71st Academy Awards (1998): Commentary

The 71st Academy Awards (1998): Nomination Predictions Comparison

Picture

My Predictions

  • Gods and Monsters – Paul Colichman, Gregg Fienberg, Mark R. Harris
  • Life Is Beautiful – Gianluigi Braschi, Elda Ferri
  • Saving Private Ryan – Ian Bryce, Mark Gordon, Gary Levinsohn, Steven Spielberg
  • Shakespeare in Love – Donna Gigliotti, Marc Norman, David Parfitt, Harvey Weinstein, Edward Zwick
  • The Truman Show – Edward S. Feldman, Andrew Niccol, Scott Rudin, Adam Schroeder

Oscar Nominees

  • Elizabeth – Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Alison Owen
  • Life Is Beautiful – Gianluigi Braschi, Elda Ferri
  • Saving Private Ryan – Ian Bryce, Mark Gordon, Gary Levinsohn, Steven Spielberg
  • Shakespeare in Love – Donna Gigliotti, Marc Norman, David Parfitt, Harvey Weinstein, Edward Zwick
  • The Thin Red Line – Robert Michael Geisler, Grant Hill, John Roberdeau
My take on the nominations:
Definitely disappointing. Truman Show was easily the best picture of the year. However, I’m mixed in emotion. Elizabeth and TRL are both brilliant films and among this year’s best and I’m happy for their nominations. At this point, the battle is between the unworthies and the possible spoiler (SPR and LIB vs. SIL {The Spoiler}).

Actor

My Predictions

  • Roberto Benigni – Life Is Beautiful
  • Jim Carrey – The Truman Show
  • Tom Hanks – Saving Private Ryan
  • Ian McKellen – Gods and Monsters
  • Nick Nolte – Affliction

Oscar Nominees

  • Roberto Benigni – Life Is Beautiful
  • Tom Hanks – Saving Private Ryan
  • Ian McKellen – Gods and Monsters
  • Nick Nolte – Affliction
  • Edward Norton – American History X
My take on the nominations:
Carrey did what few actors can do successfully: be a comedian and a dramatist at the same time and prove everyone wrong. Carrey should have been nominated, but the less-than-stellar Hanks and the surprise Norton snuck in for nominations. Norton was definitely terrific and I’d put him behind Carrey for the best of what I’ve seen this year, but Hanks is definitely the least deserving. Look for McKellen and Nolte to duke it out with Benigni a possible spoiler.

Actress

My Predictions

  • Cate Blanchett – Elizabeth
  • Jane Horrocks – Little Voice
  • Fernanda Montenegro – Central Station
  • Gwyneth Paltrow – Shakespeare in Love
  • Emily Watson – Hilary and Jackie

Oscar Nominees

  • Cate Blanchett – Elizabeth
  • Fernanda Montenegro – Central Station
  • Gwyneth Paltrow – Shakespeare in Love
  • Meryl Streep – One True Thing
  • Emily Watson – Hilary and Jackie
My take on the nominations:
Though Streep is loved by Hollywood, it’s sad that she should get a nomination just for dying. Horrocks was unfairly shunned, but there are truly no surprises in this category. Look for a battle royale between Blanchett and Paltrow with Streep possibly winning through a split vote.

Supporting Actor

My Predictions

  • Robert Duvall – A Civil Action
  • Ed Harris – The Truman Show
  • Bill Murray – Rushmore
  • Geoffrey Rush – Shakespeare in Love
  • Billy Bob Thornton – A Simple Plan

Oscar Nominees

  • James Coburn – Affliction
  • Robert Duvall – A Civil Action
  • Ed Harris – The Truman Show
  • Geoffrey Rush – Shakespeare in Love
  • Billy Bob Thornton – A Simple Plan
My take on the nominations:
I was not truly shocked here, but Murray’s absence furthers the idea that comedy is still too foreign for the Academy. Murray seemed to be a lock until these nominations came out and now the battle is likely to be won by Thornton, but Harris has a chance, since he is a previous loser. Then there’s always out with the new and in with the old…Coburn could be a spoiler.

Supporting Actress

My Predictions

  • Joan Allen – Pleasantville
  • Kathy Bates – Primary Colors
  • Brenda Blethyn – Little Voice
  • Judi Dench – Shakespeare in Love
  • Lynn Redgrave – Gods and Monsters

Oscar Nominees

  • Kathy Bates – Primary Colors
  • Brenda Blethyn – Little Voice
  • Judi Dench – Shakespeare in Love
  • Rachel Griffiths – Hilary and Jackie
  • Lynn Redgrave – Gods and Monsters
My take on the nominations:
No major surprises here, though it does knock Allen out of the way of consideration. This race is between the never honored and once bitten. This is probably the toughest race to call at such an early time, but the convential wisdom says to select Redgrave, the veteran who has never won an Oscar, will win. However, being the vet hasn’t always worked (just ask Gloria Stuart and Lauren Bacall). What helps Redgrave is that she HAS been nominated previous (Stuart and Bacall hadn’t). However, she has to contend for the “sorry to look you over for so long” spot with “sorry to overlook you” duo of Dench and Blethyn. Bates could very well be the spoiler. She’s a past Oscar winner, overlooked herself twice for terrific roles, and is now a member of the Academy’s Board of Governors. Anything can happen in this category.

Director

My Predictions

  • 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

Oscar Nominees

  • 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
My take on the nominations:
No surprsies and an exact mirror of the DGA. Weir is the odd man in and convential wisdom says he has no shot. Unfortunately I have to agree. His was one of the most unique visions of the year, yet without a picture nomination, his win seems unlikely. With Best Picture also go the spoils of thsi category meaning the battle is between Madden and Spielberg. I don’t honestly see them ignoring Spielberg again after having done it so many times before. This means Spielberg as good as holds that second directing Oscar. However, this could be the first time since Driving Miss Daisy/Oliver Stone in 1989 that Picture (possibly Shakespeare in Love) hasn’t matched the director exactly. Could this be possible? Most definitely. SIL has been talked up as being the most likely to trump SPR. It also has the most nominations, which usually means best picture (the last time was in 1991 when Silence of the Lambs failed to get more than Bugsy). This race is pretty much decided, but watch where the DGA goes. They usually pick the winner exactly.

Original Screenplay

My Predictions

  • Bulworth – Warren Beatty, Jeremy Pikser
  • Happiness – Todd Solondz
  • Saving Private Ryan – Robert Rodat
  • Shakspeare in Love – Marc Norman, Tom Stoppard
  • The Truman Show – Andrew Niccol

Oscar Nominees

  • Bulworth – Warren Beatty, Jeremy Pikser
  • Life Is Beautiful – Roberto Benigni, Vincenzo Cerami
  • Saving Private Ryan – Robert Rodat
  • Shakspeare in Love – Marc Norman, Tom Stoppard
  • The Truman Show – Andrew Niccol
My take on the nominations:
Life Is Beautiful wasn’t a surprise…Happiness simply didn’t have the support it needed. While SPR is the worst screenplay of the bunch, it is still fighting with Truman Show for the second place finish and possible spoil, but this is probably the only category that has a nearly indisputable winner: Shakespeare in Love.

Adapted Screenplay

My Predictions

  • Gods and Monsters – Bill Condon (Christopher William)
  • Out of Sight – Scott Frank (Elmore Leonard)
  • Primary Colors – Elaine May (Anonymous {Joe Klein})
  • A Simple Plan – Scott B. Smith (Scott B. Smith)
  • The Thin Red Line – Terrence Malick (James Jones)

Oscar Nominees

  • Gods and Monsters – Bill Condon (Christopher William)
  • Out of Sight – Scott Frank (Elmore Leonard)
  • Primary Colors – Elaine May (Anonymous {Joe Klein})
  • A Simple Plan – Scott B. Smith (Scott B. Smith)
  • The Thin Red Line – Terrence Malick (James Jones)
My take on the nominations:
Unlike Original Screenplay, this category could go in any direction. Conventional wisdom would say TRL is the winner, simply because it’s the only Best Picture nominee. However, Out of Sight and A Simple Plan are heavily adored screenplays. Primary Colors is pretty much the only one without a chance. Gods and Monsters could cop this award as a defiance of its exclusion in the Best Picture category.

Foreign Film

My Predictions

  • The Celebration – Denmark
  • Central Station – Brazil
  • The Dreamlife of Angels – France
  • Life Is Beautiful – Italy
  • Show Me Love – Sweden

Oscar Nominees

  • Central Station – Brazil
  • Children of Heaven – Iran
  • The Grandfather (El Abuelo) – Spain
  • Life Is Beautiful – Italy
  • Tango – Argentina
My take on the nominations:
Strange things do happen. Children of Heaven and Tango were not completely surprising, what is is Spain’s The Grandfather. Most thought that The Celebration, since it had won so many critics awards, would be a nominee. However, as other critics awards have proven this year, Oscar doesn’t go for it much anymore. The battle here is two-fold: Central Station vs. Life Is Beautiful, but it’s almost a given that LIB will win. The only thing standing in the way now is that some people who’ve already seen LIB and aren’t likely to have enough time to see it again, won’t be attending the required Academy screening, which means that new audience who haven’t seen any of the films nominated, might find Central Station more enticing than Life Is Beautiful.

Original Song

My Predictions

  • “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” – Armageddon
  • “I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You” – The Mask of Zorro
  • “The Time of Your Life” – A Bug’s Life
  • “Uninvited” – City of Angels
  • “When You Believe” – Prince of Egypt

Oscar Nominees

  • “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” – Armageddon
  • “The Prayer” – Quest for Camelot
  • “A Soft Place to Fall” – The Horse Whisperer
  • “That’ll Do” – Babe: Pig in the City
  • “When You Believe” – Prince of Egypt
My take on the nominations:
The absolute worst category of the year. Earlier I had heard rumbles that the Original Song category had faltered recently and that it wasn’t worth keeping. Normally I wouldn’t agree, but after this slate of nominees, I have to switch sides. The Prayer is the worst of the selections. It is in this category solely because its authors are Academy favorites. Same goes for That’ll Do, which I would call one of the better ones in this category, but is including clearly at the expense of several other better songs. I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing has been way overplayed and When You Believe is not only a flop, but it probably the worst song in the entire film. Great songs like Uninvited and I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You follow in the tradition of Love Song from a Vampire as great songs that didn’t get nominated. Look for I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing to triumph over the aged When You Believe.

Original Dramatic Score

My Predictions

  • Elizabeth – David Hirschfelder
  • Life Is Beautiful – Nicola Piovani
  • Saving Private Ryan – John Williams
  • A Simple Plan – Danny Elfman
  • The Thin Red Line – Hans Zimmer

Oscar Nominees

  • Elizabeth – David Hirschfelder
  • Life Is Beautiful – Nicola Piovani
  • Pleasantville – Randy Newman
  • Saving Private Ryan – John Williams
  • The Thin Red Line – Hans Zimmer
My take on the nominations:
Danny Elfman’s continual snubs have got to sTop . Not only does this slap him in the face after being a double nominee last year, but it allows another Academy favorite to be nominated for a rather unimpressive score for Pleasantville. SPR, however, is the worst nominee in this category, but could win simply because the film is overly popular. The best scores in this category, none of which I’d object to winning are Elizabeth, LIB and TRL. Too bad Truman Show wasn’t eligible, it was easily superior to the rest…even if it was only a small amount of new music.

Original Comedy/Musical Score

My Predictions

  • A Bug’s Life – Randy Newman
  • Mulan – Jerry Goldsmith, Matthew Wilder, David Zippel
  • The Prince of Egypt – Hans Zimmer, Stephen Schwartz
  • Shakespeare in Love – Stephen Warbeck
  • Waking Ned Devine – Shaun Davey

Oscar Nominees

  • A Bug’s Life – Randy Newman
  • Mulan – Jerry Goldsmith, Matthew Wilder, David Zippel
  • Patch Adams – Marc Shaiman
  • The Prince of Egypt – Hans Zimmer, Stephen Schwartz
  • Shakespeare in Love – Stephen Warbeck
My take on the nominations:

Patch Adams is a head scratcher. It can only be assumed that because the composer is Marc Shaiman, the film is nominated. The others are not surprising, but the race is most likely going to Shakespeare in Love with the runners up fighting for spoilers rights are the good, the bad and the bugly. The good: Mulan is terrific. It blends Disney’s traditional pop flavor with a distinctly oriental tone. It is clearly one of the best of the scores in this category. The bad: Prince of Egypt was huge, but it contains a less-than-terrific score. The bugly: A Bug’s Life is a terrific score and would be deserving of a win (if Mulan doesn’t).

Film Editing

My Predictions

  • Out of Sight – Anne V. Coates
  • Saving Private Ryan – Michael Kahn
  • Shakespeare in Love – David Gamble
  • The Thin Red Line – Bill Webber, Leslie Jones
  • The Truman Show – William M. Anderson, Lee Smith

Oscar Nominees

  • Life Is Beautiful – Simona Paggi
  • Out of Sight – Anne V. Coates
  • Saving Private Ryan – Michael Kahn
  • Shakespeare in Love – David Gamble
  • The Thin Red Line – Bill Weber, Leslie Jones
My take on the nominations:
Life Is Beautiful isn’t a major surprise, after all, it is a best picture nominee. What will be the final outcome? It’s hard to say, but it usually goes to best picture, which means this is a race between SIL and SPR with SPR in the lead. Any of the others could easily come from behind as a spoiler.

Cinematography

My Predictions

  • Elizabeth – Remi Adefarasin
  • The General – Seamus Deasy
  • Saving Private Ryan – Janusz Kaminski
  • Shakespeare in Love – Richard Greatrex
  • The Thin Red Line – John Toll

Oscar Nominees

  • A Civil Action – Conrad L. Hall
  • Elizabeth – Remi Adefarasin
  • Saving Private Ryan – Janusz Kaminski
  • Shakespeare in Love – Richard Greatrex
  • The Thin Red Line – John Toll
My take on the nominations:
A Civil Action is the odd nominee. Normally it wouldn’t be obvious why a film like Civil Action would get the nod, but then you look at the cinematographer, Conrad L. Hall, and see that he is indeed an Academy favorite. The race is between SPR and TRL. Toll is relatively new to film, but he’s already won two Oscars, this could easily be his third, but Kamisnki is still a force to be reckoned with. Greatrex could be the spoiler in an SIL sweep.

Art Direction/Set Decoration

My Predictions

  • Babe: Pig in the City – Roger Ford, Kerrie Brown
  • Elizabeth – John Myhre, Peter Howitt
  • Pleasantville – Jeannine Claudia Oppewall, Dianne Wager
  • Shakespeare in Love – Martin Childs, Jill Quertier
  • The Truman Show – Dennis Gassner, Richard L. Johnson; Nancy Haigh

Oscar Nominees

  • Elizabeth – John Myhre, Peter Howitt
  • Pleasantville – Jeannine Claudia Oppewall, Dianne Wager
  • Saving Private Ryan – Thomas E. Sanders; Lisa Dean Kavanaugh
  • Shakespeare in Love – Martin Childs, Jill Quertier
  • What Dreams May Come – Eugenio Zanetti, Cindy Carr
My take on the nominations:
The wonderful Babe and Dark City are both no-shows while the horrid SPR gains a foothold solely on its popularity (come on…how original can a war film be in the AD department?). What Dreams May Come isn’t a surprise, either, the best thing about the film is its AD, but it’s at the expense of some better films. SIL and Elizabeth battle it out for the crown. Pleasantville could spoil it all.

Costume Design

My Predictions

  • Beloved – Colleen Atwood
  • Elizabeth

    Alexandra Byrne

  • The Mask of Zorro – Graciela Mazon
  • Pleasantville – Judianna Makovsky
  • Shakespeare in Love – Sandy Powell

Oscar Nominees

  • Beloved – Colleen Atwood
  • Elizabeth

    Alexandra Byrne

  • Pleasantville – Judianna Makovsky
  • Shakespeare in Love – Sandy Powell
  • Velvet Goldmine – Sandy Powell
My take on the nominations:
Velvet Goldmine isn’t a surprise and its good to see that Drag movies can still find a home (remember Priscilla, Queen of the Desert?). The race, which used to be all but won by Elizabeth, is now a battle between the Elizabethan epics. SIL should easily win because it is higher up on the Oscar totem poll, but Elizabeth could still be the victor. Velvet Goldmine could just follow in Priscilla’s footsteps and spoil them all.

Makeup

My Predictions

  • Dark City
  • Saving Private Ryan
  • Star Trek: Insurrection

Oscar Nominees

  • Elizabeth
  • Saving Private Ryan
  • Shakespeare in Love
My take on the nominations:
What a stinker of a category. Apparently great prosthetic jobs don’t mean anything anymore (Dark City and Star Trek were ignored). This award will likely go to Elizabeth, which had the most unique makeup job. If SPR wins this award, we’ll be seeing yet another Braveheart year in which the least deserving wins Makeup…all because of dirty men in a war environment.

Sound

My Predictions

  • Armageddon
  • Enemy of the State
  • Out of Sight
  • Saving Private Ryan
  • The Thin Red Line

Oscar Nominees

  • Armageddon
  • The Mask of Zorro
  • Saving Private Ryan
  • Shakespeare in Love
  • The Thin Red Line
My take on the nominations:
Shakespeare in Love was extremely surprising. It’s not the type of film you’d expect here, but then again, English Patient won without being expected. The race seems to be between the war epics and Armageddon. SPR has the lead with TRL close at heel. Armageddon could easily take it.

Sound Effects Editing

My Predictions

  • Armageddon
  • Saving Private Ryan
  • The Thin Red Line

Oscar Nominees

  • Armageddon
  • The Mask of Zorro
  • Saving Private Ryan
My take on the nominations:
No surprise, but TRL’s snub indicates that its popularity isn’t high enough to take many awards. Look for SPR to triump barely over Armageddon (the two most successful films of the year).

Visual Effects

My Predictions

  • Armageddon
  • Babe: Pig in the City
  • What Dreams May Come

Oscar Nominees

  • Armageddon
  • Mighty Joe Young
  • What Dreams May Come
My take on the nominations:
How could they choose the undeserving What Dreams May Come and Mighty Joe Young over brilliant films like Pleasantville, Dark City and Babe: Pig in the City? Easily. This category has been rife with exclusions for a long time now. If only it would sTop . Look for Armageddon to handily defeat its competition. What Dreams May Come could very well be a spoiler.