71st Academy Awards (1998): Analysis

Picture

  • (2) Shakespeare in Love – Donna Gigliotti, Marc Norman, David Parfitt, Harvey Weinstein, Edward Zwick

Personal Choice: The Thin Red Line
My Prediction: Saving Private Ryan
Should Have Been Nominated: The Truman Show
Analysis: Perhaps it was because DreamWorks is still an upstart company. Maybe it was because Spielberg already had two. Perhaps it’s because of the criticism SPR received over its uneventful screenplay. Or maybe it’s because Shakespeare in Love is the first comedy in a long while to win. However, the most likely result is Miramax’ traditional and quite successful ad campaign and phone campaign. Not to mention that SIL is considered an Actor’s film and SPR was not.

Actor

  • (3) Roberto Benigni – Life Is Beautiful

Personal Choice: Ian McKellen – Gods and Monsters
My Prediction: Ian McKellen – Gods and Monsters
Should Have Been Nominated: Jim Carrey – The Truman Show
Analysis: God only knows why they would choose a clown over talent, but they did. I think it came down to which actor entertained them more in public and Benigni put on the act of his life to score an Oscar for a role he never should have even been nominated. Ian McKellen gave the best performance in years, but couldn’t muster enough support because of a limited release and his homosexuality.

Actress

  • (1) Gwyneth Paltrow [3/8] – Shakespeare in Love

Personal Choice: Cate Blanchett – Elizabeth
My Prediction: Gwyneth Paltrow – Shakespeare in Love
Should Have Been Nominated: Oprah Winfrey – Beloved
Analysis: Paltrow won only because her parents are famous in Hollywood. Bruce Paltrow and Blythe Danner are the reasons she received so much attention, not to mention Harvey Weinstein’s campaigning. Talents like Blanchett and Montenegro will never have a chance versus an actress with beauty and a Hollywood family.

Supporting Actor

  • (4) James Coburn – Affliction

Personal Choice: Ed Harris – The Truman Show
My Prediction: Billy Bob Thornton – A Simple Plan
Should Have Been Nominated: Jim Caviezel – The Thin Red Line
Analysis: Vote-Splitting is all I can say. Coburn too no pre-Oscar awards and came out of nowhere to win. Perhaps it was the lack of support for any of the nominees, but this was probably the least objectionable of all of Oscar’s choices.

Supporting Actress

  • (3) Judi Dench – Shakespeare in Love

Personal Choice: Kathy Bates – Primary Colors
My Prediction: Kathy Bates – Primary Colors
Should Have Been Nominated: Lisa Kudrow – The Opposite of Sex
Analysis: Dench lost for Mrs. Brown, a role she should have won the Oscar for, but she didn’t and so Oscar decided to make up. While it was at the expense of Bates and Griffiths, Dench did do a good job, but was on screen all too briefly for an Oscar.

Director

  • (1) Steven Spielberg [1/3] – Saving Private Ryan

Personal Choice: Peter Weir – The Truman Show
My Prediction: Steven Spielberg – Saving Private Ryan
Should Have Been Nominated: Shekhar Kapur – Elizabeth
Analysis: He is one of the last great auteurs in Hollywood and the Academy couldn’t ignore him without beginning a new rumor that they won’t ever reward him again.

Original Screenplay

  • (1) Shakspeare in Love [1/3] – Marc Norman, Tom Stoppard

Personal Choice: The Truman Show
My Prediction: Shakespeare in Love
Should Have Been Nominated: The Opposite of Sex
Analysis: SIL got its least-objectionable and more acceptable awards here. Tons of precursor awards helped.

Adapted Screenplay

  • (4) Gods and Monsters – Bill Condon (Christopher William)

Personal Choice: Gods and Monsters
My Prediction: Out of Sight
Should Have Been Nominated: Beloved
Analysis: Surprising, it was, but this win for Gods and Monsters is bitter-sweet. While it was selected mainly because it’s stars would be ignored, G&M is easily the best of the screenplay nominations and was the most deserving of the win.

Foreign Film

  • (1) Life Is Beautiful [2/5] – Italy

Personal Choice: Central Station
My Prediction: Life Is Beautiful
Should Have Been Nominated: The Dreamlife of Angels
Analysis: One word: Miramax. Who else could have won this race, especially when everyone saw it and very few saw the superior Central Station.

Original Song

  • (2) “When You Believe” – Prince of Egypt (Stephen Schwartz)

Personal Choice: “The Prayer” – Quest for Camelot
My Prediction: “The Prayer” – Quest for Camelot
Should Have Been Nominated: “Uninvited” – City of Angels
Analysis: What can I say but blech. The worst of all the categories at this year’s Oscars. Not only were most of the nominees undeserving, the ultimate choice for winner was a pathetic attempt to capture Disney’s audience, yet failed to be anything more than a misguided musical snooze-fest.

Original Dramatic Score

  • (3) Life Is Beautiful – Nicola Piovani

Personal Choice: The Thin Red Line
My Prediction: The Thin Red Line
Should Have Been Nominated: The Truman Show
Analysis: Not undeserving, TRL’s score was definitely better, but of LIB’s three wins, this is its most deserving.

Original Comedy/Musical Score

  • (1) Shakespeare in Love [1/3] – Stephen Warbeck

Personal Choice: Mulan
My Prediction: Shakespeare in Love
Should Have Been Nominated: Antz
Analysis: Not a surprise, but not necessarily the best. Mulan finally brought Disney back on the map, but it failed to win against the SIL juggernaut.

Film Editing

  • (1) Saving Private Ryan [12/17] – Michael Kahn

Personal Choice: Saving Private Ryan
My Prediction: Saving Private Ryan
Should Have Been Nominated: The Truman Show
Analysis: SPR was definitely deserving, if only for the first 30 minutes.

Cinematography

  • (1) Saving Private Ryan [1/26] – Janusz Kaminski

Personal Choice: The Thin Red Line
My Prediction: Saving Private Ryan
Should Have Been Nominated: Gods and Monsters
Analysis: Not the best, but not undeserving. TRL had far better cinematography, but I can’t completely argue with SPR.

Art Direction/Set Decoration

  • (1) Shakespeare in Love [2/5] – Martin Childs, Jill Quertier

Personal Choice: Shakespeare in Love
My Prediction: Shakespeare in Love
Should Have Been Nominated: Dark City
Analysis: The best of the nominated films, SIL paled in comparison to the darkly original Dark City’s gothic, twisting and changing landscapes.

Costume Design

  • (1) Shakespeare in Love [3/8] – Sandy Powell

Personal Choice: Elizabeth
My Prediction: Shakespeare in Love
Should Have Been Nominated: Gods and Monsters
Analysis: Elizabeth should have won, but when it comes to Best Picture, SIL has to win more than just a few and this one went to SIL because it was flashy, not necessarily more accurate.

Makeup

  • (3) Elizabeth – Jenny Shircore

Personal Choice: Elizabeth
My Prediction: Saving Private Ryan
Should Have Been Nominated: Star Trek: Insurrection
Analysis: A surprise, but a great victory nonetheless. I’m happy that Elizabeth won this award, because it was deserved.

Sound

  • (1) Saving Private Ryan [12/17] – Gary Rydstrom, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson, Ronald Judkins

Personal Choice: The Thin Red Line
My Prediction: Saving Private Ryan
Should Have Been Nominated: Dark City
Analysis: TRL had better sound, butSPR was no slouch. I have no problem at all with this category.

Sound Effects Editing

  • (1) Saving Private Ryan [2/10] – Gary Rydstrom, Richard Hymns

Personal Choice: Saving Private Ryan
My Prediction: Saving Private Ryan
Should Have Been Nominated: The Thin Red Line
Analysis: SPR was the best of the three nominated, while TRL was better overall.

Visual Effects

  • (1) What Dreams May Come [3/8] – Joel Hynek, Nicholas Brooks, Stuart Robertson, Kevin Mack

Personal Choice: What Dreams May Come
My Prediction: What Dreams May Come
Should Have Been Nominated: Babe: Pig in the City
Analysis: What Dreams May Come was deserving, especially with the competition it had. Babe and Dark City were easily better in the Visual Effects front.

Documentary Feature

  • (1) The Last Days [2/27]

My Prediction: The Last Days
Analysis: I can’t really comment here, since I’ve seen none of the nominees, but it’s no surprise that the holocaust film won…especially with Spielberg providing the bankroll.

Documentary Short Subject

  • (3) The Personals

My Prediction: Sunrise Over Tiananmen Square
Analysis: A surprise considering most were predicting Tiananmen. Though, its win did yield the most genuine and wonderful acceptance speechs I’ve ever seen at the Oscars.

Animated Short Film

  • (4) Bunny

My Prediction: The Canterbury Tales
Analysis: Not a major surprise, especially since the winner was computer animated. It’s almost as if no other animation will stand a chance.

Live-Action Short Film

  • (2) Election Night (Valgaften)

My Prediction: Holiday Romance
Analysis: No clue. This was one of the biggest crap shoots of the evening.