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Any memories of Oscar 1978?

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  • RobertPius
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    #217073

    I just watched The Deer Hunter on TCM. I found it a very fascinating film. I’d seen it before but I think I was too young and freaked out by it to appreciate it. 

    Was it a surprise win? Robert Osborne said people objected to  films about Vietnam even being made. Strange that both Coming Home and this came out at the same time. 

    DeNiro is really at his quiet best here. Such a subdued performance but riviting.

    I read Christopher Walken only had 15 lines in the whole movie but made such an impact. (Sort of surprised John Savage was overlooked. He had quite a good run there with DH, Hair and Inside Moves all back to back) and yes it is Meryl’s first nomination. I thought she did a lot with what could have been a nothing role. Her reactions and nervousness around DeNiro are really interesting. 

     

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    RobertPius
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    #590095

    I just watched The Deer Hunter on TCM. I found it a very fascinating film. I’d seen it before but I think I was too young and freaked out by it to appreciate it. 

    Was it a surprise win? Robert Osborne said people objected to  films about Vietnam even being made. Strange that both Coming Home and this came out at the same time. 

    DeNiro is really at his quiet best here. Such a subdued performance but riviting.

    I read Christopher Walken only had 15 lines in the whole movie but made such an impact. (Sort of surprised John Savage was overlooked. He had quite a good run there with DH, Hair and Inside Moves all back to back) and yes it is Meryl’s first nomination. I thought she did a lot with what could have been a nothing role. Her reactions and nervousness around DeNiro are really interesting. 

     

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    babypook
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    #217075

    I always always list Christopher Walken as my all-time, favorite Supporting actors.

    What a cast. And yes, the sublime Ms Meryl Streep…..

    A very telling screenplay and story. Had a massive influence on my then budding, anti-Vietnam war and Liberal mindset.

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    streepfan
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    #217076

    It was a shoo in, also actress and actor for Coming Home. Maureen Stapleton had the slight edge but Smith upset.

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    babypook
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    #217077

    This was the beginning of what looked like a stellar career for Cimino, a timely win(s).

    And then, the very under -rated, very over- budget Heaven’s Gate happened. They recently showed the uncut version on TCM.

    Dont know Robert if you’ve seen any of Cimino’s other films, but I recommend Year of The Dragon, a fairly bloated, violent but riveting film with a great perf from John Lone, and Mickey Rourke. Watching Ariane’s perf here is a clinic in Razzie glory however.

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    Rev Scott
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    #217078

    1978 was an interesting years. You had two very different films about the Vietnam war “Coming Home” and “The Deer Hunter”. The prison drama “Midnight Express”, which swept the Globes. The maritial drama “An Unmarried Woman” and the remake of “Here Comes Mr. Jordan” , Warren Beatty’s “Heaven Can Wait” which tied with “The Deer Hunter” with the most nominations.   

    The night ended up with “The Deer Hunter” being the big winner. The night also was Meryl’s first nomination, Oliver Stone’s first win (Adapted Screenplay -Midnight Express). 

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    babypook
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    #217079

    It’s an especially ‘painful’ year for me, in that Ennio Morricone was passed by, and Days of Heaven, likely my favorite film of all time, was largely ignored, save the fabulous work from Nestor Almendros.

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    Andrew Carden
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    #217080

    My understanding is the Best Picture race was essentially viewed as a barn burner between “Coming Home” and “The Deer Hunter,” with the former actually having the leg-up because it was much less controversial and Ashby was vastly more well-liked in the industry than the infamously difficult and ego-centric Cimino. Voight was a heavy favorite. Best Actress looked tight between Fonda and Clayburgh and Hurt was favored in Supporting Actor. There was definitely some support for Stapleton, who was the critics’ favorite and was perceived as overdue, but I believe Smith was a pretty good-sized favorite too – she even managed to win the Globe as a Lead that year. Only thing keeping her from shoo-in status was the crumminess of her movie. But “Interiors” was pretty divisive too.

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    Anonymous
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    #217081

    In 1974, the Best Documentary Oscar went to Hearts and Minds and producer Bert Schneider read a telegram from the podium from Viet Cong Government Official Dinh Ba Thi thanking the US anti war movement. This controversial act prompted Frank Sinatra later in the ceremony to read a hastily drafted response, allegedly scripted by Bob Hope, stating the Academy distanced itself from political statements and regretted their place in the evening’s ceremony.

    Now four years later, four high profile projects addressing the military conflict in Southeast Asia were in the pipeline, all aiming for the 1978 awards season.

    The first Go Tell the Spartans was an anti-war drama starring Burt Lancaster (after being rejected by a number of other aging Oscar winners and major studios). In the end Lancaster had to contribute six figures of his own money to complete production on the shoe string budget. Though its screenplay was nominated for a Writers Guild prize, the Academy failed to recognized the somber film.

    The second was a Universal production, The Deer Hunter, from auteur Michael Cimino that came in grossly overbudget. The film featured Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken and John Savage as buddies who enlist. Also cast was terminally ill John Cazale. In order to be on set and care for her lover, Meryl Streep agreed to play DeNiro’s rather underwritten love interest. The film climaxed with a sequence involving Russian roulette that electrified audiences and enraged others.

    The third was a domestic drama that looked at the war from the perspective of  a military wife. Coming Home was produced as the first project of Jane Fonda’s fledgling production company. Fonda’s initial thought was to have the film feature a character based on paraplegic, anti war activist Rob Kovic whose autobiography Born on the Fourth of July would later be memorably filmed by Oliver Stone. The filmmakers struggled to create an appropriate ending. Director Hal Ashby ultimately chose the ironic freezeframe that featured a message on a popular grocery store chain’s door and commented quite eloquently on the selected conclusion to the story.

    The fourth was the highly anticipated revision of Joseph Conrad’s classic novel Heart of Darkness that was to star Marlon Brando, Apocalypse Now. In hindsight, it is clear that Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece should have been triumphant. Unfortunately, the production was plagued by one setback after another. Brando reported to the set grossly obese and ill prepared for filming. Coppola was compelled to rethink how the scenes were to be shot. A double was used for long shots and close ups were used. The ending had to be reconceived because Brando was unable to film the sequence as written. A typhoon destroyed the location sets. Actor Harvey Kietel was released and replaced with Martin Sheen who subsequently suffered a near fatal heart attack on location. When filming was finally complete, thousands of feet of film needed to be reviewed and edited into a feature length film. The release date was postponed moving the film to the 1979 awards season.

    When nominations were announced Go Tell the Spartans was snubbed, while the more melodramatic Coming Home and The Deer Hunter were celebrated. The two solid, if flawed, films competed for awards. Apocalypse Now was nominated the subsequent year but virtually ignored. Hollywood had addressed Vietnam in 1978 and did not give a major prize to another film exploring the military conflict till The Killing Fields in 1984.

     

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    Filmatelist
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    #217082

    In 1974, the Best Documentary Oscar went to Hearts and Minds and producer Bert Schneider read a telegram from the podium from Viet Cong Government Official Dinh Ba Thi thanking the US anti war movement. This controversial act prompted Frank Sinatra later in the ceremony to read a hastily drafted response, allegedly scripted by Bob Hope, stating the Academy distanced itself from political statements and regretted their place in the evening’s ceremony.

    Now four years later, four high profile projects addressing the military conflict in Southeast Asia were in the pipeline, all aiming for the 1978 awards season.

    The first Go Tell the Spartans was an anti-war drama starring Burt Lancaster (after being rejected by a number of other aging Oscar winners and major studios). In the end Lancaster had to contribute six figures of his own money to complete production on the shoe string budget. Though its screenplay was nominated for a Writers Guild prize, the Academy failed to recognized the somber film.

    The second was a Universal production, The Deer Hunter, from auteur Michael Cimino that came in grossly overbudget. The film featured Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken and John Savage as buddies who enlist. Also cast was terminally ill John Cazale. In order to be on set and care for her lover, Meryl Streep agreed to play DeNiro’s rather underwritten love interest. The film climaxed with a sequence involving Russian roulette that electrified audiences and enraged others.

    The third was a domestic drama that looked at the war from the perspective of  military wife. Coming Home was produced as the first project of Jane Fonda’s fledgling production company. Fonda’s initial thought was to have the film feature a character based on paraplegic, anti war activist Rob Kovic whose autobiography Born on the Fourth of July would later be memorably filmed by Oliver Stone. The filmmakers struggled to create an appropriate ending. Director Hal Ashby ultimately chose the ironic freezeframe that featured a message on a popular grocery store chain’s door and commented quite eloquently on the selected conclusion to the story.

    The fourth was the highly anticipated revision of Joseph Conrad’s classic novel Heart of Darkness that was to star Marlon Brando, Apocalypse Now. In hindsight, it is clear that Frances Ford Coppola’s masterpiece should have been triumphant. Unfortunately, the production was plagued by one setback after another. Brando reported to the set grossly obese and ill prepared for filming. Coppola was compelled to rethink how the scenes were to shot. A double was used for long shots and close ups were used. The ending had to be reconceived because Brando was unable to film the sequence as written. A typhoon destroyed the location sets. Actor Harvey Kietel was released and replaced with Martin Sheen who sunsequently suffered a hear fatal heart attack on location. When filming was finally complete, thousands of feet of film needed to be reviewed and edited into a feature length film. The release date was postponed moving the film to the 1979 awards season.

    When nominations were announced Go Tell the Spartans was snubbed, while the more melodramatic Coming Home and The Deer Hunter were celebrated. The two solid, if flawed, films competed for awards. Apocalypse Now was nominated the subsequent year but virtually ignored. Hollywood had addressed Vietnam in 1978 and did not give a major prize to another film exploring the military conflict till The Killing Fields in 1984.

     

    Thanks for brining up SPARTANS, easily the best of the 3 though (in part because of the Oscar history books) also the least well-known.  

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    MHS83
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    #217083

    This was the second Oscar telecast I ever saw.  I was fourteen years old and had recently talked my parents into taking me to The Deer Hunter.  Holy cow was I uncomfortable sitting next to my mother during that movie.

    Going into Oscar night all of the major awards were locks, even to some extent Maggie Smith.  The Deer Hunter was one of the first to agressively play the release-date game.  They released it in NYC and LA for Oscar consideration in late 1978 and then gave it wide release only after the nominations came out in early 1979.  Many critics loved it and it was the thing to see if you were cool enough to live in a place that showed it.

    I remember Parade magazine (that Sunday newspaper insert) would have a yearly Oscar article the day before the awards (which traditionally were on Monday).  They would list the nominees in order of expected finish along with what they thought the odds would be.  I’m pretty sure they had Maggie Smith #1 with Maureen Stapleton being #2.  I can’t remember where Meryl Streep was, but she was toward the bottom.  What I distinctly remember is that they made some comment to the effect:  “She’ll have plenty more chances.”  Wow, talk about prescient!

     

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    RobertPius
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    #217084

    Thanks for all you responces! 

    I’m still thinking about the film days later.

    I have some questions (I accidentially deleted it from my DVR so I can’t go back and rewatch)

    So who is Meryl’s character really in love with? She agrees to marry Walken and waits for him (Meryl calls said she had trouble relating since to her since she calls her a “woman who waits” and Meryl doesn’t like to wait) but she puts in all these little nervous ticks and twitches in her performance when she is around DeNiro. 

    Did John Cazale have a bigger part initially? He is billed as the star along with DeNiro. His final cut is pretty small.

    What do you think of Jane Fonda calling it “the pentagon’s view of the war” backstage in the press room. She was clearly being a sore loser/winner but I’m not sure why she’d think it was the pentagon’s version.  

     

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    RobertPius
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    #217085

    It is sort of surprising Maureen Stapleton lost since she had so many nominations without a win and Smith had won before. I guess Smith’s inside Oscar winner story was just too charming to pass up. (and she is amazingly funny in that film—despite how bad the rest of it is!) 

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    Anonymous
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    #217086

    It is sort of surprising Maureen Stapleton lost since she had so many nominations without a win and Smith had won before.

    Stapleton only had two previous nominations prior to her supporting actress nomination for Interiors. On the other hand, the Best Actress nod was number six for Geraldine Page. And she didn’t win either.

    Interiors was a much more admired film than one that was liked. Best Director and Screenwriter nominee Woody Allen created a film that embraced influences from Swedish director Ingmar Bergman. It is artistically beautiful to watch, but audiences and critics were widely divided on its merits as an entertainment.

    Maggie Smith benefited from a second well received supporting role that same year in the Oscar winning adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile.

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    babypook
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    #217087

    Thanks for all you responces! 

    I’m still thinking about the film days later.

    I have some questions (I accidentially deleted it from my DVR so I can’t go back and rewatch)

    So who is Meryl’s character really in love with? She agrees to marry Walken and waits for him (Meryl calls said she had trouble relating since to her since she calls her a “woman who waits” and Meryl doesn’t like to wait) but she puts in all these little nervous ticks and twitches in her performance when she is around DeNiro. 

    Did John Cazale have a bigger part initially? He is billed as the star along with DeNiro. His final cut is pretty small.

    What do you think of Jane Fonda calling it “the pentagon’s view of the war” backstage in the press room. She was clearly being a sore loser/winner but I’m not sure why she’d think it was the pentagon’s version.  

     

    Well, I can tackle your last question re Fonda’ comment. Both of these films (Coming Home, TDH) created a massive amount of backlash and criticism, albeit for different reasons. Funny looking back, as these films have some solid similarities. Both films, are anti war.

    But to synopsize, Coming Home was far more ‘left’ in it’s approach, and with the sexual aspects of Voight’s character. There was an uproar. Voight’s “Luke Martin”, doesnt want to kill any Vietnamese.

     TDH was seen more as ‘right’, especially with it’s depiction of the Vietcong. (“If people are sitting on something you want, you turn them into the enemy, and then you go in and take it”) There are no documented cases of the sadistic game forced upon these prisoners of war, but it’s displayed with great effect. Anyone, would not have minded killing the perpetrators.

    And that’s where Jane was coming from. They called her “Hanoi Jane” then.

    What a time that was. Nobody was too concerned with being politically correct.

    Of course, this is still happening in films and with more than a few examples over the past several years.

     

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