Luc Besson – The Fifth Element
My Overall Thoughts:
This was a year with 5 very good choices for nominees yet the final battle was between two of them (Hanson and Cameron) with Cameron having the edge due to his film’s epic nature.
5. Peter Cattaneo
4. Gus Van Sant
3. Atom Egoyan
2. Curtis Hanson
1. James Cameron
5. Good Will Hunting – Slightly over-rated movie. It’s good, just not great. Damon and Williams are both excellent here, but the story itself feels too forced.
4. The Full Monty – Funny premise that unexpectedly works quite well. The inadequacies and insecurities of the characters make it feel even more real. Great cast work well off one another.
3. The Sweet Hereafter – Great film that moves along at a nice pace slowly letting us understand everything that is really going on. The various characters that this story spotlights are all very diverse and each helps us get a chance to see how various pieces of a puzzle can come together to tell us something quite interesting about the story as a whole. Great cast all give very subtle yet powerful performances especially Holm and Greenwood. Love the analogy of the story of the Pied Piper of Hamlin to help us understand how and why certain events occur here. Love the way that the winter climate is so integral to the storyline and allows us to get a much clearer picture of everything that happens here. Egoyan was quite deserving of getting a nomination for Best Director at the Oscars for this film because it is a richly told story
2. L.A. Confidential – Great vehicle for Crowe and Pierce while Spacey, Cromwell and Basinger showed they still have what it takes. Excellent score that helps accentuate the mood and atmosphere of the time. Feels noir-ish but yet modern and the mix makes it even better to watch unfold. The twists and turns along the way are great because they rely on such a clever script that ties it all together by the end. Definitely one of the best movies of the year.
1. Titanic – Such an amazing film that truly works on so many levels. Cameron’s vision is wondrous to watch no matter how many times I’ve seen it. The music is perfect and lets us really get emotional about all that happens. The characters are developed extremely well and that is the major draw of this film; that we care so much about what will happen to them especially with the knowledge that the ship will sink. The technical aspects are superb and I especially took notice this time of the way certain scenes were edited so perfectly. Leo and Kate have amazing chemistry together and their love (albeit slightly rushed) feels really genuine. Cameron’s attention to detail makes us understand so well so many of the aspects of this story. The 3+ hour runtime doesn’t lag at all and the music and technical aspects help make this film so thrilling the entire way through. Definitely deserving of holding the record of the most Oscar wins for a film (tied with The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) and Ben-Hur (1959).
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Most Definitely! There is really no denying that Cameron did an amazing job putting together this epic film that everyone thought would be a bust. The ability to put so many aspects of this story together so well is a credit to his work (Even if he was quite high on himself at the Awards ceremony when Titanic crushed in just about every category that year)
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!