bodyguard did so with the Dolly Parton cover "I will Always Love You" - and won), and, just like here, they made up 4/5 of the nominees for Best Song written for Visual Media.

OK, so I guess it was mostly The Bodyguard and Aladdin that dominated, but it's not difficult to see why. They're good songs! Actually, overall, it's an exceptional group of nominees, as you can hear for yourself:

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

1992, Day Two: Actress

You can't call the 1992 Best Actress competition a "race" - or even a competition. Sure, there were five nominees, four of them named at previous awards shows, but the season had already decreed a winner by Oscar night. And that winner was Emma Thompson:

It's not just that Thompson was nominated across 16 different critics groups and awards bodies around the world; it's more so that she won all of them. All of them. Not a loss in the bunch. It was a total and complete domination. Everyone else was just happy to be nominated.

And who was that everyone else? Let's talk:

Monday, June 1, 2020

1992, Day One: Intro and Adapted Screenplay

Today begins our month-long look at the films of 1992!

As I mentioned last month, this isn't just the usual Oscar-focused retrospective. This year was selected after listening to Screen Drafts, one of my favorite podcasts (full disclosure: I guested on the Original American Musicals episode with my best friend and Kipo writer Ben Mekler), in which "experts and enthusiasts competitively collaborate to create screen-centric best-of lists" - I think that's the logline, I'm doing that from memory. The specific episode: 1992 Horror, in which filmmakers Joe Begos and Graham Skipper select the seven best horror flicks domestically released in the United States in 1992. In addition to those seven, I'll also take a look at the other films discussed on the episode that did not make the final list.

But, of course, because this is how we do things around here, I'm also focusing on that year's Oscar race. It's the year Clint Eastwood suddenly became one of the great American auteurs (yes, he had directed plenty before, but not to this level of critical and awards success), Al Pacino finally got his Oscar, people were win to Marisa Tomei, and the Disney Renaissance once again dominated the music categories thanks to Aladdin.

We'll talk about all that, plus the horror picks, later this month. Today, we're starting the journey with Best Adapted Screenplay....