Archive for October 27th, 2013

by Allan Fish, Joel Bocko, Dean Treadway and Sam Juliano

Between January 2012 and October 2013, Allan Fish led one of the most enjoyable–and ultimately informative–exercises Wonders in the Dark has ever hosted: a weekly poll in which all readers were invited to elect “alternate Oscars” in (ultimately) nine categories: picture (feature), director, actor, actress, supporting actor, supporting actress, cinematography, score, and short film. Allan graciously allowed me to compile nominees for that final category from 1960 on, which was educational to say the least. To revisit the enthusiastic, often contentious, and frequently loquacious discussions and individual ballots, you need only to check out the “Wonders in the Dark Yearly Poll” archives. These threads were often more than half the fun of the whole enterprise–and perhaps another will arise below. Just for fun, we’ve also included the most important final stats at the end of the post–biggest winners, most votes received, and the top films (at least by our estimation). (Joel Bocko)

Seemingly an eon ago, I ran across Allan Fish’s ongoing project on WONDERS IN THE DARK and immediately had to throw in.  This was when we were doing the round-ups for 1935 or so (I missed the previous years, I’m sorry to say). Inspired by Fish’s incredibly inclusive nominations, I quickly decided to participate, and deeply.  Like many of our weekly participants, I made it a priority to take a look at what I knew about each year’s film output, and to exact and even broaden my knowledge of each year’s products, so as to more definitely determine my favorites out of the bunch (in the process, I ended up seeing many movies I would not have seen without this project).  As the years progressed, into the 50s and so, I started to notice some titles that Allan was leaving out of the mix.  By the 1960s (the start of my major wheelhouse), I began noticing more and more forsaken titles.  So, by the 1970s, I began to add films, performances, score, cinematography, and short nominations into the mix, ultimately with Sam Juliano’s approval (and without credit).  My intention was simply to augment Allan’s already exhaustive nominees list, so as provide all the voters with absolutely ALL the possibilities before them.  In the end, this turned out to be an emotionally churning, educationally enriching experience–one that I’ll treasure forever; I hope we all see each year’s nominations as being a COMPLETE overview of each year’s output (right down to even the most outside possibilities as to the best of each year).  As for the project as a whole, it’s kinda like a mini-SIGHT AND SOUND poll, amongst bloggers and hardcore film lovers, and not amongst big critical and filmmaking names. I’ve often pulled my hair over the winners (how did Peter O’Toole not win for Lawrence of Arabia, and how did Paul Newman not win for The Verdict?–those are just two that killed me–and how did Newman win for Absence of Malice instead??).  Still, I accepted each of these outcomes, as well as all others (we all did).

As for this post: I did a major amount of copy editing, and all of the bolding and italicizing of each year’s winners, and I added to Joel Bocko’s final stats, detailing the top short filmmakers, and–most importantly–tallying the “winningest” films in our poll (which really seems like a justifiably selected gallery of great films–they’re the titles ALL cineastes must see–and this is a list we should all be proud of, considering how we came about it).  Anyway…I did it all out of love–pure love–like, totally INFINITE love–for this absolutely singular art form to which we all have pledged sections of our lives.  Each week, even though I’ve been busy with my own blog and podcast, I happily devoted many hours of my time, not only to my posts, but to WONDERS IN THE DARK in general (and, geez, I can’t even hazard to guess how many hours of his time Allan Fish gave to this project).  Nearly finally–without “MovieMan” and shorts expert Joel Bocko, this complete overview would not have been possible; he a cinema authority like no other.  Much more extra gratitude needs to be accorded to Jaimie Grijalba, Sachin Gandhi, Jon Warner, Shubhajit Lahiri, Frank Gallo, Samuel Wilson, Stephen Mullen (Weeping Sam), Mark Smith, Camolas, Duane Porter, Peter M., Bobby McCartney, Dennis Polifroni, sirrefas, Martin Bradley, Maurizio Roca, Movie Fan, R.D. Finch, Drew McIntosh, Stephen, Peter Lenihan, Anu, Frederick, Angelo D’Arminio, Kevin Deaney, David Noack, Jacob Z–and so many more—because…well, without all of you, this would have amounted to nothing.  Thank you all for being part of this 92-week-long project.  Speaking for myself, I can’t possibly express what this collective effort has meant to me.  I’m so much smarter now than I once was.  And I’ll be returning to each year’s posts on WONDERS IN THE DARK for direction as to what I should see next (I really wanna see every film that needs seeing before passing from this realm–and, really, I have plenty of time to do this).  And now–truly finally–thank you, Allan Fish, for your complete and astonishing knowledge of film, and to Sam Juliano for your endless generosity. (Dean Treadway)

My own glowing assessment of the passion that went into this project was expressed last week.  Again, thanks to Allan, Joel and Dean, this was unquestionably one of the greatest highlights in the history of the site. (Sam Juliano)

As for the results themselves (including the results of last week’s 2012 vote), without further ado:


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