Monday, 18 June 2018

The Motown Top 250 Countdown (#240-236) & This Week's Statistics

Hello, my friends, old and new! It's time for the continuation of the Motown countdown. We are still counting down the lower positions, but you will find both great songs, as well as big hits.

At #240 we find one of Motown's biggest superstars, the late, great, Marvin Gaye, with one of his many fine songs in the mid-1960s, Baby Don't You Do It (1964). It was a #27 hit on the Hot 100 and a #14 hit on the US R&B chart. Written by Motown's star songwriting team of Holland–Dozier–Holland, this song discusses a man who is at a standstill with his girlfriend, who he feels is neglecting his love stating "Don't break my heart/...I've tried to do my best". This is the original studio version:

A stage favorite of The Who from the 1964/65 era, this Marvin Gaye classic was perhaps an unusual choice for revival for Lifehouse. Played at the Young Vic and in the concert act for the remainder of 1971, this version was recorded at the Record Plant, New York on March 16, 1971. Leslie West (of Mountain) guested on lead guitar:

The song was also a favorite of the Band, being a regular concert staple of theirs. More importantly, the song appeared in one of the best music documentaries of all-time, Martin Scorsese's The Last Waltz. If you haven't seen it, you should. This is the excerpt in question:

At #239 is another song written by Holland–Dozier–Holland. (I'm A) Road Runner was recorded by Jr. Walker & The All-Stars, it was released as a single in 1966 and reached the top twenty in both the US and the UK. Walker plays the distinctive tenor saxophone solo, backed by Mike Terry on baritone saxophone with Willie Woods on guitar. During production of the record, it was discovered that Walker could play the song only in two keys. So Walker sang in a key that he couldn't play, and after being recorded, the saxophone track was sped up to match.

The pictorial single sleeve used a running bird similar to the Road Runner cartoon character. Here it is:

Fleetwood Mac recorded the song with Dave Walker on lead vocals for their 1973 album Penguin:

James Taylor performed his version, in September 1976, in episode 1, season 2 of Saturday Night Live. Taylor also included the song on his 2008 album Covers:

Frank Wilson was one of Motown's busiest songwriters and record producers. His portfolio includes, among others, Stevie Wonder's Castles In The Sand, Brenda Holloway's You've Made Me So Very Happy, The Temptations' All I Need, Marvin Gaye's Chained, Diana Ross & the Supremes' Love Child, and The Four Tops' Still Water (Love).

Talk to a serious Motown 45s collector, and they'll bring up Frank Wilson's Do I Love You (Indeed I Do), the only single Wilson released before moving into songwriting and producing at Motown Records. According to the BBC, there are only two known copies left on Earth - Berry Gordy reportedly destroyed the rest. The record was discovered after being played in Britain's Northern Soul nightclubs in the 1970s. One copy fetched an astounding £25,742 at auction in 2009. This is the song, our #238:

Chris Clark also recorded for Motown. Clark became famous in England as the "white negress" (a nickname meant as a compliment), because the six-foot platinum blonde, blue-eyed soul singer toured with fellow Motown artists, who were predominantly black. Clark recorded a great cover version of the song:

At #237 is the theme from a successful movie, Franco Zeffirelli's Endless Love (1981). The film starred Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt. The film's theme song, a duet between Motown's most successful female act, Diana Ross, with the Commodores' frontman, Lionel Richie, who also wrote the song, was a huge US #1, spending 9 weeks at the top of the Hot 100. It was also a #1 hit in Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. It peaked at #7 in the UK:

A cover of the song by Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey was released in 1994 and peaked at #2 in the US. The song was also a success outside the US, reaching the top of the chart in New Zealand (for five weeks) and the top five in the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, and the Netherlands:

Finally for today, at #236, we find a song by the post-Diana Ross Supremes. Automatically Sunshine is a song written by Smokey Robinson and was released by The Supremes as the second single from their popular album Floy Joy in 1972. Mary Wilson and Jean Terrell shared lead vocals on this sexy number which should have charted higher - it peaked at #37 on the US Hot 100 and at #21 on the US R&B chart. It did make the top 10 in the UK though:

An American bossa nova/pop musical duo composed of Bill DeMain and Molly Felder, Swan Dive, covered the song in the 2000s:

Now, let's continue with last week's statistics; the pattern continues; after a rise, there is a fall. So it was this week, with a 3.5% drop over last week's visits. The second installment of the Motown countdown was less visited than the first - and the second part of the 1979 Oscars was also less visited than the first, which is strange, as it included a lot more information. The United States and Canada were the week's winning countries, while France and Turkey suffered minor losses. I'm happy to welcome Vietnam in the top 10 for the first time. The other major players kept their percentages more or less stable.

Here are this week's Top 10 countries:

1. the United States
2. the United Kingdom
3. Greece
4. Canada
5. Germany
6. France
7. Spain
8. Australia
9. Brazil
10. Vietnam

Here are the other countries that graced us with their presence since our last statistics (alphabetically): Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Aruba, Austria, the Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czechia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, French Polynesia, FYR Of Macedonia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar (Burma), the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Happy to have you all!

And here's the all-time Top 10:

1. the United States = 28.5%
2. France = 22.8%
3. the United Kingdom = 13.0%
4. Greece = 6.7%
5. Russia = 2.6%
6. Germany = 1.8%
7. Canada = 1.6%
8. Italy = 1.2%
9. Turkey = 0.95%
10. Cyprus = 0.87%

That's all for today, folks. Till the next one!

Saturday, 16 June 2018

The Oscar-winning Songs Countdown: 1979 - part 2

It's time for the second part of a very well-received story, concerning the Oscar films and songs of 1979. Have we run out of great movies to present? Of course not!

Francis Ford Coppola was king of the hill in the 1970s. After having honed his skills alongside Roger Corman in the 60s, the four films that he directed between 1972 and 1979 (The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II, The Conversation, and Apocalypse Now) were not only among the best films of the decade but in fact among the best films of all-time. The latter was his most ambitious effort - and the story of its production is almost as interesting as the film itself.

Apocalypse Now was an updating of Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness set during the Vietnam War. John Milius had approached Coppola with the idea in 1967, and George Lucas was supposed to have directed it after American Graffiti, but he became busy with Star Wars, so Coppola thought he'd take it on - and the trouble started.

Although the director coaxed Marlon Brando to play the film's Promethean villain, Colonel Walter E. Kurtz, and his old buddy, Robert Duvall (The Rain People, The Godfather, The Godfather: part II) to play the colorful Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore, Coppola couldn't convince another star to portray the hero, whose mission is to find and rub out Brando. Robert Redford and Jack Nicholson said no thanks, as did three former Coppola stars, Gene Hackman, Al Pacino, and James Caan.

Finally, Steve McQueen consented, but a month before filming started, Coppola told Women's Wear Daily, "I've got a $17 million picture uncast. I had Steve McQueen and all that group, but they all backed out at the last minute because they didn't want to spend six months in the jungle. Coppola replaced Steve McQueen with Harvey Keitel and started shooting on location in the Philippines. There he fired Keitel and replaced him with Martin Sheen, 37, who had a heart attack. Brando did not cause Coppola any trouble, although the director was caught off-guard when the actor reported to work 90 pounds overweight.

By the spring of 1979, the director had a 150-minute version of the movie that he entered in the Cannes Film Festival. The jury gave Apocalypse Now its top honor, Le Palme D' Or, but made Coppola share it with Volker Schlöndorff's adaptation of Gunther Grass' The Tin Drum. Coppola made the most of it by walking onstage holding Schlöndorff's hand triumphantly over their heads. "It's taken a long, long time, but I feel I've staged a real piece of work about an important American era," Coppola said. "I think it's a monument."

Most of the critics seemed to agree. Instead of giving you excerpts from different critics, I've decided to quote Roger Ebert's complete review, because I find it quite enlightening:

"In his book The Films of My Life, the French director Francois Truffaut makes a curious statement. He used to believe, he says, that a successful film had to simultaneously express "an idea of the world and an idea of cinema." But now, he writes: "I demand that a film express either the joy of making cinema or the agony of making cinema. I am not at all interested in anything in between; I am not interested in all those films that do not pulse."

It may seem strange to begin a review of Francis Coppola's Apocalypse Now with those words, but consider them for a moment and they apply perfectly to this sprawling film. The critics who have rejected Coppola's film mostly did so on Truffaut's earlier grounds: They have arguments with the ideas about the world and the war in Apocalypse Now, or they disagree with the very idea of a film that cost $31 million to make and was then carted all over the world by a filmmaker still uncertain whether he has the right ending.

That "other" film on the screen -- the one we debate because of its ideas, not its images -- is the one that has caused so much controversy about Apocalypse Now. We have all read that Coppola took as his inspiration the Joseph Conrad novel Heart of Darkness and that he turned Conrad's journey up the Congo into a metaphor for another journey up a jungle river, into the heart of the Vietnam War. We've all read Coppola's grandiose statements (the most memorable: "This isn't a film about Vietnam. This film is Vietnam."). We've heard that Marlon Brando was paid $1 million for his closing scenes and that Coppola gambled his personal fortune to finish the film, and, heaven help us, we've even read a journal by the director's wife in which she discloses her husband's ravings and infidelities.

But all such considerations are far from the reasons why Apocalypse Now is a good and important film -- a masterpiece, I believe. Years and years from now, when Coppola's budget and his problems have long been forgotten, Apocalypse Now will still stand, I think, as a grand and grave and insanely inspired gesture of filmmaking -- of moments that are operatic in their style and scope, and of other moments so silent we can almost hear the director thinking to himself.

I should at this moment make a confession: I am not particularly interested in the "ideas" in Coppola's film. Critics of Apocalypse Now have said that Coppola was foolish to translate Heart of Darkness, that Conrad's vision had nothing to do with Vietnam, and that Coppola was simply borrowing Conrad's cultural respectability to give a gloss to his own disorganized ideas. The same objection was made to the hiring of Brando: Coppola was hoping, according to this version, that the presence of Brando as an icon would distract us from the emptiness of what he's given to say.

Such criticisms are made by people who indeed are plumbing Apocalypse Now for its ideas, and who are as misguided as the veteran Vietnam correspondents who breathlessly reported, some months ago, that The Deer Hunter was not "accurate." What idea or philosophy could we expect to find in Apocalypse Now -- and what good would it really do, at this point after the Vietnam tragedy, if Brando's closing speeches did have the "answers"? Like all great works of art about war, Apocalypse Now essentially contains only one idea or message, the not-especially-enlightening observation that war is hell. We do not go to see Coppola's movie for that insight -- something Coppola, but not some of his critics, knows well.

Coppola also well knows (and demonstrated in The Godfather films) that movies aren't especially good at dealing with abstract ideas -- for those you'd be better off turning to the written word -- but they are superb for presenting moods and feelings, the look of a battle, the expression on a face, the mood of a country. Apocalypse Now achieves greatness not by analyzing our "experience in Vietnam," but by re-creating, in characters and images, something of that experience.

An example: The scene in which Robert Duvall, as a crazed lieutenant colonel, leads his troops in a helicopter assault on a village is, quite simply, the best movie battle scene ever filmed. It's simultaneously numbing, depressing, and exhilarating: As the rockets jar from the helicopters and spring through the air, we're elated like kids for a half-second, until the reality of the consequences sinks in.

Another wrenching scene -- in which the crew of Martin Sheen's Navy patrol boat massacres the Vietnamese peasants in a small boat -- happens with such sudden, fierce, senseless violence that it forces us to understand for the first time how such things could happen.

Coppola's Apocalypse Now is filled with moments like that, and the narrative device of the journey upriver is as convenient for him as it was for Conrad. That's really why he uses it, and not because of literary cross-references for graduate students to catalog. He takes the journey, strings episodes along it, leads us at last to Brando's awesome, stinking hideaway ... and then finds, so we've all heard, that he doesn't have an ending. Well, Coppola doesn't have an ending, if we or he expected the closing scenes to pull everything together and make sense of it. Nobody should have been surprised. Apocalypse Now doesn't tell any kind of a conventional story, doesn't have a thought-out message for us about Vietnam, has no answers, and thus needs no ending.

The way the film ends now, with Brando's fuzzy, brooding monologues and the final violence, feels much more satisfactory than any conventional ending possibly could.

What's great in the film, and what will make it live for many years and speak to many audiences, is what Coppola achieves on the levels Truffaut was discussing: the moments of agony and joy in making cinema. Some of those moments come at the same time; remember again the helicopter assault and its unsettling juxtaposition of horror and exhilaration. Remember the weird beauty of the massed helicopters lifting over the trees in the long shot, and the insane power of Wagner's music, played loudly during the attack, and you feel what Coppola was getting at: Those moments as common in life as art, when the whole huge grand mystery of the world, so terrible, so beautiful, seems to hang in the balance."

The public seemed to agree: the film grossed $83.471 million in the US only - the 4th highest-grosser of the year (see The Oscar-winning Songs Countdown: 1979 - part 1). Despite its bloated budget, the film made a profit.

This is the Apocalypse Now intro; the song is The Doors' The End:

This is the helicopter assault to the sound of Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries:

This is the Napalm + Surf scene featuring Robert Duvall:

This is Marlon Brando as Colonel Walter E. Kurtz:

Coppola's old adversary, Bob Fosse, (they were pitted against each other for the Best Director Oscar in 1972 and in 1974: Fosse won the former, while Coppola won the latter,) was also having problems with his latest project - an autobiographical probe called All That Jazz. Richard Dreyfuss left the picture, so Fosse hired Roy Scheider to play the hero, a sexually compulsive choreographer-director juggling a Broadway musical and a motion picture, who has a heart attack. Fosse was such a stickler for realism, he enlisted the cardiac surgical team of a New York hospital for the film's graphic open-heart surgery scene and gave them credit.

Scheider told Playboy about another method Fosse used to bring the element of truth to the movie. "Of course, many women in the cast were women whom Bob had gone with at one time, which I found very interesting, though, of course, all were hired strictly on the basis of talent." Scheider added, "This is Bob Fosse's 8½. We never discussed the Fellini film, yet Fosse has the same wonderful confusion about women in his movie." Fosse also had Fellini's cinematographer, Giuseppe Rotunno, to blend the fantasy scenes seamlessly within his portrait of the New York theater world.

All That Jazz opened to mostly great reviews, although some, like Liz Smith, called the film "a dazzling, overlong, and flawed ego trip." I think Vincent Canby said it best in the New York Times:

"All That Jazz is much less an 8½ than it is the most forthrightly candid variation ever worked out on Peter Pan and all other middle‐aged boys who have refused to grow up. It is an uproarious display of brilliance, nerve, dance, maudlin confessions, inside jokes and, especially, ego. It's a little bit as if Mr. Fosse had invited us to attend his funeral - the wildest show‐business sendoff a fellow ever designed for himself - and then appeared at the door to sell tickets and count the house; after all, funerals are only wasted on the dead.

All That Jazz is an essentially funny movie that seeks to operate on too many levels at the same time, but Mr. Fosse, like Barnum & Bailey, believes in giving the customers their money's worth. Some of it makes you wince, but a lot of it is great fun. There are big, beautiful, steamy, typically Fosse production numbers, small, intimate dance routines, shots of open-heart surgery that may send you under your seat, soul‐searching, gags, fantasies, flashbacks and, finally, emerging from the machine‐made fog, the figure of a man who isn't always likable but who deserves the attention he affords himself. Not even Fellini, Ingmar Bergman or Woody Allen — all of whom are similarly guilt‐ridden — has ever celebrated himself quite so cruelly.

However, it's the excesses that make All That Jazz as appealing as it is, in much the way that Joe Gideon's incredible self‐absorption fascinates the people around him. They see it as what they have to put up with to associate with the charm and talent that go with it.

We take the flamboyance of All That Jazz not as an artist's indiscretion but as the fundamental nature of the enterprise. After carefully attending to the screen versions of other people's dreams (Cabaret and Lenny), Mr. Fosse is here attending to his own."

These are two of the film's best musical scenes. First, this is Take Off With Us:

And this is the closing number, Bye Bye Love/Life:

New York was the subject of another of the year's best films, Woody Allen's Manhattan. This modern-day La Ronde was amazingly photographed in black-and-white by The Godfather's Gordon Willis. This is the great opening sequence, to the sound of perhaps the greatest piece of music in the 20th century, George Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue:

"I had a terrible image," said Sally Field, 32. Because I had appeared in the TV series Gidget and The Flying Nun, nobody ever suggested me for a movie. Who in America would have wanted to pay to see anything like me in the movies? I was a continual put-down, a national joke, a running gag."

Field finally separated from The Flying Nun persona when she split into 16 different personalities in the 1977 TV-movie, Sybil. After winning an Emmy for her performance as a schizophrenic, Field had credibility as an actress, but she still wasn't offered much in the way of movie roles outside of her co-starring appearances in Burt Reynolds' movies - they were an item off-screen.

Enter director Martin Ritt, who was trying to cast the title role of Norma Rae, the story of a poor Southern textile worker who becomes active in the unionization of her company. Jane Fonda didn't want the part, and neither did Jill Clayburgh or Faye Dunaway. Finally, Sally Field received a copy of the script. Burt Reynolds read it and said, "May I have the envelope, please? And the winner is Sally Field for Norma Rae." She took the part, and Ritt told interviewers, "In my opinion, she's going to be one of Hollywood's biggest stars; she's sexy, funny, photogenic, zany, bouncy, and tough - possibly another Carole Lombard."

When Norma Rae opened in March, the reviews were mixed, but there was one thing everybody agreed on: Sally Field was amazing. The New York Times' Vincent Canby wrote, "Norma Rae is a seriously concerned contemporary drama, illuminated by some very good performances and one, Miss Field's, that is spectacular." Jay Scott of Toronto's The Globe And Mail was even more enthusiastic, "This is Sally Field's movie. Her performance - hyperbole completely aside - is peerless, one of the major achievements by an actress in the movies of any place and of any time. Reuben tells Norma Rae that when he wants a smart, loud, profane, sloppy, hardworking woman he'll call on her. From now on, when directors want legerdemain that becomes art, they're going to call on Sally Field." On the other end, Newsweek's David Ansen wrote, "Field comes off best under the circumstances - she has real spirit - but Leibman, too eager to be liked, hits all the stereotypes on the head and Bridges is saddled with an underwritten, utterly inexplicable character. What Norma Rae really tells us is that Hollywood is still capable of making condescending paeans to the "little people" with all the phoniness of yesteryear."

Also receiving good notices was the film's song, It Goes Like It Goes, sung by Jennifer Warnes. It is a pretty cool song about how nothing is really that big a deal ("Ain't no miracle bein' born / People doin' it every day"):

Jane Fonda, meanwhile, was doing her radicalization act again on a movie about the dangers of nuclear energy. Actor-producer Michael Douglas had a story called Power, about a TV news team that accidentally witnesses an emergency at a nuclear plant and Richard Dreyfuss was supposed to play Douglas' fellow journalist, but when he dropped out (again), the role switched genders. Fonda had been trying to film the life of Karen Silkwood, the late nuclear energy safety activist, but the project was tied up with too many legal complications, so Fonda signed on with Douglas and arranged to have her own production company coproduce.

The role of a conscience-stricken nuclear plant employee was rejected by both Jack Nicholson and Robert Redford, so Douglas turned to someone involved in films against nuclear proliferation - Jack Lemmon, who had narrated two documentaries.

Retitled The China Syndrome, the movie opened in March to praise from the critics and pans from the energy companies. An executive at Westinghouse called it, "an overall character assassination of an entire industry", but two weeks after the premiere life imitated art at a nuclear power plant on Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania, where a leak sent radioactive steam escaping into the atmosphere. When reporters rushed to ask Michael Douglas about this bonanza of free publicity, the producer exclaimed, "I've never had an experience like this. It goes beyond the realm of coincidence; it's enough to make you religious." It The China Syndrome made a hit, with domestic rentals of over $26 million.

Because of the delays in the production of Apocalypse Now, Frederic Forrest was almost unavailable for Bette Midler to chase in The Rose. The movie was originally entitled "Pearl", which was a biographical movie based on Janis Joplin's life. When approached with the script for "Pearl", Bette Midler believed it was too soon after Joplin's death to portray her life in a movie. Rewrites were then made, with Midler's guidance, that deleted some portions of the original script and embellished other parts of the story. Then the rewritten script was named The Rose and Midler agreed to the lead role. Bette Midler had already turned down parts in Rocky (1976), Nashville (1975) and Foul Play (1978) in order to find the role which would make her "an instant screen icon". She believed that The Rose was the one.

She was right. The critics loved her. The New Yorker's Pauline Kael enthused, "Midler gives a paroxysm of a performance - it's scabrous yet delicate, and altogether amazing. The movie is hyper and lurid, yet it's also a very strong emotional experience, with an exciting visual and musical flow, and there are sharply written, beautifully played dialogue scenes."

Bette was especially good as a singer of the movie's songs. The title track, in particular, became a huge hit:

Midler returned to Broadway in a show called Divine Madness after the film's premiere - and she instructed her audience to see her movie. "It's great and I get to die at the end, the actress said. Enough of her fans followed orders and The Rose was another success for Bette Midler.

Jerzy Kosinski was surprised when he published his novel Being There, about Chance the Gardener, and received a telegram from the fictional character. "Available in my garden or outside of it. C. Gardener" read the telegram, which included a telephone number. Kosinski called up and Peter Sellers answered. "This character was created for me to play on the screen," the actor asserted. "Since my heart attack in 1964, my life has been dictated by chance." Sellers took no chances with the screen adaptation and sent the book to Hal Ashby in 1973 when the director was editing The Last Detail. "Neither of us had the power then to raise the money for it," Ashby said, but after he directed Shampoo and Coming Home and Sellers resurrected the Pink Panther series, a production company called Lorimar decided they were good investments and came through with the cash.

Kosinski wrote the screenplay and marveled at Sellers' skill at portraying the imbecile who, through luck, becomes President of the United States."Nobody thought Chance was even a character, yet Peter knew the man," the author said. Costar Shirley MacLaine thought Laurence Olivier would be perfect as the billionaire who launches the simpleton's political career, but he turned the role down. "I called Larry about it the other day," MacLaine said. "He didn't like the idea of being in a film with me masturbating." Screen veteran Melvyn Douglas, 78, had no such qualms and took the part.

The critics agreed that the film was great - and its actors even more so. Janet Maslin wrote in The New York Times, "Being There is a stately, beautifully acted satire with a premise that's funny but fragile. (...) Hal Ashby directs Being There at an unruffled, elegant pace, the better to let Mr. Sellers's double‐edged mannerisms make their full impression upon the audience. Mr. Sellers never strikes a false note, as he exhibits the kind of naÏveté that the film's other characters mistake for eccentricity. (...) The other fine actors in Being There - Melvyn Douglas as a poignantly ailing rich man, Shirley MacLaine as his sexy, sprightly wife, Jack Warden as a suspicious President and Richard Dysart as the sick man's quietly watchful doctor - conspire to accept Chance as a plausible figure, and thereby keep the story in motion. There is superb ensemble playing in Being There, particularly in scenes that bring Mr. Sellers and Mr. Douglas together. The timing is often so perfect that the film, at its very wittiest, strips conversation down to its barest maneuvers and stratagems."

So popular was Sellers that buttons bearing one of Chance's lines in the film - "I like to watch" - became big sellers for sidewalk vendors.

Writer James L. Brooks, a creator of TV's The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Taxi, was branching out into films, with a romantic comedy entitled Starting Over, starring Burt Reynolds, Jill Clayburgh, and Candice Bergen. Reynolds counted on the urban comedy to do to his good-ole-boy image what Norma Rae did to Sally Field's flying nun identity. Variety assured the actor that he had attained his goal: "It's a performance that should get the critics off his back once and for all." The critics left him alone, but Hollywood didn't seem to notice. "I hoped that the critical success of Starting Over would mean I would be offered similar roles. I wasn't." Reynolds said. "I can't see over the top of the scripts on my desk, but they're all the same as Smokey And The Bandit."

Chapter Two represented a unique challenge for Marsha Mason - she was portraying a character based on herself. Neil Simon's play was about his whirlwind marriage to Mason and their subsequent problems when he discovered he was still hung up over his late first wife. Mason was not in the original Broadway production because "It would have been weird to do the role at that time." She did feel ready to tackle the movie version, though - "I feel much more separated from it now." "Mason is as fetching as ever," raved Stanley Kauffmann, "the ideal magazine-story heroine, with suggestions of Nanette Fabray and Rosalynn Carter, blended into a funny, sexy, appealingly snuffy persona."

Norman Jewison's ... And Justice For All, a courtroom drama starring Al Pacino and the future Blake Carrington of Dynasty, John Forsythe, was largely dismissed by the critics, but Al Pacino's performance got some positive attention. Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert wrote, "Here's an angry comedy crossed with an expose and held together by one of those high-voltage Al Pacino performances that's so sure of itself we hesitate to demur."

The Foreign Language Submissions

The People's Republic of China submitted a film for the first time. It was Effendi (阿凡提) by Lang Xiao. There were stronger entries, however: Germany's The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel) by Volker Schlöndorff had already shared top honors with Apocalypse Now at the Cannes Film Festival. Poland's The Maids of Wilko (Panny z Wilka) by Andrzej Wajda was impressive, and so was France's A Simple Story (Une Histoire Simple) by Claude Sautet, featuring a very lovely Romy Schneider. Spain had high hopes with Carlos Saura's Mama Turns 100 (Mamá Cumple 100 Años). Also hopeful were Czechoslovakia with Jiří Menzel's Those Wonderful Men With A Crank (Báječní Muži s Klikou), Egypt's Alexandria... Why? (إسكندرية... ليه؟) by Youssef Chahine, and Hungary's Angi Vera by Pál Gábor.

My favorite of them all, however, was Italy's submission, To Forget Venice (Dimenticare Venezia) by Franco Brusati. A brilliant movie that revolves around a brother and sister, both gay and romantically involved, coming together at their mother's house, it greatly benefitted from stellar performances by Erland Josephson, Mariangela Melato, and Eleonora Giorgi, as well as by Romano Albani's nostalgic cinematography and Ruggero Mastroianni's thoughtful editing. It's not an easy film to find, but if you do, it's definitely worth watching.

Here are all the Foreign Language submissions:

And these are all the notable films released in 1979:

       10, directed by Blake Edwards, starring Dudley Moore, Julie Andrews, Bo Derek, Robert Webber, Brian Dennehy
       1941, directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Tim Matheson, Nancy Allen, Toshiro Mifune, Treat Williams, Warren Oates, Robert Stack
       L'adolescente (The Adolescent), directed by Jeanne Moreau, starring Simone Signoret - (France)
       The Adventure of Sudsakorn, the first and only cel-animated feature film from Thailand
       Agatha, directed by Michael Apted, starring Vanessa Redgrave and Dustin Hoffman - (U.K.)
       Alien, directed by Ridley Scott, starring Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Harry Dean Stanton, Yaphet Kotto - (U.S.A./U.K.)
       All Quiet on the Western Front, a TV film directed by Delbert Mann, starring Richard Thomas and Ernest Borgnine
       All That Jazz, directed by Bob Fosse, starring Roy Scheider, Ann Reinking, Ben Vereen, John Lithgow, Jessica Lange
       An Almost Perfect Affair, starring Keith Carradine and Monica Vitti
       Americathon, starring John Ritter and Harvey Korman
       The Amityville Horror, directed by Stuart Rosenberg, starring James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Rod Steiger
       ...And Justice for All, directed by Norman Jewison, starring Al Pacino, John Forsythe, Jack Warden, Christine Lahti, Craig T. Nelson, Jeffrey Tambor
       Apocalypse Now, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, starring Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, Dennis Hopper, Laurence Fishburne, Frederic Forrest
       Ashanti, directed by Richard Fleischer, starring Michael Caine and Peter Ustinov
       Baby Snakes, directed by Frank Zappa

       Bear Island, starring Donald Sutherland, Vanessa Redgrave, Richard Widmark, Barbara Parkins
       Being There, directed by Hal Ashby, starring Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine, Melvyn Douglas, Jack Warden
       Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, directed by Irwin Allen, starring Michael Caine, Telly Savalas, Sally Field, Karl Malden, Shirley Jones
       Birth of the Beatles, directed by Richard Marquand
       The Bitch, starring Joan Collins - (U.K.)
       The Black Hole, directed by Gary Nelson, starring Maximilian Schell, Anthony Perkins, Ernest Borgnine, Yvette Mimieux
       The Black Stallion, directed by Carroll Ballard, starring Mickey Rooney, Hoyt Axton, Teri Garr, Kelly Reno
       Bloodline, directed by Terence Young, starring Audrey Hepburn, Ben Gazzara, James Mason, Gert Fröbe, Beatrice Straight
       Bloody Kids, directed by Stephen Frears - (U.K.)
       Boardwalk, starring Ruth Gordon, Lee Strasberg, Janet Leigh
       Breaking Away, directed by Peter Yates, starring Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, Jackie Earle Haley, Paul Dooley
       Breakthrough, starring Richard Burton, Robert Mitchum, Rod Steiger, Curd Jürgens
       The Brood, directed by David Cronenberg, starring Oliver Reed and Samantha Eggar - (Canada)
       Buffet Froid, directed by Bertrand Blier, starring Gérard Depardieu, Bernard Blier, Jean Carmet - (France)
       Butch and Sundance: The Early Days, starring Tom Berenger and William Katt
       The Butterfly Murders (Die Bian), directed by Tsui Hark - (Hong Kong)
       California Dreaming, starring Glynnis O'Connor, Dennis Christopher, Tanya Roberts
       Caligula, directed by Tinto Brass, written by Gore Vidal, starring Malcolm McDowell, Teresa Ann Savoy, Helen Mirren, Peter O'Toole - (Italy/U.S.A.)
       Camera Buff. directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski - (Poland)
       The Castle of Cagliostro (Rupan sansei: Kariosutoro no Shiro), an anime film by Hayao Miyazaki - (Japan)
       The Cat and the Canary, starring Honor Blackman, Carol Lynley, Olivia Hussey - (U.K.)
       The Champ, directed by Franco Zeffirelli, starring Jon Voight, Faye Dunaway, Ricky Schroder, Jack Warden, Arthur Hill
       Chapter Two, starring James Caan, Marsha Mason, Joseph Bologna, Valerie Harper
       The China Syndrome, directed by James Bridges, starring Jack Lemmon, Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas
       Christ Stopped at Eboli (Italian: Cristo si è fermato a Eboli), directed by Francesco Rosi, starring Gian Maria Volontè - (Italy/France)
       City on Fire, starring Susan Clark and Ava Gardner
       The Concorde ... Airport '79, starring Alain Delon, Susan Blakely, Robert Wagner, George Kennedy
       Cuba, directed by Richard Lester, starring Sean Connery, Brooke Adams, Chris Sarandon
       David - (West Germany) - Golden Bear winner
       Don Giovanni, directed by Joseph Losey, starring Ruggero Raimondi, John Macurdy, Kiri Te Kanawa - (Italy/France/U.K./West Germany)

       Dracula, directed by John Badham, starring Frank Langella, Laurence Olivier, Trevor Eve - (U.S.A./U.K.)
       Dreamer, starring Tim Matheson
       Eagle's Wing, starring Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston - (U.K.)
       The Electric Horseman, directed by Sydney Pollack, starring Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, Valerie Perrine, John Saxon, Willie Nelson
       Escape from Alcatraz, directed by Don Siegel, starring Clint Eastwood, Patrick McGoohan, Fred Ward
       Escape to Athena, starring Roger Moore, David Niven, Elliott Gould, Stefanie Powers, Claudia Cardinale, Telly Savalas - (U.K.)
       The Europeans, directed by James Ivory, starring Lee Remick, Lisa Eichhorn, Kristin Griffith - (U.K.)
       Ffolkes, aka North Sea Hijack, starring Roger Moore, James Mason, Anthony Perkins, Michael Parks - (U.K.)
       The Fifth Musketeer, starring Sylvia Kristel, Ursula Andress, Beau Bridges, Ian McShane, Rex Harrison - (Austria/West Germany)
       Firepower, starring Sophia Loren, James Coburn, O. J. Simpson - (U.K.)
       First Case, Second Case (Qazieh, Shekl-e Avval, Shekl-e Dovom), directed by Abbas Kiarostami - (Iran)
       The First Great Train Robbery, starring Sean Connery, Lesley-Anne Down, Donald Sutherland - (U.K.)
       French Postcards, starring Miles Chapin, David Marshall Grant, Debra Winger
       Gal Young Un, directed by Victor Nuñez
       Going in Style, directed by Martin Brest, starring George Burns, Art Carney, Lee Strasberg
       Hair, directed by Miloš Forman, starring John Savage, Treat Williams, Beverly D'Angelo

       Hanover Street, directed by Peter Hyams, starring Harrison Ford, Lesley-Anne Down, Christopher Plummer - (U.S.A./U.K.)
       Hardcore, directed by Paul Schrader, starring George C. Scott and Peter Boyle
       Heartland, directed by Richard Pearce, starring Rip Torn and Conchata Ferrell - Golden Bear winner, Sundance Grand Jury Prize
       Hot Stuff, directed by and starring Dom DeLuise, with Suzanne Pleshette, Ossie Davis, Jerry Reed
       The Human Factor, starring Richard Attenborough, John Gielgud, Derek Jacobi - (U.K.)
       Hurricane, starring Mia Farrow, Jason Robards, Max von Sydow, Trevor Howard
       The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting (L'Hypothèse du tableau volé), directed by Raúl Ruiz - (France)
       I as in Icarus (I... comme Icare), starring Yves Montand - (France)
       The In-Laws, directed by Arthur Hiller, starring Alan Arkin and Peter Falk
       Jaguar - (Philippines)
       The Jerk, directed by Carl Reiner, starring Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters
       Jesus, directed by Peter Sykes and John Krisch, starring Brian Deacon - (Australia/U.S.A./U.K.)
       Just You and Me, Kid, starring George Burns and Brooke Shields
       Kaala Patthar (Black Stone), starring Shashi Kapoor - (India)
       The Kids Are Alright, a rockumentary featuring The Who - (U.K.)

       Knockabout, directed by and starring Sammo Hung - (Hong Kong)
       Kramer vs. Kramer, directed by Robert Benton, starring Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep (both won Oscars), Justin Henry, JoBeth Williams, Jane Alexander
       The Lady Vanishes, starring Elliott Gould, Cybill Shepherd, Angela Lansbury
       Last Embrace, directed by Jonathan Demme, starring Roy Scheider and Janet Margolin
       A Little Romance, directed by George Roy Hill, starring Laurence Olivier, Diane Lane, Sally Kellerman - (France/U.S.A.)
       Little Tragedies (Malenkie tragedii) - (U.S.S.R.)
       Love and Bullets, directed by Stuart Rosenberg, starring Charles Bronson, Jill Ireland, Rod Steiger
       Love at First Bite, starring George Hamilton and Susan Saint James
       Love on the Run (L'amour en fuite), directed by François Truffaut - (France)

       Lovers and Liars (Viaggio con Anita), starring Goldie Hawn and Giancarlo Giannini - (Italy/France)
       La Luna, directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, starring Jill Clayburgh - (Italy)
       Mad Max, directed by George Miller, starring Mel Gibson - (Australia)
       The Magician of Lublin, starring Alan Arkin, Louise Fletcher, Valerie Perrine
       Magnificent Butcher (Lin shi rong), starring Sammo Hung - (Hong Kong)
       The Main Event, starring Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal
       Mamá cumple cien años (Mama Turns 100), directed by Carlos Saura, starring Geraldine Chaplin - (Spain)
       Manhattan, directed by and starring Woody Allen, with Diane Keaton, Michael Murphy, Mariel Hemingway
       A Man, a Woman, and a Bank, starring Donald Sutherland and Brooke Adams
       The Marriage of Maria Braun, directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, starring Hanna Schygulla - (West Germany)
       Meatballs, directed by Ivan Reitman, starring Bill Murray - (Canada)
       Meetings with Remarkable Men, Gurdjieff biography directed by Peter Brook - (U.K.)
       Meteor, directed by Ronald Neame, starring Sean Connery, Natalie Wood, Karl Malden, Henry Fonda, Martin Landau, Trevor Howard
       Monty Python's Life of Brian, directed by Terry Jones, starring Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin - (U.K.)

       Moonraker, directed by Lewis Gilbert, starring Roger Moore (as James Bond), with Lois Chiles, Michael Lonsdale, Richard Kiel - (U.K.)
       More American Graffiti, starring Candy Clark, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Charles Martin Smith, Cindy Williams
       Mr. Mike's Mondo Video, starring Michael O'Donoghue, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray
       The Muppet Movie, made by Jim Henson, with Charles Durning and Dom DeLuise

       Murder by Decree, starring Christopher Plummer (as Sherlock Holmes) and James Mason - (U.K./Canada)
       My Brilliant Career, directed by Gillian Armstrong, starring Judy Davis and Sam Neill - (Australia)
       Nightwing, directed by Arthur Hiller, starring Nick Mancuso and Kathryn Harrold
       Noorie, directed by Manmohan Krishna - (India)
       Norma Rae, directed by Martin Ritt, starring Sally Field, Ron Leibman, Beau Bridges
       The North Avenue Irregulars, starring Karen Valentine, Barbara Harris, Susan Clark
       North Dallas Forty, starring Nick Nolte, Mac Davis, G. D. Spradlin, Dayle Haddon, Bo Svenson, John Matuszak
       Nosferatu the Vampyre (Nosferatu: Phantom der Nach), directed by Werner Herzog, starring Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, Bruno Ganz - (West Germany)
       The Odd Angry Shot, starring Bryan Brown - (Australia)
       The Odd Couple (Bo Ming Chan Dao Duo Ming Qiang), starring Sammo Hung - (Hong Kong)
       The Onion Field, directed by Harold Becker, starring James Woods, John Savage, Franklyn Seales, Ted Danson
       Operación Ogro, directed by Gillo Pontecorvo, starring Gian Maria Volontè - (Spain/Italy)
       Over the Edge, directed by Jonathan Kaplan, starring Matt Dillon
       The Passage, starring Anthony Quinn, James Mason, Malcolm McDowell, Patricia Neal, Kay Lenz
       A Perfect Couple, directed by Robert Altman, starring Paul Dooley and Marta Heflin
       Peruvazhiyambalam, directed by Padmarajan - (India)
       Les Petites Fugues (The Little Fugitives) - (Switzerland)
       The Plumber, directed by Peter Weir, starring Judy Morris - (Australia)
       The Prisoner of Zenda, starring Peter Sellers, Lynne Frederick and Lionel Jeffries
       Prophecy, directed by John Frankenheimer, starring Talia Shire, Robert Foxworth, Richard Dysart, Armand Assante
       Quadrophenia, directed by Franc Roddam, starring Phil Daniels, Leslie Ash, Ray Winstone, with music by The Who - (U.K.)

       Real Life, directed by and starring Albert Brooks, with Charles Grodin
       Rich Kids, starring Trini Alvarado and John Lithgow
       Rock 'n' Roll High School, produced by Roger Corman, featuring The Ramones

       Rocky II, directed by and starring Sylvester Stallone, with Carl Weathers, Talia Shire, Burgess Meredith, Burt Young
       The Rose, directed by Mark Rydell, starring Bette Midler, Alan Bates, Frederic Forrest
       Running, starring Michael Douglas
       Saint Jack, directed by Peter Bogdanovich, starring Ben Gazzara
       Scavenger Hunt, starring Cloris Leachman, Cleavon Little, Vincent Price, Tony Randall
       Scum, starring Ray Winstone - (U.K.)
       A Scream from Silence (Mourir à tue-tête) - (Canada)
       The Seduction of Joe Tynan, starring Alan Alda, Meryl Streep, Melvyn Douglas, Barbara Harris, Rip Torn
       A Sense of Freedom, directed by John Mackenzie - (U.K.)
       Série Noire (Black Series), directed by Alain Corneau - (France)
       Siberiade, directed by Andrei Konchalovsky - (U.S.S.R.)
       Sisters, or the Balance of Happiness (Schwestern oder Die Balance des Glücks), directed by Margarethe von Trotta - (West Germany)
       Skatetown, U.S.A., starring Scott Baio, Flip Wilson, Maureen McCormick, Patrick Swayze
       Something Out of Nothing, directed by Nikola Rudarov, starring Asen Kisimov, Stefan Danailov, Aneta Sotirova - (Bulgaria)
       Stalker, directed by Andrei Tarkovsky - (U.S.S.R.)
       Star Trek: The Motion Picture, directed by Robert Wise, starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Persis Khambatta, Stephen Collins
       Starting Over, directed by Alan J. Pakula, starring Burt Reynolds, Jill Clayburgh, Candice Bergen, Charles Durning
       Suhaag (a.k.a. Sign of Marriage), starring Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Rekha - (India)
       The Survivors (Los Sobrevivientes) - (Cuba)
       Tarka the Otter, narrated by Peter Ustinov - (U.K.)
       The Tempest, directed by Derek Jarman, starring Toyah Willcox - (U.K.)
       Tess, directed by Roman Polanski, starring Nastassja Kinski - (France/U.K.)
       That Summer!, starring Ray Winstone - (U.K.)

       The Theme (Tema), directed by Gleb Panfilov, starring Mikhail Ulyanov, Inna Churikova, Stanislav Lyubshin, and Yevgeni Vesnik. Winner of 1987 Golden Bear - (U.S.S.R.)
       The Third Generation (Die Dritte Generation), directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, starring Hanna Schygulla - (West Germany)
       Those Wonderful Movie Cranks (Báječní muži s klikou), directed by Jiří Menzel - (Czechoslovakia)
       La Tía Alejandra (Aunt Alejandra) - (Mexico)
       Tim, starring Mel Gibson and Piper Laurie - (Australia)
       Time After Time, directed by Nicholas Meyer, starring Malcolm McDowell, David Warner, Mary Steenburgen
       The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel), directed by Volker Schlöndorff, starring David Bennent - (West Germany) - Palme d'Or winner
       To Forget Venice (Dimenticare Venezia), directed by Franco Brusati, starring Mariangela Melato and Erland Josephson - (Italy)
       Vengeance Is Mine (fukushū suru wa ware ni ari), directed by Shohei Imamura, starring Ken Ogata - (Japan)
       The Villain, directed by Hal Needham, starring Kirk Douglas, Ann-Margret, Arnold Schwarzenegger
       The Visitor, starring John Huston, Glenn Ford, Shelley Winters
       Wanda Nevada, directed by and starring Peter Fonda, with Brooke Shields
       The Wanderers, starring Ken Wahl and Karen Allen
       The Warriors, directed by Walter Hill, starring Michael Beck, James Remar, David Patrick Kelly, Deborah Van Valkenburgh
       When a Stranger Calls, starring Charles Durning and Carol Kane
       Winter Kills, starring Jeff Bridges, John Huston, Anthony Perkins
       Wise Blood, directed by and starring John Huston, with Brad Dourif - (U.S.A./West Germany)
       Woman Between Wolf and Dog (Femme entre Chien et Loup) - (Belgium/France)
       Woyzeck, directed by Werner Herzog, starring Klaus Kinski and Eva Mattes - (West Germany)
       The Wretches Are Still Singing (Τα Κουρέλια Τραγουδάνε Ακόμα), directed by Nikos Nikolaidis - (Greece)
       Yanks, directed by John Schlesinger, starring Richard Gere, Lisa Eichhorn, Vanessa Redgrave - (U.S.A./U.K.)
       Yesterday's Hero, directed by Neil Leifer, starring Ian McShane, Suzanne Somers, Adam Faith and Paul Nicholas - (U.K.)
       Zombi 2, directed by Lucio Fulci, starring Tisa Farrow, Ian McCulloch, Richard Johnson - (Italy)
•       Zulu Dawn, starring Peter O'Toole, Burt Lancaster, Simon Ward - (U.S.A./South Africa/Netherlands)

The Road to the Oscars

There was only one first-ballot winner at the New York Film Critics - Dustin Hoffman for Best Actor for Kramer vs. Kramer, which also won Best Picture. Woody Allen made off with the Best Director citation for Manhattan and Steve Tesich took the Best Screenplay plaque for Breaking Away. Sally Field in Norma Rae edged out Bette Midler in The Rose and won Best Actress. Melvyn Douglas won Best Supporting Actor for Being There, while Meryl Streep won Supporting Actress for two movies, Kramer vs. Kramer and The Seduction Of Joe Tynan.

Field and Hoffman became a virtual traveling team as they won almost all of the pre-Oscar awards - Hoffman even accepted his Los Angeles Film Critics award on The Merv Griffin Show. The same happened with The Golden Globes: Field and Hoffman Best Actress and Actor - Drama, while Kramer vs. Kramer also won the big Globe for Best Picture - Drama, as well as Best Screenplay for Robert Benton and Best Supporting Actress for Meryl Streep.  There was a tie for Best Supporting Actor, Melvyn Douglas (Being There) shared the award with Robert Duvall (Apocalypse Now). Apocalypse Now also won the Best Director award for Coppola and the Best Score Award for Coppola and his father. Best Song went to The Rose, as well as Best Actress - Comedy or Musical. Breaking Away was named Best Comedy or Musical, while the Best Actor award in this category was won by Peter Sellers (Being There). Finally, La Cage Aux Folles won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language film.

The Nominations

Kramer vs. Kramer won 9 nominations, tied by All That Jazz. Bob Fosse couldn't believe it, saying that his movie "doesn't have a chance. It's going to be mostly Kramer vs. Kramer." He was also skeptical because, for the third time, he was competing with Francis Ford Coppola, whose Apocalypse Now had 8 nominations.

Perhaps the biggest surprise in any major category was the fifth directorial nomination - Edouard Molinaro for the sunny French farce about a pair of middle-aged gay men, La Cage Aux Folles. Molinaro's nomination bumped New York Film Critics winner Woody Allen from the list. Another surprise for Allen's film, Manhattan: Gordon Willis wasn't nominated for his superb black & white photography - and neither was Caleb Deschanel for his wonderful work in The Black Stallion.

Willis and Deschanel could go commiserate with Burt Reynolds. Not only was Sally Field a nominee, but so were both of his costars from Starting Over - Jill Clayburgh and Candice Bergen - while he was overlooked. Reynolds told reporters, "If I want to be up for an Academy Award, I'm either going to have to play a tour de force of some kind or have a tracheotomy just before the nominations."

These are the full list of feature film Oscar nominations:

Best Picture
All That Jazz
Apocalypse Now
Breaking Away
Kramer vs. Kramer
Norma Rae

Best Director
All That Jazz: Bob Fosse
Apocalypse Now: Francis Ford Coppola
Breaking Away: Peter Yates
Kramer vs. Kramer: Robert Benton
La Cage Aux Folles: Edouard Molinaro

Best Actor in a Leading Role
All That Jazz: Roy Scheider
... And Justice For All: Al Pacino
Being There: Peter Sellers
The China Syndrome: Jack Lemmon
Kramer vs. Kramer: Dustin Hoffman

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Chapter Two: Marsha Mason
The China Syndrome: Jane Fonda
Norma Rae: Sally Field
The Rose: Bette Midler
Starting Over: Jill Clayburgh

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Apocalypse Now: Robert Duvall
Being There: Melvyn Douglas
The Black Stallion: Mickey Rooney
Kramer vs. Kramer: Justin Henry
The Rose: Frederic Forrest

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Breaking Away: Barbara Barrie
Kramer vs. Kramer: Meryl Streep
Kramer vs. Kramer: Jane Alexander
Manhattan: Mariel Hemingway
Starting Over: Candice Bergen

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
All That Jazz
... And Justice For All
Breaking Away
The China Syndrome

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium
A Little Romance
Apocalypse Now
Kramer vs. Kramer
La Cage Aux Folles
Norma Rae

Best Art Direction/Set Decoration
All That Jazz
Apocalypse Now
The China Syndrome
Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Best Costume Design
All That Jazz
Butch and Sundance: The Early Days
The Europeans
La Cage Aux Folles

Best Cinematography
All That Jazz
Apocalypse Now
Kramer vs. Kramer
The Black Hole

Best Film Editing
All That Jazz
Apocalypse Now
The Black Stallion
Kramer vs. Kramer
The Rose

Best Sound
Apocalypse Now
The Electric Horseman
The Rose

Best Effects, Visual Effects
The Black Hole
Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Special Achievement Award for Sound Editing
The Black Stallion

Best Documentary, Features
Best Boy
Generation of the Wind
Going the Distance
The Killing Ground
The War At Home

Best Foreign Language Film
A Simple Story (France)
Mama Turns 100 (Spain)
The Maids of Wilko (Poland)
The Tin Drum (West Germany)
To Forget Venice (Italy)

Honorary Award
Alec Guinness
For advancing the art of screen acting through a host of memorable and distinguished performances.

As usual, I saved the music nominations for last. The nominees for Best Music, Original Score were:
10: Henry Mancini
A Little Romance: Georges Delerue
The Amityville Horror: Lalo Schifrin
The Champ: Dave Grusin
Star Trek: The Motion Picture: Jerry Goldsmith

The nominees for Best Music, Original Song Score and Its Adaptation or Best Adaptation Score were:
All That Jazz: Ralph Burns
Breaking Away: Patrick Williams
The Muppet Movie: Paul Williams, Kenny Ascher

What about the songs? The nominees for Best Music, Original Song were:
10: Song from 10 (It's Easy to Say)
Ice Castles: Theme from Ice Castles (Through the Eyes of Love)
The Muppet Movie: The Rainbow Connection
Norma Rae: It Goes Like It Goes
The Promise: Theme from The Promise (I'll Never Say 'Goodbye)

I've presented all the nominated songs but one, either today or in part 1. The only nominee not presented was a rather uninspired song, I'll Never Say 'Goodbye, from a mediocre movie called The Promise. It is sung by Melissa Manchester:

My own choices for the Best Song nominations would be, in that order:

Rainbow Connection (from The Muppet Movie), The Rose (from The Rose), Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life (from Monty Python's Life of Brian), It Goes Like It Goes (from Norma Rae), and the Ramones’ theme to Rock and Roll High School.

I have presented all of these songs - you can listen to them, as well as other possibles that I've presented and share your own choices.

Here are all the films with more than two nominations each: Kramer vs. Kramer (9), All That Jazz (9), Apocalypse Now (8), Breaking Away (5), Norma Rae (4), The Rose (4), The China Syndrome (4), La Cage Aux Folles (3), The Black Stallion (3), 1941 (3), Star Trek: The Motion Picture (3).

The Winners

Bob Fosse was right: Kramer vs. Kramer was the big winner, with five major wins: Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor (Hoffman), and Supporting Actress (Streep). Not that All That Jazz did badly: it amassed four Oscars (Art Direction-Set Decoration, Costumes, Film Editing, and Adaptation Score). Apocalypse Now had to make do with two highly deserving wins, for Cinematography and Sound, while Alien quite naturally won for Visual Effects.

The winner of the Supporting Actor race, 78-year-old Melvyn Douglas (for Being There), wasn't there to accept his award, he thought it was ridiculous that he should be competing with 8-year-old Justin Henry, the youngest nominee for any competitive honor in Academy Award history.

Breaking Away didn't walk away empty-handed; it received Best Original Screenplay. Best Original Score went to Georges Delerue for A Little Romance, while The Tin Drum was crowned Best Foreign Language Film, Germany's first win. Ira Wohl's Best Boy won for Best Documentary Feature.

Sally Field took home the Best Actress award for Norma Rae. The same movie scored a second win for Best Song, with It Goes Like It Goes. It is a good song, but, as I have already mentioned, not my favorite to win.

The Aftermath

"Hey!" a voice cried out from the ladies' room. "Somebody left an Oscar in here!" "Oh, my God!" screamed Meryl Streep. How could I have done that? It shows how nervous I really am."

No one asked Field the whereabouts of Burt Reynolds, but he told reporters later, "I sat home alone like a wounded Citizen Kane, visualizing her dancing with Dustin Hoffman at the Academy ball. After that, nothing was the same. I had become obsessed with the notion that two stars could not coexist."

The day after the ceremony, Justin Henry returned to his home in Rye, New York, where he finally won an award - his Bobcat badge from Cub Scout Pack 5.