Susan Sarandon – Stepmom
My Overall Thoughts:
This is a year where it was a battle between two Queens and they both were pretty much head to head throughout the awards season depending if one wanted a more intense drama or lighter comedy role.
5. Emily Watson
4. Fernanda Montenegro
3. Meryl Streep
2. Gwyneth Paltrow
1. Cate Blanchett
5. Hilary and Jackie – Very uneven film that has great performances yet the story itself seems to drag along too much. Griffiths and Watson were both deserving of their Oscar nominations for these performances yet something is lost along the way. The idea to show parts of the story from the two very diverse perspectives of the sisters is a wise choice since it gives us more insight into why they chose to do certain things along the way. Not really sure how much of this story is really true, but they still manage to show the complexities of a life of fame even for a classical musician.
4. One True Thing – Does a really nice job showing how families deal with medical issues and how that changes the family dynamic in times of need. Great cast led by Streep, Zellweger and Hurt. Liked the way that this film shows the path that a family takes in these kind of situations and how each of the family members personally deals with the various changes for better or for worse. It manages to touch upon some very interesting ideas and explores them quite well the whole way through. Streep was deservingly nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress for her performance here.
3. Central Station – Very emotional film that creates a bond between its two main characters in an intriguing way. The film shows how sometimes the good nature that is repressed deep down can be released when one never expects it. The way that they show the rampant poverty and illiteracy of Rio is quite eye opening and allows us to get a much better understanding of what happens in these kind of places. Montenegro is superb in the lead role and was quite deserving of her Best Actress nomination for her work in this film. The movie itself won Best Foreign Film at the Globes and at the BAFTA’s but lost out to Life is Beautiful (1997) at the Oscars.
2. Elizabeth – So much more enjoyable this time than it was when I saw this years ago. Blanchett is spellbinding in the title role. Amazing supporting cast helps keep things so intriguing and interesting the entire time. The way that they show us how difficult and dangerous the life of a Monarch was during those times is done exceptionally well. The political and romantic intrigue is woven really well together and we get a clear sense of the many difficulties that she had after she ascended the throne.
1. Shakespeare in Love – Great film that utilizes so many methods that helps keep this entertaining throughout. The story is built up really well and I love the way that they presumed that plays were run back in Old England just as they are now. That premise adds much humor to the film and helps the viewer relate even more to the story. The love story aspect of this film is fine, but it’s hard to actually believe the connection between the two main characters is anything more than lust. Dench was very deserving of her Oscar win for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in this film. Paltrow also won an Oscar for her work here as Best Actress and its understandable why she was able to win for this role even if she doesn’t give such a powerful of a performance as one might expect. If one is unfamiliar with Shakespeare or his most notable work, many of the references and jokes might fall a bit short tho. This film won 7 Oscars and 6 of them were very deserving. I’m still baffled after more than 2 decades about the fact that this film somehow outmaneuvered Saving Private Ryan (1998) and took home Best Picture.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yes and No! GP was excellent in SiL, but CB was even better in Elizabeth and was slightly more worthy of taking home Gold.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!