I cringe when I see 1996. The English Patient is such a terrible movie to have won Best Picture. Fargo was so much better. Anthony Minghella winning Best Director for it, though, (talked about here) is understandable. Usually with one comes the other. But it still doesn’t make it a good decision.
Best Actor was Geoffrey Rush for Shine, which, as I said here, is a decision I consider one of the worst of all time. Not because of the actor, because of the performance. Read the article if you want to find out why. Then Best Actress was Frances McDormand for Fargo, which I love as a decision (as I said here), even though it wasn’t the best performance in the category (it was my favorite, though). And Best Supporting Actor was Cuba Gooding Jr. for Jerry Maguire, which is just troublesome. I talked about it here, but basically, William H. Macy should have won for Fargo, yet Cuba Gooding is so likable in the movie, it swayed a lot of people to vote for him (even I did in when I wrote up the article!), and then after the fact we all realized, “Yeah…we should have given it to Bill Macy. That was dumb.”
So that’s 1996. Bad Best Picture and Best Director choice, terrible Best Actor choice, great Best Actress choice, but one that’s shaky because there was a better (or two) performance in the category, and a Best Supporting Actor choice that feels okay, but then you realize it probably shouldn’t have won. Then, there’s this category. It’s by far the weakest of the bunch (though that’s always been the case, historically), but they did made the right decision. Most people assumed Lauren Bacall was the odds-on favorite here (because she’s Lauren Bacall), but no one takes into account just how much an Oscar-winning performance actually requires a halfway decent film in order to be taken seriously.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – 1996
And the nominees were…
Joan Allen, The Crucible
Lauren Bacall, The Mirror Has Two Faces
Juliette Binoche, The English Patient
Barbara Hershey, The Portrait of a Lady
Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Secrets & Lies (more…)