Thursday, December 24, 2020

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The 1970 Retro Hollmann Awards, Part Two

Goodness, here it is, the finale of our look back at 1970, the end of the 1970 Retro Hollmann Awards, and all just in time for Christmas Eve! Please recall our Top Ten, our nominees, and our first day of awards. And enjoy! On to the next nine awards:
Best Production Design

Fellini Satyricon
Danilo Donati, production design
Luigi Scaccianoce, set decoration
2. The Human Condition: A Soldier's Prayer; 3. Myra Breckinridge; 4. The Great White Hope; 5. The Boys in the Band

Love these massive, roomy sets, as specifically vague and unending as a dream world. The buildings that appear to be underground, the accommodating corners of the baths, the sumptuous-ness of Trimalchio's dinner party, the minotaur's maze, the symbols and heads carried through the streets, the theatrical sets. Every frame gives you something new to gawk at.

In second, The Human Condition: A Soldier's Prayer's forests, prison camps, refugee villages, abandoned farms, and more... In third, Myra Breckinridge's kitschy sets and repeated backgrounds hint at the state of things to be revealed. In fourth, The Great White Hope's detailed, massive re-creations of America, Germany, Mexico and Havana in the 1920s. In fifth, The Boys in the Band's two-story apartment-with-a-view.

Best Ensemble
Rose Tobias Shaw, casting
2. Multiple Maniacs; 3. The Honeymoon Killers; 4. Entertaining Mr. Sloane; 5. Lovers and Other Strangers

Girly is all about a family unit working together to execute an elaborate role-play that guarantees them a steady stream of victims, all of whom can extend their lives just by joining in the fun. It is an absolutely demented film that requires absolutely everybody to be on board to sell this conceit, and dammit, they do! Creepily so, hilariously so, and enjoyably so, keeping your attention to the extent that you worry you might be on the road to becoming one of their "new friends." One weak link and the whole thing collapses - there isn't a one.

In second, the unique talents of the Multiple Maniacs. In third, the many victims and interested parties of The Honeymoon Killers. In fourth, the horny and malevolent family - and their guest - in Entertaining Mr. Sloane. In fifth, the guests and members of a wedding in Lovers and Other Strangers.

Best Score
1. The Hawaiians
Henry Mancini
2. Airport
Alfred Newman
3. The Aristocats
George Bruns
4. The Dunwich Horror
Les Baxter
5. A Boy Named Charlie Brown
Vince Guaraldi / Rod McKuen / John Scott Trotter

Best Editing
Myra Breckinridge
Danford B. Greene
2. Cherry, Harry & Raquel!, 3. MASH; 4. The Human Condition: A Soldier's Prayer; 5. Lovers and Other Strangers

Naturally, one considers the way archival film footage is incorporated, reflecting Myron and Myra's fixation on the under-appreciated classics while appreciating the relationship between old and new Hollywood through a re-contextualization that comments on the action of the film. There's a fractured cutting style in multiple scenes that feels wild and kooky until the climax. Every laugh line hits, every shock moment stuns.

In second, Cherry, Harry & Raquel! is pure id. In third, MASH juggles the chaos of army medic life. In fourth, The Human Condition: A Soldier's Prayer captures the rhythms of a slow march through purgatory. In fifth, Lovers and Other Strangers' comic timing and cast balance.

Best Actor
Stacy Keach as Jonas Candide
The Traveling Executioner
2. Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces; 3. Tatsuya Nakadai in The Human Condition: A Soldier's Prayer; 4. George C. Scott in Patton; 5. Richard Harris in The Molly Maguires

Keach is terrific as a man who found his niche, and it's legal murder with a bedside manner. That's why I posted the above scene. He repeats this same monologue, word-for-word, and while it's the same tone of voice for a new execution, there's this new understanding in his eyes. All throughout, he plays Jonas as probably not the brightest man, one with zero social graces, but he knows what he's good at, that his way of doing things is in demand - it's just others' respect that he lacks. He frustrates you and breaks your heart. It took me weeks to decide a lot of these awards; this one was decided by the time the film's end credits began.

In second, Nicholson's Bobby Dupea is aimless, angry, yet charming. In third, Nakadai brings Kaji's quest for morality (and moral consistency) to its proper close. In fourth, Scott is magnetic and menacing as General Patton. In fifth, Harris keeps us guessing regarding James McParlan's intentions.

Best Supporting Actress
Beatrice Arthur as Bea Vecchio
Lovers and Other Strangers
2. Pearl Bailey in The Landlord; 3. Diana Sands in The Landlord; 4. Hideko Takamine in The Human Condition: A Soldier's Prayer; 5. Karen Black in Five Easy Pieces

Arthur's comedic talents, she knew, were 50% her bearing: she's tall, she has a deep voice, she has resting bitch face. She uses it all to her advantage, letting you feel the expected exhaustion of her hardworking housewife, a sense of duty that allows her the directness to take over from servers to better tend to her husband's food needs, a sense of tradition that makes her son's impending divorce a source, not of shame, but of nonsense, and, finally, a connection with her husband that comes from decades of working at it. And she gets my favorite line of the year, delivered without nudge or wink or camp: "I can understand wanting to leave. But I can't understand leaving." I honestly never expected any of my Golden Girls to ever be nominated, much less win, a Hollmann Award, but Arthur deserves it.

In second, Bailey's Marge is disarmingly frank, but knows when to say nothing...except with a single glance. In third, Sands' Fanny is more vulnerable than even she expects, strong enough to accept consequences, guilty and furious at events. In fourth, Takamine is one of an entire community of refugees - and her eyes tell you all she's seen and lived. In fifth, Black's Rayette is exactly as dim as she looks, but that doesn't make her unaware.

Best Director
Ken Russell
Women in Love
2. Masaki Kobayashi for The Human Condition: A Soldier's Prayer; 3. Michael Sarne for Myra Breckinridge; 4. Russ Meyer for Beyond the Valley of the Dolls; 5. Robert Altman for MASH

Unexpected, honestly, this win for Russell - when I first made up that list of nominees, I honestly thought it was probably between Kobayashi and Sarne. But the more I considered, the more I was impressed with what Russell accomplishes with his casting, his shot choices, the edits, the overall tone. It's an enjoyable watch, often darkly funny, very sexy, and when it wants to hurt, gosh, the wound is deep. And then he followed it up a year later with The Devils! I love this man!

In second, Kobayashi concludes his The Human Condition trilogy with the consistently stirring A Soldier's Prayer. In third, Sarne's marriage of the old and new in Myra Breckinridge. In fourth, Meyer makes Beyond the Valley of the Dolls sing and swing. In fifth, Altman changes cinema's perception of realism and artifice in MASH.

Best Cinematography

1. The Human Condition: A Soldier's Prayer
Yoshio Miyajima

2. The Landlord
Gordon Willis

3. Fellini Satyricon
Giuseppe Rotunno

4. Ryan's Daughter
Freddie Young

5. The Molly Maguires
James Wong Howe

Best Motion Picture of the Year
Women in Love
Larry Kramer, producer
2. Myra Breckinridge; 3. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls; 4. The Human Condition: A Soldier's Prayer; 5. Five Easy Pieces
6. Lovers and Other Strangers; 7. Multiple Maniacs; 8. The Honeymoon Killers; 9. MASH; 10. The Molly Maguires

Just a peek behind the curtain: I switched my Best Picture winner between the top three multiple times, only coming to my final decision at 4:07am EST. My reasons for each are outlined in my Top Ten post, but as an extra bit of bit, although I've seen Beyond multiple times, Myra twice, and Women only once, for this project, I am confident in my pick.

There you have it. I do think this is the first time in Hollmann Awards history that the Best Picture champion is the only film to win more than one award - makes the win inevitable, I suppose. 

Thanks for joining in all the fun. Enjoy this Eve, and have a Merry Christmas!

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