Saturday, June 27, 2020

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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....

Best Original Song
1. Bram Stoker's Dracula - "Love Song for a Vampire"
music and lyrics by Annie Lennox
2. Aladdin - "A Whole New World"
music by Alan Menken
lyrics by Tim Rice
3. Aladdin - "Prince Ali"
music by Alan Menken
lyrics by Howard Ashman
4. Boomerang - "I'd Die without You"
music and lyrics by Attrel "Prince Be" Cordes
5. The Muppet Christmas Carol - "It Feels Like Christmas"
music and lyrics by Paul Williams

Best Supporting Actor
Seymour Cassel as Joe
In the Soup

2. Al Freeman, Jr. in Malcolm X; 3. Gene Hackman in Unforgiven; 4. Ray Wise in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me; 5. Morgan Freeman in Unforgiven

Joe is a gregarious soul and a shady guy, one of those guys who's so sincere, there's truth even in his dishonesty. Seymour Cassel seems to know from guys like this, and he fills the screen with so much warmth and vitality and lack-of-bullshit, you can't help but feel yourself drawn to him...even as he quickly, casually, in little spurts here and there, demonstrates how truly dangerous this man is. Cassel was never less than good in any role he played, but this a film that truly lives and dies on his performance. God, he's great. I could watch it again and again, just for him.

In second, Freeman, Jr.'s quietly domineering Elijah Muhammad. In third, Hackman's deceptively folksy Little Bill Daggett. In fourth, Wise's shattered Leland Palmer. In fifth, Freeman's attempted strength in the quietly guilty Ned Logan.

Best Ensemble
Aleta Chappelle

2. Daughters of the Dust; 3. Glengarry Glen Ross; 4. Aladdin; 5. A League of Their Own

A great ensemble goes beyond its leads, and beyond Eddie Murphy, Robin Givens, and Halle Berry, Boomerang boasts a murderer's row of talent. Eartha Kitt as horny Lady Eloise, Grace Jones as intimidating goddess StrangĂ©, Geoffrey Holder as delusional-ly outrageous Nelson, David Alan Grier as nerdy Gerard, Martin Lawrence as crass Tyler, Tisha Campbell as vengeful Yvonne, John Witherspoon and Bebe Drake-Massey as Gerard's sexy-stylish-awesome parents. Boomerang spoils us.

In second, the sprawling family at the center of Daughters of the Dust. In third, cutthroat, confident, and sadsack salesmen in Glengarry Glen Ross. In fourth, one of the best teams of voice actors assembled for Aladdin. In fifth, a true team makes up A League of Their Own.

Best Costume Design

Bram Stoker's Dracula
Eiko Ishioka

2. Boomerang; 3. Howards End; 4. Raise the Red Lantern; 5. Malcolm X

Young Dracula's armor, looking more like the muscles of a skinned soldier. Old Dracula's starkly red evening gown. Lucy's basilisk wedding gown. The asylum guards, their heads enclosed in cages as they guard the prisoners. Renfield's metal gloves, keeping him from harming himself, his strait-jacket unraveled to give him impossibly long arms. And, yes, the period splendor.

In second, Boomerang's incredibly delicious designer duds. In third, Howards End's period finery. In fourth, Raise the Red Lantern's women's wear tells us much about their past and favor. In fifth, Malcolm X's trendy, conservative, religious and secular garb.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Bram Stoker's Dracula
Greg Cannom, special makeup effects
Michèle Burke, makeup designer / hair designer
Stuart Artingsall, Gary Oldman's hair and wigs

2. Batman Returns; 3. Death Becomes Her; 4. Society; 5. Sleepwalkers

Old Dracula, ridiculously waxen white with a big bouffant. Young Dracula, with those red eyes and flowing locks. Shapeshifting Dracula, a genuine monster. Lucy, increasingly pale against her fiery mane, until she, too, becomes as impossibly pale as the count. John Seward with the tired eyes and complexion of a doctor...and an addict. The wives, otherworldly in their beauty, beastly in their dentistry. Van Helsing...he looks hungover.

In second, Batman Returns' nightmare Penguin, batty Catwoman, fright-wigged Schreck. In third, Death Becomes Her gives you glamor and ghastliness in equal measures. In fourth, Society's dampness is nauseating even before the shunting. In fifth, the shapeshifting Sleepwalkers.

Best Supporting Actress
Cora Lee Day as Nana Peazant
Daughters of the Dust

2. Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny; 3. Phyllida Law in Peter's Friends; 4. Vanessa Redgrave in Howards End; 5. He Saifei in Raise the Red Lantern

As Nana Peazant, Cora Lee Day really does feel timeless. I've called Daughters of the Dust a spiritual experience, and while I'm of course talking about the writing and editing and cinematography and direction when I say that, what I'm thinking of is Day's performance, her eyes in particular. She keeps the old knowledge, looking at her progeny with concern - for their future, for their memory, for their ability to maintain the traditions and the land as she has. The past is the present is the future, all together and one, and Day's looks and busy, indigo-stained hands are those of a woman taking it all in, unstuck in time yet unmistakably knowing what's all around her now.

In second, Tomei's Mona Lisa Vito is crude but not crass. In third, Law's Vera grounds the film with quiet humanity. In fourth, Redgrave's Ruth Wilcox's vagueness seems almost self-protective - as she admits when suffrage comes up. In fifth, He's Meishan may be friend or foe...depending on her mood.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Bram Stoker's Dracula
James V. Hart
from the novel by Bram Stoker

2. Malcolm X; 3. Howards End; 4. Glengarry Glen Ross; 5. Candyman

Most of the criticisms I've read of Bram Stoker's Dracula take it to task for deigning to use the authorial possessive, indicating this is the definitive interpretation of the text, when it hinges on a romantic connection via reincarnation between Mina and Dracula that is completely invented for the film. For me, that's most of its genius, and it allows Mina to make her own decisions regarding how far she'll let the Count take her; she is not completely devoid of agency, as in other adaptations, but pushes him further, realizing that their souls are drawn together. And how can one object to any film that gives us the line, "I have crossed oceans of time to find you?" It's so...perfect.

In second, Malcolm X condenses a complex life in politics without becoming a highlights reel. In third, Howards End presents its relationships and class criticism straightforwardly. In fourth, Glengarry Glen Ross truly adapts a stagebound conceit to fit the screen and increase the claustrophobia. In fifth, Candyman takes an idea of a legend and indicts us all.

Best Cinematography

1. Raise the Red Lantern
Fei Zhao

2. Bram Stoker's Dracula
Michael Ballhaus

3. Lorenzo's Oil
John Seale

4. Malcolm X
Ernest R. Dickerson

5. Shadows and Fog
Carlo Di Palma

Best Motion Picture of the Year
Bram Stoker's Dracula
produced by Francis Ford Coppola / Fred Fuchs / Charles Mulvehill

2. Boomerang; 3. Howards End; 4. Malcolm X; 5. Aladdin
6. Unforgiven; 7. Candyman; 8. Daughters of the Dust; 9. Raise the Red Lantern; 10. The Muppet Christmas Carol

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Bram Stoker's Dracula isn't just the best horror film of 1992, but the best overall film of the year, period, with an astounding ten wins! That ties it with The Exorcist for the winning-est film in Hollmann Awards history!

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