72nd Academy Awards (1999): Winner Predictions




American Beauty
The Matrix
Sleepy Hollow
The Cider House Rules
All About My Mother
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
Boys Don’t Cry
Buena Vista Social Club
Girl, Interrupted
My Mother Dreams of Satan’s Disciples in New York
The Old Man and the Sea
Toy Story 2

Predictions are in the order I think they have a chance of winning the award (except the short film categories, which are unranked and each listed as “Toss Up”). I have added notations to each indicating how strong I think they are a contender.

Winner Prediction (c-Win Pred Date Set) — Chance at Win —
Other Nominees — Chance at Win —

Best Picture

  • American Beauty – Bruce Cohen, Dan Jinks (c-12/25)
  • The Cider House Rules – Richard N. Gladstein
  • The Green Mile – David Valdes
  • The Sixth Sense
  • The Insider – Pieter Jan Brugge, Michael Mann

Analysis: This is the category that Miramax shot most prognosticators down when Shakespeare in Love pulled off a surprising victory and unusual Picture-Director split last year. Could they do it again? Maybe, but is Miramax backlash real? No one will know until the Statuettes are handed out next Sunday…hopefully DreamWorks will pull its first major victory at the podium (maybe last year being their first Top nomination hurt their chances). Ths time American Beauty has the critical, popular and financial support to give it the victory.

Best Director

  • Sam Mendes – American Beauty (c-2/16)
  • Lasse Hallstrom – The Cider House Rules
  • Michael Mann – The Insider
  • M. Night Shyamalan – The Sixth Sense
  • Spike Jonze – Being John Malkovich

Analysis: This was his first friend, how can they not give it to him? Because it’s his first film. Mann and Hallstrom are the only two veterans here and Hallstrom has Miramax behind him. Mann could just end up being a tribute winner, but Hallstrom could very easily snatch defeat from the hands of Mendes. However, Mendes took the DGA award and with very few missteps in their history, it looks like Mendes will have himself an Oscar.

Best Actor

  • Kevin Spacey – American Beauty (c-2/16)
  • Denzel Washington – The Hurricane
  • Russell Crowe – The Insider
  • Richard Farnsworth – The Straight Story
  • Sean Penn – Sweet and Lowdown

Analysis: First it was Spacey, then it was Crowe, then it was Washington and now it’s Spacey again. It’s amazing how things come full circle. With the SAG award in his belt, I am pickiing Spacey to take hom his second Oscar (first as lead). Never, since its inception, has the SAG winner for Best Actor not taken home the Best Actor Golden Boy. Washington eat your heart out.

Best Actress

  • Hilary Swank – Boys Don’t Cry (c-12/17)
  • Annette Bening – American Beauty
  • Julianne Moore – The End of the Affair
  • Janet McTeer – Tumbleweeds
  • Meryl Streep – Music of the Heart

Analysis: Cat-Scratch competition. Swank used to be the odds-no favorite, but then Mrs. Warren Beatty (Annette Bening) came along to steal her thunder. With a SAG award in her belt, Bening looks poised to take the crown, but watch out for indie darling Swank whose gender-bending performance captured both hearts and every major critical award out there. Can we say Emma Thompson (Howards End)? Perhaps not…Beatty’s being honored with a big award Oscar night…wouldn’t it be nice to see glowing, pregnant wife on the podium? Not to mention she’s the only veteran in the list WITHOUT an Oscar…How bad DID What Planet Are You From hurt her chances?

Best Supporting Actor

  • Michael Caine – The Cider House Rules (c-3/12)
  • Tom Cruise – Magnolia
  • Haley Joel Osment – The Sixth Sense
  • Michael Clarke Duncan – The Green Mile
  • Jude Law – The Talented Mr. Ripley

Analysis: This used to be Cruise’s award. Then came Osment as a sensational kid in a popular movie, then Michael Clarke Duncan in a hit movie about a mouse and a mile as a dim-witted saint. However, then comes along Miramax and its no-holds-barred push for Oscars. This time Caine seems the likely winner. After not being nominated for last year’s Little Voice, many may feel remorse and give him the award. Others might see the veteran actor as a chance to give Cider House an Oscar or two without giving them the Top one.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Angelina Jolie – Girl, Interrupted (c-3/12)
  • Chloe Sevigny – Boys Don’t Cry
  • Catherine Keener – Being John Malkovich
  • Toni Collette – The Sixth Sense
  • Samantha Morton – Sweet and Lowdown

Analysis: Since 1992, this has been the young princess award save for the victory of the wonderful Dianne Wiest for Bullets Over Broadway, then the “We’re sorry for not giving you the Oscar as the queen” award to Judi Dench last year. Then we’ve got family love for Mira Sorvino and I see it happening again this year. Jolie’s daddy is veteran actor Jon Voight and with that behind her, a victory is almost guaranteed. Look out for Sevigny, Keener and Collette who all seem to be champing at the bit for the Oscar. It’s a bloody race with the psychopath on Top (Jolie’s character in Girl, Interrupted).

Best Original Screenplay

  • American Beauty – Alan Ball (c-9/30)
  • Being John Malkovich – Charlie Kaufman
  • Magnolia – Paul Thomas Anderson
  • The Sixth Sense – M. Night Shyamalan
  • Topsy-Turvy – Mike Leigh

Analysis: American Beauty by a petal over Malkovich. BJM is being pushed hard for this award because many feel it was unfairly shut out of Best Picture…it could end up a surprise winner, but Beauty is heading for a It Happened One Night/One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest/Silence of the Lambs quintuple victory for Picture, Actor, Actress, Director and Screenplay…Will it happen? Not sure…Annette Bening appears to be the weakest link.

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • The Cider House Rules – John Irving (Also Novel) (c-2/16)
  • Election – Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor (Novel: Tom Perrotta)
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley – Anthony Minghella (Novel: Patricia Highsmith)
  • The Insider – Eric Roth, Michael Mann (Article: Marie Brenner)
  • The Green Mile – Frank Darabont (Novel: Stephen King)

Analysis: With Miramax pushing Cider House Rules so heavily, this could be one of only two places it ends up a winner. Lots ofpeople love John Irving, so it seems almost assured, but Minghella could be looking for a victory after being unfairly shut out for The English Patient’s winding narrative…he winds again, but will the Academy say too much winding is enough? Election is incredibly popular with independent filmmakers and The Insider will be choice amongst Freedom of the Press fanatics, but Cider House has the Miramax push.

Best Original Song

  • “When She Loved Me” – Toy Story 2 (Randy Newman) (c-12/25)
  • “You’ll Be In My Heart” – Tarzan (Phil Collins)
  • “Blame Canada” – South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (Trey Parker, Marc Shaiman)
  • “Save Me” – Magnolia (Aimee Mann)
  • “Music of My Heart” – Music of the Heart (Diane Warren)

Analysis: When She Loved Me seems a good choice. Randy Newman doesn’t have an Oscar yet and many think he should. Aimee Mann is too youth-oriented of an artist. Phil Collins could upset, being a very popular pop artist. It would be great if Trey Parker could make it to the stage, but I doubt it highly…still one can hope.

Best Original Score

  • American Beauty – Thomas Newman (c-3/18)
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley – Gabriel Yared
  • The Cider House Rules – Rachel Portman
  • The Red Violin – John Corigliano
  • Angela’s Ashes – John Williams

Analysis: Thomas Newman had to incredibly popular scores out this year, Beauty and Green Mile. I see his victory as almost assured. Yared, however, does have the better score in this category…the battle could be bloody.

Best Editing

  • American Beauty – Tariq Anwar, Chris Greenbury (c-12/25)
  • The Matrix
  • The Sixth Sense – Andrew Mondshein
  • The Cider House Rules – Lisa Zeno Churgin
  • The Insider – William Goldenberg, Paul Rubell

Analysis: Seemless editing in The Matrix or traditional cutting in Best Picture-likely American Beauty? It’s a hard choice, either could win, but this category generally goes to the best picture winner, mark one for American Beauty…at least for now.

Best Cinematography

  • American Beauty – Conrad L. Hall (c-12/25)
  • Snow Falling on Cedars – Robert Richardson
  • Sleepy Hollow – Emmanuel Lubezki
  • The Insider – Dante Spinotti
  • The End of the Affair – Roger Pratt

Analysis: Hall has the ASC award, which almost guarantees his Oscar, but not always. Richardson is very well loved, but not as much as Hall…look for Hall to pull out a victory.

Best Art Direction

  • Sleepy Hollow – Ken Court; Peter Young (c-9/30)
  • Anna and the King – Luciana Arrighi, John Ralph; Ian Whittaker
  • Topsy-Turvy
  • The Cider House Rules – David Gropman; Beth A. Rubino
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley – Roy Walker; ?

Analysis: Sleepy Hollow has an original, created locale, Anna just has a recreated locale. While it could win, as could Ripley or Turvy, Sleepy still has the edge here.

Best Costume Design

  • Sleepy Hollow – Colleen Atwood (c-9/30)
  • Anna and the King – Jenny Beavan
  • Topsy-Turvy
  • Titus – Milena Canonero
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley – Ann Roth

Analysis: Somewhere along the way, Anna and the King pulled into a neck-and-neck battle with Sleepy Hollow. While I still think Sleepy will win, the chance of Anna has improved greatly.

Best Makeup

  • Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (c-1/25)
  • Topsy-Turvy
  • Life
  • Bicentennial Man

Analysis: Austin Powers has the most showy of all the effects here. Rick Baker and Greg Cannom whose effects (Life and Bicentennial Man respectively) are nominated again this year are the two Top nominees in the Makeup arena, but neither film was a box-office success. Michele Burke whose design for Austin Powers (with newbie Mike Smithson) is the only other multiple nominee on the list. With only 2 fewer nominations than Cannom, she has a very good chance at winning. Baker is the Top winner ever so he could do it. Cannom has two, but so does Burke. Any one of them could win, but everything looks good for the “Fat Bastard” and Austin Powers.

Best Sound Mixing

  • The Matrix (c-3/18)
  • Star Wars: Episode I
  • The Green Mile
  • The Insider
  • The Mummy

Analysis: Along with SFX and Visual Effects go this award. Matrix does have what it takes…science fiction, big budget, big success and lots of supporters. Star Wars could win, but I would be surprised.

Best Sound Editing

  • The Matrix (c-3/19)
  • Star Wars: Episode I
  • Fight Club

Analysis: This could be the one place Star Wars has the upper hand, but it’s rare to have the bottom three awards, Sound, Sound Effects and Visual Effects, go to different people. I see this year as a triple crown for The Matrix, which has so many supporters its potential win in Film Editing is a bit surprising.

Best Visual Effects

  • The Matrix (c-3/19)
  • Star Wars: Episode I
  • Stuart Little

Analysis: Star Wars = Tons of Effects. Matrix = Sophisticated Effects that don’t LOOK like visual effects. The Razzie nods for Star Wars might have hurt the film, not to mention the extreme displeasure with the film in critical circles.

Best Foreign Film

  • All About My Mother – Spain (c-11/25)
  • East-West – France
  • Solomon and Gaenor – United Kingdom
  • Under the Sun – Sweden
  • Caravan – Nepal

Analysis: All About My Mother has no competition. Like Wim Wenders in Documentary, this is the chance for the Academy to honor a popular director without giving him an incredibly big award.

Best Documentary Feature

  • Buena Vista Social Club (c-1/18)
  • One Day in September
  • Speaking in Strings
  • Genghis Blues
  • On the Ropes

Analysis: Wim Wenders has his fanatics out there, but has failed to claim any glory in the many Oscar arena. This is the Academy’s chance to honor Wenders without feeling too bad that it’s just a Documentary award.

Best Documentary Short Subject

  • Eyewitness (c-2/16)
  • The Wildest Show in the South: The Angola Prison Rodeo
  • King Gimp

Analysis: Some say that because Angola USA last year didn’t win that they will want to honor it here and it could, but I’m still going with Eyewitness, though I should probably take my comments under Live Action Short film into account here.

Best Animated Short Film

  • The Old Man and the Sea (c-3/19 [Orig: 1/25])
  • When the Day Breaks
  • Humdrum
  • My Grandmother Ironed the King’s Shirts
  • Three Misses

Analysis: Originally, I thought that Old Man and the Sea sounded like the most likely choice, then I found out that Humdrum was a Aardman animation film, which has captured 3 Oscars for creator Nick Park…however Nick Park isn’t behind this one and Old Man and the Sea is getting extremely good press. It’s back on the Top of my list.

Best Live-Action Short Film

  • My Mother Dreams of Satan’s Disciples in New York (c-1/25)
  • Kleingold (Small Change)
  • Killing Joe
  • Major and Minor Miracles
  • Bror, Min Bror (Teis and Nico)

Analysis: There’s no telling what will win. Most will guess and that’s what I’ve done. What has helped before is to choose the one with the strangest name and pick it. It helped with Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life and Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase, but doesn’t always.

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