Monday, 19 February 2018

The Nick Cave Top 75 Countdown (#70-66) & This Week's Statistics

Hello, my friends, old and new! I can tell that you liked our new countdown. Nick Cave may not be a star of the magnitude of Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin, but he's very much appreciated by music lovers all over the world.

I will be including songs from every period of his professional life, under many different names, except for the soundtracks, because - apples and oranges. However, it would be a pity not to introduce them to you, since they're obviously worth listening. What I will do is present them in the form of bonus tracks. I begin today with the soundtrack to The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, from 2007.

The first 3 songs in today's countdown are from Grinderman. It was formed by Cave as "a way to escape the weight of The Bad Seeds" and the band was originally known as Mini Seeds. The band's name was inspired by a Memphis Slim song, Grinder Man Blues, which Cave is noted to have started singing during one of the band's early rehearsal sessions. The band's eponymous debut studio album, Grinderman, was released in 2007 to extremely positive reviews and the band's second and final studio album, Grinderman 2, was released in 2010 to a similar reception.

Grinderman sounds like a wild, nasty, wooly rock & roll monolith who simply need to let it rip and then see what happens. Along with Warren Ellis, Martyn P. Casey and Jim Sclavunos (right, 3/7 of the Bad Seeds), Cave and company turn in a squalling, raucous, twist-and-turn garage band set that takes on all comers. The song at #70, called Honey Bee (Let's Fly to Mars), while being part of the album, is so freaking awesome it transcends the garage band thing altogether and sounds like some flipped-out cross between Suicide, the Stooges, Bo Diddley and the Scientists.

Man in the Moon, the song at #69, is found on the same album but is quite different: a quiet (as quiet as Grinderman could be) study of nostalgia and loss and more innocent times. The lyrics:

"My daddy was an astronaut
That's what I was often taught
My daddy went away too soon
Now he's living on the moon
Hang on to me people we're going down
Down among the fishes in an absence of sound
It's the presence of distance and it's floating in time
It's lack and it's longing and it's not very kind
Sitting here scratching in this rented room
Scratching and a-tapping to the man in the moon
About all the things that I've been taught
My daddy was an astronaut"

At #68 we find a song from Grinderman 2, called Mickey Mouse And The Goodbye Man. It's the song that comes closest to the songs on the previous album but feels like it comes by way of Patti Smith's Radio EthiopiaHowlin' Wolf, and the Scientists. It's pure scummy, sleazy, in-the-red dissonant rock.

This raucous guitar number opens with a few light notes, only to lightly explode a few seconds later with intense drums, heavy bass, and Cave's gruntled voice. The song itself is like a rolling stone, gathering more and more power as it goes on. The first instrumental chorus fails to leave an immediate impression but second time around, Cave delivers the feral story of a man and his brother with a vocal thump. Warren Ellis' distorted sounds, at first, seem like the workings of a madman, but the sophisticated use of melody only supports the belief that the band are on top of their game.

We've heard from Grinderman now let's hear from the Birthday Party. At #67 is a single they released in August 1981 called Release the Bats. First conceived as a jokey filler, this went on to become an early live favorite. The tongue-in-cheek sentiment was largely lost on legions of Goths, who made it a dancefloor staple.

Tongue-in-cheek or not, the song is pure dynamite. From a sound that isn't quite punk, isn't quite rock, and simply isn't like anything else that was being done musically at the time to the absolutely insane lyrical tirade by the legendary Nick Cave (Sex horror sex bat sex horror sex vampire sex bat horror vampire sex cool machine horror bat. Bite! Cool Machine. Bite! Sex vampire. Bite!), Release The Bats stands as one of the most important songs of the post-punk era, and it fueled a generation of performers, setting the standard for aggressively dark music.

Let's listen to what Nick Launay (Birthday Party/Bad Seeds producer) has to say:

"This was one of the first songs I ever produced when I was 20 years old. I got a call from their record company, 4AD in London, and they asked if I wanted to work with The Birthday Party. The funny thing about that session was we went into the studio after midnight, because that was the only time we could get cheap studio time. It was done in a recording studio where, during the day, I was a studio assistant working with Phil Collins. It was very odd, it felt like at night I opened the door and all the bats flew in, it all got very dark and angry. We bashed out Release The Bats and [B-side] Blast Off! in one night and it felt like I was messing with the Devil. I was going to the dark side. They were all on heroin, I think, but I was very innocent of all that because I hadn't been around it. I just thought they all had attitude. It felt like I was working with vampires, and it has helped me get into gothic nightclubs ever since. That's another reason it's one of my favorites."

I've given you three feral songs and one moderately low-tone, I think I should close today's presentation with a song that shows Nick's evolution and maturity. Girl In Amber, the song at #66, comes from Skeleton Tree (2016). When singing about a "Girl in Amber," his voice noticeably quivers: he sings about lacing up the shoes of his "little blue-eyed boy" and "I used to think that when you died you kind of wandered the world / In a slumber 'til you crumbled ... Well, I don't think that anymore." In Cave's wounded voice, you hear him grapple in real-time with the incidental prophecies of his lyrics and his need to get the job done. In one of the album's most harrowing moments, he closes the bleak, grief-stricken ballad by repeating the words, "Don't touch me," as if a consoling hug would only exacerbate the pain.

(If you haven't read last week's countdown, please note that Cave's 15-year-old son, Arthur, died after falling from a Brighton cliff while the singer was halfway through writing this album.)

Now, let's continue with last week's statistics; it was a more amazing week than usual, with a 54% increase in the number of weekly visits. We have now reached again the dizzy heights that we have scaled at New Year. This is how the weekly visits for 2018 so far, look on a line graph that I prepared:

All of the week's stories did great, but the last story, the movies of 1989, really took off: in 24 hours, it's already the 4th story of the last 30 days.

As far as countries are concerned, France is still kicking ass, but this week they were joined by Turkey, which scored a really impressive week. Italy and South Africa also did well, Canada and the United Arab Emirates are steady-as-they-go, while the United Kingdom, Greece, Russia, Germany, and Cyprus experienced minor drops.

Don't let this week's second position fool you, the United States has suffered the biggest losses. If this trend continues, its position at the top of the all-time list may be threatened as soon as two weeks from now. This is the first time since this blog existed that the #1 position is open for grabs. Food for thought...

Here are this week's Top 10 countries.

1. France
2. the United States
3. Turkey
4. Greece
5. the United Kingdom
6. Italy
7. Russia
8. Canada
9. Germany
10. South Africa

Here are the other countries that graced us with their presence since our last statistics (alphabetically): Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Finland, French Polynesia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Republic of Congo, Réunion, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, US Virgin Islands, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Happy to have you all!

And here's the all-time Top 10:

1. the United States = 29.7%
2. France = 26.3%
3. the United Kingdom = 8.0%
4. Greece = 7.5%
5. Russia = 3.3%
6. Germany = 2.1%
7. Italy = 1.36%
8. Cyprus = 1.15%
9. Canada = 1.10%
10. the United Arab Emirates = 0.36%

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

Sunday, 18 February 2018

The Oscar-winning Songs Countdown: 1989

In today's featured year something happened only for the third time in Oscar history: It happened in the very first Oscar year, with Wings, then again 4 years later with Grand Hotel. Then it took 57 years for it to happen again with this year's Oscar winner. It would only happen once more, 5 years ago, with Argo. More on that later. Let's now get on with our story.

The Films with the Oscar Buzz

My favorite film of that year was Australian Peter Weir's latest offering, Dead Poets Society (photo above). With the help of a remarkably penned original screenplay by Tom Schulman, a magnetic lead performance by Robin Williams, and some career-making turns from a lot of talented young actors as his students, especially Ethan Hawke and Robert Sean Leonard, the film became a critical and commercial smash, grossing almost 10 times as much as its modest budget.

Who doesn't remember the tear-inducing scene with the boys climbing on their desks and saluting Williams with the famous line "O Captain! My Captain!" Who has forgotten "Carpe diem. Seize the day." Also, what LGBT person didn't identify with the character portrayed by Robert Sean Leonard: he killed himself because his father wouldn't accept his love of the theatre. For us, that was shorthand for being gay.

The San Francisco Chronicle: "Hurrah! Poetry and passion, comedy and tragedy are fused into one absolutely marvelous affirmation of independent spirit in Dead Poets Society."

Competing for my favorite film of the year is Do the Right Thing, Spike Lee's best film ever. A chronicle of the hottest day of the year on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, when everyone's hate and bigotry smolders and builds until it explodes into violence, it avoided simplistic rhetoric, digging deeper than most films of the era. The film looked and sounded great - and all the actors were at the top of their game.

Chicago Sun-Times / Roger Ebert: "It comes closer to reflecting the current state of race relations in America than any other movie of our time."

There was a brief moment in history when Oliver Stone was actually making good movies. There was also a short time in which Tom Cruise was actually a good actor. The stars aligned and these two worked together at that exact moment, making what was probably the best movie for both. Born on the Fourth of July is the biography of Ron Kovic. Paralyzed in the Vietnam war, he becomes an anti-war and pro-human rights political activist after feeling betrayed by the country he fought for.

True, the film didn't stray much from the formula, but it did so in style and packed an emotional punch. It could've been slightly shorter, but Stone's good pacing and Cruise's pivotal performance kept the film on the proper side of interesting.

Rolling Stone / Peter Travers: "But Stone has found in Cruise the ideal actor to anchor the movie with simplicity and strength. Together they do more than show what happened to Kovic. Their fervent, consistently gripping film shows why it still urgently matters."

Tom Cruise's Ron Kovic spent half of Born on the Fourth of July in a wheelchair, but compared to Daniel Day-Lewis' Christy Brown in My Left Foot, he should consider himself lucky: Christy Brown was born with cerebral palsy, and he learns to paint and write with his only controllable limb - his left foot. Director Jim Sheridan wisely let Day-Lewis dominate the film - his presence was electrifying. That made the fact that Hugh O'Conor as young Christy and Brenda Fricker as Christy's mother also stood out all the more remarkable.

TV Guide Magazine: "A rich cinematic experience, this uplifting British production will leave you in awe of the extraordinary Christy Brown."

Then there was Driving Miss Daisy. The story of the relationship of an old Jewish woman and her African-American chauffeur in the American South was given in such a way as not to make the movie's white viewers feel uncomfortable, yet it was anchored on the performances of three great actors, which helped it resonate with a wide spectrum of viewers.

Chicago Reader / Jonathan Rosenbaum: "The three actors manage to get a lot of mileage out of the material: although one never quite believes that Tandy's character is Jewish, she is remarkable in every other respect, and Freeman and Aykroyd are wonderful throughout."

That wasn't the only film to tackle race relations, or to include Morgan Freeman in its roster: Glory tells the story of the first all-black volunteer company of the US Civil War. Of all the film's actors, an up and coming young actor called Denzel Washington stood out.

Washington Post / Desson Howe: "But fact and fiction put together, makes Glory a thoroughly pleasant experience, a lightweight, liberal-heart-swollen high, while the principal performers, particularly wisecracking, jaded runaway slave Washington and wise ex-gravedigger Freeman, create a warming sense of fraternity."

The ideal movie for Father's Day, however, was Field of Dreams. It starred hot commodity Kevin Costner, who at the time could do no wrong: He had just starred in The Untouchables, No Way Out, and Bull Durham and was about to make Dances With Wolves. In Field of Dreams, he portrays Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella, who hears a voice in his corn field tell him, "If you build it, he will come," which he interprets as an instruction to build a baseball field on his farm; he does, and the 1919 Chicago White Sox come. Without giving much away, let me just say that the film is particularly affecting to those who never achieved real closure over the death of their father. There's a scene near the end of the movie that will certainly reduce tough men to tears.

The Globe and Mail (Toronto) / Rick Groen: "Despite a few wrong turns early on, the movie gathers graceful momentum and heads straight to the warm heart of the book - that fond spot located just on the safe side of sentimentality, a feel-good place that doesn't leave any feel-stupid fallout."

1989 was the year when one of the greatest actors of the 20th century, Laurence Olivier, passed away. Kenneth Branagh, an ambitious stage actor from Northern Ireland who had thus far limited experience with films, took a shot for the title of the "new Laurence Olivier". He directed and starred in his own version of Shakespeare's Henry V, a play which Olivier himself had famously brought to the silver screen 45 years earlier.

Boston Globe / Jay Carr: "One of the things that make [Branagh's] Henry V so thrilling is his audacity in trying to turn it into an antiwar play - a view that would have astounded Shakespeare. Astonishingly, he pretty much brings it off, emerging with steadily growing power as the young king who isn't afraid to bloody his hands."

In 1989, Woody Allen was still the romantic partner of Mia Farrow and the sordid stories of alleged child abuse had not yet materialized. His movie for 1989, however, Crimes and Misdemeanors, contained a bit of foreshadowing; it existed in a morally grey area, which was relatively new to Woody Allen.

Chicago Sun-Times / Roger Ebert: "In the world of this film, conventional piety is overturned and we see into the soul of a human monster."

In the previous year's Dangerous Liaisons, Michelle Pfeiffer proved once and for all that she was much more than a pretty face; she was a serious actress. Then came the verification, in the form of The Fabulous Baker Boys. The story of the lives of two struggling musicians, who happen to be brothers, which inevitably change when they team up with a beautiful, up-and-coming singer was cast with real-life brothers Beau and Jeff Bridges and the aforementioned Michelle Pfeiffer.

Chicago Sun-Times / Roger Ebert: "There is a scene in The Fabulous Baker Boys where Michelle Pfeiffer, wearing a slinky red dress, uncurls on top of a piano while singing Makin' Whoopee. The rest of the movie is also worth the price of admission. (...) There's probably some autobiographical truth lurking beneath the rivalry of the Bridges brothers, old wounds from the 20 years they have both been working in the movies. And Pfeiffer quite simply has one of the roles of a lifetime, as the high-priced call girl who wants to become a low-priced lounge singer."

The Cannes Film Festival's three major awards that year surprisingly went to the first feature film of an emerging filmmaker: Steven Soderbergh's Sex, Lies, and Videotape. Thus American Independent Cinema was born.

Meanwhile, the winner of the Berlin Film Festival was Greek-born and French-bred director Costa-Gavras' political drama Music Box, featuring a spectacular performance by Jessica Lange.

An interesting, if little-seen movie was Paul Mazursky's Enemies: A Love Story: Set in 1949 New York, a Holocaust survivor who makes a living as a ghostwriter for a Jewish rabbi, finds himself involved with three women - his current wife, a passionate affair with a married woman, and his long-vanished wife whom he thought was killed during the war and suddenly reappears. The film concentrates on the views of the Jewish survivors, who no longer abide by religious morals and question a God who could let the Holocaust occur.

There were some quality entries to the genre that has (unfairly) come to be known as "chick flicks": the best of all was When Harry Met Sally...

Los Angeles Times / Sheila Benson: "The summer's uncorseted, unqualified delight."

There was also the all-star female cast of Steel Magnolias, which introduced to the world a new star: Julia Roberts. There was Ron Howard's family comedy/drama, Parenthood. Finally, based on a popular play, the quirky Shirley Valentine, who leaves Liverpool for a dream holiday in Greece.

Two respected and successful filmmakers, James Cameron and Terry Gilliam, released their ambitious and partially successful films. The former gave us the deep-sea sci-fi adventure The Abyss, while the latter came up with his version of The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.

The Top Grossers

Spielberg third installment of the adventures of the world's favorite archeologist, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, which had the added bonus of Sean Connery as Indy's dad was at the top of the pile, but it was closely followed by the movie that established one of the most lucrative franchises of the last 30 years, as well as making Tim Burton a star-director: Batman.

The list also includes three more sequels (Back to the Future Part II, Lethal Weapon 2, and Ghostbusters II), a couple of comedies targeted at children (Look Who's Talking and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids), two movies that we've already talked about (Dead Poets Society, Born on the Fourth of July), and finally, a game-changer, Walt Disney's animated feature, The Little Mermaid, whose critical and commercial success reinvigorated public and critical interest in The Walt Disney Company, which would become one of the most prestigious corporations of the 1990s and is now the largest movie conglomerate in the world. This film, as well as launching Disney's new reign, it also established Alan Menken as the songwriter who could do no wrong in the 90s, especially where the Oscars were concerned.

The Foreign Submissions

First and foremost, the touching ode to cinema and our childhood, Giuseppe Tornatore's Cinema Paradiso (Italy). Ennio Morricone's amazing score should have been a nominee, if not an Oscar winner:

Another poetic masterpiece, from Greece and Theo Angelopoulos: Τοπίο στην ομίχλη (Landscape in the Mist). Eleni Karaindrou's score was also phenomenal:

France presented Camille Claudel, which featured a remarkable performance by Isabelle Adjani.

Another excellent film, with an amazing soundtrack by Goran Bregovic, was Yugoslavia's submission Dom za vešanje (Time of the Gypsies), by Emir Kusturica:

A great film from one of Canada's top filmmakers, Denys Arcand, Jésus de Montréal (Jesus of Montreal).

Two small, but effective films: Denmark's Danser med Regitze (Memories of a Marriage) and Puerto Rico's Lo Que le pasó a Santiago (Santiago, the Story of his New Life).

Austria submitted Michael Haneke's Der Siebente Kontinent (The Seventh Continent), Hungary, Ildikó Enyedi's Az Én XX. századom (My 20th Century), and Portugal, Manoel de Oliveira's Os Canibais (The Cannibals).

Japan submitted Hiroshi Teshigahara's 利休 (Rikyu), Hong Kong, Alex Law's 七小福 (Painted Faces), and Taiwan, Hou Hsiao-hsien's悲情城市 (A City of Sadness).

The Nominations

Best Picture
Born on the Fourth of July
Dead Poets Society
Driving Miss Daisy
Field of Dreams
My Left Foot

Best Director
Born on the Fourth of July: Oliver Stone
Crimes and Misdemeanors: Woody Allen
Dead Poets Society: Peter Weir
Henry V: Kenneth Branagh
My Left Foot: Jim Sheridan

Best Actor in a Leading Role
Born on the Fourth of July: Tom Cruise
Dead Poets Society: Robin Williams
Driving Miss Daisy: Morgan Freeman
Henry V: Kenneth Branagh
My Left Foot: Daniel Day-Lewis

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Camille Claudel: Isabelle Adjani
Driving Miss Daisy: Jessica Tandy
The Fabulous Baker Boys: Michelle Pfeiffer
Music Box: Jessica Lange
Shirley Valentine: Pauline Collins

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Crimes and Misdemeanors: Martin Landau
Do the Right Thing: Danny Aiello
Driving Miss Daisy: Dan Aykroyd
A Dry White Season: Marlon Brando
Glory: Denzel Washington

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Enemies: A Love Story: Anjelica Huston
Enemies: A Love Story: Lena Olin
My Left Foot: Brenda Fricker
Parenthood: Dianne Wiest
Steel Magnolias: Julia Roberts

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Crimes and Misdemeanors
Dead Poets Society
Do the Right Thing
Sex, Lies, and Videotape
When Harry Met Sally...

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium
Born on the Fourth of July
Driving Miss Daisy
Enemies: A Love Story
Field of Dreams
My Left Foot

Best Art Direction/Set Decoration
The Abyss
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
Driving Miss Daisy

Best Costume Design
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
Driving Miss Daisy
Harlem Nights
Henry V

Best Cinematography
The Abyss
Born on the Fourth of July
The Fabulous Baker Boys

Best Film Editing
Born on the Fourth of July
Driving Miss Daisy
The Fabulous Baker Boys
L'Ours (The Bear)

Best Sound
The Abyss
Black Rain
Born on the Fourth of July
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing
Black Rain
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Lethal Weapon 2

Best Effects, Visual Effects
The Abyss
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
Back to the Future Part II

Best Makeup
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
Driving Miss Daisy

Best Documentary, Features
Adam Clayton Powell
Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt
Crack USA: County Under Siege
For All Mankind
Super Chief: The Life and Legacy of Earl Warren

Best Foreign Language Film
Camille Claudel (France)
Cinema Paradiso (Nuovo Cinema Paradiso) (Italy)
Jesus of Montreal (Jésus de Montréal) (Canada)
Lo que le pasó a Santiago (Puerto Rico)
Memories of a Marriage (Dansen med Regitze) (Denmark)

As is our custom, we left the music nominations for last. These are the nominations for Best Music, Original Score:

Born on the Fourth of July / John Williams:

The Fabulous Baker Boys / Dave Grusin:

Field of Dreams / James Horner:

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade / John Williams:

The Little Mermaid / Alan Menken:

No Ennio Morricone, Eleni Karaindrou, or Goran Bregovic. Pity.

What about the songs? The nominations for Best Music, Original Song were:

After All, for the film Chances Are • Music: Tom Snow • Lyrics: Dean Pitchford. Performed by Peter Cetera & Cher:

Kiss the Girl, for the film The Little Mermaid • Music: Alan Menken • Lyrics: Howard Ashman. Performed by Samuel E. Wright:

Under the Sea, for the film The Little Mermaid • Music: Alan Menken • Lyrics: Howard Ashman. Performed by Samuel E. Wright:

I Love to See You Smile, for the film Parenthood • Music & Lyrics: Randy Newman. Performed by Randy Newman:

The Girl Who Used to Be Me, for the film Shirley Valentine • Music: Marvin Hamlisch • Lyrics: Alan & Marilyn Bergman. Performed by Patti Austin:

Not a bad collection of songs, but it could've been better. Although The Little Mermaid boasts two songs in the lineup, a third, just as good if not better, was overlooked: Part of Your World • Music: Alan Menken • Lyrics: Howard Ashman. Performed by Jodi Benson:

Another possible candidate: All for Love, from the film Say Anything • Music & Lyrics: John Bettis and Martin Page. Performed by Nancy Wilson:

This should've been nominated: it's Fight The Power, from the film Do the Right Thing • Music & Lyrics: Chuck D (as Carlton Ridenhour), Hank Shocklee, Eric Sadler, and Keith Shocklee Performed by Public Enemy:

Here are two more possible nominations: first, Batdance, from the film Batman • Music & Lyrics: Prince. Performed by Prince:

Finally, On Our Own, from the film Ghostbusters 2 • Music & Lyrics: L.A. Reid, Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds (as Babyface) & Daryl Simmons. Performed by Bobby Brown:

My choice? If I were to stick to the nominated songs, I would probably go with Under The Sea: There's no heartfelt proclamation or big sweeping message. It's just fun. The marine musical swims along thanks to the strength of its unabashedly gleeful calypso beat and bubbly, freewheeling lyrics ("When the sardine / Begin the Beguine / It's music to me"). It's just a refreshingly uncomplicated three-and-a-half minutes, and crustacean singer aside, it's nearly impossible to listen to this song and still feel crabby.

If I were to include eligible non-nominated songs, I would pick Fight the Power, probably one of the three greatest hip-hop songs ever written for a movie.

These are the films that received more than two nominations each: Driving Miss Daisy (9 nominations), Born on the Fourth of July (8 nominations), My Left Foot (5 nominations), Glory (5 nominations), Dead Poets Society (4 nominations), Abyss (4 nominations), The Fabulous Baker Boys (4 nominations), The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (4 nominations), Field of Dreams (3 nominations), Henry V (3 nominations), Crimes and Misdemeanors (3 nominations), Enemies: A Love Story (3 nominations), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (3 nominations), The Little Mermaid (3 nominations).

The Winners

When Born on the Fourth of July, already the winner of the Golden Globe for Best Drama and Best Director, won the Oscars for Best Director and Film Editing, usual precursors of the Best Picture winner, the film's producers rejoiced. Alas, it was not to be. Driving Miss Daisy, which had already given Jessica Tandy the Best Actress award, as well as the ones for Adapted Screenplay and Makeup, crept up and stole the Best Picture Oscar. By doing so it became the third film until then (and fourth in total) that won the Best Picture Oscar without a Best Director nomination (see introduction).

My Left Foot managed to nab two acting awards: Best Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis and Supporting Actress for Brenda Fricker. Glory scored Best Supporting Actor for Denzel Washington, Cinematography, and Sound, while Dead Poets Society had to make do with just one win, for Original Screenplay.

Batman was awarded Best Art Direction, Henry V won Best Costumes, Abyss was awarded Best Visual Effects, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade walked away with Best Sound Effects.

Italy's Cinema Paradiso won for Best Foreign Language Film, while Rob Epstein's and Jeffrey Friedman's emotionally devastating Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt, a collection of profiles of people dead from AIDS who are remembered in the AIDS Memorial Quilt, deservedly won for Best Documentary Feature.

The Best Score Oscar went to Alan Menken for The Little Mermaid, while the Best Song Oscar also went to the same movie, to Alan Menken and Howard Ashman for the song Under The Sea. Two days after he won an Oscar for Under the Sea Ashman confided in Menken that he had AIDS. He would be nominated 3 more times two years later for songs from Beauty And The Beast, winning his second Oscar for the title song. He would be nominated one last time for a song from Aladdin, before his death from AIDS on March 14, 1991, at the age of 40.