72nd Academy Awards (1999): Analysis


  • (1) <12/25> American Beauty – Bruce Cohen, Dan Jinks

Analysis: Miramax didn’t buy the Oscar this year…it’s a nice thing to see. In only its second year, DreamWorks has a best picture award…a pretty good accomplishment for a new studio.


  • (1) <2/16> Kevin Spacey – American Beauty

Analysis: Not a surprise, the SAG record remains intact with a perfect six for six.


  • (1) <12/17> Hilary Swank – Boys Don’t Cry

Analysis: A record has been made for this young, relatively unknown actress winning in an independent film…perhaps the Academy is getting away from its populist leanings.

Supporting Actor

  • (1) <3/12> Michael Caine – The Cider House Rules

Analysis: Many refused to acknowledge Caine’s chance at an Oscar, but with Miramax behind him, it was a forgone conclusion.

Supporting Actress

  • (1) <3/12> Angelina Jolie – Girl, Interrupted

Analysis: Daddy Voight will be happy and another first-time nominee receives an Oscar.


  • (1) <2/16> Sam Mendes – American Beauty

Analysis: Debut feature, first Oscar…it means good things are in his future. This capped a perfect score in predicting the Top 6 awards…it’s a first time for me and I’m ecstatic.

Original Screenplay

  • (1) <9/30> American Beauty – Alan Ball

Analysis: No surprise here, Being John Malkovich didn’t have as much support as was first thought. This is the ONLY category in which I’ve ever gotten every prediction correct.

Adapted Screenplay

  • (1) <2/16> The Cider House Rules – John Irving (Also Novel)

Analysis: Irving’s speech wasn’t very good, but his win was a product of Miramax prodding and abortion awareness.

Foreign Film

  • (1) <11/25> All About My Mother – Spain

Analysis: So far so good. East-West didn’t pull out a victory, so Spain took its first award in several years.

Original Song

  • (2) “You’ll Be In My Heart” – Tarzan (Phil Collins)

Analysis: No surprise, after its Golden Globe win and the immense popularity of Phil Collins and considering Randy Newman is the perennial Oscar loser.

Original Score

  • (4) The Red Violin – John Corigliano

Analysis: The most surprising of the winners, but one that can’t be seen as unusual. Corigliano is a previous nominee on Top of the fact that Red Violin was very well liked, ineligible as a foreign film and has a very beautiful violin score that seems to be a big hit with Oscar voters.

Film Editing

  • (2) The Matrix – Zach Staenberg

Analysis: The ACE Eddie winner was the eventual winner, the first of “The Matrix” award sweep categories. It appears the Academy is looking less at the best picture as best editing, but the best editing.


  • (1) <12/25> American Beauty – Conrad L. Hall

Analysis: Conrad L. Hall was an absolute embarrassment on stage, but not unexpected…he’s the only true Hollywood veteran in the crowd and hasn’t won terribly many awards.

Art Direction/Set Decoration

  • (1) <9/30> Sleepy Hollow – Ken Court; Peter Young

Analysis: Not a surprise…the most fantastical of the nominees took the award.

Costume Design

  • (3) Topsy-Turvy – Lindy Hemming

Analysis: While not the first choice of many voters, it was not Nominated for best picture and this could be a tribute award.


  • (2) Topsy-Turvy

Analysis: Definitely a tribute award for the lack of picture nomination, but not surprising.


  • (1) <3/18> The Matrix

Analysis: Innovative, new, science fiction vs. old-school sound gives The Matrix its second award.

Sound Effects Editing

  • (1) <3/19> The Matrix

Analysis: The third trophy for The Matrix came in a category that had a good chance for Star Wars to win, but the lack of interest in the highest grossing film of the year seems to have been a factor.

Visual Effects

  • (1) <3/19> The Matrix

Analysis: Many thought Star Wars would win for simply having the most visual effects, but the Academy realized that most isn’t always best and gave it to the film that did had the most innovative and plot-driven of the visual effects in this field.

Documentary Feature

  • (2) One Day in September

Analysis: The talk about this film picked up closer to Oscar time and considering two of the nominees were about music of somesort, it’s safe to assume that tragedy is the big winner in this category every year.

Documentary Feature

  • (3) King Gimp

Analysis: Had I known what the film was about, I probably would have chosen it as the winner, but unfortunately, the press was limited.

Animated Short Film

  • (1) <3/19 [Orig: 1/25]> The Old Man and the Sea

Analysis: Hand painted glass frames one at a time harkens back to the old days of animation and yields an award for The Old Man and the Sea.

Live-Action Short Films

  • (1) <1/25> My Mother Dreams of Satan’s Disciples in New York

Analysis: Never before have I done this well in the short film categories, but for some reason the most unusual title usually takes the award and this time it was assured.