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Really the best picture of 1977?

October 26, 2008 | 11:22 pm


Of course "Annie Hall" received lots of rave reviews, but — in honor of Woody Allen's pending big comeback in some top Oscar races this year -- here's a curious one of opposite opinion by the notoriously grumpy John Simon, who wrote in the New Republic: "With 'Annie Hall,' Woody Allen has truly underreached himself. ... His new film is painful in three separate ways: as unfunny comedy, poor moviemaking, and embarrassing self-revelation. It is everything we never wanted to know about Woody's sex life and were afraid he'd tell us anyway. And now he does. ... It is a film so shapeless, sprawling, repetitious and aimless as to seem to be for oblivion."

In the Oscars race for best picture of 1977, "Annie Hall" beat "Star Wars," "Julia," "The Goodbye Girl" and "The Turning Point." Did it really deserve to win? It raised a bit of a fuss when it debuted in theaters in spring 1977, but mostly due to the funky male duds that Diane Keaton donned, sparking a new fashion trend. But it was largely forgotten by the end of the year. Certainly wasn't generating major Oscar buzz. It was suddenly thrust into the derby, however, when the National Society of Film Critics did something it rarely does. It jumped out in front of the New York Film Critics Circle and the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn., insisting upon having the first say about the year's best flicks. NSFC also wanted to break from tradition and get attention by picking a comedy, preferably one that was snarkily counterculture . . . . READ MORE.

When Woody's "Annie" was put forth in the best-picture race, voters happily hopped aboard. Two days later it got another push in the kudos derby when it was also chosen as best picture by the New York Film Critics Circle. Suddenly, it was Oscar-bound.

Photo: United Artists