Tommy Lee Jones (The Fugitive)
John Malkovich (In the Line of Fire)
Ben Kingsley – Schindler’s List
My Overall Thoughts:
This is another year with 5 amazing nominees in this category and any or all of them did exceptional work that could have won the award during any given year. Two of them are slightly better than the rest and it ultimately came down between them.
5. John Malkovich
4. Pete Postlethwaite
3. Leonardo DiCaprio
2. Tommy Lee Jones
1. Ralph Fiennes
5. 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.
4. In the Line of Fire – Love the cat and mouse mind games in this movie. Malkovich is perfect as the deranged assassin and Eastwood once again does a great job as the straight laced cop who is bound by his duty. Parts of this feel very far fetched, but it’s still a very enjoyable thriller.
3. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape – Such a great film that I’m surprised that I had never seen in full beforehand. The cast is amazing with Depp, Lewis, Steenburgen, and Cates giving great performances. Dicaprio tho stands out as young Arnie and it’s not surprising that he was nominated for an Oscar for this role. Loved the way that they present the complex life of Gilbert and allow us to understand the changes that he feels he must make in order to care about himself instead of just others.
2. The Fugitive – Such an amazing film that works on so many levels. Ford is great in the lead and having him and Jones at odds throughout the film works so well. Jones deservingly won an Oscar for his idealistic role because we get to see what kind of man he is without having to hide behind any facade. The musical score is superb and due to its subtlety helps carry the story along. The supporting cast is filled with some very colorful characters who also help keep things interesting and even humorous at times. The plot moves along at a great pace and I have always liked the way that they have two concurring stories about two men pursuing the truth from different angles. This film is a great thriller and stays at a level of believability the whole time that shines through over and over. This dialogue is quite clever and that also helps flesh out the characters even more because it makes us understand them at much deeper levels. One of the best thrillers ever made and among the best films of the year (even if it had no chance of beating Schindler’s List (1993) for Best Picture).
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? – Yes and No! I think TLJ is superb in the role as Gerard and is a deserving winner, but the performance of RF in SL is also amazing and due to the complexities of the character, it makes it slightly more deserving of winning the award.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!