Ron Maxwell – Gettysburg
My Overall Thoughts:
This was a year where there were little surprises and 4 of the 5 nominees should be honored just to have been included. There was no chance that The Academy was gonna fail to give SS his first Oscar for both BP and BD especially after sweeping just about every other award show.
5. Jim Sheridan
4. Jane Campion
3. James Ivory
2. Robert Altman
1. Steven Spielberg
5. The Piano – Great premise that moves along at an extremely slow pace which hurts its impact. The cast is great with Hunter, Neill, Kietel and Paquin all giving great performances. Nominated for 8 Oscars that year and managed to win 3 of them for Actress (Hunter), Supporting Actress (Paquin) and Original Screenplay, but it had no chance in the rest of its categories since it was up against Schindler’s List (1993) which plowed through it’s awards that year.
4. The Remains of the Day – Gives a great perspective on the life of politicians during the 30’s. The fly on the wall aspect of this story gives us so much to ponder. The way that the main character serves his employer and his profession is exemplary yet we get to see that later in life, he might regrets many of his choices since he held duty above all, even his own desires, opinions and wishes. Hopkins and Thompson are both superb here in the leads and they are helped along by an equally amazing supporting cast.
3. In the Name of the Father – Very good depiction of how not every convicted criminal is always guilty of their crimes, but the story at some points feels like it is trying too hard to sensationalize events. Liked the way that the maturity of Day-Lewis’ character evolves over the course of the movie. Postlethwaite is amazing here and was a much better actor than he ever got credit for.
2. Short Cuts – Amazing idea that works extremely well. Altman manages to give us 10 different short stories and finds a way to keep them all interesting as we slowly see how they all intercept which gives new meaning to the idea of neighbors. All of the stories presented seem quite realistic and the way they all play out help the viewer relate to them even better because they are all people who we could conceivably come in contact with at some point in our day to day lives. Altman was deservingly nominated for an Oscar for Best Director for this film which in lesser hands would seem like a mess, but he manages to balance the stories so well here. The cats is superb and I loved how none of the actors seems to be the lead since the city itself and its occupants are the real stars of the story.
1. Schindler’s List – Amazingly powerful film that is considered by many (myself included) to be one of the best masterpieces ever filmed. Spielberg is able to transport us to a time where things were chaotic and irrational yet there were still people who tried to selflessly help others whenever they could. This film depicts a businessman as he was able to try and use the war for his own needs yet ended up following his heart when he realized all the good he could do along the way. Superb cast led by Neeson and Fiennes make their characters come alive and we get a true sense of the horrors that occurred in some very dark places during the war. Very deserving of it’s 7 Oscars including Best Picture and Director. The score by John Williams is quite haunting yet still manages to be so moving even after all of these years. One of the most powerful films ever made.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Absolutely!!! no question about it! SL is one of the best films ever made and none of the others nominees had a chance at even coming in a close second.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!