Posts Tagged ‘john ford’

5. Rebecca (1940)

Other Nominated Films:
All This and Heaven Too, Foreign Correspondent, The Grapes of Wrath, The Great Dictator, Kitty Foyle, The Letter, The Long Voyage Home, Our Town, The Philadelphia Story

Finally, we are at the Top 5. And I can’t see any better way to get us here than with the master, Alfred Hitchcock. I want to cherish this slot since Rebecca is the only film that Hitchcock directed to win Best Picture. What’s odd though is that, aside from Best Picture, it won Best Cinematography and nothing else, although it was nominated for nine other awards. Looking at the winners for each award, it’s actually just…bizarre. 1940 was a fantastic year for movies, there’s no denying that at all. This is a year that included The Grapes of Wrath, The Great Dictator, The Philadelphia Story, and Foreign Correspondent just to name a few. Both Hitchcock and John Ford had two films nominated for Best Picture which is something you will never see happen today. Each acting category had a winner from a different movie…which is something I’m having trouble comprehending, and the film that took home the most Oscars was The Thief of Bagdad…which wasn’t even nominated for Best Picture.  I apologize for going way too deep into the award distribution itself, but this was just a weird…weird year.  Focusing on Rebecca now…well…this is even weird in and of itself! Since the introduction of awards for actors in supporting roles, Rebecca is the only film to win Best Picture without winning any of the Academy Awards for acting, directing, and writing.  Alright. Rebecca. Finally. Joan Fontaine plays an unnamed young woman who works as a paid companion to Edythe Van Hopper (Florence Bates). While in Monte Carlo, she meets the aristocratic widower Maximilian de Winter (Laurence Olivier) and they fall in love. Within a few weeks, the two would get married and move to Maxim’s house, Manderly, located in Cornwall, England. While the majority of Maxim’s servants accept the new bride, the housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson), is still obsessed with the first Mrs. de Winter — Rebecca. While, in my opinion, this isn’t Hitchcock’s best film (he did also direct Psycho, North by Northwest, and so many other masterpieces), Rebecca still holds its own as one of the greatest psychological thrillers of all time. The combination of Hitchcock plus Olivier is a match made in heaven and I wish that the two worked together on more movies. Rebecca was the first of five nominations for Best Director for Hitchcock, but he would never win the award — which is preposterous. He would go on to receive the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award which is given to “Creative producers, whose bodies of work reflect a consistently high quality of motion picture production.” To end this passage, I just want to say one thing. Thank you, Alfred Hitchcock…for everything that you’ve created…for being the innovator that you are and for being so far ahead of your time…thank you.

Nominated for 11 Oscars, Winner of 2
Best Cinematography, Black-and-White – George Barnes (WON)
Best Picture – Selznick International Pictures (WON)
Best Actor in a Leading Role – Laurence Olivier
Best Actress in a Leading Role – Joan Fontaine
Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Judith Anderson
Best Art Direction, Black-and-White – Lyle R. Wheeler
Best Director – Alfred Hitchcock
Best Effects, Special Effects – Jack Cosgrove (photographic), Arthur Johns (sound)
Best Film Editing – Hal C. Kern
Best Music, Original Score – Franz Waxman
Best Writing, Screenplay – Robert E. Sherwood, Joan Harrison

Mrs. Danvers: Go ahead. Jump. He never loved you, so why go on living? Jump and it will all be over…

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34. Oliver! (1968)

Other Nominated Films:
Funny Girl, The Lion in Winter, Rachel Rachel, Romeo and Juliet

A twist on the Charles Dickens classic Oliver Twist (see what I did there), Oliver! is an exciting tale about an orphan who runs away from an orphanage and gets caught up in a gang of child thieves. The twist? (I can’t seem to help myself!) They sing and dance their way happily through their sordid, miserable little lives! I actually have a personal experience with one of the songs from the film. For one of my assignments in a class, my group had to create a pitch for a restaurant idea, and we found this wonderful YouTube video featuring the song Food, Glorious Food. Unfortunately, I can’t find the clip, but it was a perfect fit. When I watched the film and heard the familiar music start playing, I sat up with a smile on my face for two reasons: A) I found the source of the YouTube song; and B) I knew that this would be an enjoyable movie — which it was, although there were some pretty sad moments throughout the film, especially towards the end. There were two characters that really stood out over the rest: Fagin (Ron Moody) and the Artful Dodger (Jack Wild). Fagin can be considered a foster father for a bunch of the young, abandoned boys. He cares for the children and teaches them to make a living by doing what he does best: pickpocketing. And the Artful Dodger is his #1 go-to-guy. Both of the actors were nominated for Oscars, but neither one came out as the winner. I also would like to point out that Oliver Reed, who played Bill Sikes, is terrifying, and that’s all I have to say about that. Since the development of the MPAA rating system, Oliver! is the only G-rated film to receive the Academy Award for Best Picture, which is ironic since the following year Midnight Cowboy became the only X-Rated film to win Best Picture. Onna White also received an Honorary Award for her outstanding choreography achievement for Oliver!.

Nominated for 11 Oscars, Winner of 5
Honorary Award – Onna White – For her outstanding choreography achievement for Oliver!.
Best Art Direction-Set Direction – John Box, Terence Marsh, Vernon Dixon, Ken Muggleston (WON)
Best Director – Carol Reed (WON)
Best Music, Score of a Musical Picture (Original or Adaptation) – Johnny Green (WON)
Best Picture – John Woolf (WON)
Best Sound – Shepperton SSD (WON)
Best Actor in a Leading Role – Ron Moody
Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Jack Wild
Best Cinematography – Oswald Morris
Best Costume Design – Phyllis Dalton
Best Film Editing – Ralph Kemplen
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium – Vernon Harris

Fagin: [sings] I’m reviewing the situation / Can a fellow be a villain all his life? / All the trials and tribulations. / Better settle down and get myself a wife! / And a wife would cook and sew for me, / And come for me, and go for me, / And go for me, and nag at me, / The fingers, she would wag at me. / The money she would take from me. / A misery, she’ll make from me… I think I’d better think it out again!


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