Best Picture and Director 1982

1927/28 through 1997

Please select your choices for Best Picture and Director of 1982 from among the Academy's nominees

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
13
24%
Gandhi
0
No votes
Missing
7
13%
Tootsie
7
13%
The Verdict
0
No votes
Richard Attenborough - Gandhi
1
2%
Sidney Lumet - The Verdict
1
2%
Wolfgang Petersen - Das Boot
6
11%
Sydney Pollack - Tootsie
4
7%
Steven Spielberg - E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
15
28%
 
Total votes: 54

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Re: Best Picture and Director 1982

Postby Precious Doll » Sun May 06, 2018 8:22 am

Precious Doll wrote:Easy choice for me: Missing.

I passed on the director category, though Spielberg is easily the best of the five.

Does anyone know what version of Das Boat was shown in the US in 1982?

I have only ever seen a truncated dubbed version, though I do have the full length German language version on my pile of to be watched discs.


Now that I have finally got around to watching the director's cut of Das Boot, I can vote in the director category and its an easy vote for Petersen. Though I don't remember much about the 1982 version, which I found underwhelming to say the least but I was impressed with the longer version. The characters are very well drawn and the pacing perfect, whereas the shorter version had thinly drawn characters and little tension. Now I'm eager to see the mini-series version which I understand was released in Germany on Blu Ray with English subtitles.
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Re: Best Picture and Director 1982

Postby Heksagon » Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:51 am

Easy choice with E.T.

...I feel like I don't even need to comment on this. Missing and Tootsie and maybe even Gandhi are good films in some way, but none of them are really what I'd say complete films. Tootsie is funny and entertaining at a time when many films tried that, but rarely succeeded, but it's hardly a great film. Missing is far too predictable, and lacking in suspense and drama. It's a decent film, but it really should be a lot better, given the premise. Gandhi has great visuals and a great leading role, but its screenplay is severely lacking, especially in terms of character development.

And then there is the undeserving The Verdict, which has good performances by Paul Newman and James Mason, but is a very routine court drama in other respects.

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Re: Best Picture and Director 1982

Postby The Original BJ » Thu Jul 11, 2013 5:06 pm

I forgot to recount my favorite story about Tootsie, which I heard at a film festival a couple years ago at a panel featuring Dabney Coleman.

Coleman said that NO ONE at the time thought Tootsie was going to be funny at all, he didn't think the script read very funny, and the shoot was pretty haphazard and disorganized. Apparently, on one of the last days of shooting the movie, he and Jessica Lange were waiting to do a take of one of their scenes. Coleman told Lange that it was amazing they were nearly finished shooting, because it sure hadn't felt like they had been working on an actual movie all those weeks. Lange responds with something like, "It's okay. No one's going to see this piece of shit anyway."

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Re: Best Picture and Director 1982

Postby Mister Tee » Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:21 pm

I’m not sure if 1982 is a bit better than most other years in the 80s, or simply gives that impression by virtue of having two critical/popular smashes at the top of the heap.

Certainly there’s not alot beyond what the Academy slated. Diner, still Barry Levinson’s best film, is the only additional movie I’d be itching to push onto the best picture list. As we know, I’m not an especial Victor/Victoria man. I find Sophie’s Choice stands awkwardly somewhere between powerful (the drama/performances) and incompetent (the incredibly static filmmaking). I have fond memories of a mostly-forgotten movie named Tex, and I liked Shoot the Moon, though primarily for the acting. That’s about it.

Gandhi was the forerunner of Braveheart – a signal that Oscar voters in this era would swoon for any David Lean-sized spectacle, even if executed without any of Lean’s distinctive flair. It’s even possible Academy folk preferred their epics without art, given how they tossed aside the ambitious Reds the preceding year but then went all out for the clunky, bloated blandness of Attenborough’s effort. Ben Kingsley’s performance is the only noteworthy element in the entire project; otherwise it’s a three-hour trudge with no visual distinction and awkward dialogue (“There’s young Mr. Nehru; I wonder if he’ll amount to anything?”). But Attenborough, apparently finding his true calling as a huckster, sold the damn thing as some contribution to world peace, and damned if the Hollywood community (and too many critics) didn’t buy in, giving it a whole slew of Oscars it didn’t deserve (screenplay an exceptional dagger to the heart). I think Attenborough’s acceptance speech may have been the first I ever refused to listen to (I remember hearing he said his victory was a rebuke to Reagan and Thatcher – both of whom, history will note, were soon re-elected by massive majorities). I’d revoke every one of Gandhi’s eight prizes, and needless to say will deny it my vote here in either category.

The Verdict might seem better to me today than it did at the time; back then I found it a great disappointment. The film had been touted for much of the year as “Paul Newman’s Oscar picture”, so I was anticipating something halfway deep/meaningful. What I found instead was pure potboiler – courtroom drama with last-minute twist, the kind of thing John Grisham later made a fortune on. There’s nothing inherently wrong with potboilers; I’ve been known to read quite a few for pleasure. But, at least back then, I didn’t think of them as Oscar contenders, and, for me, that Lumet got nominated for this but not Prince of the City a year earlier seemed a real example of misplaced AMPAS priorities. The Verdict doesn’t approach contention, and I could strike it from the ballot with no regret.

Missing is a better film, but I found it, too, a letdown, at least judged against the very enthusiastic reviews it received from most critics. I liked some things about it, most especially the eerie scenes of Spacek stranded overnight past curfew. And I found Lemmon’s performance maybe the best of his post-Save the Tiger career; the role could have easily brought out his self-indulgent worst, but he played the “right-winger learns liberal truth” character with some nuance. However…the fact that his character is written that way is part of the reason I couldn’t wholeheartedly embrace the film. To me, the film was another in a string at the time – many of them starring Jane Fonda – whose primary purpose was to show conservatives how much better off they’d be if they just renounced their ideas and became liberals. Politically, I very much stood with the filmmakers, and, to answer BJ’s query, for many of us, the fact that Nixon/Kissinger had encouraged/abetted the Pinochet coup was an article of faith. But my demands on art extend further than wanting to see my political points validated at the expense of my opponents. For me that was what, in the end, Missing did, so, despite having virtues (including subtlety in making those points), it struck me as only middle-range filmmaking.

Das Boot came as a major Oscar surprise to me. I’d known the film had been around a while, but it had never seemed like any particularly big deal. The DGA nomination was the first sign it might make Academy impact. Unfortunately, by the time the nominations came along, the film was out of theatres; since this was the pre-VCR era, it was thus years before I finally saw it (some of those years I delayed watching because the dubbed version was the only one available). Anyway…I think it’s a perfectly solid wartime drama that well captures the feeling of operating in undersea claustrophobia. Some have suggested the film tilts into pro-Nazi territory by presenting its sailors without judgment, but I think that’s the fairest, most nuanced way to view the characters -- grunt servicemen are essentially apolitical figures fulfilling their missions; it’s unlikely they’d spend much time articulating Germany’s war aims (anymore than the soldiers in The Hurt Locker would have gone on and on about Saddam Hussein). I’m not voting for the film, but I don’t begrudge any of its nods.

I, like most, come down to the two behemoths. As I’ve said in previous threads, films that were hugely successful both critically and commercially were quite common in decades preceding, but in the 80s they were scarce indeed -- post-1982, only Terms of Endearment and Platoon really fell into that category. So, it was pretty wild to have two in one year, and bizarre that they somehow worked against one another and allowed the dreary Gandhi to slip past.

E.T. had the same sort of magic that last half hour of Close Encounters had, but was a far cleaner, more coherent film overall. The story wasn’t exactly groundbreaking – it was essentially a boy/beloved pet story translated to a space alien – and even some plot turns were predictable (anyone who though E.T. was dead had to have never seen a movie before). But the film was full of wonderfully staged humor and had moments of pure joy. And the film’s final half hour had the audience in a grip that, as one critic said at the time, you almost had to go back to silent days for an equivalent. Many films can evoke tears, but a good percentage of those also carry a level of resentment – you feel yourself being manipulated to misty eyes, and feel cheap even while succumbing. But there’s the occasional film that, for me, systematically dismantles all my usual defenses and reduces me to blubbering jelly – It’s a Wonderful Life is one, and E.T. most emphatically another. I have to take my hat off to such efforts, for being able to break through to my inner child. For that, Spielberg deserves my vote as best director.

However…on the premise that dealing with grown-up reality is a higher calling, I have to give my best picture vote to Tootsie. I don’t know if it’s widely remembered now, but Tootsie while in production seemed a potential disaster: Dustin Hoffman’s long-reported penchant for set difficulty had supposedly pushed the film way over-budget, and the premise was hardly surefire. But, once everyone saw the film, all that negative buzz evaporated. Tootsie is, above all, an incredibly funny movie, with great comic contributions from Hoffman as well as Teri Garr, Bill Murray, George Gaynes, Charles Durning, and director Sydney Pollack. But it’s also an insightful movie about where we were in the battle of the sexes in 1982, and a lot of the credit for that goes to (again) Hoffman, but also Jessica Lange, who, no, is not the year’s best supporting actress, but gives a wonderful, surprising performance that enriches the movie beyond farce. There are plenty of great throwaway moments (like when Hoffman knocks over the Central Park mime), wonderful lines (Bill Murray’s “You slut”; Teri Garr’s “I don’t take that crap from friends; only from lovers”) and a splendid climax and touching denouement (when Jessica Lange says “I miss Dorothy”, most of the audience agrees). However it happened (given the plethora of writers attached to the project), Tootsie turned out one of the great comedies of the American screen, and, in the midst of the moribund 80s, it gets my vote for film of the year.

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Re: Best Picture and Director 1982

Postby Reza » Wed Jul 10, 2013 6:59 am

Voted for Tootsie & Sydney Pollack.

My picks for 1982:

Best Picture
1. Tootsie
2. Gandhi
3. Missing
4. Das Boot
5. Victor/Victoria

The 6th Spot: E.T.—The Extra-Terrestrial

Best Director
1. Sydney Pollack, Tootsie
2. Wolfgang Peterson, Das Boot
3. Costa-Gavras, Missing
4. Richard Attenborough, Gandhi
5. Blake Edwards, Victor/Victoria

The 6th Spot: Steven Spielberg, E.T.—The Extra-Terrestrial

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Re: Best Picture and Director 1982

Postby Precious Doll » Wed Jul 10, 2013 3:32 am

The Original BJ wrote:I have one minor issue with the movie, though, and it could be a result of the fact that I saw it twenty-some years after its release rather than in real time...but the script seems to think its revelation that the U.S. had a hand in the coup is really shocking, and I think it assumes that the audience will respond with the same jaw-dropping disbelief that Lemmon's character does. I don't honestly think this sequence played as revelatory in 1982, but it sure doesn't play that way now, and I didn't feel like Costa-Gavras and Co. were exposing the great secret it seems like they thought they were. Not an issue that in any way sinks a movie I otherwise liked a lot, but one that does prevent me from voting for it.



I saw Missing during it's first release in 1982 at the age of 19 and most people appeared to be aware that the U.S. were involved in the coup. John Gillet in the May 1982 edition Films and Filming, an excellent British magazine that expired during the 1980s, summed it up best in his review "Although American (and specifically CIA) involvement in the Chilean coup is now generally admitted, it is still something of a shock to find it clearly delineated in a commercial American film from Universal Pictures, starring such familiar names as Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek."

In another British magazine from that era, Films, Alexander Stuart states "The force of Missing may be measured by a recent report in Time (March 8, 1982) that the State Department had issued an unusual three-page statement disputing the film's major points, and that Nathaniel Davis, US Ambassador to Chile at the time of the coup, and several other officials were considering suing Universal Pictures and possibly Costa-Gavras and Hauser (writer of the book that the film is based on) for defamation of character."

The film clearly ruffled some feathers in high places and there were lawsuits made against the studio. I believe the outcome was in favour of the studio/filmmakers.
Last edited by Precious Doll on Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best Picture and Director 1982

Postby The Original BJ » Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:04 pm

It was a particularly good year for comedies; in addition to Tootsie, both Victor/Victoria and Diner would have made decent candidates. On the art-house side, the Fassbinder pair made for a strong duo.

"You know what's a really great movie I'd love to see again? Gandhi." -- a phrase uttered by no one, ever. It's an utter snoozefest, the kind of movie for voters who equate sheer size (from its ungodly running time to its epic scope to the sheer number of extras that fill the frame) with quality. I'll grant that Richard Attenborough mounts a handsome production -- it's certainly not a shoddy movie in any respect -- but it's the kind of film that, to borrow a phrase from Pauline Kael, "reeks of quality." It's about an important man tastefully filmed doing important things, and it's all so historically austere it must be a seriously important movie. I'd have preferred some life to the thing, a sense of energy or singular vision that Attenborough sorely lacks. I think it's the worst nominee in both Picture and Director, and two of the worst wins of the entire decade.

The Verdict isn't a bad nominee, and has solid elements. The script is compelling enough, with some interesting moral quandaries at its heart, and some surprising narrative turns. And the acting is solid across the board, especially Paul Newman's washed-up alcoholic, but also the strong supporting turns by James Mason and Jack Warden. But for me, this is the kind of movie -- maybe even moreso than the director's lousiest efforts, some of which never had a chance -- that shows that Sidney Lumet just didn't usually bring that much to the table. Visually, it's pretty pedestrian -- court room dramas aren't necessarily the best directorial showcases, but even allowing for that, Lumet shoots this one with about as little imagination as one can find in the genre. I think the potential is there for something superior, but in the end the movie comes across as simply good, and it's another nominee I don't consider.

Wolfgang Petersen is a director who in some ways might be a polar opposite of Sidney Lumet -- Petersen actually DOES have a flair for the cinematic, but he typically works in less artful genres, and his lesser movies are usually doomed right away by their material. But, in his better efforts, like In the Line of Fire, or even in something as lowbrow but effective as Air Force One, Petersen proves himself a strong director of action and suspense. And Das Boot is his best film, partly because the material is far more serious than most of his American efforts, so his set pieces are in service of a more dramatically sturdy narrative. In addition to some majorly suspenseful sequences, I love the way Petersen's attention to detail allows us to feel what life on a U-Boat sub must actually have been like, creating a rich milieu that makes the film seem more realistic than some sillier sub dramas. And the finale carries with it a surprising amount of dramatic weight. I'd still probably say that Das Boot isn't enough of my kind of movie to get my Director vote, but Petersen is probably my runner-up in that category.

Missing is a very good movie that does a lot of things exceptionally well, most notably the fact that the audience really gets a sense of what it might have actually been like to experience a country in the midst of a political coup. It's for this reason that I'm a little surprised Costa-Gavras was the one excluded from the Director lineup, because I think, as in Z, his skill at creating a dramatically tense and emotionally fraught atmosphere is one of the film's chief assets. The other two are Sissy Spacek and Jack Lemmon, both so adept at giving the viewer a human connection to the social upheaval and guiding us through the film's narrative. I have one minor issue with the movie, though, and it could be a result of the fact that I saw it twenty-some years after its release rather than in real time...but the script seems to think its revelation that the U.S. had a hand in the coup is really shocking, and I think it assumes that the audience will respond with the same jaw-dropping disbelief that Lemmon's character does. I don't honestly think this sequence played as revelatory in 1982, but it sure doesn't play that way now, and I didn't feel like Costa-Gavras and Co. were exposing the great secret it seems like they thought they were. Not an issue that in any way sinks a movie I otherwise liked a lot, but one that does prevent me from voting for it.

My vote for Best Picture comes down to the two populist triumphs, both of which accomplish their aims in a far more artful manner than countless imitators of either movie would in the years to come. Tootsie is just a flat-out delightful comedy, and it mines a ridiculous premise (which has spawned a lot of ridiculously contrived movies) to the same inventive joy that Some Like It Hot did. A lot of the success of the movie rests on the sensitivity of the actors' performances -- Dustin Hoffman's genuinely nurturing relationship with the lovely Jessica Lange gives the movie a heart that grounds a lot of the silliness in something poignant, as well as hopelessly romantic. (And "It Might Be You" makes for a truly touching twist on the falling-in-love montage.) But it's also just a sensational piece of screenwriting, perfectly structured for maximum laughs and emotional payoff, handling its numerous subplots (with great comic turns by Murray and Garr) effortlessly. (As one example, I love the way the movie sets up that sometimes the soap has to be filmed live, AND that the cast/crew are used to Dorothy making up lines, allowing for both threads to come together in the movie's hilarious climax.) Sydney Pollack was not what you'd call an auteur, and he never made as good a movie as this again, but sometimes lightning strikes and a mid-level director can get the right script and the right actors and whip it all into something magical, and I think that's about what happens here.

But Steven Spielberg most definitely IS an auteur, and E.T. is one of his most wonderful movies, one that I just adored as a child, and one that ignited a passion for the director's work (and movies period) that has lasted up to today. Here's another movie with a premise that, in the wrong hands, could have been all kinds of silly. But the sense of awe that Spielberg imbues in the material, and the deeply poignant bond that forms between Elliott and the little lost alien makes the movie both a thrilling and lovely experience. Watching the movie as an adult, the movie's most famous sequence -- Elliott & E.T. riding the bicycle across the moon -- stood out in a completely new way for me, as I just burst into tears experiencing it. What's truly amazing is that there's no reason that one should cry during this scene -- it isn't sad, it isn't even really heartfelt in any way, and it's certainly not a moment jerry-rigged to draw tears from the viewer. But I think I was just so dumbstruck by the wonder of the filmmaking -- the cuts create tremendous excitement as Elliott pedals faster and faster, John Williams's glorious score changes keys and soars into the main theme at just the right moment, and the shot of the bicycle riding across the moon is a gorgeous and iconic piece of cinematography. And behind that sense of wonder is Spielberg, a wizard at using the film medium to provoke this kind of instinctive emotional response in an audience. There are some Spielberg films where the emotional manipulation is not so effortless, but for me, E.T. is not one of those. By the time the movie gets to "E.T...I love you" the tears really start to come, and then that final scene ("I'll be right here") just reduces me to a mess of waterworks every time. Many filmmakers have tried to capture the blend of fantastic adventure and childlike wonder that Spielberg triumphs with here, but very few have succeeded as well. My votes for '82: E.T.—The Extra-Terrestrial for Best Picture and Spielberg for his first Best Director prize.

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Re: Best Picture and Director 1982

Postby Eric » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:48 am

01. Tenebre
02. One from the Heart
03. Poltergeist
04. White Dog
05. Dimensions of Dialogue
06. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
07. Vice Squad
08. Querelle
09. Creepshow
10. Fanny and Alexander

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Re: Best Picture and Director 1982

Postby Big Magilla » Sun Jul 07, 2013 9:16 am

Precious Doll wrote:Does anyone know what version of Das Boat was shown in the US in 1982?

I have only ever seen a truncated dubbed version, though I do have the full length German language version on my pile of to be watched discs.

The one you've seen.
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Re: Best Picture and Director 1982

Postby Precious Doll » Sun Jul 07, 2013 2:12 am

Easy choice for me: Missing.

I passed on the director category, though Spielberg is easily the best of the five.

Does anyone know what version of Das Boat was shown in the US in 1982?

I have only ever seen a truncated dubbed version, though I do have the full length German language version on my pile of to be watched discs.
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Re: Best Picture and Director 1982

Postby mlrg » Sat Jul 06, 2013 8:32 pm

voted for ET and Spielberg

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Best Picture and Director 1982

Postby Big Magilla » Sat Jul 06, 2013 3:03 pm

Among the also-rans for Best Picture: Sophie's Choice; Victor/Victoria; An Officer and a Gentleman and Das Boot, all of which I thought were better than Missing and Gandhi which I thought were good, but not quite the masterpieces others seem to think they were.

I found Missing to be a bit too predictable. Did anyone not expect Jack Lemmon to become enlightened by film's end? Gandhi I thought would have been better served without all the famous faces popping up throughout the film. It would have also benefitted from a little more judicious cutting. Nevertheless these were important film and if their Oscar nominations and Oscars (one for Missing, eight for Gandhi) brought more audiences to them than they otherwise have gotten, so be it.

I thought The Verdict was one of Sidney Lumet's best directed films with late career high performances from Paul Newman, James Mason, Jack Warden and Milo O'Shea, but I like both Tootsie and E.T. more.

I'm splitting my vote this year with my Best Picture nod going to E.T., the first Spielberg film I loved without reservation and still do, and my Best Director vote going to Sydney Pollack who was never as good as was Tootsie either before or after.
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