This is a rough year for most people. It’s not just because Shakespeare in Love wins Best Picture over Saving Private Ryan. I don’t have a problem with that. Honestly, I don’t. Because, Steven Spielberg won Best Director for Ryan (as I talked about here), and I can live with the Best Picture choice as long as they made the proper Best Director choice to go along with it (which they didn’t do this past year). Gwyneth Paltrow also wins Best Actress for Shakespeare (which I talked about here), and Judi Dench wins Best Supporting Actress for the film as well (which is just awesome. Go Judi).
So, as it stands, we have a “weak” Best Picture choice, a weak Best Actress choice (sort of. It’s a weak overall choice. Based on the category, it’s kind of bad, but — well, just read my article for my full thoughts on the matter), a good, but not overly great Best Supporting Actress choice (though best in the category), and a perfect Best Director choice. That’s one, maybe two, out of four. And only one really strong one. The other three are questionable. Then, you have this category, which I’ll tell you right now — good from a historical perspective (James Coburn is awesome), terrible from a category perspective. Really terrible. And you have Best Actor, which was Roberto Benigni for Life is Beautiful. Which — that’s pretty much the nail in the coffin for 1998. This is one of those “let’s all just pretend this never happened” years.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – 1998
And the nominees were…
James Coburn, Affliction
Robert Duvall, A Civil Action
Ed Harris, The Truman Show
Geoffrey Rush, Shakespeare in Love
Billy Bob Thornton, A Simple Plan (more…)