John Madden (Shakespeare in Love)
Tom Tykwer – Run Lola Run
My Overall Thoughts:
This was a great year for this category and all 5 nominees did amazing jobs with their films and any would have been deserving of winning the award. I’m not the biggest fan of most of Malick’s work, yet visually this film is amazing despite the story not working as well as it could have.
5. Roberto Benigni
4. John Madden
3. Terrence Malick
2. Peter Weir
1. Steven Spielberg
5. The Thin Red Line – Has a great story buried deep here that is obscured by the attempt to tell it from an existential and philosophical perspective instead of as a straight (anti-) war movie. Amazing cast that is punctuated even more by the name of those that fell to the cutting room floor. Unbelievable camerawork and cinematography shows the irony of war and the beautiful landscape that carried the men fighting against one another. Glad I finally rewatched it after so many years of hating it because it truly is much better than I recalled.
4. Shakespeare in Love – Great movie, Well done, expertly written and acted. Those who are fans of The Bard’s works, will enjoy themselves a lot.
3. Life is Beautiful – Benigni is perfect for this role. Movie is a pleasant mix of war torn drama with light humorous moments sprinkled throughout.
2. The Truman Show – Such an amazing premise that is well before it’s time. The way that this film presents the world of reality TV is amazingly done and give us so much insight into how the world works and why the genre is so popular. Carrey is superb in the title role and he was snubbed at the Oscars because he should have at least been nominated for Best Actor even if he wouldn’t have won against Benigni. I’m at least quite happy that Weir was recognized for the way he put this story together for us to enjoy and got a Best Director nomination for it. This film in some ways resonates even better after twenty years than it did back when it was made.
1. Saving Private Ryan –Amazing film that gets better and better after each viewing. Spielberg shows his genius in the way that this (anti-) war film is shot. He uses both sound and visuals to help the viewer feel as if they are part of the experience as it is taking place. The cast is superb and they help the viewer see the different kinds of soldiers who fought for freedom in WWII and we get to see how genuine and realistic their emotions can get during the heat of battle which makes them sometimes brave and sometimes cowardly. The antiwar message of this film rings true so well here and it’s hard not to see the futility of war through the eyes of the men who fought, lived and died for freedom. The musical score by John Williams is amazing to listen to. Some people might think that this film may be too long at nearly 3 hours, but to me, it feels too short because of the way that the characters and situations are developed because we want to spend even more time with these men. Truly a travesty that this film lost Best Picture at the Oscars that year to Shakespeare in Love (1998) and even after 20 years, this remains probably the worst decision in Academy history because this film is clearly the better of the two. This was the best film of 1998 and remains one of the best films ever made.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Most Definitely! Eventhough I still believe that the Academy gave the wrong film BP this year, they still were smart enough to give BD to Spielberg for his amazing SPR which is so much better than the other 4 nominees no matter how you look at it. If any of them come close it would be Weir.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!