Sergio Leone – Once Upon A Time in America
My Overall Thoughts:
This was a year with two very powerful films being nominated along with 3 pretty good ones. The awards season pointed to a clear winner throughout which made things very difficult for anyone else to hope for an upset.
5. Woody Allen
4. Robert Benton
3. David Lean
2. Milos Forman
1. Roland Joffé
5. Broadway Danny Rose – Allen does a nice job with this comedy of errors even if it gets more and more convoluted as things move along. The main character played by Allen himself has many of the same characteristics that most of his characters have yet here we get to see a man who remains unsuccessful in what he does yet is hailed by those around him largely for his perseverance. As interesting as this story is, I’m still a bit confused how it was nominated for Best Director.
4. Places in the Heart – Field gives an amazingly strong performance here and keeps this film together. Her Oscar for Best Actress here was very well deserved. The rest of the cast helps, but would be lost without the role played by Field. Uplifting message about survival and perseverance in difficult times. The characters are all quite diverse but learn to work together when they find a common goal.
3. A Passage to India – Not as good as I’d hoped, but definitely Epically done by Lean. Second half is stronger than the first half.
2. Amadeus – Epic biopic that is truly a spectacle to watch. Hulce and Abraham are both amazing in this film. The story works really well and remains interesting throughout.
1. The Killing Fields – Amazing film that is very graphic and realistic in its depiction of the atrocities committed in Cambodia. Waterston is wonderful in the lead role yet this is Ngor’s film the entire time. He may have won an Oscar and a Globe as Best Supporting Actor but he is the main reason this film is so poignant and harrowing to watch even after 35 years. It would take a few more years before the members of the Academy would be able to give a film depicting the nature of Southeast Asia the award for Best Picture and Director eventhough this is clearly the best film of the 5 nominees.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yes and No! Forman does a great job with Amadeus, but Joffe was slightly more deserving of winning this award.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!