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April 08, 1979 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1979-04-08
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Page 6-Sunday, April 8, 1979-The Michigan Daily


(Continued from Page 3)
super-moneymakers Star Wars and
The Exorcist have cracked the
Predicted Winner: Michael Cimino
(The Deer Hunter). This one's con-
siderably easier to pick than Best Pic-
ture. Heaven Can Wait's Warren Beat-
ty-Buck Henry duo had never previous-
ly directed a film together of in-
dividually, and the Academy doesn't
honor first timers. Hal Ashby (Coming
Home is considered an ,oddball
maverick, and Alan Parker (Midnight
Express) is British. Woody Allen won
just last year for Annie Hall, and his
nomination for Interiors seems more a
loving tribute for former triumphs than
anything else.
Deserving Winner: Alan Parker
(Midnight Express). Though Cimino
was perhaps more mercurially in-
spired, Parker exuded a far surer,
more consistent hand in controlling his
film's conception. The other nominees
aren't really in the same class,
although Woody Allen has his adulants.
Conspicuous Omissions: Franco
Brusatti, the guiding genius of Bread
and Chocolate, and Terrence Malick,
whose ravishingly ornate, artist's con-
ception of Days of Heaven is considered
by many the greatest piece of visual
directing in the history of film.
Omissions like these not only rock
Oscar's credibility, but make the whole
shindig a lot less fun than it might be.
Predicted Winner: Robert DeNiro
(The Deer Hunter). This category
seems as voluble as Best Picture, with
(Continued from Page 3)
the face. Next to it, An Unmarried
Woman and Coming Home emerge as
pale edifices of the New Sentimentality.
Predicted Winner: Michael Cimino
(The Deer Hunter). You walk out of
something like Cuckoo's Nest with the
grinning figure of Jack Nicholson im-
printed on your mind. But a film like
The Deer Hunter is obviously a whole
lot bigger than any of its parts. The
Academy has the good sense to have
some idea of who put it together.
Deserving Winner: Michael Cimino.
Woody Allen's touch is surer and more
consistent in Interiors, but it's partly
Cimino's messy audacity that makes
The Deer Hunter so powerful, and so
sweeping. Cimino doesn't always
provide smooth sailing, but he takes
you farther.
Predicted Winner: Jon Voight
(Coming Home). After ignoring
Voight's brilliant performances in Mid-
night Cowboy and the otherwise rancid
Conrack, the Academy has a golden op-
portunity to recognize an actor that's
p d his Hollywood dues. There is some
impetition here from Beatty and De
Niro, but many of their finest moments
demonstrate the marvels of restraint;
Voight's openly ingratiating perfor-
mance in Coming Home is American
acting at its two-fisted, red-blooded
Deserving Winner: Jon Voight. A
tough choice-De Niro and Gary Busey
are splendid, as well. But Voight gives
one of those performances that goes
beyond mere "fine acting"; he literally
jumps off the screen, connecting with
his audience in an explosive chemical
reaction. T'is rage during Coming
Home's opening; ospita.l scenes says
moreta c th pain ndonlict of Viet-
nam than the eztire.rt;Qf t eg-vi<.,

Warren Beatty lately and surprisingly
boomed as the bookmakers' favorite
while early runaway choice Jon Voight
has reportedly slipped badly. Olivier is
given some chance as a sentimental
favorite, while Gary Busey is regar-
ded as possibly the longest long shot in
the history of the awards.
Deserving Winner:. The choice is
hairline between Voight and De Niro,
though Olivier did manage to salvage
the otherwise execrable Boys From.
Brazil all by himself. I'll take De Niro,
simply because I enjoy him as an actor
more than I do Voight.
Conspicuous Omissions: Nino Man-
fredi, whose well-meaning everyman of
Bread and Chocolate is one of the
greatest performances of the decade,
and Midnight Express' Brad Davis,
whose wrenching portrayal of Billy
Hayes deserved far more credit than
most critics afforded him.
Predicted Winner: Ingrid Bergman
(Autumn Sonata). How can she miss?
She just became the first performer
ever to slam the four major acting
awards (other than Oscar) in a single
year, and whispered rumor says she's
gravely ill, to boot. The resulting combo
of sentimental and artistic votes should
more than offset the Academy's anti-
foreign film prejudice. This win seems
the one sure bet of the evening.
Deserving Winner: Jane Fonda
(Coming Home). Her barely disguised
autobiographical portrait of a sheltered
woman belatedly coming to grips with
the outside world is simply the best
work she's ever done. Edged by ,a
whisker is Jill Clayburgh.

Predicted Winner: Jack Warden
(Heaven Can Wait). It's far from his
best performance, but Warden has been
ordained this year's George Burns-a
lovable, decades-long trooper deser-
ving honor for a career well done.
Hollywood knows Warden may not be
around much longer, and they won't
deny him now.
Deserving Winner: John Hurt (Mid-
night Express) or Christopher Walken
(The Deer Hunter). Either/or would be
fine with me. Both actors are so
fabulous-Hurt as a junkie prisoner in
'An apparent back/ash
against "The Deer Hunter"
now leaves it no better than
an even bet against "Heaven
Can Wait. ,,
Turkey, Walken as a deranged GI in
Vietnam-that it's a shame the Oscar
can't be split down the middle between
them. The fact that neither one will
win at least alleviates the pain of
Predicted Winner: Maureen
Stapleton (Interiors). Dyan Cannon's
drolly avaricious performance in
Heaven Can Wait is rated the favorite,
but Academy sentimentality toward
rewarding an ancient regular will once
again prevail.
Deserving Winner: Maggie Smith
(California Suite). Her bitchy but sen-
sitive actress was probably the only

'Predicted Winner: Jill Clayburgh
(An Unmarried Woman). Clayburgh's
dewey-eyed, "relevant". performance
offers the perfect seventies mixture of
sensitivity and sentimentality. Ingrid
Bergman, of course, is the favorite for
Ingmar Bergman's Autumn Sonata, but
something tells me the Academy won't
entirely trust even dear Ingrid if she
isn't speaking English.
Deserving Winner: Geraldine Page
(Interiors). Page gives a subtle but
eloquently unmannered performance
as the neurotically repressed mother in
Interiors, a woman who's become
dangerously adept at feeding off her
illusions. Staring at the world through a
stifling mixture of dread and revulsion.
Page's character seemed to carry the
agony of a thousand dreams deferred.
Predicted Winner: Christopher
Walken (The Deer Hunter). With
features . on him appearing in
everything from The Village Voice to
People, Christopher Walken seems
destined for stardom. Certainly, with
his baby-faced good looks, he's prime
movie material, and a cinch for this
year's award. I mean, Bruce Dern is
getting boring, and no one even knows
who John Hurt is.
Deserving Winner: Christopher
Walken. In a performance that might
have been subtitled "From Fear to In-
sanity," Walken creates a chilling por-
trait of a smalltown steelworker driven
to zombie-hood by his wartime ex-
periences. John Hurt was fine in Mid-
night Express, but Walken's face,
during the action sequences is too
frightening to forget.
Predicted Winner: Dyan Cannon
(Heaven Can Wait). Most people in the
Hollywood community considered the
Cannon-Charles Groain' inte'rplay the
funniest thing in;Heaven Can Wait.,The
movie is, in many ways; too flimsy to

garner much attention, but it has so
many oldstyle Hollywood charms that
it's due for several awards. My guess is
this will be one.
Deserving Winner: Meryl Streep
(The Deer Hunter). With nary a line of
meaningful dialogue, Streep transfor-
med the sideline character of Linda into
the film's guiding moral force. A
beautiful and tender performance.
Predicted Winner:Paul Mazursky
(An Unmarried Woman). Mazursky's
script might have been too weird or
(God forbid) too "radical" ten years
ago, but in 1978, almost two decades af-
ter the explosion of feminism as a vital
social issue, it's just right. Warm, wit-
ty, wacky-wonderful; in short, the
perfect Academy sandwich.
Deserving Winner: Woody Allen (In-
teriors). I went back to see Interiors a
second time not because I'd "missed
something," but simply to be with
Woody Allen's characters again. They
weren't always a pleasant lot, but, God
help me, I loved 'em. Thanks, Woody.
Predicted Winner: May & Beatty
(Heaven Can Wait). Neil Simon seems
the obvious competitor here, but much
of California Suite is so dreadful that I
can't see bestowing it any honors. The
screenplay award is a traditional bone
the Academy throws to films it wants to
salute without glorifying. Heaven Can
Wait fits the bill.
Deserving Winner: May & Beatty.
Cutting through Heaven Can Wait's en-
dearingly archaic plot are some wildly
funny off-the-cuff remarks (Grodin to
Cannon in a fit of panic: "Keep calm!
Pick up The Fountainhead and start
reading!"). Lifting the skeleton and
vital organs of Here Comes Mr. Jordan
for their update-remake, May and
Beatty proved you can teach an. old
story neatricks. .

tolerable item in Neil Simon's smarmy
mish-mash of low drama and even
lower slapstick. Meryl Streep is com-
parably excellent in Deer Hunter, but
the role doesn't really equal her talent.
Predicted Winner: Paul Mazursky
(An Unmarried Woman). The four-
peson screenplay for The Deer Hunter
is rated the favorite, but watch for
Coming Home to split the Viet vote
again. The Academy has a history of
voting best screenplay to modest-
budget, vintage Americana films, and
Paul Mazursky's script for Womn fills
the bill perfectly. Woody Allen stands
an outside chance for Interiors, but is
hurt by the fact that he won just last
Deserving Winner: Paul Mazursky.
For once, both probable and most
deserving winner match up. Mazur-
sky's dialogue is occasionally too slick,
but remains consistently funny and
thoughful. It will also perform a major
literary service in beating out Deer Hun-
ter, whose monosyllabic script is one of
the most regrettable in recent memory.
Predicted Winner: Warren Beatty
and Elaine May (Heaven Can Wait).
The hilarious adaptation of 1941's here
Comes Mr. Jordan should win easily,
unless Midnight Express should unex-
pectedly sweep most categories. The
other nominees are strictly light-
Deserving Winner: Oliver Stone
(Midnight Express). This screenplay
has been damned by many critics as
distorting and sensationalizing Billy
Hayes's memoir, but Stone was clearly
after something more than a simple
prison escape film. His finished product
is so horrifically mesmerizing that it
justifies whatever literary liberties he
may have taken to achieve it.
(Continued from Page 5)
may consume the Ramones. Does any-
body know how many Wendy's Hot-and-
Juicy Burgers it takes to kill a man?
How many times can a person stand to
watch Fred Flintsone tweak Barney
Rubble's nose, or hear Johnny say
"Wrong, doggie-doo breath" to Ed,
before he becomes an amorphous
globule of soggy, irradiated DNA
One could think for a good long time
of future scenarios for the Ramones.
Twenty years from now, say, they
stagger into some New York sleazo
equivalent of Micky Rat's, and proceed
to bump into some group of 20-year-old
club-wielding thugs out looking for
communists (no big deal, because
everybody knows communists are
sissies), or book readers, or whoever
the anti-establishment types are
shooting at two decades from now. The
youths are agile, the Ramones bump in-
to as many walls as ever (despite
Joey's chemotherapy), and after a
brief tussle with the gang's switch-
blades, it's all over.
Or: In a few years, some rhetoric-
drunk nut could slice off our heroes'
hands for daring to buy Smarmbars,a
candy bar made by a company with
holdings in South Africa. Hell, in a
couple of decades, that nut might be
But not to worry, you know?.At the
worst, it's still better to die like that
than to live like a permanently dozed-
off walking clone, brimming with head-
strong, holier-than-thou dictums. And
at best.that all years offeanyway and
right now ,they're makng some in-
credible music.

By Owen Gleiberman
W HEN PEOPLE THINK of past Academy Award
travesties, they recall years great films didn't
win-films like Citizen Kane in 1941, or Nashville in
1975. This year, though, the Academy really jumped
the gun. They didn't even nominate Interiors for Best
Picture (although it did pick up several other nomin-
ations). And where, or where, is Terrence Malick's
Days of Heaven?
On the surface, Malick's remarkable second feature
(his first was the 1974 Badlands, which also wasn't
nominated) is a simple tale of sharecroppers
struggling for survival in Depression America.
Weaving an acute awareness of American class
struggle into an ordinary love triangle, Days portrays
three characters-two farmhands and their patriarch-
employer-locked into economic and social realities
that eventually destroy them.
Malick builds his bleak tale with such sweeping
inevitablity-tempered, magically, by Linda Mantz'
naively engaging narration-that Days of Heaven
becomes a quiet indictment of a system during its last
days of isolation, a gentle elegy, like Robert Altman's
McCabe and Mrs. Miller, for a few individuals who seal
their own tragic fates.
I tell myself every year that I don't care whether the
most deserving film wins-that I just want to place my
bets and collect. But a small part of me does watch the
Oscars-horserace that it is-with an eye for quality.
Sometimes, that part of me can even go away satisfied.
When Annie Hall copped the Best Picture award, it
sent both the film buff and the gambler in me into fits,
of ecstasy. This year, I've got the same sort of hopes
pinned on The Deer Hunter.
But by failing to nominate Days of Heaven, the film
of the year, for anything but Best Cinematography, the
Academy essentially denies that a director like Malick
even exists. Tomorrow night, you can bet I'll be per-
ched in front of the telly with beer, popcorn, and
scorecard in hand. I'll be voting (and rooting) along
strictly popular lines. But, now and again, I know I'll
wish that a few other films might at least have been
allowed to enter the starting gate.
Predicted Winner: The Deer Hunter. Although this
movie tackles the touchy subject of Vietnam, it
remains decidely apolitical. The strongest com-
petition, Heaven Can Wait, lacks even the sentimental
one-two punch of Rocky, and it's such an innocuous
wafer of a movie that I can't see the Academy
heralding it the best Hollywood has to offer. The Deer
Hunter, on the other hand, is something you can sink
your teeth into.
Deserving Winner: The Deer Hunter. At the center of
this difficult film's massive ambiguities is both a
reverence for and fear of tlie classically American
ideals of courage and male comaraderie. The Deer
Hunter challenges its audience to stare that duality in
Owen Gleiberman is co-editor of the Sunday


Predicting the A wards

The Michigan Daily-Sundai
Oscars: Sathisy


By Christop
F OR ALL ITS customary
Awards ought to make
time around. Oscar has neve
lack of consensus-an uncha
happen quality prevails in ev
save one.
The Academy seems slighi
this year for what it didn't1
their absence were the films
Friends and Days of Heave
Academy gratifyingly snub
been virtually conceded a Be
ting instead for the brilliant,
-Most astonishing of all v
repudiation of Superman,
surest bet of the year to cor
might indicate Hollywood is.
honor the "little" film, thoi
more economical than aest
read the inflationary handwr
Predicted Winner: The De
ever a category for wide-q
it-thus far the other four m
picked four different films
early on conceded The Deer]
become apparent that a back
leaves it no better than an evi
Wait, a lightweight but fun
really dislikes. The Academy
ti-comedy taboo last year b
picture; it's entirely possibl
selves this time, especially if
Home split the war vote.
Deserving Winner: Midnig
misunderstood, maligned, I
portrait of existenial Hell i
prison is the most mas
passionate offering of the i
Hunter contains stretches of
almost any film of any era
erratic that it ultimately o
Conspicuous Omissions
Chocolate, a wondrous blac
and ethnic alienation, was e
year, yet never stood a cha
stakes owing to its foreign
organization on earth mo:
Academy). Other neglecte
Weil's poignant urban tablea
Malick's optically monumer
Philip Kaufman's terrifying
Body Snatchers (horrors ar
always automatically exci
Christopher Potter wi

Academy A ward Nominees

BEST PICTURE: Coming Home,
The Deer Hunter, Heaven Can Wait,
Midnight Express, An Unmarried
Warren Beatty (Heaven Can Wait),
Gary Busey (The Buddy Holly Story),
Robert De Niro (The Deer Hunter),
Laurence Olivier (The Boys From
Brazil), Jon Voight (Coming Home).
Ingrid Bergman (Autumn Sonata),

Ellen Burstyn (Same Time, Next
Year), Jill Clayburgh (An Unmarried
Woman), Jane Fonda (Coming
Home), Geraldine Page (Interiors).
Bruce Dern (Coming Home), Richard
Farnsworth (Comes A Horseman),
John Hurt (Midnight Express),
Christopher Walken (The Deer Hun-
ter), Jack Warden (Heaven Can

ROLE: Dyan Cannon (Heaven Can
Wait), Penelope Milford (Coming
Home), Maggie Smith (California
Suite), Maureen Stapleton (In-
teriors), Meryl Streep (The Deer
(Interiors), Hal Ashby (Coming
Home), Warren Beatty and Buck
Henry (Heaven Can Wait), Michael
Cimino (The Deer Hunter), Alan
Parker (Midnight Express).

and Warren I
Wait), Walter
brothers), Nei
Suite), Bernard
Next Year), 01
Woody Allen
Bergman (Autu
Cimino, Louis
Redeker, and I
Deer Hunter),
Salt, and Rob,
Home), Paul
married Woman


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