Film Honors: 1977

My own personal choices for the year. They reflect not just necessarily what I think is the best or essential cinema, but perhaps resonate with me or inspire, both at the time, and still today. Other published Film Honors posts can be found at the menu at the top of the page.

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Actress Support

Leslie Browne (The Turning Point)
Melinda Dillon (Close Encounters of the Third Kind)
*** Tatiana Papamoschou (Iphigenia) ***
Donna Pescow (Saturday Night Fever)
Vanessa Redgrave (Julia)

Actress Lead

Anne Bancroft (The Turning Point)
Jane Fonda (Julia)
Shirley MacLaine (The Turning Point)
***  Irene Papas (Iphigenia) ***
Gena Rowlands (Opening Night)

Michalis Kakogiannis’s epic Iphigenia, is a superbly executed definition of a Greek tragedy. In the middle of a historic tale of men, are a wife and a daughter, between them driving heart and honor into the masculine madness. Erupting all and the kitchen sink, Irene Papas gives blood, sweat, and tears as the distraught Clytemnestra, a devastatingly great performance. On the flip side, but as affecting, the youngster Tatiana Papamoschou shines bright with solemn strength and emotive endeavor – her final moments, the plea, the pure humanity, is heart-breaking and momentous.

Score Composing

Dario Argento, Goblin (Suspiria)
Tangerine Dream (Sorcerer)
Mikis Theodorakis (Iphigenia)
John Williams (Close Encounters of the Third Kind)
*** John Williams (Star Wars) ***

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Screenwriting

*** Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman (Annie Hall) ***
Neil Simon (The Goodbye Girl)
Michalis Kakogiannis (Iphigenia)
George Lucas (Star Wars)
Luis Buñuel, Jean-Claude Carrière (That Obscure Object of Desire)

Whatever Woody Allen did before or after Annie Hall, this seems to always indicate his peak, or finest hours. A rare comedy to win Best Picture at the Oscars, the writing is smart, heart-warming, observant, and exceptionally funny with or without any of those components. In a year where the cinematic quality often delved into squabbling, seduction, space battles, mental breakdowns, murders – Annie Hall is the screenplay I’d happily pick up and read again.

Actor Support

François Truffaut (Close Encounters of the Third Kind)
Ben Gazara (Opening Night)
Jason Robards (Julia)
*** Alec Guinness (Star Wars) ***
Mikhail Baryshnikov (The Turning Point)

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Cinematography

Giorgos Arvanitis (Iphigeni)
Gilbert Taylor (Star Wars)
*** Luciano Tovoli (Suspiria) ***
Haskell Wexler (Bound for Glory)
Vilmos Zsigmond (Close Encounters of the Third Kind)

Vivid, bright, eerie, bold in both scope and colors and depth, Dario Argento gets all the plaudits for his horror style, but cinematographer Luciano Tovoli worked wonders here. Given the vast array of psychedelic imagery and illuminating lighting, you’d be forgiven for allowing repeat viewings – so much to see and be in awe of this is a nasty little treat for the eyes.

Picture Editing

Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Iphigenia
*** Star Wars ***
Suspiria
That Obscure Object of Desire

Actor Lead

Richard Burton (Equus)
Richard Dreyfuss (The Goodbye Girl)
Kostas Kazakos (Iphigenia)
*** Fernando Rey (That Obscure Object of Desire) ***
John Travolta (Saturday Night Fever)

Director

Dario Argento (Suspiria)
John Cassavetes (Opening Night)
*** Michalis Kakogiannis (Iphigenia) ***
George Lucas (Star Wars)
Steven Spielberg (Close Encounters of the Third Kind)

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Motion Picture

Annie Hall (Woody Allen)
The Ascent (Larisa Shepitko)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Steven Spielberg)
The Goodbye Girl (Herbert Ross)
Iphigenia (Michalis Kakogiannis)
Man of Marble (Andrzej Wajda)
Opening Night (John Cassavetes)
*** Star Wars (George Lucas) ***
Suspiria (Dario Argento)
That Obscure Object of Desire (Luis Buñuel)

The one that started it all way back in 1977. The phenomenon that is the Star Wars franchise was born in a tale that was more original than given credit for, broke visual effects barriers, played a huge hand in the sci-fi / blockbuster revival, created a whole host of memorable characters – not to mention the genuine story of good and evil. This movie has literally been with me all my life, my loyalty to the series is unquestionable, but so 1977 flick holds its own, crammed with adventure, excitement, and a glowing portrayal of destiny and friendship.

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