Monday, May 30, 2011

If I Were An Academy Voter: 1996 Part 1

Best Picture
Academy Winner - The English Patient
My Pick - Fargo
Commentary - The English Patient was long and weepy and boring, and was probably the worst film of the five. That being said, I would have gone with the Coens' magnificent dark crime comedy Fargo, an underappreciated gem of the 1990's.

Best Director
Academy Winner - Anthony Minghella "The English Patient"
My Pick - Mike Leigh "Secrets & Lies"
Commentary - I also really loved Secrets & Lies, and Mike Leigh deserves an Oscar for making one great film after another. Plus, hindsight tells me that the Coens win in 2007 (I know that really is not allowed, but my game = my rules), so I went with Leigh.

Best Actor
Academy Winner/My Pick - Geoffrey Rush "Shine"
Commentary - This over-the-top performance may have turned off some, but Rush has a knack for the big performances, and Shine was his shining moment.

Best Actress
Academy Winner/My Pick - Frances McDormand "Fargo"
Commentary - God I love the Academy for making this choice. McDormand is incredible in everything, but Fargo was her crowning moment, combining strength, humor, and toughness and creating an unforgettable character.

Best Supporting Actor
Academy Winner - Cuba Gooding Jr. "Jerry Maguire"
My Pick - William H. Macy "Fargo"
Commentary - Gooding was great in Jerry Maguire, but he did very little in the aftermath. Instead, I would have gone with the always underrated William H. Macy, whose long steady career went far beyond this wonderful performance.

Best Supporting Actress
Academy Winner - Juliette Binoche "The English Patient"
My Pick - Lauren Bacall "The Mirror Has Two Faces"
Commentary - In her acceptance speech, Binoche said that she thought Lauren was going to win. So did we all, and she probably should of. Lauren Bacall not winning an Academy Award is a travesty, and the Academy missed this perfect opportunity.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Academy Winner/My Pick - Joel and Ethan Coen "Fargo"
Commentary - The sharpest screenplay of 1996. Period.

Best Original Screenplay
Academy Winner - Billy Bob Thornton "Sling Blade"
My Pick - John Hodge "Trainspotting"
Commentary - Sling Blade was great, but no film was more original than Danny Boyle's underrated gem Trainspotting. Since Boyle was not nominated, the screenwriter who brought that imaginative film to life deserves some credit, and in my opinion, an Oscar.

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