Sometimes the Academy is the Academy, and there’s really no other way things can turn out. This is one of those times. When a film like Titanic comes along — no other film has a chance. Big, epic, romantic, makes the cry — it has it all. The quintessential Oscar film. It also having broken every box office record also helps.
Outside of the relative sweep for the film (it won 11/14 Oscars, losing Actress, Supporting Actress and Makeup), which included Best Director for James Cameron (talked about here), Best Actor and Best Actress went to Jack Nicholson (talked about here) and Helen Hunt (talked about here) for As Good as It Gets. These are both generally regarded as weak decisions, given the nature of the film, but I’m okay with them. Titanic was gonna overshadow everything else anyway, and seeing as how Nicholson’s main competition was Robert Duvall (I don’t buy the Fonda thing at all), and Nicholson was gonna win one anyway, I think this was acceptable (unless of course we don’t want Adrien Brody winning in 2002). And Helen Hunt — the category was terrible. I know Judi Dench, but I hate voting for on-the-nose performances (meaning: costume dramas) in this era. Then Best Supporting Actor went to Robin Williams for Good Will Hunting (talked about here), which he was overdue for and makes sense, and Best Supporting Actress went to Kim Basinger for L.A. Confidential (talked about here), which really wasn’t a great performance, but at least the film got recognized. The performance that should have won (Joan Cusack), at least, to me, anyway, was never going to win. So that’s an acceptable substitute, I guess.
I guess I’ll use this space to say, even though Titanic was always going to win, L.A. Confidential is such a great film. Even though we’d all have preferred for it to have won, it’s better that it worked out this way. Sometimes it’s better to think positively about the “what if” than live with the reality of it happening.
BEST PICTURE – 1997
And the nominees were…
As Good As It Gets (TriStar)
The Full Monty (Fox Searchlight)
Good Will Hunting (Miramax)
L.A. Confidential (Warner Bros.)
Titanic (Paramount, 20th Century Fox) (more…)