Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The 1986 Fisti Awards

[Images May Be Enlarged By Clicking on Them]

1986.  In all honesty, this was kind of a meh year in general for me.  I absolutely LOVE my Best Picture winner, and I kind of love like two other films, but after that I'm stuck with a slew of films I like and even admire but don't really love.  The films that so many laud as the very best of this year don't do a lot for me.  Yes, I like Stand By Me and The Fly and Platoon and Blue Velvet, but I don't love any of them.  I also don't care much for A Room with a View, which is shocking considering how much I generally adore all things Merchant Ivory, and I know that this is an unpopular opinion, but Aliens to highly overrated.  I'm also really gutted by all the crap concerning The Adventures of Milo and Otis, since the film is so lovely and yet I can't even be concerned with trying to place it anywhere considering what COULD have actually happened on set.  This is probably the only year where there are films in my Top Twelve that don't have some variation of an A Grade from me.  All the films on my actual ballot do, but once you get out to like #9 or so on my list, the grades start to slip a tad.  They are all good films, but there are really only three films from this year that I'd call GREAT!  But let's not be a downer, for there is a lot to love here (especially those acting ballots) in the Fisti Awards for 1986!

Award's Tally

[4 Wins]

Hannah and Her Sisters

[2 Wins]

Betty Blue
Mauvais Sang
Mona Lisa

[1 Win]

Castle in the Sky
The Fly
The Sacrifice


  1. I haven't seen a couple of your films but even if I had I doubt it would change my winner. Hannah is my favorite Woody film without question. Room with a View isn't my favorite Merchant/Ivory but I do have a lot of affection for it. As far as Aliens, which I love even more than Alien, we all react differently to different films, case in point I went to see Pulp Fiction with a group of friends and two of them LOVED it, one was neutral and I thought it was one of the biggest pile of crap I’d ever seen. I think most film makers hope for those kind of reactions, everybody can’t love everything.

    Hannah and Her Sisters-Winner
    A Room with a View
    Stand by Me
    As I said the superbly crafted Aliens is one of my favorite, maybe my favorite, science fiction film and Hannah my absolute favorite Woody. All the pieces fall into exactly the right places with both but the multi-story structure of Hannah would seem harder to maintain so it takes the prize.

    Woody Allen-Hannah and Her Sisters
    James Cameron-Aliens-Winner
    David Lynch-Blue Velvet
    Rob Reiner-Stand by Me
    Oliver Stone-Platoon
    I'm really surprised Woody Allen didn't take this on your ballot. Again it was a tug of war between Cameron and Allen. Cameron's task is the more difficult one in keeping the tension taut despite the audience's awareness, and if they've seen Alien the appearance, of the menace facing his characters. That he manages that while shaping them as individuals and not just potential victims makes him squeak by Woody for the prize.

    Harrison Ford-The Mosquito Coast-Winner
    Jeff Goldblum-The Fly
    Bob Hoskins-Mona Lisa
    River Phoenix-Stand by Me
    Michael Rooker-Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer
    Though he wouldn't be mine Hoskins is a super winner. I hated Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer but Rooker was astounding in it. Goldblum brings his unorthodox talents to bear making the audience care about the unlucky scientist's fate far more than would be usual in a horror film by making him much more than a goofy, odd stick figure of a character. All the child actors in Stand by Me gave amazing performances but Phoenix's Chris thanks to that incredibly gifted young actor's skill is the most revelatory. As good as he is my choice is his Mosquito Coast co-star, this is probably Ford's most accomplished, and least likable, role he's fearless in showing the slow loss of Fox's grip on reality.

    1. Yup, I know that my Aliens opinion is not shared by many. I just LOVE what Scott did with Alien, and I feel like Cameron may have sustained the tension, but the film felt almost like a barrage of cheap thrills to me, and I take offence to one of your nominations, which I'll get to later (lol).

      Still, I understand why it has it's fans, it's just not for me.

      As far as Allen losing here, it really came down to the fact that Mauvais Sang is VERY MUCH a director's film. Kind of how you gave Cameron the win for having a more difficult task, I too give the win to someone who had a tougher sell yet managed to make it work.

      Allen gets his Fisti due; don't you worry.

      I love that you nominate Phoenix. He was so good. I was also not a real fan of Henry, but I couldn't deny Rooker. Ford and Goldblum were next in line, in that order, and it pained me to leave them off.

  2. Actress:
    Anne Bancroft-'night, Mother
    Mia Farrow-Hannah and Her Sisters
    Jane Fonda-The Morning After
    Sissy Spacek-'night, Mother
    Sigourney Weaver-Aliens-Winner
    I've yet to see Betty Blue, it's never been one I've been that intrigued by but your handing Dalle the Actress crown makes me think I'll have to seek it out.

    The pairing of Anne and Sissy (who is terrific in Crimes of the Heart but I thought she was more powerful in this) in the downbeat 'night, Mother is full of fireworks, both women pulling their weight in this dance of familial conflict and dashed hopes. Mia is slyly effective as Hannah serving as a conduit between all the stories swirling around here. Jane gives an incredibly nuanced performance as a spiraling down drunkard, she researched the tragic 40's star Gail Russell who literally drank herself to death at 36 to fully understand her character's plight of a once promising actress reduced to blackouts and infamy. But my vote goes to the Sigourney Weaver's ferocious bad-ass Ripley. She is great whether showing her take charge authoritativeness or her insecurities which she never lets get in the way of getting the job done.

    Supporting Actor:
    Tom Berenger-Platoon
    Steve Buscemi-Parting Glances
    Michael Caine-Hannah and Her Sisters-Winner
    Willem Dafoe-Platoon
    Bill Paxton-Aliens
    We match!! Buscemi's performance in only his second film as the doomed Nick is deeply felt, the rest of the cast is competent but it's easy to see why he went on to much greater acclaim then the others. Both the Platoon men, in offbeat casting, find a great deal in their characters and Paxton, like Weaver, turns a character that could have been just another addition to the body count into a recognizable, flawed human being in Aliens. But Caine's finds all the intricacies possible in the conflicted, somewhat caddish Elliot.

    Supporting Actress:
    Bonnie Bedelia-Violets are Blue
    Barbara Hershey-Hannah and Her Sisters
    Bette Midler-Ruthless People
    Isabella Rossellini- Blue Velvet
    Dianne Wiest-Hannah and Her Sisters-Winner
    Another match and I love your choices of Jennifer Grey in Ferris and Helen Mirren in Mosquito Coast both are wonderful.

    Violets are Blue is a mess with pretty scenery but the saving grace of the film is Bonnie's wronged wife Ruth. She cuts through the morass with astringent fortitude. The manic Midler is a scream as the harridan who has been "kidnapped by K-Mart" managing to show the character's boorishness and still make her endearing at the same time. Isabella is probably the best she ever was in Blue Velvet, even though I didn’t care for the film. Along with the rest of the cast, including Maureen O'Sullivan as their mother, Hershey is terrific in Hannah, her jittery but quieter Lee is overshadowed by the scene stealing Holly who consumes all the oxygen in any room she's in but that shouldn't diminish her excellent contribution. My vote though still goes to the complex portrayal that Weist turns in as the wildly complicated Holly, she's brilliant.

    I really must see Sid & Nancy. I've loved Chloe Webb, who I was surprised to not see in your nominees, for years, ever since I saw her as Mona in Tales of the City, and to a lesser extent Gary Oldman but I've been resistant to the film. I guess because I recall the actual couple and saw their sad tale play out in the papers and it was all so sorted.

    1. I have not seen 'night Mother, but I'm intrigued by the noms you give it and the Spacek praise. I loved her in Crimes of the Heart, so I want to give this flick a go. I can't recommend Blue Betty enough, for Dalle's performance is superb!

      The offence I take is with this Paxton praise. Like, GROSS!!! LOL, he was by far my least favorite thing about whiny and obnoxious and irritating. I kept praying he'd get eaten.

      Love that we match with wins though :-D

      I also love that you nominate Hershey. She was my #6, so close to a nom, but I couldn't leave off Grey as I think that is such a killer comedic performance.

      I'd recommend Sid and Nancy. I don't love it, but Oldman is electric. Webb, not so much. Her performance is extremely polarizing, with some calling her amazing and others finding her aggravatingly over the top. I am in the corner of 'over the top' and can't stand what she does with the character. Still, it's a well made film, and Oldman delvers a tour-de-force, and this is coming from someone who doesn't love the actor.

    2. Well I'll admit Paxton's character is hard to take at times but I thought he rounded him out showing that even with all his bitching he was still a full committed professional. He's my number 5 so would fall out for someone else. Likewise with Daniel Day-Lewis in Room w/ View, he's wonderful in creating that fussy fart Cecil Vyse but every second he was on screen I wanted to smack him right across his pompous face.

    3. Yeah, I just couldn't take Paxton at all, but to each his own.

      Day-Lewis delivered one of his best performances, in my opinion, because it was an instance where his mannered approach to his acting, his method formula, felt intrinsic to the character development. It played perfectly to the tone of the story and felt authentic. He may have been unlikable, but he was authentic.

      Paxton, to me, just felt campy.

  3. Hannah and Her Sisters is such a great movie. I have seen most of Woody Allen's filmography. This one is very close to the top for me. It is one of the perfect movies out there in the world.

    1. It's my second favorite Allen, right behind The Purple Rose of Cairo! His 80's outpouring was exceptional!

  4. OK, for me. Best film of 1986 is.... Aliens which I would also have Sigourney Weaver for Best Actress. Leos Carax for Best Director for Mauvais Sang, Hoskins for Best Actor, Caine and Weist for Supporting.

    1. Game over, man. Game over!

    2. I know, I know, I'm totally in the minority when it comes to Aliens.

      But glad to see that we match up in Director and three of the acting categories!

  5. Oh _I looked at all the films that came out and you are right-not much there. I did like Remains of the Day and Hannah and Her Sisters. I would have given best supporting to Tim Curry in legend as the devil-he, to me, has done the best devil yet. The films I like to see again and again are films that may not be the best but I enjoy them like Tough Guys. Now I would give Legend awards for make-up and costumes and cinematography. Harrison Ford for Best Actor-he did the best work in this film and Ennio Morricone for best recording

    1. Tim Curry would make a perfect devil, wouldn't he :-P

      Legend really was one of those films that I was shocked was so beautiful. I didn't really like the movie much, but Scott crafted a stunning visual piece of work, from the costumes to the framing to the score. I snuck into many of my personal ballots despite me not being in love with the film.

      Also glad to see Ford support. He was probably #6 for me, right in front of Goldblum.

    2. I've never heard of this Tough Guys movie...maybe I should check it out.

    3. Tough Guys is not a great film but it is so much fun and it stars Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas

  6. So much love here! I need to give my ballot a polish, but we have a lot in common. Really glad to see Stone and Berenger get some love for Platoon, and those Ferris Bueller/Pretty in Pink acting nods are awesome!

    Now that I think about it, I'm not sure why A Room with a View is my Adapted Screenplay winner. Betty Blue is a better film. I might switch to that.

    I'm mostly caught up with this year, though. Of your nominees, I just need to see Castle in the Sky, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Crimes of the Heart, Legend, Otello, and Manhunter.

    1. I almost DM'd you yesterday before these went up to tell you that Duckie was a nominee!!!

      Yeah, A Room with a View is nice, but Betty Blue is a much better film, and screenplay.

      Can't wait for you to check out the remaining Fisti nominees. Otello is decent, not great, but obviously a technical beauty since it snagged two wins. Manhunter is a poor mans Silence of the Lambs, but the cinematography is so cutting edge. Legend is what you'd expect, but a tad more since it's so beautifully composed.

      Castle in the Sky, Crimes of the Heart and Henry are where the good films come in. Crimes is genuinely likable and boasts a great ensemble. Henry is HARD to watch, messed up completely and kind of makes you want to throw up, but it's so precise, and Rooker is astonishing.

      Castle in the Sky is just LOVELY.

  7. Aliens*
    The Fly
    Blue Velvet
    Hannah and Her Sisters
    Ferris Bueller's Day Off
    Something Wild
    Down By Law
    Betty Blue

    Actor: Michael Rooker, Henry: Portrait of A Serial Killer
    Actress: Sigourney Weaver, Aliens or Beatrice Dalle in Betty Blue (tough one)
    Supporting Actor: Tom Noonan, Manhunter
    Supporting Actress: Dianne Wiest, Hannah and Her Sisters
    Woody Allen, Hannah and Her Sisters
    James Cameron, Aliens
    David Cronenberg, The Fly
    David Lynch, Blue Velvet
    Michael Mann, Manhunter*

    Adapted Screenplay: Betty Blue
    Original Screenplay: Hannah and Her Sisters
    Original Score: Ennio Morricone, The Mission or Horner's Score for Aliens (tough call)
    Original Song: Mysteries of Love from Blue Velvet
    Cinematography: Manhunter, Dante Spinotti
    Editing: Aliens
    Art Direction: Patricia Norris, Blue Velvet
    Costume Design: Sid and Nancy
    Visual Effects: Aliens
    Makeup: The Fly
    Sound Mixing: Aliens

    1. I haven't seen two from you Best Picture ballot, Down By Law and Something Wild. I'll have to check those out.

      I love so many of your winners (obviously, since 90% of them are Fisti nominees) and I love that we match up in a few areas. Rooker is such an inspired win. He's so chilling.

  8. I LOVE - no really, LOVE - that you gave Jennifer Grey a nomination for her hi-fucking-larious work in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Of course, nothing can top Dianne Wiest in a Woody Allen film (especially Hannah...). If you ask me, she's the most deserving double Oscar winner EVER (only Vivien Leigh puts up a fight).

    1. I'm with you on Wiest. She's the only one that I'd hand both the same wins to.

      Glad that you support the Grey nomination!

    2. Of course, the worst part about her brilliance is that the entire rest of the '94 lineup could easily win in any other year, and Uma and Tilly in particular are spectacular.

    3. Yes, 94 was pretty great in this category, and Thurman was brilliant, but for me my runner-up is Virna Lisi, and she's so close she's almost equal to Wiest and I wish to god I could call it a tie. Like, they'd both rank in my Top Twenty Supporting Actress Performances of All Time, I love them that much!