Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The 1987 Fisti Awards

[Images May Be Enlarged by Clicking on Them]

1987.  This was a fun Oscar year, not because I feel like it was particularly strong, at least from Oscar's ballots, but because it was fun.  I mean, Oscar actually nominates a campy erotic thriller for Best Picture, gives Cher an Oscar and completely embraces one of the great foreign directors; Bernardo Bertolucci.  Not that I particularly agree with any of these choices (although I'm not adamantly against them either), but this is fun.  1987 is such a diverse year, too, which makes this all the more enjoyable.  There is something for everyone; from the aforementioned erotic thriller to the epic biopic to the snappy rom-com to the feisty fairy tale to the coming of age, the social commentary, the rich familial drama and so on.  Camp classics, foreign masterpieces and cult classics abound in a year that saw a handsomely made (yet overlong and overtly technical) film about China's final emperor take home top honors.  That doesn't happen here.  You know what does happen here though, and for the first (and maybe only) time; all of Oscar's Leading Ladies snag Fisti nominations (although not all of them are in the Lead category)!  So, with that I present to you the Fisti Awards for 1987!

[EDIT: Because Jean de Florette & Manon of the Spring are two halves of one whole that were released as the same film overseas, they compete as one film here and not as two separate films.]

Award's Tally

[3 Wins]

Broadcast News
My Life as a Dog

[2 Wins]

Less Than Zero

[1 Win]

The Dead
Dirty Dancing
Jean de Florette & Manon of the Spring
The Last Emperor
The Princess Bride
Wings of Desire


  1. Stanley Kubrick's You'll Only Remember the First Part, Dirty Dancing, PREDATOR, The Princess Bride, Wings of Desire, Broadcast News, Robert Downey Jr., and The Untouchables, Spaceballs, Raising Arizona, Au Revoir Les Enfants, Empire of the Sun, Radio Days, Fatal Attraction. Such a great year! I really need to see My Life as a Dog and Jean de Florette & Manon of the Spring. This year is so memorable, for me, mostly because of this diversity. So many genre flicks and all great. Wow.

    1. LMAO, 'You'll Only Remember the First Part'!!! Almost 'so true' and yet, I remember both because the halves are so brilliantly composed. But, yes, everyone talks about the first part.

  2. Glad to see all the Maurice love this year, it shows up several times in mine too. It’s the only one we share. I haven’t seen My Life as a Dog or Wings of Desire yet and I like your other foreign two pack but don’t love them. Princess Bride is a fun choice and a fun film.

    Broadcast News-Winner
    84 Charing Cross Road
    Hope & Glory
    Radio Days
    This turned out to be a mini sweep for Broadcast News. I guess I was heavy into nostalgia this year as only News was set in present day. Maurice is my runner-up but my bibliophile heart will always beat a little faster for the wonderful 84 Charing Cross Road.

    Oh my we’re completely dissimilar but considering our fields of picture nominees are so different that makes sense. Your one nominee that isn’t a film you nominated, Kubrick, directed a picture that I actively hate.

    Woody Allen-Radio Days
    James L. Brooks-Broadcast News-Winner
    John Boorman-Hope & Glory
    Roger Donaldson-No Way Out
    John Huston-The Dead
    It may have plot holes you could drive a truck through but Donaldson's taut direction of No Way Out makes it involving and kinetic. Allen's affectionate gaze back at radio's heyday and Boorman's at his childhood during the blitz are both suffused with the charm of memory. Huston’s final piece of direction is up to his usual masterful level and I hated to leave the film out of my short list but it would come in just below the others. Even though its look at network news now has the tinge of bygone days at the time of release Brooks really had the pulse of modern news gathering and the personalities involved down.

    Christian Bale-Empire of the Sun
    Anthony Hopkins-84 Charing Cross Road
    Gary Oldman-Prick Up Your Ears
    James Wilby-Maurice-Winner
    Robin Williams-Good Morning, Vietnam
    We’re much closer here and we actually share your winner but since the academy put him there I have Brooks in supporting enabling him to win. Vietnam provides Williams a good showcase for both his manic energy as well as a chance to stretch a bit. Bale, Hopkins and Oldman all expertly represent different generations and classes of Englishmen and varying challenges they face but Wilby's quietly intense struggle with coming to terms with his homosexuality and then trying to align that with living a life in Edwardian England is deceptively complex.

    1. Glad to see the Maurice love from you as well! I always felt that movie was so underseen, so I'm glad that you shower it with attention here.

      I have not seen Hope & Glory, of your nominees. I really liked Radio Days, and Broadcast News was probably my #6 film, to be honest. 84 Charing Cross Road just...didn't do it for me, and I really expected to adore it. I found it stuffy and disengaging, but I felt the performances all around were very good.

      I also haven't seen No Way Out, but I'm intrigued based on your nominations for it.

      Huston and Brooks were very close to snagging nominations from me.

      LOVE that you nominate Bale and that you give your win to Wilby. Wilby was my winner until this morning when I last minute switched to Brooks. Brooks, in my eyes, is co-lead (all three are lead in my eyes) and in many ways I think he's the heart of the film. He has so many layers, and it's his character that I remember most, even if I think Hunter gives the best 'performance'.

    2. Hope and Glory seems sadly forgotten. Boorman obviously connected with the material since he based it on his memories of being a child in London during the Blitz. He's an erratic director but here he creates a lovely portrait.

      No Way Out has many implausible elements but it's a slick and very engaging chase drama with some very good work from Patton and Gene Hackman even the usually awful Sean Young isn't too bad.

      There's also a very good drama with the same name from 1950 that was Sidney Poitier's screen bow. Have you ever seen it? It deals with racial prejudice and is a bit dated in its techniques but contains powerful performances by Richard Widmark, as one of the most venal bigots ever, and Linda Darnell. Poitier's good but his inexperience shows at times.

      I agree that of the Merchant/Ivory's Maurice is the least known but probably one of the best. THE best however is and always will be Howards End.

    3. I'll have to put them on my list! I have seen the 1950 Poitier film, but it's been YEARS so I need to see it again.

      And I love that you love Howards End so much! I go back and forth between that film and Remains of the Day as my favorite Merchant/Ivory film, but Remains unfortunately comes out the same year as The Piano, so it will forever be runner-up.

  3. And we split away again, I love the Elisabeth Shue nod. She is all kinds of wonderful in Babysitting.

    Anne Bancroft-84 Charing Cross Road
    Lillian Gish-The Whales of August
    Holly Hunter-Broadcast News-Winner
    Diane Keaton-Baby Boom
    Christine Lahti-Housekeeping
    I love all five of these performances and while Hunter was instantly my pick the others are fantastic pieces of acting. This is my favorite Diane Keaton performance, it uses every part of her persona in the most charming way possible. Anne's lovely reading of Helene Hanff takes the skeletal framework of the book and makes her such a unique and identifiable person. Housekeeping is an odd little number but Christine Lahti treats her eccentric character with great respect always representing her as hearing her own interior voice never as the crazy woman others see her as. I would have loved to hand this to Lillian Gish who even at the tail end of her career was able to turn in an observant, gentle performance, unsurprisingly her close-ups speak volumes. Still I have to go with Hunter, an actress I have a limited fondness for, who really digs into the character of Jane. She's unafraid to show Jane's faults as well as her strengths thereby making her more likable not less even if at times she's exasperating.

    Wonderful supporting actor choices even if we only share Molina. As I said I hate, hated Full Metal Jacket but D’Onofrio’s work at least gave it some interest. I have zero use for the douchebag that RDJ has become but in Zero he was still able to astound and Freeman was by far the best thing in Street Smart. I don’t remember much about McCann in The Dead probably because Anjelica Huston had me riveted.

    Supporting Actor:
    Albert Brooks-Broadcast News-Winner
    Rupert Graves-Maurice
    John Hurt-From the Hip
    Alfred Molina-Prick Up Your Ears
    Will Patton-No Way Out
    As the fanatically loyal aid in No Way Out Patton is chilling in his single minded ruthlessness. Molina disquieting in his insecurity and possessiveness of Joe Orton in Prick Up Your Ears and Graves touching showing Scudder's guarded hopes and fears in Maurice. Hurt's seemingly benign college professor facade masking the fact that he's a homicidal maniac is exquisitely played, he's my runner-up. I know Broadcast News is a juggling act for lead between the men but I wanted to hand both he and Wilby wins and following the academy’s line I was able too. The others are excellent but Brooks and his part are such a good fit that it utilizes both his schlubiness and deprecating humor to perfect affect making Aaron a real person and his competition with William Hurt's suave but vapid Tom very believable.

    I think this is where we are closest and of the two where we diverge I haven’t seen one and Streep is a worthy choice. Ironweed is depressing as hell but this is one of her best performances.

    Supporting Actress:
    Olympia Dukakis-Moonstruck-Winner
    Mia Farrow-Radio Days
    Anjelica Huston-The Dead
    Sarah Miles-Hope & Glory
    Vanessa Redgrave-Prick Up Your Ears
    I see you have Wiest as your pick from Radio days but for me it’s all Farrow, she’s a stitch. Sarah Miles a wonderful representation of English pluck during wartime in Hope & Glory. Vanessa her usual superior self-cynical, wise and tough as Orton's agent in Prick Up Your Ears. My runner-up is a performance I just saw within the last year and that’s Anjelica Huston’s delicately beautiful work in The Dead, she knocked me out. But this is the one category where I agree with the academy's choice, Olympia Dukakis is nothing short of brilliant as Rose Castorini in Moonstruck. The movie is a lovely little comedy that was feted way beyond its merits but she is the jewel at its center. When she tells another character "I know who I Am." it rings true and it’s the actress's knowledge of that fact that makes the performance so great.

    1. Shue was fun in Babysitting, but really the only reason that she makes my Top 12 is that I didn't see many films with strong female leads. On a stronger year, she wouldn't even be considered.

      I haven't seen Keaton (but now I feel like I must) or Lahti, and I hate myself for not watching Gish before posting these...but that's what updates are for!

      Love the Graves nom. Not nominating him hurt, but I was just happy I was able to nominate both Grant and Wilby in lead. I'm very interested in seeing Patton's performance.

      I love that you reward Dukakis. She gives a beautiful performance. For me though, Huston gives one of the greatest supporting performances of all time. There was no competition there. Dukakis is my runner-up, but the gap is quite large between Huston and the rest of the pack, for me.

    2. Baby Boom is an old fashioned star vehicle for Diane but I have no problem with that, especially for someone so talented and as engaging as she. I wish she could find something so suited to her idiosyncratic gifts now.

      Housekeeping is an odd small film but a wonderful opportunity for the criminally under-rated Christine Lahti from that brief period when she was getting roles equal to her vast talent.

      Whales of August is a trifle slow and it's painful to see Bette Davis so diminished but Gish's work is just beautiful and it's wonderful that she was able to end her career with such a grace note. That unfortunately doesn't often happen for many great stars.

      Anjelica was brilliant in The Dead, I'm going to have to give it another look, but I LOVE Olympia Dukakis's work and while she had other good roles in various films she's never had anything approaching one this strong in features.

      I was a little surprised to see the '87 awards pop up, I had expected '55. I'm not complaining I happy with whichever years that come along. :-)

    3. I've always wanted to see Baby Boom, but then I always forget about it.

      I've started Whales of August like ten times and never made it past the first 10 minutes before I got sidetracked and then...never went back to it. UGH.

      '55 is being worked on. '87 was already finished months ago and was waiting to be reposted under the new format.

  4. Well, for me. It's Full Metal Jacket just on the countless of times I've re-watched that film to death. It never gets old. People talk about how great the first half is and yes, it is the best part of the film. However, the second half is extremely interesting for the way it explores life during wartime and how crazy things are.

    The Last Emperor is a film I'm sure not many people like very much but I love it no matter what cut it's in as I am a fan of Bernardo Bertolucci.

    1. I'm right there with you on Full Metal Jacket. I actually find the second half so alarming and it adds this completeness to the film. That final scene is remarkably jarring.

      And I liked The Last Emperor...and I love Bertolucci, but I couldn't LOVE the was almost too clinical in parts for me.

  5. I remember seeing The Last Emperor in the theatre and I did enjoy it at that time and knew it would win since it was epic in scale. The one picture that blew me away was Empire of the Sun and I think it is a gem from Spielberg. I have not seen many of the pictures you have listed because I keep forgetting about them which is my own fault. I am composing a list and some of these will be on it to see like Broadcast News

    1. I really like Empire of the Sun, especially Bale's tour-de-force performance!

      I hope you see Broadcast News! It's such a great film.

  6. The 80s is such a lacking decade for me in terms of movie-watching. But I wholeheartedly support your love for Jean de Florette/Manon des Sources, Moonstruck, and Wings of Desire, all of which are All-Time Favorites for me. You have Au revoir, les enfants just outside your nominees in bunch of places, and that would be all over my nominees right now. But those films I've listed (plus The Untouchables, which I LOVE) may be the only ones I've seen from this year? Ouch. I have Broadcast News and Raising Arizona and The Last Emperor, though, and will see them eventually.

    1. I have always thought the 80's to be lacking...until I dig, but I admit that this year was a bounty of fun but not remarkable films, although I LOVE my winner this year.

      Au Revour, Les Enfants is so good, so moving, and a film I probably should have rewatched before posting and yet, I don't think it would break in where it didn't. Broadcast News is my #6 film, and I wanted to nominate that there (I mean, it wins 3 awards from me) but I couldn't oust any of my top 5.

  7. Great stuff buddy!

    Love that both leads of Maurice get noms now, and I didn't realize James Ivory co-wrote the screenplay, which I nominate too. That means Ivory actually gets 2 CinSpec noms, since I put him in my '93 Directing lineup for The Remains of the Day recently. :)

    That Art Direction win for Less Than Zero is brilliant! That's such a fun choice. Glad to see RDJ still wins, and your other acting picks are awesome.

    Not sure why my Song winner is The Living Daylights, but I'm switching to Dirty Dancing. I might put "Babysitter Blues" in my lineup as well, since I hadn't seen Adventures in Babysitting when I posted my ballot.

    I need to see Anna, Law of Desire, Street Smart, Opera, Innerspace, The Witches of Eastwick, and The Big Easy, where I could possibly give Quaid his first nom.

    1. The more noms for Ivory, the better!

      I debated that Art Direction win for a while, but as much as I was letdown by Less Than Zero, the film, the look and style (and of course RDJ) were just brilliant.

      I can't wait for you to see Opera especially. That movie is so remarkably made. Like, top notch horror right there!