And the Rewritten Oscar goes to…Annie Hall
This is undoubtedly the weakest year of the seventies to date, and also the most significant departure from what we had come to expect from the decade. This was the year of the romantic film, gone are the days of sullen filmmakers, disenchanted with the immorality of Vietnam and Nixon. In 1978 we are back to classical norms, with two schmaltzy Herbert Ross outings and a revolutionarily produced, but in terms of narrative, near overly simplistic, black and white space opera. Romanticism was back in ways that moviegoers had seldom seen in earlier years’ Oscar nominees. Julia is the most melancholic of 78’s contenders, whilst even Annie Hall offers plenty of sweetness whilst still remaining firmly grounded in reality.
Going in to this year, there were two films which, on paper, stood head and shoulders above the rest in terms of reputation. And after seeing each film, rightly so.
I have never been sentimental regrading Star Wars, but it is certainly a wonderfully accessible, terrifically imagined, generic battle of good and evil, if not corny. Whilst Annie Hall is also one of cinema’s most accessible films, perhaps the most accessible for an adult audience, providing some of the most recognisable, fully drawn characters in movie history.
The other three nominees aren’t awful, but are largely unmemorable, save for some strong central performances.
Annie Hall is the clear winner for me in the end. It’s humour and perceptibility spoke to me in ways the other nominees couldn’t, and it’s as clear a choice for me as it was for the Academy in 1978, making them 6/13.
Annie Hall– 3.75/4
Star Wars– 3.5/4
The Turning Point– 2.75/4
The Goodbye Girl– 2.75/4