Cinema in Brussels : the Vintage Oscars

Did you know that in Brussels every year they organise an “Oscar-style” prize giving  ceremony ? No, it is not a joke, it is absolutely true

Publié par The Press Club Brussels Europe sur vendredi 5 mai 2017


The “Vintage Film Awards” were the bright idea of James Rogers, an American in Brussels become Belgian, who decided to give a prize to vintage films, and to those actors and actresses who may have already won an award  – including an Oscar – but also to those who never reached the glorious moment of lifting the golden trophy.

“So far – said Rogers – it has only happened twice that a VFA has been won by the same person who won the Oscar in a similar category upon original release1. Jack Nicholson won Vintage Performance by an Actor in 1975 for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and an Oscar for the same role. 2. Rocky won as Vintage Film of 1976 and also won the Oscar for Best Picture. But having won an Oscar, a BAFTA or another major award does not preclude a film, actor or song from consideration.  And the Vintage Film Award website proves it.”

Films released 20, 30,  40 and even 50 years ago, many of those  who never made it to the exciting moment of  “holding the statuette”, get a second chance  with the “Vintage Film Awards” that James Rogers has organised since 2015.  And it will go on.

“Some films get better with age” is the motto of the Vintage Films Award. Its mission is giving recognition to films which continue to have an impact on society but in many cases were ignored when they were first released.

Asked if  the selection process of the Vintage Awards does favour American and British films, James Rogers answered that some European films were included in the selection  for the Vintage Award.

Why -was another question -“Blow up” by Michelangelo Antonioni was not included among the awards?

“Blow up” Rogers  answered “was in fact nominated for two major Oscars: Best Director and Best Original Screenplay”. He added that   “the Vintage Film Awards has actually shortlisted several non-UK/US films,  including some I had never heard of before but our formula ranked them in the Top 10. Blow-up is one such film, in that it introduced anglophone audiences to an Italian director for the first time”.

Rogers added that “other non-UK/US films shortlisted for VFAs of the same year include: Andrei Rublev (USSR), Jean de Florette (France), The Battle of Algiers (Algeria/Italy), Persona (Sweden), The Shop on Main Street (Czechoslovakia), Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielmann (Belgium)”.  

According to Rogers a prime example of a VFA winner not acknowledged as a masterpiece when it came out – which confirms the merit of the VFA’s purpose – is The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. In 1966, the review in The New York Times said it “must be the most expensive, pious and repellent movie in the history of its peculiar genre”, and The Los Angeles Times called it “The Bad, The Dull, and the Interminable.” The awards committees ignored it completely. 40 years later, it’s playing on the big screen here in Brussels (UGC Kult). It’s considered one of the greatest films of all time. And now it’s the Vintage Film of 1966 “.

How does the selection process work?

The final shortlist  is based on a formula that takes into account continued sales/screening, critical acclaim, audience ratings, and relevance in today’s popular culture; winners are then chosen by a public opinion survey of 1200 people in the English speaking world and the results are subsequently evaluated by those who will then assign the prizes.

Each years films released 20, 30, 40 and 50 years ago are selected and a process of evaluation will follow until a final decision is reached.  The English speaking film lovers (and vintage films lovers in particular)  can participate to the selection of the winners. Those who want to be notified for the next Vintage Awards 2017 (the third of the series) should inform James Rogers of their interest and will be  included in the “popular jury”.


Publié par The Press Club Brussels Europe sur vendredi 5 mai 2017


The shortlisting for the 3rd Vintage Films Awards honouring films of 1997, 1987, 1977 and 1967 will be announced shortly.  It is interesting that, apart from the best film, the Vintage Awards is given also to the “zeitgeist film”, that is the film that has best represented the specific period under consideration. Interested? 

And the winners of this year Vintage Awards are:

1966: Vintage:The good, the bad and the ugly (Director Sergio Leone)
Zeitgeist: How to steal a million (Dir. William Wyler)

1976: Vintage:  Rocky (Dir. John Avildsen, script Sylvester Stallone)
Zeitgeist: Taxi driver (Dir. Martin Scorsese)
Best actor: Sylvester Stallone in Rocky
Best actress: Sissy Spacek in Carrie
Best soundtrack: “Car wash” from Car wash

1986: Film:  Top gun (Dir. Tony Scott)
Zeitgeist: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Dir.John Hughes)
Best actor: Tom Cruise in Top gun
Best actress: Sigourney Weaver  in Aliens
Best soundtrack: “Danger zone”  from Top gun

1996: Film: Jerry Maguire (Dir. Cameron Crowe)
Zeitgeist: Swingers (Dir. Doug Liman)
Best actor: Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire
Best actress: Sandra Bullock in A time to kill
Best soundtrack: I believe I can fly from Space jam

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The award winning ceremony was held at the Press Club Brussels Europe