Posts tagged “1998

Mike’s Top Ten of 1998

This is such a great year. This year is right around when I started getting into step with movies and seeing stuff as it came out rather than later on. 1998-1999 are those years I culturally came into my own. So there’s stuff here I remember seeing at the time that… okay, maybe as a 10 year old I probably shouldn’t have been watching, but it helped turn me into the person I am today in regard to watching stuff. So there’s that.

There’s also some real heavy hitters this year. And a few that I just adore from having grew up with them that might not be consensus choices for “best films of 1998.” But that’s what makes the 90s so good. That’s the decade that’s most personal to me. 1995-2004 is probably the ten year stretch that’s most influenced by my growing up and most personal to me in terms of the choices.

This is also, now that I look at it, kind of a weird year. There’s a lot of mainstream studio stuff here that other people might not think is particularly good. So maybe it really isn’t that strong a year and just feels that way because it’s such a big part of my youth. Whatever. I love it, and that’s all that really matters. (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Picture – 1998

1998 is, as we all know, one of those Oscar years that is brought up as an example of all the bad the Academy represents; “The Academy being the Academy.” And, just like 2010, it’s one of those decisions that makes sense considering who they are and what they like, isn’t as bad as some other decisions because at least they choose a good film (it just might not have been the best film), and at least here (unlike 2010) they gave the other film Best Director. So it’s not that terrible a decision. It’s just not most people’s preferred decision.

As for the rest of the year — it’s filled with other not-so-good decisions, which makes the Best Picture decision feel worse. Shakespeare in Love, outside of this category, won Best Actress for Gwyneth Paltrow (talked about here), which is historically a terrible decision, but honestly, I don’t really know what woud have been a better one. (Yes, I know Cate Blanchett, but that film is just way too on-the-nose to give her an Oscar. It was a terrible category, is what it was.) It also won Best Supporting Actress for Judi Dench (talked about here), which despite all the shit it catches for being so short on screen time, is a good decision.

Best Actor this year was Roberto Benigni for Life is Beautiful (talked about here), which I think we can all  agree is one of, if not the single worst Best Actor decision in the history of the category. (But despite everyone’s opinion, Edward Norton was not the better choice, Ian McKellen was.) Best Supporting Actor was James Coburn for Affliction (talked about here), which is good in the sense that James Coburn is awesome, but terrible in every other way (Billy Bob really should have won this). And Steven Spielberg winning Best Director for Saving Private Ryan (talked about here) is one of the best decisions in that category.

Now, let me just say, before I talk about the films — this is really not that bad. Looking at it historically, there were much, much worse decisions. It’s only bad in context.


And the nominees were…

Elizabeth (PolyGram Filmed Entertainment)

Life is Beautiful (Miramax)

Saving Private Ryan (DreamWorks, Paramount)

Shakespeare in Love (Miramax/Universal)

The Thin Red Line (20th Century Fox) (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Actor – 1998

I deliberately held back on this one. This is a major category that a lot of people have strong opinions on. So of course I was gonna hold back on it. Anticipation is key.

As for 1998 — Shakespeare in Love wins Best Picture, Best Actress for Gwyneth Paltrow (talked about here) and Best Supporting Actress for Judi Dench (talked about here). Steven Spielberg wins Best Director for Saving Private Ryan (talked about here), and James Coburn wins Best Supporting Actor for Affliction (talked about here). I think everyone knows these categories pretty well. No need to editorialize in this intro.

Now this one. Obviously a sore spot for many people. I think we all understand that Roberto Benigni was one of the worst choices ever in this category. That’s not really the part people argue over. The part people argue over is who should have won instead. Some people say Edward Norton, some say Ian McKellen. Which do I take? You’ll have to keep reading to find out…

Look at me, mysterious fucker.


And the nominees were…

Roberto Benigni, Life is Beautiful

Tom Hanks, Saving Private Ryan

Ian McKellen, Gods and Monsters

Nick Nolte, Affliction

Edward Norton, American History X (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actress – 1998

I hate this category. It’s one of the weakest Best Supporting Actress categories ever. It’s so bad.

Also, 1998 — Shakespeare in Love, beats Saving Private Ryan. People have strong opinions on this. That about covers it. Fortunately, Steven Spielberg won Saving Private Ryan (which I talked about here), so I feel, as long as they got that category right, it doesn’t matter which way they went on Best Picture. Then, Best Actor was Robert Benigni for Life is Beautiful, which we can all agree, is the single worst Best Actor decision in the history of the category. It was just awful. Then, Best Actress was Gwyneth Paltrow for Shakespeare in Love (which I talked about here), which I like as a decision. I know it’s not the best decision, but — well, I explained it in the article. Then Best Supporting Actor was James Coburn for Affliction (which I talked about here), which I don’t like as a decision, but I like because I like James Coburn. Still, not a good decision in that category.

So that’s 1998. I like, two of the decisions of the six. Two I can go with, but I think they could have been better. Then two I think are just terrible. So it’s a mixed bag. Leading to this category…


And the nominees were…

Kathy Bates, Primary Colors

Brenda Blethyn, Little Voice

Judi Dench, Shakespeare in Love

Rachel Griffiths, Hilary and Jackie

Lynn Redgrave, Gods and Monsters (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor – 1998

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.


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…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1998

1998 is a year that will live in Academy infamy. Shakespeare in Love, Saving Private Ryan. Still, people argue over this. I, personally, don’t have a problem with the choice. Sure, I’d have chosen differently, but, who cares? The Best Director split, with Steven Spielberg winning for Ryan really let you know that it didn’t matter. (Which is why I feel 2010 will go down as being a worse decision. There was no split.)

Then, Best Actor this year — whoa boy — was Roberto Benigni for Life is Beautiful, which is one of the worst single decisions of all time in the Best Actor category (probably the worst, though I have weird issues with things and would probably (incorrectly) put it second. Still, it’s bad). Best Supporting Actor was James Coburn for Affliction, which, was a bad choice, but it was a veteran Oscar and James Coburn is awesome, so we can’t really gripe too much. Then Best Supporting Actress was Judi Dench for Shakespeare in Love, mostly because she was clearly the most likable performance in the category (and probably because she lost Best Actress the year before this). She was awesome.

And then, there was this category, which people are still talking about. I’ll admit — based on the actresses, yeah, Cate Blanchett probably should have won over Gwyneth. But, honestly, this probably comes down to the same thing 1997 came down to — there was one likable (albeit light) performance against one ho hum, boring, period piece. And when there are so many period pieces getting nominated, people are gonna be like, “Jesus, stop making me eat the fucking asparagus. I want some goddamn cookies.” And cookies are something I can get behind.


And the nominees were…

Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth

Fernanda Montenegro, Central Station

Gwyneth Paltrow, Shakespeare in Love

Meryl Streep, One True Thing

Emily Watson, Hilary and Jackie (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Director – 1998

Oh, 1998. The year that lives in infamy. I think I can sum it all up with three words: Shakespeare in Love.

Personally, I don’t know why people hate on the decision so much. I mean, sure Saving Private Ryan is a film most people prefer, but as films, I think they rate about even. Private Ryan has that amazing opening sequence, but the film peters out by the end. That last battle is kind of meh. Shakespeare, however, is a great film. It’s funny, entertaining, and really well made. The problem is though it’s a bit too — I don’t know, on the nose, maybe. There’s something that keeps it from being a “perfect” film. Plus, even though Private Ryan didn’t win Best Picture, it won the award that really mattered for it — Best Director. The split is really what makes this year okay for me. I will say though, that the fact that this one was (aliteration) the way it was, was one of the reasons that 2010 was not okay for any reason. Fool me twice — fuck you two. It would have been a lot more palatable if there was a Picture/Director split. But there wasn’t. And that’s why 2010 will — probably — I hope — go down as a greater offense in Academy history than 1998 did.

Oh yeah, also, Best Actor was Roberto Benigni for Life is Beautiful (not gonna say a word), Best Actress and Supporting Actress were Gwyneth Paltrow and Judi Dench for Shake-a-spere, and Best Supporting Actor was James Coburn for Affliction.


And the nominees are…

Roberto Benigni, Life is Beautiful

John Madden, Shakespeare in Love

Terrence Malick, The Thin Red Line

Steven Spielberg, Saving Private Ryan

Peter Weir, The Truman Show (more…)