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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

The comments to this entry are closed.


Annie Hall is probably the best American romantic comedy ever made, and it is a masterpiece and a classic. Star Wars is great, but nowhere near the level of Annie Hall.

I tend to reserve my personal "Best Picture" to films that only have a significant aesthetic and/or cultural impact on cinema, and while I loved both, Star Wars deserved the Oscar more (although maybe not Best Director...).

To answer your question...yes, yes, yes, yes! "Annie Hall" not only far-and-away deserved the Oscar that year (I like "Star Wars" very, very much, but c'mon); it's a masterpiece that's the best comedy and one of the best five films of all time. To question the legitimacy of it's Oscar is not only questioning a masterpiece, it's questioning one of the maybe 5 times the Oscar got it right.

ANNIE HALL is a remarkable film. It has a witty, sharp script, a great performance by Diane Keaton and it's really innovative and quirky and inventive! It isn't poor filmmaking! It's just different... Woody simply doesn't follow all the rules. Can you say that the Dogma films are poor filmmaking because they don't follow the rules? From that year I've seen STAR WARDS (a film I don't like at all; and to me it could be technically solid, but a real example of poor filmmaking), THE GOODBYE GIRL (fun and touching, but nothing more!) and JULIA (solid, old-fashioned film!). I think the Academy did what they rarely do - they rewarded an innovative film!

Haven't seen GOODBYE GIRL, but ANNIE HALL is certainly better than the other three IMHO.

ANNIE HALL is a great film, period ! It's the only best picture and director awards Woody Allen got . That question, frankly... . The real question is : " Was ( A Beautiful Mind ) by Ron Howard the best film the week it was released ? I'd be curious to have an answer to that ( and I believe Robert Altman and David Lynch would like an answer too... PASCAL



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