Tuesday, August 25, 2015

1988 Fisti Awards

[Images May Be Enlarged By Clicking on Them]

1988.  Let's get one thing out of the way first; Rain Man is kind of a weak winner.  I mean, it's NOT a bad film, but it's far from great or anything, and in a year with such rich cinematic diversity, it's a shame that a film that so obviously pandered to 'Oscar' wound up taking home top honors.  I would honestly rank if fifth in the lineup.

But that's just one aspect of a pretty awesome year.

As a point of interest, Cinema Paradiso was my winner here for the longest time, but because of my rule regarding foreign film (it will be eligible for Fistis the same year it is NOMINATED for Oscars), I had to move it to 1989.  So, with it's absence came a rather wonderful development.  1988 became the year of the Animated Film here at the Fisti Awards.  Yes, 1988 is a bounty of animated work, and they come through and SLAY with nominations and wins (a lot of wins).  Out of 17 awards, 10 of them go to an Animated Film of some sort.  AND, 1988 boasts the first official animated BP winner here at the Fistis!

So, with that in mind, I present to you the Fisti Awards of 1988!



















Award's Tally

[4 Wins]

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

[3 Wins]

My Neighbor Totoro

[2 Wins]

Grave of the Fireflies

[1 Win]

Beetlejuice
A Cry in the Dark
Dangerous Liaisons
Dead Ringers
A Fish Called Wanda
Oliver & Company
A Short Film About Killing
The Unbearable Lightness of Being

56 comments:

  1. LOVE the Keaton nod!!

    I haven't seen a lot of films from this year, but I love how Beetlejuice has some love.

    Here is an interesting fact: Since you gave Best Actor to Jeremy Irons, when he accepted his Oscar for Reversal of Fortune, he thanked David Cronenberg in his speech.

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    1. Keaton was truly inspired in his Beetlejuice role. I feel like that amount of inspired almost ruined a lot of his career (at least for me) post-Beetlejuice, because he almost seemed to present continued variations of his Beetlejuice persona quite often in his films. That being said, the original should never be knocked!

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  2. i always think it's fun when people do their own awards. cheers for including so many great underloved films like MARRIED TO THE MOB and SALAAM BOMBAY

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    1. Thanks Nate! Your Film Bitch Awards are what inspired me to take a crack at these myself, so I'm forever in your debt.

      More people should see Salaam Bombay. It's such a brilliantly crafted and moving film.

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  3. LOVE Cinema Paradiso but I get your reasoning for moving it to 1989. Oooh I LOVE Kline in A Fish Called Wanda!! That movie is such a hoot! I never would've thought of including Bruce Willis here, but he WAS good indeed as John McClane and the franchise works because of him.

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    1. Willis CREATED the action hero in Die Hard. Like, he single-handedly created the mold for all great action heroes to follow.

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  4. I love this year in film, it contains at least a half dozen pictures that I would list among my all-time favorites. You’re right it’s a year of great cinematic diversity and I think that shows in the fact that we are MILES apart in our choices!

    And we start right at the top with radically different lineups! I’ve only seen one of your nominees, Roger Rabbit. I enjoyed it but it didn’t knock me out. I’ve always wanted to see Distant Voices but it’s a hard one to track down. What can I say about animated films, they’re just don’t hold my attention unfortunately.

    Picture:
    Big
    Crossing Delancey
    Dangerous Liaisons
    Die Hard-Winner
    Running on Empty
    I love the other four films, particularly the gentle humor and sharp observations of my runner up Crossing Delancey, but Die Hard is such a prototype from most of the action films that followed but is so solidly constructed it has far more depth. A fact highlighted by how progressively worse those subsequent films are, including this movie's sequels.

    Director:
    Stephen Frears-Dangerous Liaisons
    Sidney Lumet-Running on Empty
    Penny Marshall-Big
    John McTiernan-Die Hard-Winner
    Joan Micklin Silver-Crossing Delancey
    Unsurprisingly we’re just as far apart here. I was leaning towards Penny Marshall's fantastic job of balancing the worlds of childhood and adulthood in Big but McTiernan is the clear winner for me. Willis, Rickman and Bonnie Bedelia are a huge chunk of the success of Die Hard but without McTiernan's consistent eye on keeping the tension both taut and varied it would be just another actioner.

    Actor:
    Well we’re closer here, matching twice. Irons dual portrayals are impressive indeed in the chilly Dead Ringers. Somehow I’ve missed Hackman’s work in Burning, I’ll have to get on that and I haven’t seen Lubaszenko. I hated Scrooged and Murray’s work in it.

    Harvey Fierstein-Torch Song Trilogy
    Tom Hanks-Big
    Jeremy Irons-Dead Ringers
    River Phoenix-Running on Empty-Winner
    Bruce Willis-Die Hard
    Like Marshall's direction Hanks performance balances the worlds of childhood and adulthood expertly and as I said Irons was extraordinary. But this was a three way race. Fierstein's self-penned Arnold Beckoff is such a rich characterization full of humor, pathos, anger and a million little human touches. It's one of a kind work. Willis in a performance full of many of the same elements with a big helping of bad-ass thrown in is amazing and Phoenix as a teen in a truly unwinnable situation runs the full gamut of his extraordinary talent. On any given day I could choose any one of the three, today it's Phoenix but really all three are too good not be chosen as the winner.

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    1. I know that you are not a fan of animated film, but I urge you to see both My Neighbor Totoro and Grave of the Fireflies. They are not your typical animated films, and they handle such heavy, HEAVY subjects with real depth and flashes of beauty. Grave of the Fireflies was the film that proved to me that animated film was for more than just children. It opened my eyes.

      That being said, I love so many of your choices. The only ones I haven't seen are Torch Song Trilogy and Crossing Delancey. Never heard of them, actually.

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    2. Torch Song and Delancey are two of the films I was referring to that are among my all time favorites. Delancey is a great look at a certain way of life in NY in the late 80's, loaded with charm and a fun, sort of funky soundtrack by The Roches.

      Torch Song is based on a huge off Broadway hit that Fierstein wrote, Estelle Getty played his mother in the stage play but was tied up with The Golden Girls when the film was made so Bancroft stepped in, Matthew Broderick was in the original production as well but in a different role than he plays in the film. It's another slice of life but from a definitely different perspective than most. I adore them both.

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    3. I will have to check both of them out!

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  5. Actress:
    I haven’t seen Huppert’s work but your other four actresses all are stellar, technically I thought Streep’s work was excellent and I know her character is a cold woman but I always felt I saw the wheels turning.

    Glenn Close-Dangerous Liaisons
    Jamie Lee Curtis-A Fish Called Wanda
    Barbara Hershey-Shy People
    Christine Lahti-Running on Empty-Winner
    Shirley MacLaine-Madame Sousatzka
    Hershey as the take no prisoners bayou mother eschews any vanity and her tough attitude feels very real. Curtis is wonderful in Wanda and Shirley an imperious delight in the ragged Madame Sousatzka but this was between Glenn's Machiavellian Marquise and Christine's hunted mother. Of the actual nominees in '88 Streep was very good but Close should have won the award, she's nothing short of brilliant in the best of her nominated work. However I've always favored Christine Lahti's dynamite un-nominated performance in Running. In a completely naturalistic way she makes the choices she and her family have to deal with daily more impactful because of her subtle restraint.

    Supporting Actor:
    Charles Grodin-Midnight Run
    Steven Hill-Running on Empty
    Michael Keaton-Beetlejuice
    Kevin Kline-A Fish Called Wanda
    Alan Rickman-Die Hard-Winner
    Love that we match in the three performances that I’ve seen!! Usually I wouldn't select someone with only one scene as Steven Hill has in Running on Empty but his restaurant meeting with fugitive daughter Christine Lahti where the pair work through years of bitterness and recriminations in under ten minutes is a brilliant piece of acting by both. Grodin, Keaton and Kline all display their comic genius in their various films and Kline is my runner-up but Rickman, yet again another tremendous talent that to date has never received an actual nomination, sets a standard for silky villainy rarely matched.

    Supporting Actress:
    Even though we only have one match I’ve seen all but one of your picks, Kanwar’s performance, and I loved Ruehl’s work. Olin was fine in The Unbearable Lightness of Being but I hated that movie so much! It was recommended to me by a friend who thought it was the greatest thing she'd ever seen, I thought it was tedious and seemingly never-ending. Any time I've talked to someone about it they either loved it or hated it with no in between.

    Anne Bancroft-Torch Song Trilogy
    Bonnie Bedelia-Die Hard
    Reizl Bozyk-Crossing Delancey-Winner
    Michelle Pfeiffer-Dangerous Liaisons
    Sigourney Weaver-Working Girl
    No one is less a damsel in distress than Bonnie Bedelia in Die Hard-confident, tough, resourceful and fearless she and Willis make it clear why they're a perfect match and also why they are estranged. Once the movie separates them she is never less than in command, even when she occasionally shows cracks in her armor she's still in charge of her emotions. Pfeiffer's delicate performance in Liaisons is doubly impressive since she manages to stand out against Close's tour de force work. Weaver likewise walks off with a large section of Working Girl with her shrewd portrait of a conscienceless schemer despite the picture being designed as a showcase for Melanie Griffith. Bancroft’s fiercely overpowering mother in Torch Song can at times lean towards over the top but in her final confrontation with her son her work is achingly delicate. My vote goes to Reizl Bozyk who is totally irresistible as the well-meaning but meddling Bubbie using old world ways to confront what she sees as a new world problem, the fact that her granddaughter is over 30 and unmarried. She schemes, she dithers, she manipulates, she charms and even though the lead pair are very appealing she owns her film.

    Love all the tech nominations for Dangerous Liaisons, that’s a beautiful looking film both in costuming and sets.

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    1. Isn't Lead Actress just incredible this year. SO MANY to choose from, and all are wonderful. I haven't seen Shy People, but I really want to now. I love Hershey when she's being used properly.

      I LOVE that you nominate Hill. His one scene performance is just crushing...so brilliant. I don't normally nominate for one scene either, but he completely stole all of my attention and, in many ways, he's the one thing I remember most about the film. I can't shake his scene. UGH...the layers!

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    2. I love so many things about Running on Empty but that scene is probably the first one that comes to mind when the film is mentioned. So many layers is right, and SUCH sorrow for both!! Their interaction is amazing, it's its own little acting class in less than ten minutes.

      Another small but key touch that is probably to the casting director's credit is that the resemblance between Christine Lahti and River Phoenix is enough to make it believable that they could be mother and son and then that it is she who has passed her musical gift down to him. Conversely it's less of a stretch that Judd Hirsch would be River's father since their younger son favors him. It's a terrific detail.

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    3. I never thought of the resemblance, but I just googled pics and you're right!

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  6. The 80s are such a huge blindspot for me, so I can't even list who I would nominate this year. Who Framed Roger Rabbit is one of my top 10 All-Time Favorites, so I love that it wins the most awards.... even if you did simply forget to include the names Bob Hoskins and Kathleen Turner in your nominee lists for Best Actor and Supporting Actress respectively.

    I'm still shocked that Keaton didn't get an Oscar nomination for Beetlejuice - he's so freakin' inspired - but maybe they used up their comedic quota on deserved winner Kevin Kline?

    LOVE the Best Song win for Oliver & Company. That whole movie is underrated, but the score is just great.

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    1. YAY! Love the Oliver & Company love. It's such a great movie that is sorely forgotten by many, but that soundtrack is for the ages!

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  7. "The Dingo stole ma baabee" NOOOOOOOO Not to meryl! Hahahaaaaa I saw this film when i was sick once and I just don't get it why she was even nominated. I also say a bif No to Die hard-I mean it is just him taking off clothes:) It's a good flick but not Oscar worthy. Now I love the you love Roger Rabbit. I am also so happy Kevin Kline got the Oscar and you agree. I would have given Glenn Close the Oscar and my favourite film that was so snubbed that year-The Incredible Lightness of Being. I love that film and lena deserved the Oscar. Of course my heart went pitter patter for Day Lewis as well but just everything about that film deserves accolades.

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    1. Gurl, Meryl may be HIGHLY overrated, but her tremendous performance in A Cry in the Dark is one of the all time greatest...ever!

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  8. YES!!!! I'm glad Kevin Kline wins your Supporting Actor prize. How can anyone not love that performance? ASSHOLE!!!!

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  9. Glad to see all the love for animation. Now I really need to see My Neighbor Tortoro and Grave of the Fireflies. '88 falls in my animation dead zone. I was at the age where I thought I was too old/cool for it and just didn't watch most of it. Somehow, I still saw Roger Rabbit, though. And I'm eternally glad I did.

    And a total YES on giving Bruce Willis a nod. Would love to have seen Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall get nods for what they both did in Coming to America, almost a dozen roles between them and they played each superbly.

    Another great set of awards.

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    1. Yes, you need to see both of those films. I saw them later in life (I was 3 in 88 and was at the mercy of films my parents had heard of).

      Hall was in my Top 12 for a while, and Murphey was in my Top 5 for a spell...but ultimately they fell a tad. This year was just really, really rich, especially in the comedy department. If you click the 1988 Tag at the bottom of the post, you'll see a post I did just on the comedic performances of 1988...I wrote it about a year ago, I think.

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  10. This was a really good year! I'm especially happy about all the mentions for "Salaam Bombay!" That's one of my all-time faves.

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    1. YAY! I was wondering if you'd seen it and what you thought of it. I LOVED it, obviously. Such a richly detailed and moving film.

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  11. It was a pretty good year in terms of films. The only problem is that living in New Zealand there isn't a whole lot of diverse film festivals such as in the States or Europe that I would love to go to.

    Great post!

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    1. Sorry to hear that Nickk. Unfortunately for myself, despite being stateside, I never get to the festivals due to working full time and having three kids to support. I tend to have to wait for DVD/VOD to see anything.

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  12. I love this year in cinema! A GREAT year for animation...My Neighbor Tortoro, Grave of the Fireflies, Akira, Who Framed Roger Rabbit(partly animated). Nice to see you recognize the music from Totoro which is beautiful. Have you seen The Big Blue (1988)? Eric Serra's score (from the European version) would be in my top 5 that year.

    My top 10:
    1. Big (Penny Marshall)
    2. A Fish Called Wanda (Charles Crichton)
    3. Rain Man (Barry Levinson)
    4. Cinema Paradiso (Giuseppe Tornatore)
    5. Willow (Ron Howard)
    6. Grave of the Fireflies (Isao Takahata)
    7. Coming To America (John Landis)
    8. The Vanishing (George Sluizer)
    9. My Neighbor Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki)
    10. Another Woman (Woody Allen)

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    1. EEK! No, I haven't seen The Big Blue, but I'm a fan of Serra, so now I want to see it!

      UGH, and wasn't this year just so good for animated film...one of the all time greatest!

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  13. Like a lot of your picks but can't say I'm all that familiar with this year. Really nice to see Michael Keaton and Grave of the Fireflies in there. I'm not a fan of anime but Grave of the Fireflies really hit hard. Only movie to make me cry.

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    1. Yeah, Grave of the Fireflies is rough. I sobbed....SOBBED though that one.

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  14. Wow, we're reaching wayyyyyyyyyyy back on this one!
    Nicely done.

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    1. Yeah, I'm trying to cover every cinematic year eventually. I've covered quite a few from yesteryear!

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  15. Hmmm, so why isn't "I'm Gonna Get You Sucka" anywhere on the 1988 list? I think that was my favorite film that year!

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    1. EEK...I haven't seen that one yet!

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    2. Ha, I'm joking. It's a total guilty pleasure not to be taken seriously. You should see it though. Lots of pop culture references come from that movie. This was back when the Wayans were actually funny.

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    3. Guilty pleasures can become strong contenders for personal awards. I know that Wild Things is like that for me. It's so tacky and not really 'good' and yet I love it so much it appears all over the Fisti Awards for 1998 (which aren't posted yet).

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  16. Outstanding work. So well done.
    I always like Glenn Close for best Actress that year, but Streep is a solid bet. I think it's because I just enjoy Dangerous Liaisons more.
    Again, this was a joy to read.

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    1. Yeah, I definitely prefer Dangerous Liaisons as a film, and Close is brilliant in the film (and is my runner-up), but for me, this was the performance of Streep's career.

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  17. A bit dissapointed to not see Midnight Run but all the nominies are solid.

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    1. That's a flick I still haven't seen yet, unfortunately.

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    2. It's in my top 5 of the '80s. Funny, Smart, complex,-not-complicate, full of character actors.

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    3. Now I'm hating myself for skipping it. I had planned on seeking it out before posting these, but felt really happy with my ballots and so I opted to post early instead of waiting to see one film. Now, I regret that decision.

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    4. You should definitely see Midnight Run, Drew. It's a seriously fun film.

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    5. I'll definitely fit that in somewhere! Who knows, I may see it...and then update these awards :-D

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  18. I love the fact that you picked Kevin Kline as the ultimate Ugly American in A Fish Called Wanda. That performance was priceless.

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  19. LOVE the animated dominance! And Miyazaki has now directed Fisti and CinSpec Best Picture winners! :D

    Kevin Kline forever. Ugh, I just love that movie.

    Distant Voices, Still Lives and Salaam Bombay! are two major ones that I MUST see!!

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    1. I was thinking the same thing about Miyazaki!

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  20. I love these awards, but I just don't see what's so great about My Neighbor Totoro. Grave of the Fireflies is so much more powerful!

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    1. First off, I'm so glad that you love these awards. I have so much fun compiling them and presenting them to you guys.

      Second, with regards to My Neighbor Totoro...this is a film that I feel is very powerful. For me, both Totoro and Fireflies are compliments of one another, two films that tell very grueling and dire situations through the eyes of children, but where Fireflies is an extremely taxing and brutally powerful look at the absolute loss of hope, Totoro becomes this beautiful presentation of childlike glimmers of hope, rays of sunshine seeping into through the seams of despair and giving our protagonists something to help guide them through their momentary misery. I understand that situations exposed in both films are different, and so the tragedies of war and poverty are far more grueling in their entirety than the perceived terminal illness of a loved one (but is it really? emotionally?) but Totoro takes this situation and fully fleshes it out to become a three dimensional depiction of the life to two young girls and how their mind and imagination helps them to cope with the tragedy at hand, and for me that makes Totoro, even if ever so slightly (since Fireflies is my runner-up), the more emotionally powerful film.

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  21. Great picks - LOVE that Keaton's work in Beetlejuice got a nom. So good.

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  22. Awesome Awards Show! I like how you blend fun movies with foreign cinema and Oscar films. You really represent us movie nerds here. I like some of your more bold selections. I've got to say, for me, Grave of Fireflies is better, but I love seeing Japanese animation winning awards. I wanted more love for Akira though ;) Great article, brother. I'm looking forward to checking out some more.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, and I'm glad you love the variety here! One thing I've come to realize in the years that I've been 'serious' watching movies is that there is that is no set 'genre' that defines what an 'awards film' can be. It just has to have that 'something special'.

      This was also so much the year of animation, Japanese animation more specifically. Akira was very good, but it was my least favorite of the ones I saw. Still, it was electric in is visuals and pacing (thus the editing nom).

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  23. I would cheat this year and give everything to The Decalogue hahaha.

    As mentioned before, it's great that you nominated Keaton for Beetlejuice. Nominating McTiernan for Die Hard is really cool too. That is how action should be directed.

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