I think the first time I saw this film was on a hot August afternoon. I do know it was sometime in 2008 because it was the summer I moved to San Francisco the first time and I did a lot of Netflixing that summer. It was right around the same time I saw Sunset Blvd. for the first time. It was a good summer. This is a film just chock full of talent and energy and heart and soul and gravity and gaiety. It’s got everything. If you Google around, you can read about the events on which it was based; I won’t be discussing them here. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, winning one: Best Film Editing (for Dede Allen, who was nominated for threes Oscars, though she never won and was in and of herself a ig player in the Hollywood New Wave), Best Supporting Actor Chris Sarandon, Best Actor Al Pacino, Best Original Screenplay Frank Pierson (won; more on this in a bit), Best Director and Best Picture. The other films nominated for Best Picture that year were Barry Lyndon, Jaws, Nashville and winner One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. There will be many spoilers after the cut.
I’m not sure when I first saw this film, but I think it was probably on television some time in the 90s. I didn’t do a good rewatch of the film until my first semester of film grad school. One of my instructors used it a lot in his teaching screenplay form (it really is a great model), so on the last day we watched the entire film. Having just rewatched it again, I can’t help but think it really is a perfect film. It’s not the most realistic film (far from it); but it is storytelling at its finest. Tootsie was nominated for ten Academy Awards, winning one: Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Sound, Best Original Song, Best Original Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress Teri Garr, Best Supporting Actress Jessica Lange (won), Best Actor Dustin Hoffman, Best Director and Best Picture. The other film nominated for Best Picture that year were: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Missing, The Verdict and winner Gandhi.