1987 featured a dynamic slate of Best Picture nominees with “Platoon,” “Children of a Lesser God,” “Hannah and Her Sisters,” “The Mission,” and “a Room with a View.” Oliver Stone’s war film took the top prize, awarding the director with his only Oscar.
Woody Allen, Roland Joffe, James Ivory, and David Lynch also received directing nods. Allen took home the Best Original Screenplay award, beating Oliver Stone, who was nominated twice for writing “Platoon” and “Salvador.” Ruth Prawer Jhabvala won best Adapted Screenplay for her EM Forester adaptation “A Room With a View.”
The acting awards were spread between three different films, none going to best picture winner “Platoon.” Paul Newman won Best Actor for Martin Scorsese’s “The Color of Money” in which he reprises his role of Fast Eddie from “The Hustler.” Newman had been nominated 7 times and skipped the show saying, “I’ve been there six times and lost. Maybe If I stay away I’ll win.” He was right.
Marlee Matlin, Chicago area native, won Best Actress for her debut film role in “Children of a Lesser God.” Matlin played the same role in the stage version and began a long film and television career after her win, breaking barriers for actors with disabilities. William Hurt, fellow nominee for “Children of a Lesser God” actually presented the award to his co-star and one time paramour.
The great Dianne Wiest and Michael Caine took home Supporting Actor awards for “Hannah and Her Sisters.” Wiest may be one of my favorite Oscar winners. Her work in “Hannah” as the plain middle sister to Mia Farrow and Barbara Hershey is understated, winning, and human. Caine, who played the erudite husband with a lustful eye for his wife’s sister, did not expect to win and skipped the ceremony.
The Academy awarded Steven Spielberg with the Irving Thalberg award for his substantial contribution to film craft and artistry. Maybe that was a mea culpa for his the complete shut out with “The Color Purple.”
I have to say 1988 has the oddest collection of Best Picture nominees I’ve ever seen. In the pack you’ve got Bernardo Bertolucci’s epic “The Last Emperor,” James L. Brooks romantic dramaedy “Broadcast News,” Norman Jewison’s romantic comedy “Moonstruck,” John Boorman’s passion project “Hope and Glory,” and Adrian Lyne’s sexual horror story “Fatal Attraction.” How do you even compare these films? Even stranger was James L. Brooks being left out of the Best Director category, with Lasse Hallistrom taking the fifth spot.
Bertolucci’s “The Last Emperor” was nominated for 9 Academy Awards and won ever category including two statues for Bertolucci in Directing and Adapted Screenplay.
"Moonstruck" delivered three Oscars including Best Actress for Cher, Best Supporting Actress for Olympia Dukakis, and Best Original Screenplay for John Patrick Shanley (Director of "Doubt"). Cher beat Queen Meryl Streep on her 7th nomination for "Ironweed." It was Cher’s second Oscar nomination; the first being for "Silkwood," which she co-starred with Meryl Streep.
James Bond himself, Sean Connery won Best Supporting Actor for “The Untouchables.” Despite being a screen icon, this was Connery’s first and only nomination. Connery beat Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington for the honor in their first Oscar recognised roles.
"Fatal Attraction" star Michael Douglas actually won Best Actor for "Wall Street." Douglas’ portrayal of the miserly bastard Gordan Gekko is one of my favorite Oscar performances ever. Everything from the style of dress, to his dastardly grins, and bold pronouncements about greed defined a generation of financial company men and women. Even though Oliver Stone meant "Wall Street" as a critique of the soulless pursuit of money, Douglas’ performance is too good not to admire. Also in that category was William Hurt, nominated for "Broadcast News." This was Hurt’s third Oscar nomination in three years with his win for "The Kiss of the Spider Woman" and nod for "Children of a Lessor God." Quite a run.
I can’t get over “Fatal Attraction” getting 6 Oscar nominations. Glenn Close definitely deserved her Best Actress nod, but Directing and Adapted Screenplay seem odd to me.
"Broadcast News," probably the best love triangle brought to modern film and the funniest film about people at work, was nominated for 7 awards, but went home empty handed.
Best Foreign Film went to the wonderful Danish film “Babette’s Feast” about enjoying life and its conincidences.
It’s an embarrassment of riches at the cineplex for July 4th weekends. With agonizing temparatures ahead, why not spend it in the blissfull air conditioning of the theater. I still need to see “Brave” and possibly “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter,” but I will be seeing most of these films in the next week and a half. Since the holiday is in the middle of the week, you have two weekends of movies to enjoy.
"Your Sister’s Sister"
Love this film starring Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt, and Rosemarie Dewitt. It’s funny with unexpected twists that both wrench and warm your heart.
"Seeking a Friend for the End of the World"
Charming, hilarious, and quite devastating at the end, “Seeking” showcases Steve Carell wonderful range (like in “Dan in Real Life) and also let Keira Knightly shine sans corset-period dress. The soundtrack is also lovely.
A must see of the year. Following two troubled kids on a journey to discover what they could be with someone who loves them. Music, performances, costumes, everything is beautiful.
Seeing this TONIGHT. So excited. It’s getting decent reviews as well. In Soderbergh I trust.
"The Invisible War"
A new documentary about sexual assault in the military. The DOD figures that over 22,000 service women and men were raped last year. The film as already had an effect, making it possible for survivors to report rape to superior officers. Director Kirby Dick also made “This Film Is Not Yet Rated” and “Outrage”- two excellent films that dig into institutional secrecy, corruption, and hypocrisy.
"To Rome With Love"
When I was in Rome with my fellow Ignatian Educators, I knew that Woody Allen would be there soon after to film his latest starring Penélope Cruz, Jesse Eisenberg, Alec Baldwin, and Ellen Page. It will be fun to go back to Rome with Woody Allen.
This film is like the really raunchy version of “The Velveteen Rabbit” and I can’t help wanting to check it out. Also, Mark Walberg and Mila Kunis are two actors I enjoy.
"Beasts of Southern Wild"
Everyone is loving this film so I’m going to see if I love it too.
"The Amazing Spider-Man"
Even though I wish this movie DID NOT EXIST, I may still see it. I’m a fan of almost every person in it and I adore the “Spider-Man” universe. But I miss Raimi and Maguire intensely.
Yeah. Oliver Stone. Drug trade. Benicio Del Toro and Salma Hayek going sinister. Totally seeing this.
"Take This Waltz"
Directed by Sarah Polley and starring Michelle Williams, I have been very excited to see this drama about a woman struggling in her happy marriage with feelings for another man. I think it’s available on VOD, but will be playing in Chicago on the 6th.