Bernardo Villela is like a mallrat except at the movies. He is a writer, director, editor and film enthusiast who seeks to continue to explore and learn about cinema, chronicle the journey and share his findings.
A few notes worth mentioning when it comes to the Best Cast category: First, I did borrow this concept from the SAG Awards. I just love the idea of honoring an entire cast from top to bottom and just wish they’d list and/or invite more people. There have been years when, if I was patient enough, I listed many of the players in the cast. Needless to say if one cast member wins they all do whether listed or not.
Second, there is one statistical oddity I noticed while assembling this list is that only four of the winners of Best Cast also were awarded my Best Picture prize. This kind of illustrates my point that acting is very important in a film but a film is so collaborative that its success does not necessarily hinge on its players’ ability.
Also interesting to note is that the Harry Potter series has two wins here whereas it has not captured Best Picture in a rather Susan Lucci-like fashion. Lastly, when looking closely enough you’ll note some actors played parts, whether lead, supporting or tertiary, in multiple Best Casts. One such case would be Trevor Morgan, who only really had one major scene in The Sixth Sense wherein he bullies Haley Joel Osment but then plays a much more significant part in Mean Creek. I have not yet verified it but then there’s also the odd case of Hugh Mitchell, who was Colin Creevey in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Boy Nicholas Nickleby in Nicholas Nickleby and thus, is to my knowledge, the only actor to ever get nominated twice in the same year for the Best Cast category.
Were I to dig deep enough I’m sure there’d be other interesting stats to find like Alan Rickman’s three wins but alas here are the winners…
In his Biographia Literaria Samuel Taylor Coleridge* postulates how a critic’s faculties and tastes are influenced by his life experiences and exposure to art. I open with this statement because in writing about the 1980s a decade in which I was a child, I realize there can be a certain amount of filtering due to nostalgia or longing for ‘the good old days,’ thus, with each film I discuss in the 1980s I think it important to note when I first saw the film. Some have stood the test of time. Others are recent discoveries. I’m also trying to examine all of these films in a new light to ensure subjectivity.
I also think it’s important to note the genesis of this concept in my own reasoning as it has most definitely shifted. A little more than a year ago [as of this writing] I saw a film called Amazing Grace and Chuck for the first time and I thought to myself “This film could’ve only been made in the 80s.” I thought this both because of its aesthetics, the grain and milieu common to the 1980s. I started postulating upon that on my cornerstone on defining the 1980s noting that the 50s, 60s, and 70s had each had their own unique looks. I noted there was overlap such that early 80s films still looked like they were shot in the 70s. Yet this would be too technical and pedantic an approach. What really struck me about Amazing Grace and Chuck was the subject matter. And while you can’t pin down a decade as sporadic and variegated as the 80s (As opposed to the heavy focus on Sci-Fi in the 50s) you can see there were ideas buried even in these heavily Hollywoodized films. Yet I come to realize as I’ve viewed nearly 30 films for analysis that saying this is what the 80s were all about is folly. However, within the context of each individual film I can display a reflection of cinematic or social thinking at the time.
This is an overview of a decade of innovation. A decade where the blockbuster was ever more predominant than in the 1970s yet there seemed to be a last gasp of artistry. There were great films released amongst the garbage. Also, we would see the trends that would lead to the decline in quality in the 1990s. It was a decade with artists who still had a spark of idealism and still had something to say albeit through indirect channels.
While many of the films make connections to my youthful sensitivities, it is important to note that these films for the most part do not condescend or talk down to its intended audience which is a problem that has become more and more apparent as time has moved on. These are also films that for me have stood the test of time. Some of what was good in the eighties was adopted in the 90s and turned sour and what’s worse some of what was terrible also stayed and became worse. In this paper I will look at the motion picture in all its forms film, television, animation and the newly-invented, at the time, music video. No matter how you look at it the 80s did matter and I want to examine the decade here. It was a decade I grew up in it is true but now I can look back subjectively and examine a decade I’ve come to love.
* While primarily a poet and philosopher Coleridge wrote an abundance of dramatic criticism, introduced the term ‘suspension of disbelief’ to the artistic world, and is one of the most important concepts in cinema.
Note: This is a recapitulation of a paper I wrote in film school. It will be published here in installments.
In many ways this category exists now because of Waiting for ‘Superman’. As I intimate in the review linked below, I have come full circle with regards to documentary films. I can embrace them as a separate but equal entity to narrative film. I will strive to qualify this category annually but while I can appreciate documentaries fully now I acknowledge my proclivity for fiction whereas when I’m given a choice between which two to watch at a given time I will invariably choose the narrative. Having said that the category is, of course, valid and proved it can threaten to be the best of the year.
This one may have been a bit lacking in the drama department because Superman did make my Top 10 and no other doc crashed the Top 15, however it is truly an amazing experience but none of these others should be missed either. They are all on Netflix (the nominees being: Prodigal Sons, Killing Kasztner, Waiting for ‘Superman‘, Best Worst Movie, The Art of the Steal)