The Academy Awards: My Version
by Paul Notley

The Passion of Joan of Arc
James Murray, The Crowd
Maria Falconetti, The Passion of Joan of Arc(!!)
Director: Sergei Eisenstein, October4

The Man with a Movie Camera
Buster Keaton, Steamboat Bill, Jr.,
Louise Brooks, Pandora’s Box

All Quiet on the Western Front5
Emil Jannings, The Blue Angel+6
Louise Brooks, The Diary of a Lost Girl+7

Peter Lorre, M (!!)
Marlene Dietrich, Morocco

Maurice Chevalier, Love Me Tonight
Jeannette MacDonald, Love Me Tonight

Duck Soup
Groucho Marx, Duck Soup (!!)
Miriam Hopkins, Trouble in Paradise
Director: Ernst Lubitsch, Trouble in Paradise
Supporting Actor: Chico Marx, Duck Soup8
Supporting Actress: Margaret Dumont, Duck Soup

The Thin Man
William Powell, The Thin Man (!!)
Myrna Loy, The Thin Man (!!)
Director: Josef von Sternberg, The Scarlet Empress

A Night at the Opera
Fred Astaire, Top Hat (!!)
Ginger Rogers, Top Hat
Director: Mark Sanderich, Top Hat

After the Thin Man
Charles Chaplin, Modern Times (!!)
Carole Lombard, My Man Godfrey
Director: Charles Chaplin, Modern Times

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Jean Gabin, Pepe le Moko
Marlene Dietrich, Angel

Grand Illusion
Jean Gabin, Grand Illusion
Katharine Hepburn, Bringing up Baby

The Wizard of Oz
Marcel Diallo, The Rules of the Game
Judy Garland, The Wizard of Oz (!!)
Director: Jean Renoir, The Rules of the Game

His Girl Friday
Cary Grant, His Girl Friday
Katharine Hepburn, The Philadelphia Story (!!)
Director: John Ford, The Grapes of Wrath

Citizen Kane
Humphrey Bogart, The Maltese Falcon
Barbara Stanwyck, Ball of Fire

The Magnificent Ambersons
James Cagney, Yankee Doodle Dandy
Claudette Colbert, The Palm Beach Story
Supporting Actress: Agnes Moorhead, The Magnificent Ambersons

Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca (!!)
Lisbeth Movin, Day of Wrath
Director: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
Supporting Actor: Claude Rains, Casablanca

Ivan the Terrible, Part One
Nikolai Cherkasov, Ivan the Terrible, Part One
Lauren Bacall, To Have and to Have Not
Supporting Actress: Margaret O’Brien, Meet me in Saint Louis

Children of Paradise
Jean-Louis Barrault, Children of Paradise
Arletty, Children of Paradise (!!)

It’s a Wonderful Life
James Stewart, It’s a Wonderful Life
Ingrid Bergman, Notorious

Black Narcissus
Charles Chaplin, Monsieur Verdoux
Deborah Kerr, Black Narcissus

Anton Walbrook, The Red Shoes
Rita Hayworth, The Lady from Shanghai+
Director: Howard Hawks, Red River

Late Spring
Ralph Richardson, The Fallen Idol
Setsuko Hara, Late Spring (!!)

Sunset Blvd.
George Sanders, All About Eve
Gloria Swanson, Sunset Blvd. (!!)

Alice in Wonderland
Robert Walker, Strangers on a Train
Vivien Leigh, A Streetcar Named Desire
Director: Jean Renoir, The River

Singin’ in the Rain
Gene Kelly, Singin’ in the Rain (!!)
Simone Signoret, Casque D’Or

The Wages of Fear
Jacques Tati, Mr. Hulot’s Holiday
Ingrid Bergman, Voyage in Italy (!!)
Director: Max Ophuls, The Earrings of Madame de
Supporting Actress: Nanette Fabray, The Band Wagon

The Seven Samurai
Takashi Shimura, The Seven Samurai
Judy Garland, A Star is Born
Supporting Actor: Toshiro Mifune, The Seven Samurai

James Dean, East of Eden (!!)
Uma Das Gupta, Pather Panchali*

A Man Escaped
David Niven, Around the World in 80 Days*
Karuna Bannerjee, Aparajito

Twelve Angry Men
Henry Fonda, Twelve Angry Men
Giulietta Masina, Nights of Cabiria*
Director: Federico Fellini, Nights of Cabiria
Supporting Actress: Isuzu Yamada, Throne of Blood

James Stewart, Vertigo (!!)
Kim Novak, Vertigo
Supporting Actor: Orson Welles, Touch of Evil
Supporting Actress: Barbara Bel Geddes, Vertigo

North by Northwest
Cary Grant, North by Northwest (!!)
Marilyn Monroe, Some Like it Hot (!!)

Laurence Olivier, The Entertainer
Supriya Choudhury, Cloud Capped Star
Director: Michaelangelo Antonioni, L’Avventura

Last Year in Marienbad
Paul Newman, The Hustler
Jeanne Moreau, Jules et Jim

Lawrence of Arabia
Peter O’Toole, Lawrence of Arabia (!!)
Jolanta Umecka, Knife in the Water
Supporting Actress: Shelly Winters, Lolita

The Leopard
Burt Lancaster, The Leopard (!!)
Delphine Seyrig, Muriel+
Supporting Actor: Alain Delon, The Leopard
Supporting Actress: Claudia Cardinale, The Leopard

A Hard Day’s Night
Peter Sellers, Dr. Strangelove or How I stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb
Nina Pens Rode, Gertrud (!!)
Supporting Actor: George C. Scott, Dr. Strangelove or How I stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb

Jean-Pierre Belmondo, Pierrot le Fou
Madhabi Mukherjee, Charulata (!!)
Director: Satyajit Ray, Charulata
Supporting Actor: Leo McKern, Help!

A Man for all Seasons
Paul Scofield, A Man for all Seasons (!!)
Liv Ullmann, Persona (!!)
Director: Ingmar Bergman, Persona
Supporting Actor: Leo McKern, A Man for all Seasons
Supporting Actress: Anne Wiazemsky, Au Hasard Balthazar

Two for the Road
Albert Finney, Two for the Road
Audrey Hepburn, Two for the Road
Director: Jean-Luc Godard, Weekend
Supporting Actress: Francoise Dorleac, The Young Girls of Rochefort

Yellow Submarine
Douglas Rain, 2001: A Space Odyssey
Liv Ullmann, Shame
Director: Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey

Andrei Rublev
Dustin Hoffman, Midnight Cowboy
Maggie Smith, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

The Confession
Yves Montand, The Confession
Catherine Deneuve, Tristana*

The Sorrow and the Pity
Malcolm McDowell, A Clockwork Orange
Juliet Berto, Out 1

The Godfather
Al Pacino, The Godfather (!!)
Liza Minnelli, Cabaret
Director: Luis Bunuel, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

Cries and Whispers
Jean-Pierre Leaud, The Mother and the Whore (!!)
Ana Torrent, The Spirit of the Beehive (!!)

Murder on the Orient Express
Albert Finney, Murder on the Orient Express (!!)
Dominique Labourier, Celine and Julie Go Boating (!!)
Supporting Actor: John Cazale, The Conversation, The Godfather Part II

Barry Lyndon
Michael Caine, The Man who Would Be King
Delphine Seyrig, Jeanne Dielman, 2300 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (!!)
Supporting Actor: Michael Palin, Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Cinematography: John Alcott, Barry Lyndon

All the President’s Men
Robert De Niro, Taxi Driver
Ana Torrent, Cria Cuervos

Annie Hall
Woody Allen, Annie Hall
Diane Keaton, Annie Hall (!!)
Supporting Actor: Dirk Bogarde, Providence

Days of Heaven
Peter Ustinov, Death on the Nile*
Liv Ullmann, Autumn Sonata*

Apocalypse Now
Peter Sellers, Being There
Sally Field, Norma Rae

Robert De Niro, Raging Bull
Natassja Kinski, Tess (!!)

The Raiders of the Lost Ark
Warren Beatty, Reds+
Karen Allen, Raiders of the Lost Ark+

Pink Floyd: the Wall
Ben Kingsley, Gandhi (!!)
Julie Andrews, Victor/Victoria
Director: Richard Attenborough, Gandhi
Art Direction: Blade Runner

Fanny and Alexander
Bertil Guive, Fanny and Alexander
Jane Alexander, Testament
Supporting Actress: Grun Wallgreen, Fanny and Alexander

Tom Hanks, Splash
Daryl Hannah, Splash (!!)
Director: Wim Wenders, Paris, Texas

Jonathan Pryce, Brazil
Norma Aleandro, The Official Story
Supporting Actor, Michael Palin, Brazil

Erland Josephson, The Sacrifice
Sigourney Weaver, Aliens+

Angel Heart
Babek Ahmed Poor, Where is the Friend’s Home?
Holly Hunter, Raising Arizona

A Fish Called Wanda
John Cleese, A Fish Called Wanda (!!)
Isabelle Huppert, The Story of Women*

Henry V
Tom Cruise, Born on the Fourth of July
Jessica Lange, The Music Box
Director: Hou Hsiao-Hsien, A City of Sadness

C’est la vie
Jeremy Irons, Reversal of Fortune
Julie Bataille, C’est la Vie (!!)
Director: Michael Scorsese, Goodfellas

Michel Piccoli, La Belle Noiseuse
Jodie Foster, The Silence of the Lambs
Supporting Actress: Christina Ricci, The Addams Family

Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Jack Lemmon, Glengarry Glen Ross
Pernilla August, The Best Intentions
Director: Robert Altman, The Player

Schindler’s List
Bill Murray, Groundhog Day
Tilda Swinton, Orlando

Pulp Fiction
Donald Sutherland, The Puppet Masters
Sandra Bullock, Speed
Cinematography: Chris Doyle, Chungking Express

Richard III
Morgan Freeman, Se7en (!!)
Susan Sarandon, Dead Man Walking
Director: Bryan Singer, The Usual Suspects

Ralph Fiennes, The English Patient
Mara Wilson, Matilda (!!)
Director: Andy and Larry Wachowski, Bound

L.A. Confidential
Kevin Spacey, L.A. Confidential
Mira Sorvino, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion+
Director: Alexander Sokurov, Mother and Son

Saving Private Ryan
Steve Martin, The Spanish Prisoner+
Cameron Diaz, There’s Something about Mary
Director: Terrence Malick, The Thin Red Line

Time Regained
Marcello Mazzarella, Time Regained
Hilary Swank, Boys Don’t Cry
Supporting Actor: John Malkovich, Time Regained, Being John Malkovich
Supporting Actress: Melora Walters, Magnolia
Costume Design: The Matrix

Requiem for a Dream
John Cusack, High Fidelity
Julia Roberts, Erin Brockovich
Director: Peter Watkins, La Commune Paris 1871

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Joel Haley Osment, A.I.
Naomi Watts, Mulholland Drive
Director: David Lynch, Mulholland Drive

The Pianist
Adrian Brody, The Pianist (!!)
Mania Akbari, Ten
Director: Hayao Miyazaki, Spirited Away
Editing: Russian Ark

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Johnny Depp, The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Samantha Morton, In America

A Very Long Engagement
Mathieu Amalric, Kings & Queen
Imelda Staunton, Vera Drake

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Robert Downey Jr., Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Q’orianka Kilcher, The New World*
Director: David Cronenberg, A History of Violence

Tell No One
Francois Cluzet, Tell No One
Helen Mirren, The Queen

There will be Blood
Daniel Day-Lewis, There will be Blood
Anamaria Marinca, 4 Months, 3 weeks and 2 Days

Phillip Seymour Hoffmann, Synecdoche, New York
Sally Hawkins, Happy-go-Lucky

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus
George Clooney, Fantastic Mr. Fox
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia

Toy Story 3
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Juliette Binoche, Certified Copy
Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Uncle Boonmee who can Recall His Past Lives

The Tree of Life
Michael Fassbender, A Dangerous Method+
Kristin Dunst, Melancholia

1 For the first five years, the Academy Awards covered films released from September 1 to August 31 of the next year. For the sixth year the Academy altered this awkward format and moved from September 1, 1932 to December 31, 1933, and for the seventh year onward they followed the chronological year. As you can see, the first movie here is Carl Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc. Ordinarily, the Academy does not allow foreign films in languages other than English (none have ever won, and only seven have ever been nominated). Part of the purpose of my Academy awards is to change that.
2 Actually the best performance was by Charles Chaplin in The Circus. However, the Academy has never given an award twice to an actor playing the same role. (It did give Marlon Brando and Robert DeNiro Oscars for playing the same character). I was tempted to argue that Chaplin deserved the award for The Circus and Modern Times, since in the first he is a tramp who becomes a clown, and the second a worker who becomes a tramp. But I thought better of it. For this William Powell, Myrna Loy, Nikolai Chersakov and Al Pacino only win once, while Groucho Marx and Fred Astaire also win once, because their various characters in the thirties are basically variations on the same person.
3 Two exclamation marks (!!) means the performance is one of the 20 best actor or 20 best actresses and should not be missed on any account.
4 When a Director’s name is not given, one can assume the director is the one who made the best picture of the year.
5 And for the first time, I agree with the Academy for Best Picture and Best Director (and anything else, come to think of it).
6 A plus sign (+) means either that I have not seen enough movies from that year to really have confidence in my judgment, or that there are important performances that year that I haven’t seen.
7 Notwithstanding that, Louise Brooks becomes the first actress to win two Oscars.
8 I am not systematically including best supporting acting, or other awards. Generally they go to actors or to movies who have not received sufficient recognition. And with one exception, they will not go to the winner of an actual oscar.
9 Foreign films have a capricious record of being released in the United States. For example, Tokyo Story, one of the most admired films ever made, officially premiered in the United States 19 years after it was originally made. Film fans will realize that Grand Illusion was actually made in 1937, but it was nominated for the Oscars in 1938. In general, films will be considered for the year they were released. However an English-Language film will be considered for the year it was nominated for an Oscar (Casablanca won in 1943, and will win here as well, but it was actually first released in New York in 1942). Meanwhile a foreign film will be evaluated in the year it was nominated for either best picture, director, actor and actress. (Supporting actor and actress would have been considered, but no supporting actor in a foreign language film has ever been nominated, and the only supporting actress performance, Valentina Cortese’ in Day forNight, was in a film nominated for best director.) This leads to anomalies, such as Fellini’s Amarcord being made in 1973, winning the Best Foreign Language Film in 1974, and Fellini being nominated as best director in 1975, when the film met the eligibility rules. This means Fellini will be considered for 1975, or would be if I did not strongly dislike that movie.
10 And Gabin becomes the first actor to win twice.
11 As it happens, I must admit that I do not find John Ford very impressive. But as “big picture” “social issues” movies go, The Grapes of Wrath is actually fairly good, and a good example for the future, even if it more honored in the breech than in successful execution.
12 And for the first time, I agree with the Academy for a Best Actor.
13 Given that Casablanca is one of my favorite movies, some justification has to be given as to why I didn’t give its director the best director prize. Although the first scenes at Rick’s Café are remarkable, the movie was notoriously improvised, and its charms are a matter of considerable luck and chemistry. By contrast, Powell and Pressburger show a more inventive and challenging structure.
14 I have seen Charles Coburn in the actual winner, The More the Merrier, and critics as varied as Danny Peary, David Thomson and Jonathan Rosenbaum have praised either him or the movie. But he is not as good as Rains, in perhaps the greatest supporting performance in all of film, and the most quotable (“I’d like to think that you killed a man: it’s the romantic in me.” “Make it ten: I’m only a poor corrupt official.” “But everyone’s having such a wonderful time.”)
15 Three movies have won the biggest four Academy awards (Picture, Director, Actor and Actress): It Happened One Night, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Silence of the Lambs. Whatever the (genuine) merits of these films, the last two are a poor choice for this particular honor, since the characters Louise Fletcher and Anthony Hopkins play are really supporting ones. Here is the first of my three choices to win the top four.
16 The best movie made in 1946 was Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible, Part Two. Indeed it was such a good portrait of a megalomaniacal tyrant that it was promptly banned by the Soviet authorities for twelve years. By the time it was released it was not the best picture of the year. Besides, Eisenstein wouldn’t have benefited since he had been dead for a decade.
17 The Academy was shabby in its treatment of Hawks. But where to praise him? Bringing up Baby is certainly the best American movie of 1938, but it’s not as good as Grand Illusion. His Girl Friday is certainly more enjoyable than The Grapes of Wrath , but despite Hawks’ change of the story and the way the dialogue is run together, he is still directing a movie that was (a) based on a stage play and (b) had already been filmed before. So I don’t think it was unfair to give Ford the award. So, I’ll give it to him here. After all Rope is also a filmed stage play, and Hitchcock will get his reward in due course.
18 And for the first time, I agree with the Academy with its choice for Best Actress.
19 And thereby becoming the worst movie to have a truly great performance.
20 An asterisk (*) means I have not actually seen the best actor or actress of that year, and I may change my opinion if I did so.
21 Fellini joins Ford in my pantheon of overrated directors, but this is an exception.
22 At the time, Olivier was an obvious nominee over Anthony Perkins in Psycho. Perkins wasn’t nominated at all (though Janet Leigh was), while the winner was Burt Lancaster in Elmer Gantry. Now the position is reversed, and given the plague of serial killers in movies, and Olivier’s superior acting abilities, I’m not sure this is fair.
23 And Hollywood finally produces a Best Actress after seven years overseas.
24 Actually Andrei Rublev was made in 1966, immediately shelved for three years, and was officially “released” by being showing on the very last night of the 1969 Cannes film festival. It would take until 1971 for Russians and 1973 for Americans to see it.
25 Now here is an award that calls out for a defense. 1974 was an unusually good year for acting performances. I haven’t seen the actual winner, Art Carney, in Harry and Tonto, but others have thought he gave a perfectly respectable performance that year. Dustin Hoffmann was also good as Lenny Bruce in Lenny. And Peter Falk gave his best performance ever in A Woman under the Influence, while Erland Josephson was superb in a not dissimilar role in Scenes from a Marriage. But the most admired performances of the year were the best single performance by the three greatest actors of my lifetime: Gene Hackman in The Conservation, Jack Nicholson in Chinatown, and Al Pacino in The Godfather Part II. Even more striking, while Hackman has been good is virtually everything he’s ever been in, Pacino’s and Nicholson’s performances are so different from the frankly hammy performances they would later show by the eighties. So how I can justify giving the award to Finney, who has already won from me, while Nicholson and Hackman don’t get a best actor award from me at all? In my defense, I would say Finney gave a remarkable performance. Here after all is a man best known for playing working class rebels portraying a fussy smug Belgian Catholic bourgeois. The two really have nothing in common aside from their height. And Poirot is more complex than he appears (or Christie thinks). Although he could easily give his solution to Bianchi and Dr. Constantine, he gives his solution to all the passengers in such a way as to torment them, simply so he can show off his brilliance. In his fine dress, meticulous attention to detail, carefully clipped speech, it is rather appropriate that he should show off in luxurious surroundings for the most elegant lynching in movie history.

Less than a minute into The Two Towers, I was grinning so hard my teeth hurt and my hands smacked together in an involuntary clap at what I saw. Even though I'd heard about it, read about it, I couldn't believe I was seeing it, feeling that fierce joy. There was --is-- no question: Peter Jackson has roared back into theatres with the mind-blowing Part Two of the greatest fantasy epic in movie history.

That was after sixty seconds. After 10,200 seconds, I staggered out of the theatre, just trying to absorb everything I'd seen between those first few electrifying moments and the final fade to black. I'm still absorbing.

The Two Towers is a huge film, big in every way; next to it, Fellowship feels like a light-hearted little Dungeons and Dragons caper. The landscapes are huge, yawning, swallowing up Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli in leagues and leagues of hard grassy plain, or stretching in blasted vastness away in front of Sam and Frodo. The armies are packed, seething, rumbling in their thousands. The scale and the complexity and the sheer energy and impact of the Helm's Deep siege is jaw-off-tearing. But it's not just the images and the scale that's bigger-- the stakes have gone up too. Where Fellowship was quest, Two Towers is war. 

We know from watching Fellowship that Jackson is committted to taking the tiniest excuse from the book and blowing it up into the biggest, coolest action scene he can devise. Faced with one of the centerpiece battles of the Lord of the Rings, Jackson has given us a war like no other, with all the brutal reality of a fully realized medieval siege battle.

In pure Jackson style, the details blast out at every second -- the clang of the iron siege-ladder, the whistling of flocks of arrows, the crunch and crushing solidity of a falling boulder. Never has a seige battle been laid out with such attention to geometry, the specific layout of the battlefield. There was a time when this is how wars were fought, and this is what they looked like, orcs or not. 

But Jackson's picture of war isn't merely glorious mayhem, rousing entertainment. This is war, huddled children in the keep, their mothers' eyes wide with fear and  their imagined fate should the defences fail. This is young boys taking up swords and going to fight. This is being the weak, knowing you are about to be set upon by the strong. It's powerful, big stuff.

At the same time, Two Towers is colder, bluer, grayer. The first film ends with the breaking of the Fellowship, and in The Two Towers we feel its loss.  The Two Towers doesn't have the warm camaraderie of Fellowship, the intimacy of character. We don't feel quite the same connection to our heroes as we did in the first film. Now hobbits and men and elf and dwarf are scattered across Middle Earth, not to mention the host of new characters to worry about. Fellowship had nine major players, plus a half-dozen others, and Two Towers adds some big ones --Theoden, Grima, Eowyn, Eomer, Faramir, Treebeard.

And, of course, Gollum. Gollum is quite simply one of the great characters of English literature, the soul and source of the depth of Lord of the Rings that keeps readers coming back generation after generation. He is wretched, weak, ugly, inspiring contempt and disgust in not only all the supposedly good-hearted characters but also the reader. He is a liar and a murderer and a thief, a filthy stretched-out remnant of a person. Yet we are asked to see ourselves in him.

The Gollum we see in The Two Towers is so full, there's so much to him, you know you're only getting a hint of it the first time you see the film. I want the DVD right now so I can stare at him for hours. The moments of hope on his face are some of the purest and sweetest in the movie. Seeing it once is only scratching the surface. 

But then, there's just so much. Jackson's Lord of the Rings is a feast, a giant roast boar lifted aloft and consumed by burying your face in it and ripping off wet steaming chunks. Watching the movie is a torrent of reactions, emotions, moments of humor, startlements at changes from the book, occasional frowns of disapproval at particular choices, stunned stunningment at the unbelievable shit you *do* get to see. It's so full, such a monument to collaborative excellence, that you can point to almost any element and rave about it. You know it's the movie to see, so see it.