1996 is one of the years I hate most in Academy history. To me, almost every major decision they made was a bad one. It’s one of those years where you can’t really do anything, because the Academy is always going to be the Academy, so we have to live with it. But at least here, we can all agree that they made a terrible decision, even if it was the one they were always going to make.
Outside of this category, The English Patient wins Best Director for Anthony Minghella (talked about here), a foregone conclusion and Best Supporting Actress for Juliette Binoche (talked about here), a decision I actually really like. I think that even though Lauren Bacall was a very deserving veteran, her performance was decent at best and her film was beyond terrible (and Barbara Hershey’s film/performance was way too on-the-nose). Best Actor this year was Geoffrey Rush for Shine (talked about here), which I hate as a decision. I love Geoffrey Rush, I think he deserves an Oscar (Supporting would be better), but I felt his performance was clearly a supporting one in the film, and that Billy Bob Thornton was so good in Sling Blade (and even Ralph Fiennes in The English Patient) that Rush is one of the most inexplicable winners I’ve ever seen. Best Actress was Frances McDormand for Fargo (talked about here), which I love, because the film’s great and she’s great in it, but she’s really a supporting character, and Emily Watson’s performance in Breaking the Waves is so good that I’m shocked she didn’t win (Brenda Blethyn was also amazing in Secrets & Lies). And then Best Supporting Actor was Cuba Gooding, Jr. for Jerry Maguire (talked about here), which, while I love the performance — William H. Macy really should have won. He really should have.
So that’s 1996. I like two categories. And one of them — ehh, maybe it’s not the best decision. So overall, I think this is a pretty terrible year. One of my least favorites. And, like most bad years, it all starts at Best Picture.
BEST PICTURE – 1996
And the nominees were…
The English Patient (Miramax)
Fargo (Gramercy Pictures)
Jerry Maguire (TriStar)
Shine (October Films)
Secrets & Lies (Fine Line Features) (more…)