Ah, the 90s. Some would say that this was the last good decade that the world would ever experience. It was certainly a good decade for films!
Dances With Wolves
Won: Dances With Wolves
Should Have Won: Goodfellas. It can be difficult to get a large group of film fans to feel the same way about anything but everyone seems to agree that Goodfellas has held up far better than Dances With Wolves and that Martin Scorsese’s gangster film should have won over Kevin Costner’s good-for-you western.
Beauty and the Beast
The Prince of Tides
Won: The Silence of the Lambs
Should Have Won: The Silence of the Lambs is one of those films that’s both brilliant and ludicrous at the same time. Actually, you can probably say the same thing about the two other major contenders, Bugsy and JFK. You can really make a case for why all three of the films should have won, despite all three being a little overrated. That said, my vote goes to Beauty and the Beast because it’s a film that embraces life as opposed to death.
The Crying Game
Should Have Won: Unforgiven. It’s one of the few intelligent films ever to be made about what violence does to the soul.
In The Name of the Father
Won: Schindler’s List
Should Have Won: I like all of the nominees, though I would have switched out The Fugitive for Dazed and Confused. The Piano is a haunting film but, in the end, the Academy picked the right winner. It’s become a bit fashionable to try to find flaws in Schindler’s List but you know what? Anti-Semitism is on the rise around the world and Schindler’s List is both a needed history lesson and an important film.
Won: Forrest Gump
Should Have Won: Pulp Fiction. “But, Lisa, what about The Shawshank Redemption….” Seriously, don’t even start with me. Pulp Fiction for the win.
Should Have Won: Casino! Oh wait, it wasn’t nominated. Okay, Sense and Sensibility then.
The English Patient
Secrets & Lies
Won: The English Patient
Should Have Won: “Just stop telling your story and die! DIE!” I have to agree with Elaine Benes on this one. My vote goes to Fargo.
As Good As It Gets
The Full Monty
Should Have Won: Oh God, Titanic. I loved you when I was like 12 but today, I can’t watch the film without snickering at the dialogue. Of the nominees, my vote would go to L.A. Confidential. I wish Boogie Nights had been nominated.
Life Is Beautiful
Saving Private Ryan
Shakespeare in Love
The Thin Red Line
Won: Shakespeare in Love
Should Have Won: Shakespeare in Love is a film that I actually really like but knowing that it was a pet project of Harvey Weinstein’s makes the film a bit awkward to watch nowadays. I’m generally not a fan of war films but The Thin Red Line has moments of haunting beauty. That said, of the nominees, Elizabeth gets my vote. It’s a film that challenges our preconceived notions of an iconic historical figure. Add to that, a good deal of Shakespeare In Love‘s cast also appeared in Elizabeth so, by honoring Elizabeth, we ensure that Geoffrey Rush and Joseph Fiennes still get to brag about appearing in the best film of 1998.
The Cider House Rules
The Green Mile
Won: American Beauty
Should Have Won: 1999 was a great year for movies so it’s kind of ironic that the Oscar went to one of the worst films of the decade. Are we finished pretending that American Beauty has anything worthwhile to say? My votes goes to The Sixth Sense, which holds up well even though we all now know about the big twist at the end.
Up next, in about an hour, a new century begins! Welcome to the aughts!