The 1978 Project: Kaedrin Movie Awards Nominations

Welcome to the 1978 Project edition of the Kaedrin Movie Awards! The idea is to recognize films for various achievements that don’t always reflect well on top 10 lists or traditional awards. There are lots of formal award categories and nominees listed below, but once those are announced, we’ll also leave some room for Arbitrary Awards that are more goofy and freeform. Finally, we’ll post a traditional top 10 list. Because this is the 1978 Project, I’ll probably also have some other roundups/commentary about the year in film. But first up is the awards! [Other Movie Award Installments here: 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020]

Standard disclaimers apply: Nominees must be a 1978 movie. I usually include a caveat for movies that came out the previous year but weren’t available until the next year (in this case, 1977 movies not released until 1978), but since we’re doing this a few decades after the fact, that’s not really necessary. For the record, I mostly based this list off of Letterboxd, so if there’s some discrepancy between their date and some other website, I guess that’s too bad.

As of this writing, I’ve seen 87 movies released in 1978. I’m guessing this is a lot more than most folks, but it’s about par for the course for my usual annual roundups (maybe a hint less than recent years). Obviously this is a personal exercise that is entirely subjective in nature, but the world would be a boring place indeed if we all loved the same things for the same reasons, right? Right. Let’s get this party started:

Best Villain/Badass
A strange year for villainy here. On one hand, the pickings are a little slim. On the other hand, there’s a clear and obvious winner that would be competitive in almost any year. It’s funny, but despite one example in 1978, I suspect this category is often padded out by superhero movies. In theory, I could leverage the throngs of martial arts movies to pad out this category, but they’re not as memorable as their heroes and again, none will defeat the ultimate winner (which I hope you can pick out). In accordance with tradition, my picks in this category are limited to individuals, not groups (i.e. no vampires or zombies as a general menace, etc…) or ideas.

Best Hero/Badass
Also strange on the heroism front. Certainly more options to choose from, but no obvious standout (though I suspect I know who will win this one). Again limited to individuals and not groups.

Best Comedic Performance
Always a tricky award due to the prevalence of ensemble casts in comedies, and I cheated a bit by including a couple of duos in the nominees, but there’s a pretty clear winner here (even if he’ll end up representing a larger ensemble).

Breakthrough Performance
A difficult category to judge right now because it’s hard to to ignore the rest of someone’s career, so the whole predictive “I can’t wait to see what this person does next” aspect is lost. Also, while there’s lots of larval performances from famous folks, it’s often not their first big role, so it’s hard to tell if it really represents a “breakthrough”. That said, I think this is a pretty solid list!

Most Visually Stunning
Sometimes even bad movies can look really great… Weird to judge this category, since a lot of more modern nominees are driven by effects spectacles, but the good ol’ amazing photography will probably be pulling it out this year.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers, a nominee for Most Visually Stunning

Best Sci-Fi or Horror Film
A pretty great year for horror films. SF was dominated by low quality Star Wars clones, but at least a couple interesting efforts made the list. That said, there’s an obvious choice in my book…

Best Sequel/Reboot/Remake
1978 was clearly not as dominated by sequels and remakes as our current situation, there were still some examples to pull from, a few of which are surprisingly great.

Biggest Disappointment
Always an awkward category to populate. I should note at this point that sometimes I actually enjoy these movies… but my expectations were just too high when I saw them. Related reading: Joe Posnanski’s Plus-Minus Scale (these movies scored especially poor on that scale).

Best Action Sequence
This award isn’t for individual action sequences, but rather an overall estimation of each film, and this year is a bit unfair because Hong Kong was in a martial arts boom at the time. There’s, like, 10 other Hong Kong martial arts flicks that could be on this list, but these were the standouts. I struggled to find non-Hong-Kong entries. Hollywood would get much better in the coming years…

The Avenging Eagle, a nominee for Best Action Sequence

Best Plot Twist/Surprise
I suppose even listing that there is a twist is a bit of a spoiler, so I guess we’ll just have to risk it.

Best High Concept Film
A bit of a nebulous concept for this one, but there’s a few good ones this year…

Normally at this point, I would do a category that’s something like “1978’s 1977 movie of the year” because I’m often catching up with movies from the previous year while watching the current year. In this case, there’s only one real nominee for this award, which is Rolling Thunder. I guess you could say that it wins by default, but it kicks major ass and is totally worth seeking out.

Anywho, there you have it. Winners to be announced soon! Halloween leads the way with 5 nominations, but more surprising is the runner up, Invasion of the Body Snatchers with four noms (a whole slew of movies garnered 3 noms, too).

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