Thursday, August 31, 2023

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The 1984 Retro Hollmann Awards: The Winners, Part Two

Part One yesterday. Today, we complete the 1984 Retro Hollmann Awards - the fiftieth Hollmann Awards overall! Keep reading to see my picks for the year's Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Score - and Best Picture of the Year:

Best Original Screenplay
Body Double
Robert J. Avrech and Brian De Palma
story by Brian De Palma
2. Night of the Comet; 3. Crimes of Passion; 4. The Karate Kid; 5. Mrs. Soffel

You can claim it's ridiculous all you want - it is! But it is such a carefully crafted, ludicrous thing. Not just the wacky genius of the crime itself, but our dork actor hero's own journey from claustrophobic schlock performer to...well, still the same guy, but now with new experiences he can "use." And I love that Holly is Holly throughout - doesn't soften, doesn't waver, just trying to make the deal. And it's terrific that there's a character that can call out the ridiculousness of the mystery plot without quite being so precious - he's just a detective who hates the main character!

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Paul LeBlanc, makeup/wig designer
Dick Smith, old Salieri
2. Crimes of Passion; 3. The NeverEnding Story; 4. Iceman; 5. A Nightmare on Elm Street

I mean, I don't want to be so obvious about the one with old-age makeup, especially since Crimes of Passion does such an excellent job with sweat and lipstick. But Amadeus...Amadeus doesn't just have the Old Salieri makeup - a job which, by the way, is incredible, not just believable as aging but also as representing the health of a kook, still undeniably the actor, allowing for the performer's full range of emotion. But there's also the thearical makeup of the operas, the wigs and beauty marks of society, the subtle powders of public life vs. the perspiring five o'clock shadows of the home, the damp fishbelly look of Mozart's face on his deathbed. This is detailed, immaculate work!

Best Cinematography

1. Paris, Texas
Robby Müller

2. Body Double
Stephen H. Burum

3. A Passage to India
Ernest Day

4. A Sunday in the Country
Bruno De Keyzer

5. Crimes of Passion
Dick Bush

Best Supporting Actor
Noriyuki "Pat" Morita as Mr. Miyagi
The Karate Kid
2. Adolph Caesar in A Soldier's Story; 3. Alan Oppenheimer in The NeverEnding Story; 4. Tony Hendra in This is Spinal Tap!; 5. Fred Gwynne in The Cotton Club

I can't possibly have more to say about Morita as Mr. Miyagi. Other than to say that it's a performance that keeps the film together, that he smiles with his eyes so effectively you want to be the reason he does, that to win Mr. Miyagi's approval means so much to a generation of moviegoers because Morita plays him with dignity and a wink, and his relaxed gait is something I aspire to master. The others: Adolph Caesar oozes loathing and is loathsome; Alan Oppenheimer gives voice to several characters instilling sorrow, terror, and reassurance; Tony Hendra isn't the star but he manages to steal the show with rapier-sharp timing; Fred Gwynne is quietly lethal and funny.

Best Visual Effects
The NeverEnding Story
Brian Johnson, director of special and visual effects
Phil Knowles, special effects supervisor
2. 2010; 3. Gremlins; 4. The Terminator; 5. Dune

Combining animated effects and puppetry, creating a seamless fantasy world. They play with environments, with proportions, with the interaction between people and fantastic creatures. Falcor and the Rockbiter are, I think, the most impressive examples of the latter, but gosh, I swear Atreju really was speaking to a giant tortoise, that the Ivory Tower is isolated in space. The marriage of the two visual effects methods, practical and animated - you wonder where one ends and the other begins. And that marriage allows all of it to hold up extremely well decades later!

Best Ensemble
This is Spinal Tap!
casting by Eve Brandstein
2. A Soldier's Story; 3. The Muppets Take Manhattan; 4. Amadeus; 5. Gremlins

I will always insist that these "improvised" films are more structured and written than people claim and realize (they have to gather props! get extras! make costumes! that "goes to 11" joke is pre-written!), but I do concede that there is a lot of play among the performers beforehand so that the looseness and improvisational spirit are authentic. You certainly can't deny This is Spinal Tap!'s authenticity. Tony Hendra, obviously; too, Rob Reiner, Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, and Harry Shearer are excellent in their roles; but let's not forget Fran Drescher, Fred Willard, Paul Shaffer as Artie Fufkin, the revolving door of drummers...

Best Actor
Harry Dean Stanton as Travis Henderson
Paris, Texas
2. Victor Banerjee in A Passage to India; 3. Tom Hulce in Amadeus; 4. F. Murray Abraham in Amadeus; 5. Jack Lemmon in Mass Appeal

It's a riveting face, one that commands your attention, even when it's blank - maybe especially when it's blank, as through most of the first half of the film, for while the face seems slack, the eyes are lost, then determined, then sad, then angry. Deliberate movements - the slow turn to the person speaking to him, the abrupt rise when his wife's relationship with their son is brought up. The gentle playfulness of his attempted walks with his son. And all the time, pain behind the eyes, pain and regret and fear and guilt and, oh, everything. And when he does finally speak, all that comes out. His climactic monologue...oh my God. If you've seen it, you know what I mean; if you haven't, it's worth seeing for that moment alone - but you gotta earn it. It's the kind of performance you see and think, "It can't get any better than this."

Best Score
1. The NeverEnding Story
Klaus Doldinger and Giorgio Moroder
2. Body Double
Pino Donaggio
3. Once Upon a Time in America
Ennio Morricone
4. Iceman
Bruce Smeaton
5. Gremlins
Jerry Goldsmith

Best Motion Picture of the Year
The NeverEnding Story
produced by Bernd Eichinger / Dieter Geissler / Bernd Schaefers
2. A Passage to India; 3. Body Double; 4. Crimes of Passion; 5. Amadeus
6. Night of the Comet; 7. The Karate Kid; 8. Paris, Texas; 9. Purple Rain; 10. Mrs. Soffel

When I first wrote about The NeverEnding Story, I said it was the catalyst for this whole thing. "What on Earth did they see that was better than The NeverEnding Story?" I love this little fantasy family film...a lot.

The NeverEnding Story won the big prize, but Amadeus got the largest haul - four wins total, three of them yesterday. Our next retro year is 1998. But that won't be 'til October. Some scattered things will happen in'll see.

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