Best Films - 1985

La Historia oficial a.k.a. The Official Story (1985) directed by Luis Puenzo, starring Norma Aleandro, Hector AlterioWinner of the 1985 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award, Luis Puenzo's La Historia oficial / The Official Story is deeply disturbing in its unflinching depiction of the evil lurking inside respectable members of society. Paradoxically, this Argentinian production is also deeply moving in its unsentimental portrayal of the human struggle for justice, however painful the outcome.

Set circa 1983, at the crumbling of the right-wing military junta that had ruled the country with an iron fist since 1976, La Historia oficial is the not-at-all official story of a Buenos Aires high school history teacher (Norma Aleandro) who learns that her adopted daughter may have been the offspring of two of Argentina's thousands of desaparecidos – victims of that country's “dirty little war” against those who protested or fought the junta. Her husband (Hector Alterio), a lawyer with ties to the military vehemently denies having taken part in such an ignominious deed, but the mounting (unofficial) evidence seems to indicate otherwise.

Veteran Hector Alterio is excellent as the lawyer who, however greedy and dogmatic, is completely dedicated to his adopted daughter's happiness. Norma Aleandro, for her part, gives what is one of the greatest performances in film history.

Evolving from one of history's bystanders into an active, thinking participant in the world around her, Aleandro displays her transformation via subtle facial expressions and a controlled but highly effective use of her voice. As natural and truthful a film actress as there ever was, Aleandro would surely have been a top contender for the 1985 Oscars had La Historia oficial been an English-language film, but since it was a small, Spanish-language Argentinian production, the actress didn't even get a nomination from the generally navel-gazing actors' branch of the Academy. The (then) less chauvinistic New York Film Critics' Circle, however, did present her with their Best Actress award.

 

FILM
La Historia oficial / The Official Story
After Hours
Agnes of God
Além da Paixão / Happily Ever After / Beyond Passion
A Marvada Carne / That Darn Meat
My Beautiful Laundrette
Out of Africa
Plenty
The Purple Rose of Cairo
Witness

DIRECTOR
Luis Puenzo (La Historia oficial / The Official Story)
Woody Allen (The Purple Rose of Cairo)
Bruno Barreto (Além da Paixão / Happily Ever After / Beyond Passion)
Stephen Frears (My Beautiful Laundrette)
André Klotzel (A Marvada Carne / That Darn Meat)
Sydney Pollack (Out of Africa)
Martin Ritt (Murphy's Romance)
Fred Schepisi (Plenty)
Martin Scorsese (After Hours)
Peter Weir (Witness)

ACTOR
Griffin Dunne (After Hours)
Adilson Barros (A Marvada Carne / That Darn Meat)
Jeff Daniels (The Purple Rose of Cairo)
Harrison Ford (Witness)
James Garner (Murphy's Romance)
Ben Gazzara (An Early Frost)
Timothy Hutton (The Falcon and the Snowman)
Ken Ogata (Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters)
Aidan Quinn (An Early Frost)
Jon Voight (Runaway Train)

ACTRESS
Norma Aleandro (La Historia oficial / The Official Story)
Anne Bancroft (Agnes of God)
Regina Duarte (Além da Paixão / Happily Ever After / Beyond Passion)
Mia Farrow (The Purple Rose of Cairo)
Helen Hayes (Murder with Mirrors)
Katharine Hepburn (The Ultimate Solution of Grace Quigley)
Jessica Lange (Sweet Dreams)
Meryl Streep (Plenty)
Meryl Streep (Out of Africa)
Fernanda Torres (A Marvada Carne / That Darn Meat)

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Hector Alterio (La Historia oficial / The Official Story)
Edward Herrman (Compromising Positions)
Saeed Jaffrey (My Beautiful Laundrette)
Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future)
Leo McKern (Murder with Mirrors)
Ruy Polonah (The Emerald Forest)
Chris Sarandon (Fright Night)
Paul Scofield (Anna Karenina)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Margaret Avery (The Color Purple)
Claire Bloom (Déjà Vu)
Teri Garr (After Hours)
Catherine O'Hara (After Hours)
Chela Ruiz (La Historia oficial / The Official Story)
Meg Tilly (Agnes of God)
Dorothy Tutin (Murder with Mirrors)
Oprah Winfrey (The Color Purple)
Shelley Winters (Déjà Vu)
Rita Wolf (My Beautiful Laundrette)

SCREENPLAY
Aída Bortnik & Luis Puenzo (La Historia oficial / The Official Story)
Woody Allen (The Purple Rose of Cairo)
Antônio Calmon (Além da Paixão / Happily Ever After / Beyond Passion)
Yonnick Flot & Serge Leroy (Le 4ème pouvoir / The Fourth Power)
David Hare (Plenty)
André Klotzel & C. A. Soffredins (A Marvada Carne / That Darn Meat)
Hanif Kureishi (My Beautiful Laundrette)
Kurt Luedtke (Out of Africa)
Joseph Minion (After Hours)
Steven Zaillian (The Falcon and the Snowman)

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Ian Baker (Plenty)
Donald Bailey (Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters)
Allen Daviau (The Color Purple)
Allen Daviau (The Falcon and the Snowman)
William A. Fraker (Murphy's Romance)
Roger Pratt (Brazil)
John Seale (Witness)
Oliver Stapleton (My Beautiful Laundrette)
David Watkin (Out of Africa)
Gordon Willis (The Purple Rose of Cairo)

ORIGINAL SCORE
Maurice Jarre (Witness)
John Barry (Out of Africa)
Georges Delerue (Agnes of God)
Dick Hyman (The Purple Rose of Cairo)
Björn Isfält (Mitt liv som hund / My Life As a Dog)
Quincy Jones (The Color Purple)
Michael Kamen (Brazil)
Passoca & Rogério Duprat (A Marvada Carne / That Darn Meat)
Bruce Smeaton (Plenty)
Atilio Stampone (La Historia oficial / The Official Story)

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