Oh god, what a year. Look at those five (okay… four) nominees. They’re terrific. And then the decisions they made — not really a weak one in the bunch. I may disagree with one of them, but outside of that, they’re great. This also feels a bit like an underdog year. Since Bugsy was obviously the classy film in contention, and JFK being what it is — it just seems surprising that The Silence of the Lambs won the way it did. But I’m not complaining.
The Silence of the Lambs is the third and most recent film to win the big five — Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Director for Jonathan Demme (talked about here), Best Actor for Anthony Hopkins (talked about here) and Best Actress for Jodie Foster (talked about here). Perfect decisions, the lot of them. Maybe the Demme and Foster wins could have gone differently, but I like the big five win. It’s nice. (Also, fun fact: All three films to win the big five (you better know which three they are) only won those five awards and nothing else. Weird, huh? The rest of the year is simple: Mercedes Ruehl won Best Supporting Actress for The Fisher King (talked about here). The category was terribly weak and she was really the only choice. And Best Supporting Actor was Jack Palance for City Slickers (talked about here). Not a great choice based on performance by any stretch (Michael Lerner (and for that matter, an un-nominated John Goodman) was so much better in Barton Fink), but it’s a veteran Oscar, and Palance is awesome. So it’s okay.
1991 is a very simple year, punctuated by great films. Seriously, if you haven’t seen at least three of the films on this list (though really, four), you probably don’t really like movies.
BEST PICTURE – 1991
And the nominees were…
Beauty and the Beast (Walt Disney Pictures)
JFK (Warner Bros.)
The Prince of Tides (Columbia)
The Silence of the Lambs (Orion) (more…)