1998 is a year that will live in Academy infamy. Shakespeare in Love, Saving Private Ryan. Still, people argue over this. I, personally, don’t have a problem with the choice. Sure, I’d have chosen differently, but, who cares? The Best Director split, with Steven Spielberg winning for Ryan really let you know that it didn’t matter. (Which is why I feel 2010 will go down as being a worse decision. There was no split.)
Then, Best Actor this year — whoa boy — was Roberto Benigni for Life is Beautiful, which is one of the worst single decisions of all time in the Best Actor category (probably the worst, though I have weird issues with things and would probably (incorrectly) put it second. Still, it’s bad). Best Supporting Actor was James Coburn for Affliction, which, was a bad choice, but it was a veteran Oscar and James Coburn is awesome, so we can’t really gripe too much. Then Best Supporting Actress was Judi Dench for Shakespeare in Love, mostly because she was clearly the most likable performance in the category (and probably because she lost Best Actress the year before this). She was awesome.
And then, there was this category, which people are still talking about. I’ll admit — based on the actresses, yeah, Cate Blanchett probably should have won over Gwyneth. But, honestly, this probably comes down to the same thing 1997 came down to — there was one likable (albeit light) performance against one ho hum, boring, period piece. And when there are so many period pieces getting nominated, people are gonna be like, “Jesus, stop making me eat the fucking asparagus. I want some goddamn cookies.” And cookies are something I can get behind.
BEST ACTRESS – 1998
And the nominees were…
Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth
Fernanda Montenegro, Central Station
Gwyneth Paltrow, Shakespeare in Love
Meryl Streep, One True Thing
Emily Watson, Hilary and Jackie (more…)