Edward Norton (Primal Fear)
Willem Dafoe – The English Patient
My Overall Thoughts:
This is another year with some great nominees giving some powerful performances. Three of them had a great chance to win and each would have been deserving winners.
5. James Woods
4. Armin Mueller-Stahl
3. Cuba Gooding Jr.
2. Edward Norton
1. William H. Macy
5. Ghosts of Mississippi – Great depiction of the scars held in the South even up until the 1990’s. Very good cast that all needed to adapt Southern accents for this. Amazing that much of this is true.
4. Shine – Great story that is accentuated by Rush’s performance in the lead role. The way that the story unfolds works really well and we get a clear sense as to what kind of life he dealt with. In addition to Rush, Mueller-Stahl is amazing as his ‘tough-love’ father who’s actions cannot be condoned yet based on all he endured in life is somewhat understandable. Nominated for a total of 7 Oscars, but only managed to win for Rush’s lead performance.
3. Jerry Maguire – Great heart warming movie. Cruise and Zellweger are both excellent here. One of the most quoted movies of recent years. Great message.
2. Primal Fear – Amazing story that works on so many levels. Multiple watches actually helps make this story even more thrilling. Having read the book, I was somewhat disappointed the first time I saw this, but have now understood the reasons for some of the major changes. Amazing cast that would be sooo difficult to attain now. The twists and turns are non-stop in this mystery / court room drama and might not work as well if it was made today due to all of the procedurals appearing daily on TV, but it really gets so much right in keeping this suspenseful.
1. Fargo – Excellent crime thriller that really takes the story to the level of a dark comedy because of its characters, locations and situations. The Coen Brothers really know how to take a story slightly beyond the extreme and give us a tense, enjoyable story that also makes us laugh at the stupidity and absurdity of it all. Amazing cast all fit in perfectly with this storyline. The Coen Brothers have created a movie that IMHO will always be difficult for them to top because it is done so well in all aspects. Not only is this my favorite of their movies, but it is also IMHO the best movie made in 1996.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yes and No! I can understand how CGJ could win both this and the GG for his role, but I think that WHM or EN would have been even more deserving winners because they each gave superb performances that are so enjoyable to watch also.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!