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Oscar Podcast Preview – 1997, Titanic beats As Good as it Gets, LA Confidential

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The year began with one film sweeping the critics awards. LA Confidential was the film that won Boston, the Critics Choice, Los Angeles, National Board of Review, National Society of Film Critics, New York, and the WGA. But it did not win the DGA (Cameron, Titanic) and it didn’t win the Golden Globe, or the Editors Guild (Titanic, Titanic). So it was fairly clear to most how the Oscars would go that night. Closing in was Jim Brooks’ As Good As it Gets, which would take both Actor and Actress.

Titanic would win virtually everything that night, joining Ben-Hur (and before Return of the King did it), winning the most Oscars any film ever has, 11. It joins All About Eve being the highest ever nominated, with 14. It was not only number one at the box office but it remained number one of all time until Avatar topped it.

The power of star dictated that Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s Good Will Hunting beat Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights for screenplay (Titanic was not nominated). Greg Kinnear was deserving of Supporting Actor but Robin Williams won instead for Good Will Hunting.

There were many other films released that year that didn’t get anywhere near the Oscar race, like David Lynch’s Lost Highway, David Fincher’s The Game, Martin Scorsese’s Kundun, and Christopher Guest’s comic masterpiece, Waiting for Guffman. But it was Titanic’s year and Titanic’s decade.

62 Comments on this Post

  1. Bryce Forestieri

    Been excited about this one. It was a crazy good year. I can’t believe how many great essential titles. A highlight year in this decade –just slightly inferior to 1999:

    Best of 1997

    1. BOOGIE NIGHTS, Paul Thomas Anderson
    2. JACKIE BROWN, Quentin Tarantino
    3. TITANIC, James Cameron
    4. FUNNY GAMES, Michael Haneke
    5. L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, Curtis Hanson
    6. THE SWEET HEREAFTER, Atom Egoyan
    7. PRINCESS MONONOKE, Hayao Miyasaki
    8. MOTHER AND SON, Aleksandr Sokurov
    9. GOOD WILL HUNTING, Gus Van Sant
    10. NEON GENESIS EVANGELION: THE END OF EVANGELION, Hieaki Anno, Kayuza Tsurumaki
    11. THE FIFTH ELEMENT, Luc Besson
    12. FIREWORKS, Takeshi Kitano
    13. IN THE COMPANY OF MEN, Neil Labutte
    14. PERFECT BLUE, Satoshi Kon
    15. STARSHIP TROOPERS, Paul Verhoeven
    16. THE CHAMBERMAID ON THE TITANIC, Bigas Luna
    17. THE ICE STORM, Ang Lee
    18. STEAM: THE TURKISH BATH, Ferxan Ozpetek
    19. BROTHER, Aleksei Balabanov
    20. LAWN DOGS, John Duigan
    21. CUBE, Vincenzo Natali
    22. AMISTAD, Steven Spielberg
    23. LIVE FLESH, Pedro Almodovar
    24. KNOCKING ON HEAVEN’S DOOR, Thomas Jahn
    25. HAPPY TOGETHER, Wong Kar-Wai
    26. NEON GENESIS EVANGELION: DEATH & REBIRTH, Hieaki Anno, Kayuza Tsurumaki
    27. EVENT HORIZON, Paul W.S. Anderson
    28. CURE, Kiyoshi Kurosawa
    29. MEN WITH GUNS, John Sayles
    30. GATTACA, Andrew Niccol
    31. COP LAND, James Mangold
    32. MEN IN BLACK, Barry Sonnenfeld
    33. CONTACT, Robert Zemeckis
    34. MADE IN HONG KONG, Fruit Chan
    35. OPEN YOUR EYES, Alejandro Amenabar
    36. BATMAN & ROBIN, Joel Schumacher
    37. CHASING AMY, Kevin Smith
    38. THE GAME, David Fincher
    39. FACE/OFF, John Woo
    40. LIAR LIAR, Tom Shadyac
    41. AIR FORCE ONE, Wolfgang Petersen
    42. DONNIE BRASCO, Mike Newell

    Hall of Shame: MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL + THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK + ALIEN: RESURRECTION + THE BUTCHER BOY + TASTE OF CHERRY
    Guilty Pleasures: SEVEN YEARS IN TIBET + I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER + ANACONDA + SPEED 2: CRUISE CONTROL + SPICE WORLD + TORJAN WAR + LITTLE BOY BLUE
    Most Underrated: VOLCANO
    Hidden Gem Award: HEMOGLOBIN

  2. Your photo from Titanic is reversed. I’ve seen the film so many times I know Leo should be on Kate’s right side.

    Titanic is the best of the nominated films. I’ve seen them all. Good Will Hunting is what it is, a feel-good Miramax movie. As Good As It Gets is hilarious and Jack is great, but it’s not a great film. The Full Monty never had a chance, but it’s amazing it got in, as a British Indie film. And L.A. Confidential is well executed, but becomes a pretty rote bad cop story, with a killer cast of breakout actors.

    Titanic had the narrative, the filmmaker succeeding against all odds. It’s a triumph of epic cinema. Now many people point to the flawed script, but that in no means makes Titanic a bad film. William Goldman’s article on the film should be essential reading for anti-populist haters, as he argues Titanic had the best screenplay of 1997, noting its very effective structure and pacing. Cameron did a brilliant job mapping out his story and then playing out the plot in certain areas of the ship, establishing a connection with the audience and then coming back to those places and people during the sinking. Yes, the dialogue and Romeo and Juliet story seem derivative, but I think Cameron’s execution and how the film plays overall is quite strong. This was an incredible theatrical experience back in late 1997, and I have to say an amazing confluence of dedicated art direction, a fantastic cast, a great score, a historical background that was relevant in 1990s America, all under the singular vision of James Cameron. It was amazing he pulled it off, and it was clear the film had no competition.

    About the Oscar ceremony:
    – Billy Crystal was great. Loved the Oscars Family Album reunion of acting winners.
    – I wish Gloria Stewart won Best Supporting Actress. She was better than Bassinger by a mile. Her monologue at the end of Titanic is crushing still.

  3. ^^^ Also, Titanic’s opening is one of my favorite openings of a film. The cut from the sepia flashback to the ocean to the descending submarines was inspired. Love the band montage later in the film during the sinking, one of the film’s best moments. Also love the shot of Jack and Rose flying as the camera cranes toward the ship. Though some shots of the ship look fake today, the sinking remains incredibly suspenseful. I remember being terrified during the hallway scenes with the strobe lights. I also remember thinking Rose was singing “My Heart Will Go On” at the end (LOL), but I was pretty young.

  4. I love Gattaca. One of my favorites from 1997. That film has really gained a cult reputation over the years; recently bought the blu-ray and it is great, inspired production design, love Michael Nyman’s score, and Ethan Hawke + Uma are perfect.

    Princess Mononoke may be one of my all-time favorite animated films. It utterly blew me away, right from the beginning, with the “gods and demons” narration that set the film within a mythic time period of Japanese history and epic music by Joe Hisaishi. I think Miyazaki is at the top of his game creatively, giving us the Kodama, the Forest Spirit, the boar god, and the fascinating Lady Eboshi. I’ve never seen another animated film that felt so epic in scope of its storytelling, when the lead character has to leave his home once he’s been tainted and sees Japan become modernized over the course of the film, very compelling story.

  5. Nothing was going to beat Titanic that year, but The Sweet Hereafter, In the Company of Men, Steam, and Donnie Brasco stick in my mind. LA Confidential was great, but to me, that year was BOOGIE NIGHTS, all the way.

  6. PICTURE: THE SWEET HEREAFTER, L.A. Confidential, The Ice Storm, Jackie Brown, A Taste of Cherry, Funny Games, Starship Troopers, Mother and Son, Career Girls, Eve’s Bayou, The Apostle, Passion in the Desert, Donnie Brasco, Boogie Nights, Lost Highway, Open Your Eyes, Good Will Hunting, As Good As It Gets, Kundun, Lolita, Gattaca, Affliction, Ulee’s Gold, WACO: THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, Titanic, Hana-bi, Insomnia, The Full Monty, Contact, The Fifth Element, Happy Together, In the Company of Men, BREAKDOWN, Children of Heaven, LITTLE DIETER NEEDS TO FLY, Four Days in September, 4 Little Girls, HANDS ON A HARD BODY, Nil by Mouth, The Wings Of The Dove, Men in Black, PRIVATE PARTS, Life is Beautiful, 12 ANGRY MEN, THE LONG WAY HOME, THE SPANISH PRISONER, The Butcher Boy, Cop Land, Face/Off, MRS. BROWN, THE HOUSE OF YES, LOVE AND DEATH IN LONG ISLAND, MA VIE EN ROSE, MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING, ALL OVER ME, CLOCKWATCHERS, DREAM WITH THE FISHES, THE CASTLE, CUBE, SHE’S SO LOVELY, CHARACTER, The Eel, Princess Mononoke, IN AND OUT, MOUSEHUNT, U-TURN, EVENT HORIZON, ORGAZMO, THE EDGE

    DIRECTOR: Atom Egoyan, THE SWEET HEREAFTER (2nd: Michael Haneke, Funny Games, followed by: Ang Lee, The Ice Storm; Curtis Hanson, L.A. Confidential; Abbas Kierostami, A Taste of Cherry; Quentin Tarantino, Jackie Brown)

    ACTOR: Ian Holm, THE SWEET HEREAFTER (2nd: Robert Duvall, The Apostle, followed by: Peter Fonda, Ulee’s Gold; Homayon Ershadi, A Taste of Cherry; Matt Damon, Good Will Hunting; Samuel L. Jackson, Jackie Brown; Al Pacino, Donnie Brasco; Jack Nicholson, As Good As It Gets; Jeremy Irons, Lolita; Nick Nolte, Affliction)

    ACTRESS: Pam Grier, JACKIE BROWN (2nd: Joan Allen, The Ice Storm, followed by: Susanne Lothar, Funny Games; Rebecca Pidgeon, The Spanish Prisoner; Jodie Foster, Contact; Katrin Cartlidge, Career Girls; Lynda Steadman, Career Girls; Helena Bonham Carter, The Wings of The Dove; Judi Dench, Mrs. Brown; Helen Hunt, As Good As It Gets)

    SUPPORTING ACTOR: Robert Forster, JACKIE BROWN (2nd: Burt Reynolds, Boogie Nights, followed by: Alfred Molina, Boogie Nights; Robert Blake, Lost Highway; James Coburn, Affliction; Lady Day, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil; Mark Benton, Career Girls; Robin Williams, Good Will Hunting; Robert De Niro, Jackie Brown; Vincent D’Onofrio, Men in Black)

    SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Sarah Polley, THE SWEET HEREAFTER (2nd: Julianne Moore, Boogie Nights, followed by: Nicoletta Braschi, Life is Beautiful; Cameron Diaz, My Best Friend’s Wedding; Bridget Fonda, Jackie Brown; Gabrielle Rose, The Sweet Hereafter; Allison Elliott, The Wings of The Dove; Christina Ricci, The Ice Storm; Minnie Driver, Good Will Hunting)

    CINEMATOGRAPHY: Dante Spinotti, L.A. CONFIDENTIAL (2nd: Frederick Elmes, The Ice Storm, followed by: Roger Deakins, Kundun; Paul Sarossy, The Sweet Hereafter; Alexei Yodorov, Mother and Son; Robert Elswit, Boogie Nights; Peter Deming, Lost Highway; Dean Cundey, Titanic; Alexei Rodionov, Passion in the Desert)

    ORIGINAL SCORE: Mychael Danna, THE SWEET HEREAFTER (2nd: Jerry Goldsmith, L.A. Confidential, followed by: Philip Glass, Kundun; Patrick Doyle, Donnie Brasco; James Horner, Titanic; Mychael Danna, The Ice Storm; Nicola Piovani, Life is Beautiful; Angelo Badalamenti, Lost Highway)

    SHORT FILM: THE OLD LADY AND THE PIGEONS (Sylvain Chomet)

    FURTHER:

    ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, GOOD WILL HUNTING (2nd: Victor Nunez, Ulee’s Gold, followed by: Michael Haneke, Funny Games; Kasi Lemmons, Eve’s Bayou; Robert Duvall, The Apostle; Paul Thomas Anderson, Boogie Nights; Mike Leigh, Career Girls; James L. Brooks, As Good As It Gets)

    ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Curtis Hanson and Brian Helgeland, L.A. CONFIDENTIAL (2nd: Atom Egoyan, The Sweet Hereafter, followed by: James Schamus, The Ice Storm; Quentin Tarantino, Jackie Brown; Paul Attansio, Donnie Brasco; Hossein Amini, The Wings of the Dove; Paul Schrader, Affliction)

    DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: WACO: THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (William Gazecki) (2nd: Little Dieter Needs To Fly (Werner Herzog), followed by: 4 Little Girls (Spike Lee); Hands on a Hard Body (S.R. Bindler); The Long Way Home (Mark Jonathan Harris))

    NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE FILM: A TASTE OF CHERRY (Iran, Abbas Kierostami) (2nd: Mother and Son (Russia, Aleksandr Sokurov), followd by: Hana-bi (Japan, Takeshi Kitano); Children of Heaven (Iran, Majid Majidi); Insomnia (Norway, Erik Skjoldbjærg); Four Days in September (Brazil/US, Bruno Barreto))

    ART DIRECTION: TITANIC, Kundun, L.A. Confidential, Boogie Nights, The Fifth Element, Gattaca

    COSTUME DESIGN: KUNDUN, Titanic, The Fifth Element, Boogie Nights, L.A. Confidential, The Wings of the Dove

    FILM EDITING: L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, The Sweet Hereafter, Boogie Nights, Titanic, The Full Monty, Funny Games

    SOUND: CONTACT, Titanic, Starship Troopers, L.A. Confidential, The Fifth Element, Kundun

    ORIGINAL SONG: “Miss Misery” from GOOD WILL HUNTING (music and lyrics by Elliott Smith) (2nd: “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic (music by James Horner, lyrics by Will Jennings))

    SPECIAL EFFECTS: (tie) TITANIC and STARSHIP TROOPERS, The Fifth Element, Men in Black

    MAKEUP: MEN IN BLACK, The Fifth Element

    ANIMATED FEATURE: PRINCESS MONONOKE (Hayao Miyazaki)

  7. Ah, the year I stopped losing any sleep about the “fairness” and “objectivity” of the Oscars. Or any award, really.

    To me, “Titanic” is a mess, while “LA Confidential” and “Boogie Nights” are near masterpieces.

  8. I would rank the nominees like this:

    1. L.A. Confidential
    2. Good Will Hunting
    3. The Full Monty
    4. Titanic
    5. As Good as It Gets

    Although you could rearrange 2-5 in any order. I actually do like those movies a lot, it’s just that L.A. Confidential completely towers over them. It’s perfect in every way. Complex plotting, dark characters, brilliant acting, gritty direction-it has everything. You could easily make the case that it is the best major studio movie that Hollywood has ever released.

    Good Will Hunting suffers from conventional storytelling but the performances make it extra special. Minnie Driver and Matt Damon more than deserved their nominations and Robin Williams was a great choice for Best Supporting Actor that year. A perfect example of a movie that takes something old and makes it seem fresh again (I guess that’s why it took Screenplay as well).

    The Full Monty stands out as the strangest nominee but it remains a sweet riot of a comedy with an excellent soundtrack.

    Titanic is brilliantly directed and produced, even if the script is somewhat lacking. Not the best film of the year but still an admirable achievement.

    As Good as it Gets is an excellently crafted and extremely well-acted romantic comedy. I know Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt get some backlash for their Oscar wins but I thought they were both fantastic, as was Greg Kinnear.

    As far as big budget movies go, I would say Face/Off and Men in Black stand out alongside Titanic.

    Boogie Nights absolutely and positively must be talked about on the podcast. Particularly Mark Wahlberg’s rise to stardom and Burt Reynolds and Julianne Moore’s mesmerizing performances. It was also a breakout for Paul Thomas Anderson. Brilliantly dark film.

    If I had to pick an overrated movie for that year, it would be David Fincher’s The Game. Aside from the incredible performances of Sean Penn and the female lead, the movie idiotically undergoes at least three tonal shifts before it arrives at an unbelievably anticlimactic ending. A frustrating movie that begins brilliantly but is derailed by a VERY hackneyed second half.

    And of course you have to discuss Titanic being the highest grossing movie at the time of its release.

    And for Jackie Brown, which is stylistically different from Tarantino’s other films but still has a great story and cast to offer. I have one question: if the release dates of Jackie Brown and Pulp Fiction had been flip-flopped (if Jackie Brown had come out in 1994 and Pulp Fiction in 1997), do you think the former would have received the latter’s critical success as well? I personally think Pulp Fiction is the far superior movie but I know others would feel differently.

  9. Jerry Grant

    Of the nominated, Titanic all the way. Sometimes bad scenes and cheesiness are worth it. As Ebert said, it takes a hell of a filmmaker to get a movie of this length and ambition to work, and it works damn well. Still a riveting and dazzling movie, one for the ages.

    Otherwise, BOOGIE NIGHTS!!!!

    The Full Monty, As Good as It Gets, Good Will Hunting, L.A. Confidential = pretty good movies all as well

  10. I was so obsessed with Boogie Nights back then, and still think it’s the best film of 1997. #2 for me was The Sweet Hereafter and #3 was probably L.A. Confidential, but I had no real problem with Titanic’s victory.

    I was 19 at the time and had seen BN 7 times in theaters, nearly crashing while hydro-planing on the freeway while rushing some friends and BN newbies to see it (for my 6th or 7th time).

    I remember seeing it for the umpteenth time at Dobie Theater, the arthouse cinema near UT campus, and becoming shocked and outraged when it appeared that the clip of Rollergirl’s nudity had been removed — likely by some seedy projectionist.

    I owned the screenplay, both soundtracks, two shirts, and at least two posters. Through a series of posts and ultimately an interview with the webmasters, I was named “World’s Biggest Boogie Nights Fan” by the first major PTA site on the net, which may have eventually been the one that morphed into Cigs and Red Vines. A silly empty title, but at the time it meant a lot.

    Since then I have grown up a lot, moved, married, and can no longer see movies in theaters more than once or twice, but I’m still a massive PTA supporter. I’ve loved everything he’s done, and his newest film will always be my most anticipated of the year. The man has always been a natural born filmmaker, and he’s done way more than merely fulfill the promise he made to cinephiles over 15 years ago. He’s already one of the all-time greats.

  11. Julianne Moore should have won supporting actress in 1997 (and again two years later, when they didn’t even nominate her).

  12. PatrickR

    LA Confidential was my pick for best of the year from the nominated films with As Good As It Gets a distant second. The Ice Storm and Boogie Nights were my pick from the non-nominated films and I would have given it to any of the actors in those two films in any of the acting categories.

    A lot of folks had their money on Judi Dench to win the Actress Oscar. Helen Hunts win was a bit of a surprise to me.

    It was a forgone conclusion that Titanic would take the big awards that night. I wish James Cameron, however, would let someone else do the writing. He’s a very good director of special effects films – but plot and a good script always seem to be an afterthought. (Terminator 2 is the exception). At least the Academy acknowledged this by not giving it a writing nom.

    The Burt Reynolds snub was about as big as the Lauren Bacall one the year before. I think he deserved the win – even though – interesting Oscar story – the word was that he fired his agent after he saw the final cut of Boogie Nights. That said a lot about his personal taste as the other movie he had a high profile role in at that time was Striptease – and I think he was proud of that until the critics ripped it apart.

  13. The Sweet Hereafter was my favorite movie of the year, and I wasn’t even a big Atom Egoyan fan before that (I go hot and cold on him now), but it’s a movie that not only works on its own terms as a powerful story about tragedy and what it does to people, but also great as an adaptation. I have no position either way on using voice-over in film, only judging it if it works. Despite the fact the novel is told from four different points of view in the first person, Egoyan does away with it, but comes up with substitutes that work; for Ian Holm’s character, he tells his backstory to a friend of his daughter’s as they share a plane ride, Sarah Polley’s character reads “The Pied Piper” to the children she babysits (and Egoyan uses that story thematically), Bruce Greenwood’s narration is done away with completely, instead depending on his face (and his reaction to the bus crash is one of the most powerful moments in the movie), and Gabrielle Rose (the bus driver) has her testimony instead of voice-over. Egoyan’s method of jumping back and forth in time also works in context of the story. And I know a lot of people have problems with Polley’s testimony at the end, but she’s putting an end to the lawsuit in the only way she can (no one is going to blame Rose’s character; that’s why Polley testifies that way). Also, despite the fact I’m used to most of these actors playing more urban characters (particularly in previous Egoyan movies), they all play small-town characters convincingly. This remains, for me, not only the crowning moment of Egoyan’s career, but also one of the best films of the decade.

    My favorites of the year:

    (1) The Sweet Hereafter
    (2) L.A. Confidential
    (3) As Good as it Gets
    (4) The Ice Storm
    (5) Ulee’s Gold
    (6) In the Company of Men
    (7) Grosse Pointe Blank
    (8) Titanic
    (9) Face/Off
    (10) Boogie Nights

    Other great films: Amistad, The Boxer, Chasing Amy, Copland, Donnie Brasco, The Full Monty, The Game, Jackie Brown, Kundun, Wag the Dog

  14. Best Picture:

    Donnie Brasco
    As Good As It Gets
    *Boogie Nights
    Waiting for Guffman
    Jackie Brown

    Best Director:

    Mike Newell
    James L. Brooks
    *Paul Thomas Anderson
    Quentin Tarantino
    James Cameron

    Best Actor:

    *Jack Nicholson (As Good as it Gets)
    Dustin Hoffman (Wag the Dog)
    Peter Fonda (Ulee’s Gold)
    Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting)
    Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic)

    Best Actress:

    *Jodie Foster (Contact)
    Helen Hunt (As Good as it Gets)
    Helena Bonham Carter (Wings of the Dove)
    Kate Winslet (Titanic)
    Pam Grier (Jackie Brown)

    Best Supporting Actor:

    Christopher Guest (Waiting for Guffman)
    *Burt Reynolds (Boogie Nights)
    Robin Williams (Good Will Hunting)
    Greg Kinnear (As Good as it Gets)
    Robert Forster (Jackie Brown)

    Best Supporting Actress:

    *Julianne Moore (Boogie Nights)
    Joan Cusack (In and Out)
    Sigourney Weaver (The Ice Storm)
    Catharine O’Hara (Waiting for Guffman)
    Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting)

  15. This was the year I started seeing movies that changed my way of seeing cinema. And that was in great par.t, thanks to Titanic, which was a blockbuster all around the globe. I remember it cause it was the first VHS my dad bought, and it was the movie we saw for almost 3 months straight (19 times in that period). It was crazy, but the movie always get us weeping, in love and amazed.
    That’s how great Titanic was and is, and “script issues” aside, it’s a truly memorable masterpiece in storytelling, entertaining and epicness.
    More than 10 years later, knowing a little more of cinema, I’ve seen a lot of the other “great” 1997 films and this is how my ranking looks like:
    *From 1-4, I have no idea how to order them. That’s how much I love/admire those 4 movies*
    1. The Sweet Hereafter 10
    2. Titanic 10
    3. Good Will Hunting 10
    4. Funny Games 10
    5. Gattaca 9+
    6. The Game 9
    7. Boogie Nights 9-
    8. Children of Heaven 8+
    9. Princess Mononoke 8
    10. The Full Monty 8
    11. Face/Off 7+
    12. Bean 7
    13. Air Force One 7
    14. Men in Black 7
    15. Con Air 7
    16. Jackie Brown 7-
    17. L.A. Confidential 6+
    18. As Good as It Gets 6+
    19. The Fifth Element 6
    20. I Know What You Did Last Summer 6
    21. Liar Liar 6
    22. Anaconda 6-
    23. Speed 2: 6-
    24. Volcano 6-
    25. The Lost World: Jurassic Park 5+
    26. Flubber 5-
    27. Cube 5-
    The last 15 I saw them on their respective year and I have not review them again.

  16. I saw Titanic 11 times in the theater. I dont think I have to say much more than that, haha. Amazing motion picture. Honestly, I cant find words to express my love for everything that this movie offered me when I was 17. Now 33, I still look at is as one of the greats of all-time.

  17. rufussondheim

    The thing I like most about The Sweet Hereafter is that you first see the tragedy from a distance. It’s horrifying.

    Between LA Confidential, The Sweet Hereafter, The Ice Storm and In the Company of Men it’s impossible to pick a favorite for the year. I love all four for completely different reasons.

    Eve’s Bayou should get a mention.

    I’m also a big fan of The Spanish Prisoner. Just hearing Mamet’s words is a treat.

    Welcome to Sarajevo is a great film from Michael Winterbottom, who for quite awhile was the director whose films I most looked forward to. It’s great to see he’s never shied from being political in his filmmaking. The world needs more like him.

    And the best gay film of the year was easily Love and Death on Long Island.

    Fast, Cheap and Out of Control is a wonderful documentary from Errol Morris, who is easily my favorite documentary director of all time.

    I’d probably pick Good Will Hunting to round out my top 10, but I haven’t seen it since it’s release and after last night’s revisit of American Beauty, not sure GWH would hold up to more scrutiny.

    I saw Titanic on the opening night because a good friend of mine was a huge James Cameron fan. What stuck in my head as I walked into the theater was the troubled production and how it dominated the press the previous months and years. So my expectations were low. It was a terrible film until the crash. And then it was amazing. It definitely deserves a place in film history for the pioneering special effects and action sequences. But, man, other than that it sucked and I’ve never wanted to sit through that junk again just to see what worked.

    A great comparison to Titanic is Gravity. Gravity shows how weak a film Titanic is, how you can get absurdly exciting action sequences AND emotionally wrenching scenes without having to load them up in some bloated epic.

  18. rufussondheim

    Oh Wait, I forgot about Gattaca, get rid of Good Will Hunting and put Gattaca in my top 10.

  19. ^^^ and you know, I really love L.A. confidential, too. Top to bottom, its fantastic. The direction, acting. WRITING, editing, cinematography, sets, story, mood, etc. Its great. And STILL it is dwarfed by Titanic,for me. That goes to show that you can have a near-perfect film like LA Confidential on hand, and still not have that intangible “classic” staple that a film like Titanic offers (even with its lesser script).

  20. Just my opinion :)

  21. rufussondheim

    Can’t wait until next week when I can talk at length about After Life, truly one of my top tier films of all time.

  22. Bryce Forestieri

    Off Topic:

    Just came from THE COUNSELOR. I am deeply stunned. Absolutely loved it. I know the critics are saying is a terrible mess so I probably have the worst taste. Did everyone go in looking for a Coen bros. film? It says so at the beginning of the credits: “A Ridley Scott Film”. And what Godly execution from Ridley. The key role and the key performance belong to Cameron Diaz. Let me stress this, in case it isn’t obvious to anyone by know: This film is not Oscar-worthy. But if the world were a fair place Diaz would be a lock for a nomination, and if the year ended now she would have to win Best Supporting Actress. I have not see Lupita Nyong’o yet so my opinion might change later on. For now it belongs to Diaz. Fassbender is phenomenal, Cruz and Bardem are well cast, and Brad Pitt nails it every turn. I’m only not sure about one scene but I must have been thinking about the previous scene while it was happening. It’s all there. I just wanted to share since it won’t feature in the conversation again this year. I did tear up at some point. It ranks with MUD and GRAVITY as the best theater experiences I have had in 2013. I need to collect myself. ★★★★★

    I cannot speak about Cormac’s motivations and approach because I’m not academically fit. But I’m sure Ridley went with this philosophy:

    “I have the feeling simply of having painted a canvas in an enormous hurry–with enormous pretension but without any arrogance. I said, ‘Here is a painting; take it, please.'” –Ingmar Bergman on THE SEVENTH SEAL

    p.s. I believe mentioning TRAFFIC in your “analysis/review” is also misguided. THE COUNSELOR is not trying to explain or examine drug markets, drug wars, drug addiction, etc

  23. rufussondheim

    Glad to see you enjoyed The Counselor so much. I love it when I find much enjoyment in a film that’s mostly been discarded (like I did in last years “Liberal Arts”). And moreover, I’m happy that you decided to let us know of your enjoyment. You took a beating today over American Beauty, so it’s nice to see you’re still able to be you. And we all love you for it!

    And, by the way, I’ve not seen Robocop since whenever it came out, which I think was before I understood what satire was.

  24. unlikely hood

    Y’all love chiming in with favorites, I leave y’all to it. I’m here to talk Oscar.

    Two things I would like the podcast to discuss:

    Parity for BP noms. This was the 2nd year in a row that 4 of the 5 BP-nom’d films one at least one of the top 8 prizes – BP, BD, Acting, or Script. (In each case, perhaps not surprisingly, the also-ran was the lowest-budget pure Brit product – Secrets and Lies and The Full Monty). And one could make the case that such parity was all the more remarkable in THE TITANIC YEAR. I don’t think parity was utterly coincidental; I think the voters (who can’t be relied upon to watch anything but the BP noms, and often not even those; how many you think saw Gattaca or Eve’s Bayou, 10%?) flattered themselves – “oh good, I’m giving that nice Hunting movie two things, I’m giving that nice Good-Gets movie two things, I’m giving LA Confidential two things…God I’m SO NICE!!”

    They can’t do that anymore – not with 10 BPs. It’s a new dynamic, but this was a fun dynamic while it lasted.

    The other subject is Best Actress – did it really give Helen Hunt an edge to compete against four Brits, to be the only American in her category? They still say that’s why Marisa Tomei won (and Judy Davis is criminally Oscar-less). But Tomei had happened – thus you had a lot of people (similar to people around here) saying well, that Yank-vs.-4-Brits thing was a fluke, it won’t happen like that again. But with Hunt, it did. Did her nationality help her? Or was it just making Jack want to be a better man?

  25. Best of 1997

    Picture
    1. The Ice Storm
    2. Boogie Nights
    3. Waiting for Guffman
    4. Lost Highway
    5. Funny Games
    6. Jackie Brown
    7. The Sweet Hereafter
    8. Event Horizon
    9. LA Confidential
    10. Open Your Eyes

    Best actor
    1. Christopher Guest – Waiting for Guffman
    2. Ian Holm – the Sweet Hereafter
    3. Kevin Kline – The Ice Storm
    4. Robert DuVall – the apostle
    5. Jack Nicholson – As Good as it Gets

    Best actress
    1. Joan Allen – The Ice Storm
    2. Patricia Arquette – Lost Highway
    3. Pam Grier – Jackie Brown
    4. Sarah Polley. – The Sweet Hereafter
    5. Helena Bonham Carter – Wings of the Dove

    Best supporting actor
    1. Burt Reynolds – Boogie nights
    2. Phillip Seymore Hoffman – Boogie Nights
    3. Fred Willard – waiting for Guffman
    4. Elijah wood – the ice storm
    5. James coburn – affliction

    Best supporting actress
    1. Sigourney weaver – the ice storm
    2. Parker posey – waiting for Guffman
    3. Julianne Moore – boogie nights
    4. Catherine Ohara – waiting for Guffman
    5. Christina ricci – the ice storm

  26. Bryce Forestieri

    Haha I didn’t realize I was getting my ass kicked. I’m just taking you guys’ word for it since I have not seen it for a while. It’s like me having to defend liking THE BOYS IN THE BAND, I absolutely agree with people arguments about why they feel offended by the film. Valid stuff. LIBERAL ARTS was on my radar all year but I never came across it neither on home video, streaming, and much less theaters near me, but I’ll check it out if you recommend it. Just heads up, if it contains lines like this:

    Audrey: “What Jane Austen novels have you read?”

    Tom: “None. I don’t read novels. I prefer good literary criticism. That way you get both the novelist’s ideas as well as the critic’s thinking. With fiction, I can never forget that none of it ever happened; that it’s all just made up by the author.”

    …I will probably despise it.

    Have you seen ART SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL? You’d probably enjoy it. I’m gonna try and see AMERICAN BEAUTY this weekend. I’m gonna try and see AMERICAN BEAUTY this weekend so I can come up with a rebuttal if I deem it necessary. :)

  27. I think the worst Oscar that year was Best Actress. Literally any of the other four nominees surpassed Helen Hunt’s performance. I would have given as a tie to Helena Bonham Carter who actually swept the critics awards but sadly lost out the GG or Julie Christie who is sadly such an underused actress! She needs more roles!! Away from Her, robbed again!

    Interestingly, the Best Actress race that had Julie Christie, all ladies were British, as when Julie Christie was nominated in in 1971’s McCabe and Mrs Miller. In both years, the American actress won (Jane Fonda in the latter). Just a fun fact ;)

  28. Jpns Viewer

    This #Titanic# year was quite another weak year to me as far as Oscar buzz and its final-nom list went.

    Oddly enough, I liked very much the second half (or earlier, more or less) of #LA Confidential# but the first half basically felt like taking a couple of tablets of sleeping pill, all the more as if being directed by two different directors. All in all, I prefer it to Titanic. (Just saying.)

    As for the other four BP nominees including Titanic, I reasonably enjoyed all of them. #BUT# basically, myself […] another regular moviegoer, as opposed to critics or genuine cinephiles (strictly by AD definition, #not# the mainstream one; by popular notion, I should be one of the cinephiles, as well), aside, I consider all four of them, as well as LA Confidential, utterly mainstream (I know, I know, Oscar is also mainstream; but I know that you know that I know that you know what I mean). What I’m trying to say: This year somehow didn’t feel like an Oscar season to me.

    #Helen Hunt# winning Best Actress from that film . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ladies and Gentlemen, Helen Hunt 1, Annette Bening, unfortunately, 0 . . . . . . . . . . . . (Helen Hunt’s performance was all right, but in my opinion, still left [it] to desire […].)

    Matter-of-factly speaking, #Sasha (Stone)# always made it clear that she is one of the feminists. So, I’d like to hear her thoughts on In the Company of Men, as well.

    Etc.

    One of the guilty pleasure scenes: [GOOD WILL HUNTING SPOILERS ALERT] Affleck’s character trying to hit on this girl at a bar, his rival coming in with condescending tone insulting Affleck’s character’s intelligence in process, the rival showing off his (lack of) wit making remarks stolen from a textbook [I hate people who steal, at any level, in general]; this college dude [not implying I didn’t go to college/university; actually I did] finally got his butt taken to school and handed by Damon’s Will. . . . The scene per se was nothing extraordinary, but I just like the fact in it that the stealer got exposed. : )

  29. rufussondheim

    Bryce, how dare you mock one of my favorite pieces of dialogue from Metropolitan! In addition to it being extraordinarily funny, it’s also revealing of Tom’s outlook on life and who he is. It’s masterful.

    Liberal Arts is not a great film, it has a few clichés that wrankle and, in the scheme of things, isn’t terribly important. But what I love about it is that it takes literature seriously and it discusses the role literature has in our lives, with special attention to David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, which happens to be my favorite book. It values the written word, one of the highlights for me is a section in which two characters write actual letters and we are treated to the content of those letters.

    There’s also a great sub-story with Allison Janney that allows her to be quite acerbic and it’s fun to watch, plus a scene that allows you to enjoy classical music like no other film has done.

    The film has a lot going for it that I haven’t encountered in too many other films, enough that I overlook its flaws.

  30. Jpns Viewer

    I said the following in the first comment: “ . . . the rival showing off his (lack of) wit making remarks stolen from a textbook [I hate people who steal, at any level, in general]; this college dude [not implying I didn’t go to college/university; actually I did] finally got his butt taken to school and handed by Damon’s Will. . . . ”

    Just to make it clear so that I didn’t rub off […] in a wrong way. People admire quotes and relay messages all the time, quoting their favorites for always. #BUT# the college-dude character’s scene reasonably implies to the audience that he literally stole words and apparently pretended they were his own, while trying to hit on the girl and insult Affleck’s character’s intelligence. I am #not# saying that we are not supposed to quote others’ witty remarks; however, there is always a huge difference between quoting (with #OR# without quotation marks; sometimes, I quote or sort of do that strategically save the […] marks, for effect, because I believe most of AD readers already know it, given their passion for films, etc. [always enjoy reading AD readers’ comments here]) (quoting) and stealing, even though sometimes, there are blurred lines hey hey hey . . . . (Sorry for blabbering.)

  31. Damien Bona’s tagline for the 1997 chapter of Inside Oscar 2 says it perfectly.

    “So much for small independent films.”

  32. I was surprised to see how phenomenal 1997 actually is. The Top 10 is amazing, the HM’s are amazing, and the guilty pleasures (also inclusive of the likes of Cube and Event Horizon) are almost unprecedented.

    1. Jackie Brown
    2. Titanic
    3. Career Girls
    4. Affliction
    5. Hana Bi
    6. Perfect Blue
    7. Princess Mononoke
    8. Event Horizon
    9. LA Confidential
    10. Boogie Nights

    HM: Gattaca, Taste of Cherry, The Ice Storm, Grosse Pointe Blank, The Sweet Hereafter, Ma Vie En Rose, Cube, The Boxer, As Good As it Gets, Donnie Brasco, The Castle

    Guilty Pleasure: Dante’s Peak, Volcano, Face Off, Men in Black, Bean, Air Force One, Starship Troopers, Alien Resurrection, Con Air, Liar Liar, Anaconda, The Lost World, Mouse Hunt

    1997 more than anything proves to be a thoroughly entertaining year, which makes Titanic the perfect representative.

    I have little issue with the Titanic win. I actually think it has the most powerful final scene in film history. When she is in her bed (dreaming or going to heaven), you see the photos of her fulfilling as promised life, she goes back to the drowned ship which comes to life with all the good fallen characters of that fateful night. Jack is waiting. They all clap. Camera to the ceiling. That lovely tune.

    That ending always brings me to tears, so utterly beautiful. Pure magic of cinema. It is a contender for my favourite scene in film history, it’s the perfect way to send off an audience. Bravo Cameron.

    That cinema viewing of Titanic is also one of my most memorably childhood experiences. I was only 9yo, and I adored it. The VHS was watched so many times.

  33. Tero Heikkinen

    The Ice Storm is easily the best of the year. It is Ang Lee’s personal best. It is one of the best of the whole decade.

    I will listen to the podcast, but the moment you play that awful Celine Dion song – I will stop listening :)

  34. Everyone knew that Titanic is going to win best picture, but I couldn’t help asking – How can a movie be a best picture without a screenplay nomination? I liked Titanic but I was disappointed that the movie was not about Titanic, the ship, but a love story set on Titanic.

  35. julian the emperor

    Phenomenal year: Boogie Nights is PT’s best. The Ice Storm is Ang’s best and The Sweet Hereafter is Atom’s best. Three great filmmakers at the peak of their powers in the same year! Three essential films of the 90s. L.A. Confidential is obviously great as well, just not in the same league as the ones mentioned above.

    There is something about Joan Allen’s performance in The Ice Storm that just gets to me every single time I watch it. It’s such a masterfully restrained performance. She’s pitch-perfect in every scene she’s in. Just wow.

  36. julian the emperor

    Joan Allen, btw, was incredible in the latter half of the 90s: Not just The Ice Storm, but Nixon, The Crucible, Pleasantville, The Contender…

  37. The Jack

    I can’t believe how badly Good Will Hunting is coming off in this comments section. It’s either being totally ignores or people are saying it’s over-rated. Personally it’s one of my favorite films, and the screenplay was amazing. Every element was perfectly placed to deliver a knock-out, emotionally satisfying ending. Very much the same way that Shakespeare In Love did the following year.

  38. For me, 1997 was all about Boogie Nights – a classic film from Paul Thomas Anderson and Julianne Moore was criminally robbed of a Best Supporting Actress Oscar (what does she have to do to win an Oscar?!).

    Pam Grier’s snub was blatant racism – her performance in Jackie Brown was vastly superior over the five nominees. I would have loved her to have been the first African-American winner of the Best Actress Oscar. It will always be in my top five performances from a Tarantino movie.

  39. 1997 was the year Oscar experienced a total disconnect – they were so dazzled by Titanic that they missed the boat on so many other achievements, setting some kind of dubious record.

    The Ice Storm was almost completely ignored and should have been right in there for BP, BD, art direction, and cinematography. Ang Lee missed BD – AGAIN. Joan Allen was phenomenal.

    Same with Boogie Nights, which should have been up for BP, BD, BFE in addition to the couple of nods it received. Bears repeating that Kim Basinger went home with Julianne Moore’s (what should have been) 1st Oscar. She would be robbed again in a couple of years.

    The Sweet Hereafter missed BP, Oscar nominating The Full Monty and Good Will Hunting instead. Blind silliness.

    It was another year that Roger Deakins should have won Cinematography for his work in Kundun and Julie Christie best actress for her complex portrayal in Afterglow.

    Waco: The Rules of Engagement is one of the best doc features ever made, but did not win its category. Given the reputation of that particular branch of the academy, I guess we should be thankful that it was nominated.

    An amusing aside: 1997 was the year most of us were introduced to Cate Blanchett (Oscar and Lucinda). That year, the Chicago Film Critics nominated her for Most Promising Actress, but she did not win. They awarded Joey Lauren Adams for Chasing Amy. The following year, Cate blew everybody away in Elizabeth (the group did award her best actress for that) and hasn’t stopped since. So much for promises.

  40. benedick

    Adjusted for inflation of ticket prices, Gone With the Wind is still the highest-grossing film of all time.

  41. I am one of few, but I really dislike both Good Will Hunting and L.A. Confidential.

  42. I wish Sigourney Weaver would have been nominated for The Ice Storm. Sigh.

  43. Love TITANIC, so I’m OK with its winning…Love GOOD WILL HUNTING, I like FULL MONTY and L.A. CONFIDENTIAL (even if I think it was quite overrated)…after Golden Globe winning I expected AS GOOD AS IT GETS nominations but since I don’t like it so much, I could have replaced it without any problems with BOOGIE NIGHTS or JACKIE BROWN…

    in general Helen Hunt’s winning is considered a travesty but actually I think she’s good in the picture (anyway better than her costars Nicholson and Kinnear), of course not as good as Dench or Bonham-Carter (or unnominated Foster or Grier) but still good

  44. ITA about Jackie Brown – that film was brilliantly written, acted and directed. Pam Grier should have been nominated.

    As far as The Ice Storm is concerned I think the film was too small at the time gain any real traction. You’re talking about big films (Titanic being one biggest films of all time) in the race. Ice Storm barely stood a chance. Honestly, I didn’t catch The Ice Storm until sometime in the mid 2000s when I randomly caught it on cable one lazy Sunday afternoon. It is a really good film.

  45. Funny enough Jpns I DO know what you mean. Funny enough compared to everyone hear I don’t consider myself a *TRUE* cinephile but in my every day life, I am considered to be one.

  46. Like it or not, Titanic was a phenomenon. I can remember the long lines of people wanting to see it. I saw it twice in theaters, and I remember that it was hard to even get tickets to see it because the number of people wanting to see it was simply staggering. And while L.A. Confidential is a very good movie, no way should it have defeated Titanic. And I say this as someone who owns a copy of L.A. Confidential on DVD but not a copy of Titanic.

    The Wings of the Dove was a nice movie with great cinematography and a perhaps career-best performance by Helena Bonham Carter. Judi Dench was very good in Mrs. Brown where she played Queen Victoria. I thought Julie Christie’s performance in Afterglow was overrated. She looked incredible though. She was 55 years old at the time but still looked remarkably young.

    BTW, I don’t like this blog’s new format. One can’t reply to comments anymore?

  47. Bryce Forestieri

    Best Actor

    1. Ian Holm – THE SWEET HEREAFTER
    2. Leonardo DiCaprio – TITANIC
    3. Matt Damon – GOOD WILL HUNTING
    4. Javier Bardem – LIVE FLESH
    5. Mark Whalberg – BOOGIE NIGHTS
    ——————-
    6. Takeshi Kitano – FIREWORKS
    7. Aaron Eckhart – IN THE COMPANY OF MEN
    8. Guy Pearce – L.A. CONFIDENTIAL
    9. Samuel L. Jackson – JACKIE BROWN
    10. Kevin Kline – THE ICE STORM

    Best Actress

    1. Pam Grier – JACKIE BROWN
    2. Suzanne Lothar – FUNNY GAMES
    3. Kate Winslet – TITANIC
    4. Gudrun Geyer – MOTHER AND SON
    5. Joan Allen – THE ICE STORM
    ——————-
    6. Aitana Sanchez-Gijon – THE CHAMBERMAID ON THE TITANIC
    7. Milla Jovovich – THE FIFTH ELEMENT
    8. Jodi Foster – CONTACT
    9. Joey Lauren Adams – CHASING AMY

    Best Supporting Actor

    1. Burt Reynolds – BOOGIE NIGHTS
    2. Sam Rockwell – LAWN DOGS
    3. Robert Foster – JACKIE BROWN
    4. Bruce Greenwood – THE SWEET HEREAFTER
    5. Arno Frisch – FUNNY GAMES
    ——————
    6. Phillip Seymour Hoffman – BOOGIE NIGHTS
    7. Robin Williams – GOOD WILL HUNTING
    8. Liberto Rabal – LIVE FLESH
    9. Jude Law – GATTACA
    10. Chris Tucker – THE FIFTH ELEMENT

    I could have definitely nominated Robert Blake in LOST HIGHTWAY if I used AMPAS criteria, but I don’t like the film very much in general. He was cool though.

    Best Supporting Actress

    1. Julianne Moore – BOOGIE NIGHTS
    2. Angela Molina – CARNE TREMULA
    3. Sarah Polley – THE SWEET HEREAFTER
    4. Bridget Fonda – JACKIE BROWN
    5. Sigourney Weaver – THE ICE STORM
    ——————-
    6. Gabrielle Rose – THE SWEET HEREAFTER
    7. Denise Richards – STARSHIP TROOPERS
    8. Kim Basinger – L.A. CONFIDENTIAL
    9. Christina Ricci – THE ICE STORM
    10. Dina Meyer – STARSHIP TROOPERS

    Best Ensenble: It’s a coin toss between THE SWEET HEREAFTER vs. BOOGIE NIGHTS with the Canadian film having a slight edge.

  48. Bryce Forestieri

    Best Actor

    1. Ian Holm – THE SWEET HEREAFTER
    2. Leonardo DiCaprio – TITANIC
    3. Matt Damon – GOOD WILL HUNTING
    4. Javier Bardem – LIVE FLESH
    5. Mark Whalberg – BOOGIE NIGHTS
    ——————-
    6. Takeshi Kitano – FIREWORKS
    7. Aaron Eckhart – IN THE COMPANY OF MEN
    8. Guy Pearce – L.A. CONFIDENTIAL
    9. Samuel L. Jackson – JACKIE BROWN
    10. Kevin Kline – THE ICE STORM

    Best Actress

    1. Pam Grier – JACKIE BROWN
    2. Suzanne Lothar – FUNNY GAMES
    3. Kate Winslet – TITANIC
    4. Gudrun Geyer – MOTHER AND SON
    5. Joan Allen – THE ICE STORM
    ——————-
    6. Aitana Sanchez-Gijon – THE CHAMBERMAID ON THE TITANIC
    7. Milla Jovovich – THE FIFTH ELEMENT
    8. Jodie Foster – CONTACT
    9. Joey Lauren Adams – CHASING AMY
    10. Stacy Edwards – IN THE COMPANY OF MEN

    Best Supporting Actor

    1. Burt Reynolds – BOOGIE NIGHTS
    2. Sam Rockwell – LAWN DOGS
    3. Robert Foster – JACKIE BROWN
    4. Bruce Greenwood – THE SWEET HEREAFTER
    5. Arno Frisch – FUNNY GAMES
    ——————
    6. Phillip Seymour Hoffman – BOOGIE NIGHTS
    7. Robin Williams – GOOD WILL HUNTING
    8. Liberto Rabal – LIVE FLESH
    9. Jude Law – GATTACA
    10. Chris Tucker – THE FIFTH ELEMENT

    I could have definitely nominated Robert Blake in LOST HIGHTWAY if I used AMPAS criteria, but I don’t like the film very much in general. He was cool though.

    >Best Supporting Actress

    1. Julianne Moore – BOOGIE NIGHTS
    2. Angela Molina – CARNE TREMULA
    3. Sarah Polley – THE SWEET HEREAFTER
    4. Bridget Fonda – JACKIE BROWN
    5. Sigourney Weaver – THE ICE STORM
    ——————-
    6. Gabrielle Rose – THE SWEET HEREAFTER
    7. Denise Richards – STARSHIP TROOPERS
    8. Kim Basinger – L.A. CONFIDENTIAL
    9. Christina Ricci – THE ICE STORM
    10. Dina Meyer – STARSHIP TROOPERS

    Best Ensenble: It’s a coin toss between THE SWEET HEREAFTER vs. BOOGIE NIGHTS with the Canadian film having a slight edge.

  49. What does AMPAS have against bees? Is it an old white male thing??
    Ulee’s Gold was clearly the best film of the year featuring two of the best performances of the year – and bees.

    Titanic is, to quote ADC, like master bating with a cheese grater. Slightly amusing but mostly painful.

  50. i think it was hard to argue titanic that year. the movie was SO huge, i remember seeing it 5 times in theaters. I can’t even think about it without remembering how me and all my friends (we were 13) went to see it over and over again, we were so obsessed with it and with leo, lol.

    and i think it’s still a good movie actually- it was like an old-fashioned hollywood epic melodrama, kinda like a gone with the wind kind of thing at the time. i don’t have a problem with that win. even looking back on it, you can understand why that won. the best movie of the field was probably l.a. confidential, but the rest of those nominees, i don’t think they were necessarily that much better than titanic. as good as it gets was pretty popular, but once again they snub jim brooks. good will hunting is ok, but that movie annoys me now.

  51. Sorry folks. I hated “James Cameron’s Titanic” when I first saw it. And I still do.
    All the dopey poor people are all happy and content and the rich people are all snarly and mean. Cameron’s demographic for this film was so obvious it pained me to watch the film.

    The 1958 “A Night to Remember”, for me, is the penultimate Titanic movie. It’s one of my favorite movies of all time.

    Some 1997 Favorites?

    “Oscar and Lucinda” – an unforgivingly unheralded film by the critics et al. I’ll never forget the performances of Cate BLanchett and Ralph Fiennes in this movie. I loved everything about it . . . acting, writing, directing, cinematography, and a great musical score by the Oscarless Thomas Newman.

    “LA Confidential” – it reminded me so much of “Chinatown” in its tone. Terrific performances from Guy Pearce, Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey and James Cromwell helped make it one of the best movie experiences of the decade.

    Somebody else mentioned “Waiting for Guffman” – a terrifically funny, smart satire.

    I also liked “Face/Off” quite a bit, and it improves with subsequent viewings. Great performances from John Travolta, Nicholas Cage and especially Joan Allen. Allen should have been nominated that year for Supporting. I wonder why she wasn’t?

    Not sure what year this movie was made, but I also really liked “Emma” with Gwyneth Paltrow (I may have the year wrong on this movie). Paltrow gave off a very Audrey Hepburn-like grace and presence in this film I thought.

  52. Jake Bart

    Of these nominees, L.A. Confidential should have won BP in a walk. It’s also my favorite film of that year, with BOOGIE NIGHTS, SWEET HEREAFTER, THE ICE STORM, and the criminally forgotten WAG THE DOG rounding out my top five.

    GOOD WILL HUNTING is mostly saved from pablum by Van Sant’s levelheaded direction and I really enjoy AS GOOD AS IT GETS, even though it’s a bit of a mess. Seen today, FULL MONTY is fine, but feels like the flavor of the year as opposed to a lasting movie. Finally, big, bad TITANIC continues to rank as one of my least favorite BP winners. There’s just nothing about the two main characters and their relationship that I believe. I want to get caught up in the romance, but never am. Which is a shame because the film’s pretty untouchable once the ship starts to sink.

  53. My ratings out of 5 for the BP nominees:
    As Good as It Gets ****1/2
    The Full Monty*****
    Good Will Hunting***
    L.A. Confidential***
    Titanic**

    1. The Full Monty
    2. Eve’s Bayou
    3. The Sweet Hereafter
    4. As Good as It Gets
    5. Mrs. Brown
    6. Don King: Only in America (Ineligible for Oscars, but much better than Titanic and worthy of much more attention that is available for cable films)
    7. Ponette
    8. Career Girls
    9. Selena
    10. Ulee’s Gold
    11. Waiting for Guffman
    12. Brassed Off

    Best Director: Peter Cataneo, The Full Monty
    Lead Actress: Judi Dench, Mrs. Brown
    Lead Actor: Samuel L. Jackson, Eve’s Bayou
    Supporting Actress: Dihanne Carol, Eve’s Bayou
    Supporting Actor: Djimon Hounsou, Amistad
    Song: “My Heart Will Go On” Titanic
    Score: Anne Dudley, The Full Monty
    Editing: The Full Monty
    Cinematography: The Sweet Hereafter
    Production Design: Titanic
    Sound Mixing: Titanic
    Sound Editing: Titanic
    Visual Effects: Men in Black
    Costume Design: Mrs. Brown
    Makeup: Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
    Foreign Language Feature: Ponette (France)

  54. I also thought that Helen Hunt was pretty great in As Good As It Gets. Win worthy? Ehhh. Close call for me with Dench in 2 completely different type of performances. But I do think Hunt was wonderful.

  55. Please discuss the following if you can:
    Pam Grier was amazing in Jackie Brown. It was an amazing female lead role and we haven’t seen a black actress get a role like this since. How did she not get nominated?

    Eve’s Bayou was a great film. I vaguely recall it being mentioned in the race. Did it ever have a chance? Jackson was so good in this film, as was Smollet.

    Donnie Brasco is one of my favorite movies of 97 and it features my favorite Pacino performance of the last thirty five years or so. Why did this movie get buried by Sony? What are your thoughts on this film?

  56. This was the year I started to follow the Academy Awards. I hadn’t been very interested up until 1997. Although I saw it twice in the theatres at the time of its release and remember really enjoying it, Titanic has not held up well for me in the 16 years since. It is bloated, with cardboard cut-out characters and is only saved by some truly spectacular effects and set pieces. It actually bores me to tears now. It did not deserve its major sweep at the awards that year.
    As for the acting awards, as an Aussie I was so disappointed that neither Russell Crowe nor Guy Pearce were nominated for LA Confidential. The acting from the entire cast of that movie was impeccable, although I question the supporting actress win for Kim Basinger. Was she really that good? Personally I thought Julianne Moore knocked it out of the park in Boogie Nights.

  57. Jesus Alonso

    To me..

    Picture: Chasing Amy, by Kevin Smith
    r.u.: Starship Troopers, by Paul Verhoeven

    Director: James Cameron, Titanic
    r.u.: Paul Verhoeven, Starship Troopers

    Actor: Nick Nolte, Affliction
    Actress: Joey Lauren Adams, Chasing Amy
    Supp. Actor: James Coburn, Affliction
    Supp. Actress: Sissy Spaceck, Affliction

    Original Screenplay: Chasing Amy
    Adapted Screenplay: Starship Troopers

  58. Tearjerker love story with brilliant dramatic plot always make a movie timeless to watch…

    So blessed with so many great movies this year…

    By the way, I’m very excited about the documentary ” Bridegroom”, which it’s going to premiere on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) and NetFlix tomorrow. Such an important, tragic, heartbreak, and inspiring documentary that is a MUST WATCH for 2013 !!!

  59. The look on Kate Winslet’s face when Helen Hunt’s name was called – priceless. :D

  60. The Sweet Hereafter should have been nominated for Best Picture (imo the best movie of the year). James Cameron did a superb task in a big budget project but what Atom Egoyan did was exceptional.

  61. MILES RIDDING

    My choices from what the Academy nominted this year woud have been:-

    Best Picture: TITANIC
    Best Actor: Peter Fonda in ULEE’S OLD
    Best Actress: Judi Dench in MRS BROWN
    Best Supporting Actor: Robin Williams in GOOD WILL HUNTING
    Best Supporting Actress: Kim Basinger in L A CONFIDENTIAL
    Best Diector: James Cameron for TITANIC
    Best Original Screenplay: GOOD WILL HUNTING
    Best Adapted Screenplay: THE WINGS OF THE DOVE
    Best Cinematography: TITANIC
    Best Art-Direction: TITANIC
    Best Sound: TITANIC
    Best Song: ‘ My Heart Will Go On’ from TITANIC
    Best Music/Comedy Score: ANASTASIA
    Best Drama Score: TITANIC
    Best Film Editing: TITANIC
    Best Costume Design: TITANIC
    Best Make-Up: TITANIC
    Best Visual Effects: TITANIC
    Best Sound Effects Editing: TITANIC

    What can I say I loved Titanic. I’m afraid L A Confidential was only a 3 star film for me, solidly good, but not great. On reflection now my favourite film of 1997 is the beautifully crafted The Wings of the Dove which, at the time, I underrated.

  62. Splendide poste une fois de plus

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