Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The 1974 Fisti Awards

[Images May Be Enlarged By Clicking on Them]

1974.  Legend.  The Godfather Part II became the first sequel to ever win Best Picture (since only one other has won, The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King).  It's also the first time so far where The Fisti Awards share The Academy's taste in film, for we share Best Picture this year!  We also share the doling out of awards, for the film wins both 6 Oscars as well as 6 Fistis.  But the film year was much richer than a mere solitary masterpiece.  In fact, narrowing down my top categories, especially Best Picture and Director were extremely hard to do.  While The Godfather Part II feels as though it should be far ahead of the pack, it really isn't, and quite frankly I could hand a win to any of my top ten, for real!  From genres ranging from gangster to comedy to drama to musical to fantasy to horror to noir, 1974 is an astonishing year; ASTONISHING!

So with that, I present to you The Fisti Awards for 1974!

Award's Tally

[6 Wins]

The Godfather Part II

[4 Wins]

Phantom of the Paradise

[2 Wins]


[1 Win]

Celine and Julie Go Boating
Scenes from a Marriage
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
The Towering Inferno
A Woman Under the Influence


  1. The Conversation was a fantastic slo-burn thriller! Y'know, sorry to say but the 1974 Gatsby bored me to tears I actually turned it off. But I did like Lois Chiles as Jordan (I like the actress portraying that character in the latest Gatsby too), though I couldn't shake the fact that she's Dr Goodhead from Moonraker! :D

    1. I'm with you on the 74 Gatsby...it's pretty much awful (Redford and Farrow was horribly miscast), but Chiles is superb (as was Debicki in Baz's version) and the costumes were beautiful.

      That's about it :-P

      And I'm so glad that you're a fan of The Conversation. It's such a stellar piece of work! Hackman was, for the longest time, my winner, but after rewatching The Godfather Part II, it was kind of impossible to ignore Pacino in his prime.

  2. Picture:
    The Godfather: Part II
    Murder on the Orient Express
    Report to the Commissioner
    We only match twice but your winner would be my runner-up. Haven't seen your two foreign films. A great year for film, all five of these films to me are classics including the under-appreciated Report to the Commissioner but Chinatown is so well written, complex and cleverly directed there are new things to discover with each viewing.

    Francis Ford Coppola-The Godfather: Part II
    Bob Fosse-Lenny
    Sidney Lumet-Murder on the Orient Express
    Roman Polanski-Chinatown-Winner
    Joseph Sargent-The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
    I'm surprised Polanski didn't make your top five nominees. I can't speak to Hooper, Chainsaw just isn't my kind of movie although I know his work on it is admired. I love Pelham, it's an extremely tense thriller, but couldn't fit it in Picture. Sargent's direction is a huge piece of why, likewise Lumet's direction of Orient Express keeps his necessarily setbound film a lively and entertaining adventure. But Polanski's direction of Chinatown might be the best he's ever done.

    Warren Beatty-The Parallex View
    Albert Finney-Murder on the Orient Express
    Dustin Hoffman-Lenny-Winner
    Michael Moriarty-Report to the Commissioner
    Jack Nicholson-Chinatown
    A great slate of performances. It's such a full year Pacino would be in sixth place for me but I see De Niro as supporting. Finney really transforms himself into Hercule Poirot far beneath the terrific makeup job. Beatty, Moriarty and Nicholson, all playing investigators of one stripe or another find fantastic things in each character but it's Hoffman's almost frighteningly intense portrait of Lenny Bruce that is the most impactful to me.

    Ellen Burstyn-Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
    Diahann Carroll-Claudine
    Faye Dunaway-Chinatown
    Cloris Leachman-Young Frankenstein
    Gena Rowlands-A Woman Under the Influence-Winner
    Ha! Our ballots are almost totally dissimilar but we ended up with the same winner. I haven't seen three of your performances and as much as I love Charlotte Rampling I loathed The Night Porter. Ellen is very fine in Alice, Diahann gritty and tough as Claudine and Cloris hilariously insane as Frau Blucher but it's between Faye, who I've always thought of as a lead in Chinatown, and Gena. Both roles are so complex and both women's performances so good it was almost impossible to choose but Gena's more natural style feels more real than Faye's stylized, though highly skilled, technique.

    1. I've never heard of Report to the Commissioner, but I'm a fan of Moriarty, so I'll have to check that out.

      As far as Polanski is concerned...it was so hard to leave him off. For me, Director is the hardest category to trim down this year. So many of these films are so reliant on the style brought to the screen by the director, and I could have nominated any of the main snubbees (Polanski, Fosse and Peckinpah) on any other day...but the five I settled on, for me at least, were chief in creating the film's they created.

      Rivette is essential for making Celine and Julie work, because the tone is so soapy and quirky and borderline absurd and campy and yet he understood how to make it all work for the purpose intended. Hooper did something that no one else was doing...pioneered a new wave of horror and understood how to make macabre something organic. De Palma also knew how to strike that balance, how to make something so outlandish feel grounded in something real.

      And, honestly, Bergman and Coppola were no-brainers for me, and Coppola is possibly the easiest win I gave over the whole year.

      Hoffman was my runner-up, so I'm pleased he's your winner.

      I get the debate over Dunaway's placement, as she is a strong presence, but it always felt like her story told through another person's eyes...

      I'm really shocked you have Leachman in lead...like...why?

  3. What a banner year.

    Matt is thanking you for organizing your blogathon with an award:
    No pressure, but just know we appreciate your visits, and ours back!


    1. That's so nice! Thank you, and I appreciate your visits here as well. I'm glad I found your blog (through Thursday Movie Picks) because it's become one of my favorites!

  4. Supporting Actor:
    Peter Boyle-Young Frankenstein
    John Cazale-The Godfather: Part II
    Robert De Niro-The Godfather: Part II-Winner
    Anthony Hopkins-Juggernaut
    John Huston-Chinatown
    I guess the closest we're going to get this time is two matches in any category. Huston is deeply disturbing in Chinatown and Cazale would be my winner for the first Godfather so I'm going with the academy's choice of De Niro in the second in the series.

    Supporting Actress:
    Lauren Bacall-Murder on the Orient Express
    Madeline Kahn-Blazing Saddles
    Diane Ladd-Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
    Jan Miner-Lenny
    Valerie Perrine-Lenny-Winner
    I have Valentina Cortese in '73 since Day for Night was released and won that year although as Ingrid Bergman mentioned she competed this year, crazy rules! Speaking of Ingrid Bergman she was nominated and won for her work in Orient Express but while she gave her customarily thoughtful performance I've always though Betty Bacall was the more deserving of a nod in that ensemble. She is fearlessly obnoxious, witty with a quip but once exposed shows a fragility under the braggadocio that is deeply touching. Madeline once again creates a comic masterwork and Diane Ladd's Flo is just right, a much more subtle reading than Polly Holliday's necessarily broad one in the follow up TV series. I know you have Faye in this category but even if I had switched her she still wouldn't have been my winner. Valerie Perrine though she also competed in lead and her role is key to the film it feels supporting and had she been placed there she had a far stronger chance to win than in best actress.

    That said Jan Miner as Lenny's mother is wonderful. Not sure if you know this but she was surprising casting at the time because her main renown was as Madge the Manicurist in a series of Palmolive commercials, she ultimately did them for 26 years, and it was felt by many that her association with them would hinder her believability in the film. However she was also a Broadway actress of solid repute and it was on stage that Fosse saw her and offered her the role. Obviously she was up to it, one of those quality supporting players that once they are given a worthy role makes the most of it. As terrific as she is though Valerie really deserved to win, she's fearless as Honey.

    Glad to see those tech awards for The Towering Inferno, which on a purely entertainment level is my favorite film of this year being the disaster movie junkie I am. Also the nod for Great Gatsby's costume design is super, pretty much the only thing that misfire had going for it.

    1. LOL, The Great Gatsby hate is great since the film is so...dull.

      I heard that Perrine fought to be campaigned in Lead since she felt like a nomination in Lead was a better career achievement than a win in Supporting. Oh how the times have changed!

    2. That's such a shame about Valerie, I think being the hot new young thing at the time and the power of the performance she would have had a really strong chance to take the prize in supporting.

      I don't think she had the best advisers during her heyday, I remember seeing her on The Merv Griffin Show saying that she was receiving an incredible amount of offers after Lenny but she was waiting for that one super role so as not to become overexposed. Such was the prevailing wisdom at the time, Liza Minnelli followed a similar path after Cabaret waiting three years to make the dog "Lucky Lady", unfortunately her follow-up two years later, W.C. & Me, was a bust and her momentum was lost. A shame since she a very insightful actress. Funny I remember that particular segment of Merv so well, his guests that night besides Valerie were Cloris Leachman, Glynis Johns and Alexis Smith!!! An actress loving fan's dream.

    3. It's sad about Minnelli, since her highs for me are SO HIGH, and I love her Oscar winning turn (one of my all time favorites).

    4. I think she was hard to cast, much more so than Judy who despite her special and unique gifts had a common touch. Liza is very big in most aspects and more specialized, whatever that indefinable overriding relatability to the masses that her mother had Liza didn't inherit. Her fans are slavish but she doesn't have that broad Garland appeal.

      All that being said when she and the material are simpatico she's dynamite.

    5. Yeah, I can see that...she didn't have a persona or even a look that could 'fit any mold'...she was very specific...but like you said, when she found the right material, it was dynamic!

  5. I always start to laugh at Faye Dunaway being slapped and saying "my mother, my daughter..." I know, maybe I am sick but I always laugh. I agree with The Godfather winning and its score. I love Murder on the Orient Express so it would get some awards from me and Lauren Bacall deserved a nomination. I think I would give it to Madeleine Kahn because she was excellent in both Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein(Supporting that is). I saw The Great Gatsby over 20 some odd years ago. I just saw the remake which sucks big ones! It was truly horrible. Tobey Maguire, whom I like as an actor, was horrible. I could wait for Di Caprio to die. The in your face costumes and flashy dancing stuff is what Buzz does best but horrible remake. Sorry went off target

    1. I didn't hate the new Gatsby...but I didn't like it either.

      Kahn was such a tremendous comedic talent. I wish we had more like her.

  6. For me, The Conversation was the best film that year as I would've also put top marks for its editing, sound, a Best Supporting Actor mention for John Cazale (his performance in Godfather Pt. II was better and my choice for Best Supporting Actor), and Best Actor for Gene Hackman.

  7. I kinda need to rewatch the Godfather movies soon.

  8. Love that The Godfather Part II wins now! And you switched from Hackman to Pacino for the win, right? Love it! (Though, ANY of your Best Actor nominees would be an amazing winner.)

    I watched most of these before I posted my ballot, though I still haven't seen films like Celine and Julie Go Boating, Effi Briest and Martha.

    1. Lead Actor was SO HARD! In all honesty, all five rotate out of my #1 - #2 spot almost daily.

      Have you seen Ali: Fear Eats the Soul? Fassbinder had a GREAT year in 74.

    2. Pacino tends to be my #1 most days, but I could easily switch to anyone else. :)

      Yeah, saw Ali before I posted my ballot. I also nominate Mira and the screenplay.

  9. Best Picture:
    Ali: Fear Eats the Soul
    The Conversation*
    The Godfather Part II
    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
    A Woman Under the Influence
    Young Frankenstein

    Best Director:
    Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather Part II (and for The Conversation)*
    Federico Fellini, Amarcord
    Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Ali: Fear Eats the Soul
    Tobe Hooper, Texas Chainsaw Massacre
    Roman Polanski, Chinatown

    Best Actor: Gene Hackman, The Conversation (runner up: Pacino in Godfather II)
    Best Actress: Gena Rowlands, A Woman Under the Influence
    Best Supporting Actor: John Cazale, The Godfather Part II
    Best Supporting Actress: Faye Dunaway, Chinatown
    Best Original Screenplay:
    John Cassavetes, A Woman Under the Influence
    Francis Ford Coppola, The Conversation
    Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Ali: Fear Eats the Soul
    Robert Towne, Chinatown*

    Best Adapted Screenplay: Mario Puzo, The Godfather Part II
    Best Cinematography: Gordon Willis, The Godfather Part II
    Best Film Editing: The Conversation (Runners up: Lenny, Chinatown, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Godfather Part II)
    Art Direction: The Godfather Part II
    Costume Design: The Godfather Part II
    Best Makeup: Texas Chainsaw Massacre
    Best Sound Mixing: The Conversation
    Best Original Score: The Godfather Part II
    Best Original Song: Faust, Phantom of the Paradise

    1974 Belonged to Coppola. He should get a medal for being able to produce The Conversation and The Godfather Part II in one year.

    1. I love how much we match up this year, whether it be with wins or with nominees! It was such a rich year across the board. I love all the love The Conversation is getting from everyone too...because that's a film that I feel more people need to see!

      Coppola was BOSS in the 70's.

    2. I do find your blatant disrespect of chinatown amusing. Chinatown has what is widely considered to be the most perfect script ever written. Also chinatown has what's considered one of the greatest and most influential scores ever. Nino Rota's score is one of the worst oscars ever won.

    3. LOL, 6 nominations and 2 wins (major wins) is 'blatant disrespect'? I find your blatant ignorance rather amusing as well. Nice that you allow your personal opinion to cloud your perception of facts.

  10. How did Chinatown not win "Best Original Score"? It's more original, influential, innovative and unique than The Godfather Part II or any score that year. I know these picks are more about preference than greatness but Chinatown is still clearly the superior accomplishment.

    1. No offense, but Chinatown is a landmark and trendsetting score-introducing a bluesy melody to the noir genre, which is non-existent in film noir, and combining it with avant-garde piano and string effects. Juxtaposing a bluesy melody with a dissonant soundscape somehow fits perfectly in a noir/detective film. That easily makes it more original, innovative and unique than The Godfather Part II.

      It also served as a clear inspiration for Taxi Driver, Body Heat, Farewell, My Lovely, and many other notable neo noir scores; an influence the Godfather Part II doesn't come close to matching.

      Most impressive, perhaps, is that it was composed in 10 days and recorded one week before the film's release.

      Objectively, it's blatantly one of the 10 greatest scores in the history of cinema.

    2. I am all for expressing opinion, but I can only assume you are the same 'anonymous' I already had this conversation with, thus asking you to stop.

      I respect your opinion, and perhaps you are right. I will have to give the score another listen and re-evaluate.