The weeks are flying by as we comb through Oscar’s past. This weekend we’ll be diving in 1996, not a great year overall for film. To me it’s known as the Fargo year, though the big winner was The English Patient, which entered the race with virtually no competition. The other big challenger was Jerry Maguire, Cameron Crowe’s closest Oscar win, and one of Tom Cruise’s. But it was, as it turned out, no match for the epic sweep (Nazis!) of The English Patient. The English Patient had 12 nominations and won 9 Oscars, which puts it alongside Gigi and The Last Emperor. Only four movies won more: Titanic (the most), Ben-Hur, Return of the King and West Side Story. So that makes The English Patient one of the biggest Oscar movies of all time. Hard to believe until you start drilling down into it and what you see is everything a modern Oscar winner needs: “importance,” Nazis, love story (with refreshing sex and nudity), romance (vicarious living) and an epic sweep. This movie is one of those quintessential winners. But the other thing about it was that it had very light competition, and that allowed it to win big. Though many still love and appreciate The English Patient (Anthony Minghella, RIP), Fargo is the one that really broke through. Other directors blooming that year included Wes Anderson (Bottle Rocket), the Wachowski siblings (Bound), Lars Von Trier (Breaking the Waves, at the onset of the Dogme 95 movement), David O. Russell (Flirting with Disaster), Paul Thomas Anderson (Hard Eight), Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet (though he’d already made Strictly Ballroom), Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, though he’d already made Shallow Grave). We’d love to hear your thoughts on 1996, and if you have any questions for the podcasters, please leave them here.