List: The Films of Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor on the Marfa, Texas set of "Giant"
© 1978 Sid Avery

Elizabeth Taylor is Turner Classic Movies’ Star of the Month for March 2018. This list includes every film of hers that I’ve seen and my grade for her acting in it (not the movie as a whole).

Jane Eyre (1943) C

Lassie Come Home (1943) B+

National Velvet (1943) A

Little Women (1949) B-

Father of the Bride (1950) B+

Father’s Little Dividend (1951) C+

A Place in the Sun (1951) A

Giant (1956) F

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) B+

Suddenly Last Summer (1959) A+

Butterfield 8 (1960) B

Becket (1964) B

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) A+

The Taming of the Shrew (1967) A

The Flinstones (1994) D




List: Most Unique Romantic Couples in the Movies


After this year’s Academy Award for Best Picture went to a romantic film about the strangest movie couple ever, here is a list of some of the most unique movie couples before The Shape of Water


10. Buddy & Jovie, Elf (2003)
A human who thinks he’s a Christmas elf & a normal girl

9. Lady & The Tramp, Lady and the Tramp (1955)


8. Beauty and the Beast, Beauty and the Beast (1947)


7. Celia & Tom, The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)
A fictional movie character & a fan magically cross paths and fall in love.

6. The Monster & His Bride, Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

5. Gil & Arianna, Midnight in Paris (2011)
Gil lives in 2000s, and Adriana lives in the 1920s.

4. Kong & Ann, King Kong (1933)

3. Roger & Jessica Rabbit, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)

2. A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935)

1. WALL-E & EVE, WALL-E (2008)

And the Oscar Should Have Gone to…Best Director

The last installment of “And the Oscar Should Have Gone to…” is for the Oscar category of Best Director. For each year, I’ll list the movie that actually won, a grade for its direction, and then my own pick for what I think should have won. The only rule I have for my picks is that it must have had a U.S. theatrical release date in the year its listed. This doesn’t always line up perfectly with the Oscars. So here are my picks from 1927-2016 for each year’s Best Director.

MV5BMTQxOTg3ODc2NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNTg0NTU2._V1_UX214_CR0,0,214,317_AL_.jpgAlfred Hitchcock is the director with the most wins among my picks: Rebecca in 1940, Shadow of a Doubt in 1943, Lifeboat in 1944, Vertigo in 1958, and Psycho in 1960.

1927/28 Frank Borzage, 7th Heaven (A+); my pick: Fritz Lang, Metropolis

1929 Frank Lloyd, The Divine Lady (D); my pick: Carl Theodor Dryer, The Passion of Joan of Arc

1930 Lewis Milestone, All Quiet on the Western Front (A+); I agree

1931 Norman Tarug, Skippy (UNSEEN); my pick: James Whale, Frankenstein

1932 Frank Borzage, Bad Girl (D-); my pick: Edmund Goulding, Grand Hotel

1933 Frank Lloyd, Cavalcade (C); my pick: Fritz Lang, M

1934 Frank Capra, It Happened One Night (A-); my pick: W.S. Van Dyke, The Thin Man

1935 John Ford, The Informer (UNSEEN); my pick: William Dieterle & Max Reinhardt, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

1936 Frank Capra, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (A); my pick: Charles Chaplin, Modern Times

1937 Leo McCarey, The Awful Truth (A); my pick: Victor Fleming, Captains Courageous

1938 Frank Capra, You Can’t Take It with You (A-); my pick: Jean Renoir, Grand Illusion

1939 Victor Fleming, Gone with the Wind (A+); my pick: Victor Fleming, The Wizard of Oz

1940 John Ford, The Grapes of Wrath (C); my pick: Alfred Hitchcock, Rebecca

1941 John Ford, How Green Was My Valley (C+); my pick: Orson Welles, Citizen Kane

1942 William Wyler, Mrs. Miniver (A+); my pick: Michael Curtiz, Casablanca

1943 Michael Curtiz, Casablanca (U.S. release in 1942); my pick: Alfred Hitchcock, Shadow of a Doubt

1944 Leo McCarey, Going My Way (B-); my pick: Alfred Hitchcock, Lifeboat

1945 Billy Wilder, The Lost Weekend (A+); I agree

1946 William Wyler, The Best Years of Our Lives (A+); I agree

1947 Elia Kazan, Gentleman’s Agreement (C); my pick: Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, Black Narcissus

1948 John Huston, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (A+); I agree

1949 Joseph L. Mankiewicz, A Letter to Three Wives (A-); my pick: Stanley Donen, On the Town

1950 Joseph L. Mankiewicz, All about Eve (A+); my pick: Billy Wilder, Sunset Blvd.

1951 John Ford, The Quiet Man (A); my pick: Akira Kurosawa, Rashomon

1952 Fred Zinnemann, High Noon(C); my pick: Akira Kurosawa, Ikiru

1953 Fred Zinnemann, From Here to Eternity (D); my pick: Billy Wilder, Stalag 17

1954 Elia Kazan, On the Waterfront (A+); I agree

1955 Delbert Mann, Marty (B+); my pick: Nicholas Ray, Rebel without a Cause

1956 George Stevens, Giant (F); my pick: Akira Kurosawa, Seven Samurai

1957 David Lean, The Bridge on the River Kwai (C+); my pick: Sidney Lumet, 12 Angry Men

1958 Vincente Minnelli, Gigi (C+); my pick: Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo

1959 William Wyler, Ben-Hur (A+); I agree

1960 Billy Wilder, The Apartment (A+); my pick: Alfred Hitchcock, Psycho

1961 Robert Wise & Jerome Robbins, West Side Story (F); my pick: Stanley Kramer, Judgment at Nuremberg

1962 David Lean, Lawrence of Arabia (A+); I agree

1963 Tony Richardson, Tom Jones (C+); my pick: Federico Fellini, 

1964 George Cuckor, My Fair Lady (B); my pick: Robert Stevenson, Mary Poppins

1965 Robert Wise, The Sound of Music (B-); my pick: Jacque Demy, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

1966 Fred Zinnemann, A Man for All Seasons (C+); my pick: Mike Nichols, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

1967 Mike Nichols, The Graduate (A+); my pick: Sergio Leone, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

1968 Carol Reed, Oliver (A); my pick: Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey

1969 John Schlesinger, Midnight Cowboy (A-); my pick: Dennis Hopper, Easy Rider

1970 Franklin J. Schaffner, Patton (A+); my pick: Michael Wadleigh, Woodstock

1971 William Friedkin, The French Connection (B+); my pick: Robert Altman, McCabe & Mrs. Miller

1972 Bob Fosse, Cabaret (A+); my pick: Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather

1973 George Roy Hill, The Sting (A+); I agree

1974 Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather Part II (A+); I agree

1975 Milos Forman, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (B+); my pick: Sidney Lumet, Dog Day Afternoon

1976 John G. Avildsen, Rocky (A-); my pick: Sidney Lumet, Network

1977 Woody Allen, Annie Hall (A); my pick: George Lucas, Star Wars

1978 Michael Cimino, The Deer Hunter (C+); my pick: Woody Allen, Interiors

1979 Robert Benton, Kramer vs. Kramer (A); my pick: Francis Ford Coppola, Apocalypse Now

1980 Robert Redford, Ordinary People (A+); I agree

1981 Warren Beatty, Reds (A+); my pick: Mark Rydell, On Golden Pond

1982 Richard Attenborough, Gandhi (B+); my pick: Steven Spielberg, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial

1983 James L. Brooks, Terms of Endearment (C+); my pick: Woody Allen, Zelig

1984 Milos Forman, Amadeus (A+); I agree

1985 Sidney Pollack, Out of Africa (A-); my pick: Akira Kurosawa, Ran

1986 Oliver Stone, Platoon (C+); my pick: Frank Oz, Little Shop of Horrors

1987 Bernardo Bertolucci, The Last Emperor (B+); my pick: Barry Levinson, Good Morning, Vietnam

1988 Barry Levinson, Rain Man (A+); my pick: Wim Wenders, Wings of Desire

1989 Oliver Stone, Born of the 4th of July (B-); my pick: Spike Lee, Do the Right Thing

1990 Kevin Costner, Dances with Wolves (D-); my pick: Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather Part III

1991 Jonathan Demme, The Silence of the Lambs (B); my pick: Joel & Ethan Coen, Barton Fink

1992 Clint Eastwood, Unforgiven (A+); I agree

1993 Steven Spielberg, Schindler’s List (A+); I agree

1994 Robert Zemeckis, Forrest Gump (A+); I agree

1995 Mel Gibson, Braveheart (C-); my pick: Chris Noonan, Babe

1996 Anthony Minghella, The English Patient (C+); my pick: Mike Leigh, Secrets and Lies

1997 James Cameron, Titanic (C+); my pick: Peter Cattaneo, The Full Monty

1998 Steven Spielberg, Saving Private Ryan (C-); my pick: Sam Raimi, A Simple Plan

1999 Sam Mendes, American Beauty (A+); I agree

2000 Stephen Soderbergh, Traffic (F); my pick Ang Lee, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

2001 Ron Howard, A Beautiful Mind (B); my pick: Baz Luhrmann, Moulin Rouge

2002 Roman Polanski, The Pianist (UNSEEN); my pick: Michael Moore, Bowling for Columbine

2003 Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (C-); my pick: Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini, American Splendor

2004 Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby (B); my pick: Yimou Zhang, Hero

2005 Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain (C+); my pick: Bennet Miller, Capote

2006 Martin Scorsese, The Departed (A+); I agree

2007 Joel & Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men (C+); my pick: Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

2008 Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire (A+); my pick: Andrew Stanton, Wall-E

2009 Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker (B+); my pick: Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

2010 Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech (A-); my pick: David Fincher, The Social Network

2011 Michel Hazanavicus, The Artist (A+); I agree

2012 Ang Lee, Life of Pi (F); my pick: Tom Hooper, Les Misérables

2013 Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity (A+); I agree

2014 Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman (Or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (A-); my pick: Damien Chazelle, Whiplash

2015 Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant (C+); my pick: Spike Lee, Chi-raq

2016 Damien Chazelle, La La Land (A+); I agree






The Apartment (1960)


In 1959, Billy Wilder (The Lost WeekendSunset Blvd.Stalag 17) directed the funniest film in history, Some Like It Hot, about violent gang activity, misogyny, and the dangers of toxic masculinity. The next year, he made another very funny movie about another topic that doesn’t easily lend itself to comedy, sexual harassment in the workplace. His male characters in Some Like It Hot are like the creepy but harmless old men that stare at young women too long, but his male characters in The Apartment are the entitled predators who use and abuse women out of power to boost their grandiose self-image (think Harvey Weinstein, Roy Moore, or Donald Trump). Fred McMurray plays the most powerful man in the office and the most dangerous to the women who work for him, giving one of the greatest, most sinister villainous performances of all time.

The Apartment was made more than 50 years before the #metoo movement, long before anybody talked seriously about workplace harassment. It was a societal norm that was rarely questioned, but Billy Wilder took a wildly innovative approach to making this movie that would begin discussion about workplace ethics and be extremely entertaining at the same time. If he would have made the abused woman the lead character, it wouldn’t have the impact in 1960 that did, so he creates a labyrinth of corruption and deception all surrounding the key to a male, submissive employee’s apartment. C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemon) is the victim that we see all the workplace sexual harassment through. He’s promised raises and promotions by higher-ups if he’ll let them use his apartment for their extra-marital affairs. He never really agrees but sees his job on the line if he doesn’t let them have their way. No never mean no for these creeps, and that’s not just true as far as women and sex are concerned, but no doesn’t mean no for Baxter and the use of his apartment either.

Once Fred McMurray’s character, Jeff Sheldrake, begins to develop, so does the romance between Baxter and and Sheldrake’s current victim, Fran Kubelik. They meet daily on the elevator she works on, always referring to each other as Mr. Baxter and Miss Kubelik even after their romance develops. It’s not just a result of their workplace relationship but its a symbol for their genuine respect for each other and for people in general, something that doesn’t seem to exist anywhere beyond these two characters in their place of business. They share respect for each other and for the abuse they both face at the hands of Sheldrake. They share something unique to them in that office. Each of them is a “mensch.”

When Baxter’s neighbor thinks that Baxter is responsible for all that he hears going on in Baxter’s apartment, he tells him to start being a “mensch,” a human being. This line is the heartbeat of every second of the movie. As Billy Wilder shows us the devastation of workplace sexual harassment, he shows us the dehumanizing nature of such abuse. Yet at the same time he introduces us to two people who, though subject to that dehumanization, are able to recover and regain what had been stolen of their humanity through respect and love, through being a “mensch.”

It’s remarkable to notice how much love Billy Wilder had for his female characters. In Some Like It Hot, Sugar (Marylin Monroe) talked about how she always got “the fuzzy end of the lollypop”, but because of the genuine changes Tony Curtis’ character made in his treatment of women, we’re sure that in the end she didn’t get the fuzzy end of the lollypop. For Miss Kubelik, we know she just wants to find someone who will treat her well. We know that Baxter is that person but also that she needs time to recover before entering a relationship that can be healthy. So when Baxter tells her he loves her during a game of gin rummy, and she responds hilariously by saying, “shut up and deal,” it’s Billy Wilder’s brilliant way of saying they eventually lived happily ever after, but in a way shows the love he has for the character of Miss Kubelik without any of the triteness that usually comes from a happily ever after.



And the Oscar Should Have Gone to…2004

The next year I’ll spotlight for is 2004. You can also check out “And the Oscar Should Have Gone to” for 1946 1948, 1965, 1975, and 2014. My only major criteria is a U.S. release in the year of 1948 for every category, which do not always align perfectly with the Oscar’s own eligibility rules. I list the actual Oscar nominations first with my grade for the film’s worth within that category. The actual Oscar winner is in bold print, and I note any nominated films I haven’t seen. Then I give my own picks. The photo that comes at the beginning of each category corresponds with my choice for the year’s winner in that category.



Academy Award nominees:
The Aviator (A)
Finding Neverland (A+)
Million Dollar Baby (B+)
Ray (B-)
Sideways (A-)

My picks:
10. The Story of the Weeping Camel
9. Spider-Man 2
8. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
7. The Motorcycle Diaries
6. The Phantom of the Opera
5. Kitchen Stories
4. Hero
3. Maria, Full of Grace
2. The Polar Express
1. Finding Neverland


Academy Award nominees:
Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby (B+)
Taylor Hackford, Ray (B-)
Mike Leigh, Vera Drake (UNSEEN)
Alexander Payne, Sideways (A)
Martin Scorsese, The Aviator (A)

My picks:
5. Joshua Martson, Maria, Full of Grace
4. Marc Forster, Finding Neverland
3. Michel Gondry, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
2. Robert Zemeckis, The Polar Express
1. Yimou Zhang, Hero


Academy Award nominees:
Don Cheadle, Hotel Rwanda (B+)
Johnny Depp, Finding Neverland (A+)
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Aviator (A+)
Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby (B+)
Jamie Foxx, Ray (A+)

My picks:
5. Jim Carey, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
4. Johnny Depp, Finding Neverland
3. Paul Giamatti, Sideways
2. Leonardo DiCaprio, The Aviator
1. Jamie Foxx, Ray


Academy Award nominees:
Anette Bening, Being Julia (UNSEEN)
Catalina Sandino-Moreno, Maria, Full of Grace (A+)
Imelda Staunton, Vera Drake (UNSEEN)
Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby (A-)
Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (A+)

My picks:
5. Ziyi Zhang, House of Flying Daggers
4. Emmy Rossum, The Phantom of the Opera
3. Uma Thurman, Kill Bill, Vol. 2
2. Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
1. Catalina Sandino-Moreno, Maria, Full of Grace


Academy Award nominees:
Alan Alda, The Aviator (C)
Morgan Freeman, Millon Dollar Baby (A)
Thomas Haden-Church, Sideways (A+)
Jamie Foxx, Collateral (C-)
Clive Owen, Closer (UNSEEN)

My picks:
5. David Thewlis, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkkaban
4. Dustin Hoffman, Finding Neverland
3. Thomas Haden-Church, Sideways
2. Gerard Butler, The Phantom of the Opera
1. Alfred Molina, Spider-Man 2


Academy Award nominees:
Cate Blanchett, The Aviator (A+)
Laura Linney, Kinsey (UNSEEN)
Virginia Madsen, Sideways (B+)
Sophie Okenedo, Hotel Rwanda (A+)
Natalie Portman, Closer (UNSEEN)

My picks:
5. Minnie Driver, The Phantom of the Opera
4. Kerri Washington, Ray
3. Kate Winslet, Finding Neverland
2. Sophie Okenedo, Hotel Rwanda
1. Cate Blanchett, The Aviator


Academy Award nominees:
Before Sunset (A)
Finding Neverland (A+)
Million Dollar Baby (B+)
The Motorcycle Diaries (A)
Sideways (A+)

My picks:
5. Spider-Man 2
4. Before Sunset
3. The Motorcycle Diaries
2. Sideways
1. Finding Neverland


Academy Award nominees: 
The Aviator (A)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (A+)
Hotel Rwanda (B-)
The Incredibles (A)
Vera Drake (UNSEEN)

My picks:
5. The Aviator
4. The Incredibles
3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
2. Kitchen Stories
1. Maria, Full of Grace


Academy Award nominees:
“Accidentally in Love” Shrek 2 (B-)
“Al altro lado del rio” The Motorcycle Diaries (A+)
“Believe” The Polar Express (B-)
“Learn to Be Lonely” The Phantom of the Opera (C)
“Vois sur ton Chemin” The Chorus (B-)

My picks:
5. “Million Voices” Hotel Rwanda
4. “Double Trouble” Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
3. “The Polar Express” The Polar Express
2. “When Christmas Comes to Town” The Polar Express
1. “Al altro lado del rio” The Motorcycle Diaries


Academy Award nominees:
Finding Neverland (A-)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (A)
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (F)
The Passion of the Christ (C)
The Village (C-)

My picks:
5. Hero
4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
3. The Incredibles
2. The Motorcycle Diaries
1. The Polar Express

BEST ADAPTED OR SONG SCORE (Not a formal Oscar category since the 1980s but I think it should be)

5. The Polar Express
4. The Chorus
3. The Incredibles
2. The Aviator
1. The Phantom of the Opera


Academy Award nominees:
The Aviator (A-)
Collateral (D+)
Finding Neverland (A)
Million Dollar Baby (A-)
Ray (C)

My picks:
5. Spider-Man 2
4. The Motorcycle Diaries
3. Maria, Full of Grace
2. Kill Bill, Vol. 2
1. Hero


Academy Award nominees:
The Aviator (A)
House of the Flying Daggers (A+)
The Passion of the Christ (B)
The Phantom of the Opera (A)
A Very Long Engagement (UNSEEN)

My picks:
5. The Aviator
4. The Motorcycle Diaries
3. The Story of the Weeping Camel
2. House of the Flying Daggers
1. Hero


Academy Award nominees:
The Aviator (A)
Finding Neverland (A)
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (B+)
The Phantom of the Opera (A+)
A Very Long Engagement (UNSEEN)

My picks:
5. Hero
4. The Incredibles
3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
2. The Polar Express
1. The Phantom of the Opera


Academy Award nominees:
The Aviator (A)
The Incredibles (A+)
The Polar Express (A+)
Ray (A)
Spider-Man 2 (A)

My Picks:
5. Ray
4. Million Dollar Baby
3. The Incredibles
2. The Phantom of the Opera
1. Hero


Academy Award nominees:
The Incredibles (A+)
The Polar Express (A+)
Spider-Man 2 (A+)

My Picks:
3. Spider-Man 2
2. Hero
1. The Polar Express


Academy Award nominees:
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (A+)
I, Robot (UNSEEN)
Spider-Man 2 (A+)

My picks:
3. Hero
2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
1. Spider-Man 2


Academy Award nominees:
The Aviator (A)
Finding Neverland (A)
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (B+)
Ray (A)

My picks:
5. The Aviator
4. House of the Flying Daggers
3. Ray
2. Hero
1. The Phantom of the Opera


Academy Award nominees:
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (A+)
The Passion of the Christ (B-)
The Sea Inside (UNSEEN)

My picks:
3. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
2. The Aviator
1. The Phantom of the Opera


Academy Award nominees:
The Incredibles (A)
Shark Tale (UNSEEN)
Shrek 2 (B-)

My picks:
2. The Incredibles
1. The Polar Express


Academy Award nominees:
As It Is in Heaven (Sweden) (2005 U.S. release)
The Chorus (France) (B+)
Downfall (Germany) (2005 U.S. release)
The Sea Inside (Spain) (UNSEEN)
Yesterday (South Africa) (2005 release)

My picks:
5. The Story of Weeping Camel (Mongolia)
4. The Motorcycle Diaries (Argentina)
3. Kitchen Stories (Norway)
2. Hero (China)
1. Maria, Full of Grace (Colombia)


Academy Award nominees:
Born into Brothels (A-)
The Story of the Weeping Camel (A)
Supersize Me (A-)
Tupac: Resurrection (A-)
Twist of Faith (UNSEEN)

My picks:
5. Metallica: Some Kind of Monster
4. Born into Brothels
3. Tupac: Resurrection
2. Supersize Me
1. The Story of the Weeping Camel

BEST ENSEMBLE CAST (This has never been an Oscar category but I think it should be)

5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
3. The Phantom of the Opera
2. Sideways
1. Finding Neverland



And the Oscar Should Have Gone to…Best Sound Editing

My next installment of “The Oscar Should Have Gone to” is dedicated to Best Sound Editing award. I have already given my pick for every year for the Best Cinematography, Best Adapted or Song ScoreBest Film Editing, and Best Adapted Screenplay categories. As always, I will list the Oscar winner first when applicable, a grade for the sound editing of the film that actually won, and then my choice for that year’s best sound editing. My only rule for eligibility is that the film must have an American theatrical release date in the year of consideration, not always aligning perfectly with the Oscars.

The differences between sound editing and sound mixing (each separate Oscar categories at the present) are very complex. For the sake of simplicity, I equate sound mixing with the overall sound quality of the film and sound mixing with the sound-related effects. Best Sound Editing did not become an official Oscar category until 1964 for the films of 1963. Because of the limitations of technology prior to that time, I will not attempt to list my picks prior to that, but will start exactly when the Oscars did.

MV5BMTg5NTY4NjY1OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjQwNzkyMg@@._V1_.jpgBen Burtt appears among my choices more than any other sound editor. I choose his work as the best in 1977 Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, 1981 Raiders of the Lost Arc, 1982 E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, and 2008 Wall-E.


1963 Walter Elliot, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (C); my pick: Larry Hampton, The Birds

1964 Norman Wanstall, Goldfinger (B); my pick: Peter Ellenshaw, Eustace Lycett & Robert A. Mattey, Mary Poppins

1965 Treg Brown, The Great Race (C+); my pick: Walter Rossi, Von Ryan’s Express

1966 Gordon Daniel, Grand Prix (A+); my pick: Mario Del Pezzo, The Gospel according to St. Matthew

1967 John Poyner, The Dirty Dozen (A-); my pick: James Richard, In the Heat of the Night

1968 No award given; my pick: Winston Ryder, 2001: A Space Odyssey

1969 No award given; my pick: James Nelson, Easy Rider

1970 No award given; my pick: David H. Moriarty, Ronald Pierce & Waldon O. Watson, Airport

1971 No award given; my pick: Don Hall, The French Connection

1972 No award given; my pick: Jim Atkinson, Deliverance

1973 No award given; my pick: Fred J. Brown, The Exorcist

1974 No award given; my pick: Walter Murch, The Conversation

1975 Peter Berkos, The Hindenburg (A+); my pick: George Frederick & Colin Mouat, Jaws

1976 No award given; my pick: John Farrell, Rocky

1977 Frank Warner, Close Encounters of the Third Kind (A+); my pick: Ben Burtt, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

1978 No award given; my pick: Teri E. Dorman & James Fritch, The Deer Hunter

1979 Alan Splet, The Black Stallion (B+); my pick: Richard P. Cirincioni, Apocalypse Now

1980 No award given; my pick: William M. Anderson, Breaker Morant

1981 Ben Burtt & Richard L. Albertson, Raiders of the Lost Arc (A+); I agree

1982 Charles L. Campbell & Ben Burtt, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (A+); I agree

1983 Jay Boekelheide, The Right Stuff (A+); I agree

1984 Kay Rose, The River (UNSEEN); my pick: Greg Dillon, James Fritch, James J. Klinger, Mike Le Mare, Horace Manzanares, Gilbert D. Merchant, Robert Miller, Gary Shepherd & Karola Storr, The Terminator

1985 Charles L. Campbell & Robert Rutledge, Back to the Future (B+); my pick Jean-Marc Lentretien, Ran

1986 Don Sharpe, Aliens (UNSEEN); my pick: Nigel Gault & Edward Tise, Platoon

1987 Steven Hunter Flick & John Pospisil, RoboCop; my pick: Milton C. Burle, Neil Burle & Gordon Davidson, Lethal Weapon

1988 Charles L. Campbell & Louis Edemann, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (A-); my pick: Ronald Sinclair, David E. Stone & Ezra Dweck, Die Hard

1989 Ben Burtt & Richard Hymns, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (A); my pick: George Fredrick, Scott Martin Gershin, Avrim M. Gold, Kevin Hurst, Dan M. Rich, Frank Smathers, David Spence, Marshall Winn & Mark Lanza, Glory

1990 Cecelia Hall & George Watters II, The Hunt for Red October (A-); my pick: John Elizalde, Kirk Schuler & Gary Shepherd Joe vs. the Volcano

1991 Gary Rydstrom & Gloria S. Borders, Terminator 2: Judgment Day (A-); my pick: Gary Rydstrom & Richard Hymns, Backdraft

1992 Tom McCarthy & David Stone, Dracula (UNSEEN); my pick: Willy Allen, David Baldwin, Scott Martin Gershin, Per Hallberg, Dan Heneman, Dave McMoyer, Glenn T. Morgan & Asher Yates, The Last of the Mohicans

1993 Gary Rydstrom & Richard Hymns, Jurassic Park (A+); I agree

1994 Stephen Hunter Flick, Speed (B+); my pick: Paul Berolzheimer, Mike Chock & James Christopher, The Lion King

1995 Lon Bender & Per Hallberg, Braveheart (B); my pick: John Penders, Andrew Plain, Angus Robertson & Lawrie Silvertrin, Babe

1996 Bruce Stambler, The Ghost and the Darkness (UNSEEN); my pick: William Jacobs & Rob Navrides, Twister

1997 Tom Bellfort & Christopher Boyes, Titanic (A+); my pick: Phil Benson, Contact

1998 Gary Rydstrom & Richard Hymns, Saving Private Ryan (A-); my pick: Dave McMoyler, The Mask of Zorro

1999 Dane Davis, The Matrix (A-); my pick: Bruce Fortune, Three Kings

2000 Jon Johnson, U-571 (B); my pick: Eugene Gearty, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

2001 Gary Waters II & Christopher Boyes, Pearl Harbor (F); my pick: Karen Baker Landers & Per Hallberg, Black Hawk Down

2002 Mike Hopkins & Ethan Van der Ryn, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (A+); my pick: Richard Hymns & Gary Rydstrom, Minority Report

2003 Richard King, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (UNSEEN); my pick:  Paul Curtis, Phone Booth

2004 Michael Silvers & Randy Thom, The Incredibles (A+); my pick: Randy Thom & Dennis Leonard, The Polar Express

2005 Mike Hopkins & Ethan Van der Ryan, King Kong (UNSEEN); my pick: David Evans, Batman Begins

2006 Bub Asman & Robert Alan Robert Murray, Letters from Iwo Jima (A+); I agree

2007 Karen Baker Landers & Per Hallberg, The Bourne Ultimatum (UNSEEN); my pick: Christopher Scarabosio & Matthew Wood, There Will Be Blood

2008 Richard King, The Dark Knight (B-); my pick: Ben Burtt & Matthew Wood, Wall-E

2009 Paul N.J. Ottosson, The Hurt Locker (A+); I agree

2010 Richard King, Inception (C); my pick: Gwendolyn Yates Whittle & Addison Teague, Tron: Legacy

2011 Eugene Gearty & Philip Stockton, Hugo (A+); I agree

2012 TIE between Per Hallberg & Karen Baker Landers, Skyfall (A+) AND Paul J. Ottosson, Zero Dark Thirty (A+); my pick: Wylie Stateman, Django Unchained

2013 Glenn Freemantle, Gravity (A+); I agree

2014 Alan Robert Murray & Bub Asman, American Sniper (C); my pick: Richard King, Interstellar

2015 Mark Magini & David White, Mad Max: Fury Road (F); my pick: Matthew Wood & David Acord, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

2016 Sylvain Bellemare, Arrival (A-); my pick: Kyrsten Mate & Addison Teague, The BFG



Mary Poppins (1964)


Hidden behind what on the surface is a delightful fantasy comedy with catchy songs is a very powerful and even confrontational movie about empathy and responsibility. The movie opens with the melody of song we hear much later in the movie, “Feed the Birds.” The lyrics of the song are the heart of the whole movie. Just before Mary sings the song, she tells the kids that some people just can’t see past the end of their news. In that brief line, she gives a perfect assessment of their father whose priorities are entirely monetary and self-centered, yet he’s diluted himself into believing that he does everything he does for his family. When the kids express their belief that their father doesn’t love them, they’re right. But Mary’s job isn’t to get their father to see past the end of his nose and learn to love, it’s to teach the kids to learn to see their father who he is and accept him regardless so that he may be the way he learns to love.

The kids’ father isn’t the only one with priority problems that don’t allow the kids to feel loved. Their mother is well-intentioned with her fight for women’ suffrage (Glynnys Johns who gives the film’s best acting performance). Some of the movie’s funniest moments come because of her hypocritical attempts to fight a great fight in private with her friends while keeping it from her husband, since “the cause infuriates Mr. Banks.” She’s willing to tie up the prime minister and get a large clan of women arrested, but she won’t take any chances of confronting her own husband’s sexism. All this shows that she’s just as blinded by her own priorities as her husband is, even though they’re more well-intentioned and less self-centered. While she’s kind and caring to the kids on the surface, she can’t see past the end of her nose either, and all that she thinks she’s doing for her kids is really for her cause and actually hurting her kids.

Through Mary Poppins and Burt, the kids learn how to avoid the materialism, hypocrisy, and indifference that surrounds them. They learn that by looking around and seeing the people and the needs of people that nobody else recognizes (the “bird woman” that “Feed the Birds is about), they can learn to meet the needs of others, to empathize, and to love in ways their parents haven’t been able to demonstrate. At the end of the great “Chim Chim Che-re” scene, Burt gets the opportunity to deal with the father directly, singing some very harsh words that bring the healing the family needs: “And when your little tykes are crying, you haven’t time to dry their tears and see their thankful little faces smiling up at you, ’cause they’re dad he knows just what to do.”

When Mr. Banks hears these words, he tries to interrupt Burt to make a defense, but Burt just keeps singing and won’t let him off the hook. Through this confrontation, he realizes how blind he’s been and how much he’s hurt his children. This scene is the reason the more recent film depicting the making of Mary Poppins was called Saving Mr. Banks. Mr. Banks is saved from himself, from his wrong priorities, from his indifference, and from his lack of empathy. The film ends with one of the most joyful scenes ever in any movie I’ve seen with Mr. Banks showing the results of his awakening all symbolized through flying a kite. And the great song “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” shows how George is not the only one saved through his decision to listen to Bert’s words. The whole family, those who work for the family, and even the heads of Mr. Bank’s bank all receive a new outlook on life that changes everybody around them.

Mary Poppins may be a great movie for kids. But it only gets better, deeper, more profound, and spiritual as we grow up. It’s still a sweet and delightful fantasy but it is far, far more than that. Multiple viewings don’t just increase an appreciation for the filmmaking but for the timelessness and the power of its message for people of all ages.