The 72nd Academy Award
On 26th March, The Academy Award ceremony was held. For the past 72 years, the Oscars have been praising over a thousand people who achieve greatly for movies. In 1999, most of the Oscars winners are expected while some are really surprising. In this essay, I am going to comment on the results and statestatesuggest my personal choices.
The technological awards mostly deserve. For Visual Effects, the winner, The Matrix, does do well. It brings us to the world of imagination in the future. We do not notice any computer work there. Other nominees are good too. Little Stuart, which is very similar to Babe, humanizes a mice successfully. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace brings us to the outer space and experiences a star war. But both Little Stuart and The Star Wars cannot outstrip The Matrix because of its original and outstanding imagination with Kung Fu performances.
The winner for best Sound Effects Editing, which was presented by Hong Kong star Chow Yun Fat, is also worth. The Matrix again shows its high quality in this field. The movie is powerful and exciting and this is mainly due to its sound effects. Another similar award, best Sound, also goes to The Matrix. The Matrix does achieve well. But the other nominees are good too. The Insider is strong in sound while The Green Mile is more delicate. The Mummy and The Star Wars are good, but not impressive. The Matrix wins all technological awards and it deserves for them!
Besides the expected success of The Matrix, surprise comes with the winner of Costumes Design. Topsy-Turvy, an British movie sets in 19th century, wins over The Talented Mr. Ripley, Sleepy Hollow, Anna and the King and Titus and takes the Oscar home. Topsy-Turvy successfully portraits the dressing of England in the 19th century as well as the dressing of Japanese from the eyes of westerners at that time. The costumes are grand and dignified. I will also choose Topsy-Turvy in this field but other nominees are also outstanding. The Talented Mr. Ripley shows the Italian dressing in 1950's. Sleepy Hollow shows the costumes of USA in late 19th century. Anna and the King brings us to the Siam with its eastern clothing. Overall, this category is a strong one.
Topsy-Turvy wins another award for its achievement in Make-up. This movie was the hottest nominee in this category and finally, it wins. Actually it is the only worth nomination this year. The make-up is really marvellous. It not only shows the face of conservative Englishmen, but also the silly Japanese from the eyes of westerners, just like its costumes design. Its achievement is not far away from last year's brilliant Elizabeth!
Topsy-Turvy's victory stops here. It loses in the category of best Art-Direction. The winner, Sleepy Hollow is not the best one among the five nominees. Sleepy Hollow can portrays the mysterious haunting environment. But personally I like The Talented Mr. Ripley more. The Talented Mr. Ripley successfully creates the sunny South Italy and the classic Rome. From the poor countryside to the grand opera house, this movie shows the beauty to us. I like it very much! The only undeserving nomination is The Cider House Rules. I haven't got any impression on its art-direction!
Apart from the awards relating to arts, Cinematography and Film Editing are the two major factors for a good movie. However, the winners this year are not so impressive. I see no excellency in American Beauty! Absolutely, The Insider, The End of the Affair, Snow Falling on Cedars and Sleepy Hollow are much better than American Beauty. The Insider's cinematography helps to spread the exciting atmosphere while Snow Falling on Cedars brings us to the beautiful snow land. Sleepy Hollow is my choice among the five nominees, which creates a smoky and mysterious atmosphere. Actually I prefer The Talented Mr. Ripley but it even lost in getting a nomination. The winner of Film Editing is The Matrix. Finally The Matrix wins four awards among four nominations! It is not bad but I prefer The Insider. Actually is The Matrix such a great movie?
The category for Best Original Song this year is very weak. The winner, "You'll Be In My Heart" from Tarzan is not an outstanding one actually, so are the other nominees like "Save Me" from Magnolia and Music of the Heart. "Blame Canada" from South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut is even terrible! I cannot imagine how can the academy nominate it! The best one is "When She Loved Me" from Toy Story 2. I don't like this movie but the song is quite good. It is a soft country song with simple background music. The lyric is touching as well! It is quite good, but not as good as last year's The Prayer. Another music award, best Original Score, comes to the biggest and most pleasant surprise. The Red Violin wins! No one predicted it can win but it does! Actually it is the only deserving nomination in the category this year. The violin music is touching, heart breaking, powerful and passionate. We can feel various kinds of feeling from the music, for example, agony, joy, anger and disappointment. It is really excellent and the Academy has chosen the right winner!
Another award which makes me very happy is the marvellous Spanish film, All About My Mother wins the best Foreign Language Film. This movie is a touching one with brilliant director and actresses. It is about the love of mothers. It is the simplest one among Almadovar's movies, but the most touching one.
After the minor awards, the major awards come. The winners of screenplay are, as usual, not so impressive. American Beauty, winner of the best Original Screenplay, shows the irony of a superficially beautiful family in US. It is good but not as impressive as last year's Shakespeare in Love. For me, I will choose Magnolia in this category which is about several people's feeling towards different incidents or accidents in twenty-four hours. The Screenplay Adaptation goes to The Cider House Rules. The best factor of the movie is its screenplay. But personally I will choose The Talented Mr. Ripley. Anthony Minghella successfully portraits the feeling of all characters. He also narrates the story in detail. It is a brilliant screenplay but unfortunately it is ignored.
Here come the actors and actresses categories. Among the five nominees in best Supporting Actor, the child Osment in The Sixth Sense is the only undeserving nominee. He is praised by the public but I see no brilliance from his performance. He shows his scariness and no more. Jude Law in The Talented Mr. Ripley is charming, but not so outstanding. Michael Caine, the winner, is very good. He shows his real love to the orphans. But his showing time is rather short. The most impressive one is Michael Clarke Duncan in The Green Mile. The black giant has given his heart to us! His performance is very touching that I still think of it for a long time after leaving the cinema. I like the movie simply because of his performance!
The hottest nominee, Angelina Jolie takes home an Oscar for best Supporting Actress. I have not watched her performance in Girl, Interrupted yet but I think she does well as she has already got the award of Golden Globe and Screen Actor Guild. I will pick Chloe Sevigny in Boys Don't Cry. She gets a powerful, sensational and passionate performance. Other nominees are satisfactory only. Toni Collette is The Sixth Sense is absolutely average! I even did not notice her role!
When Gwyneth Paltrow announced the winner for best Actor in a Leading Role is Kevin Spacey, I was very disappointed. Kevin Spacey is a good actor. He is also good in American Beauty, but Denzel Washington gives an impregnable performance. Denzel plays a black boxer, Cater, who has sent to prison for thirty years without committing any crimes. He is accused mainly because he is black. Denzel shows the brave and strong side of Cater, as well as the weak side. When he asks his wife to divorce because he does not want to burden her, Denzel's performance is heart breaking! His performance can easily be one of the best performances by an actor in the decade! But the award goes to Spacey. This situation is similar to last year in which Edward Norton's powerful performance lost to the crazy idiot Roberto Benigni.
Unlike the award for best Leading Actor, the winner of Actress in a Leading Role deserves the Oscar. Four out of five nominees are brilliant, with the exclusion of Annette Bening in American Beauty. Her performance is too exaggerated. Personally I love Meryl Streep in Music of the Heart. She is excellent but not as outstanding as her previous works especially the unforgettable Sophie's Choice. The 25-year-old talented actress, Hilary Swank, takes home the only deserving Oscar for leading actress in five years. She plays Brandon Teena/ Teena Brandon in the tragedy Boys Don't Cry. Her performance is definitely powerful. She animates the lesbian who pursues her real love no matter how difficult the journey is. She is humiliated and killed at last. But she has found her own identity. Swank has won eleven critic awards and this award is surely the most pleasant one for her.
We notice actors/actresses in movies. But the soul of a movie is the director. The biggest awards, Best Director and Best Picture go to the predicted American Beauty. In 1999, there are no brilliant productions. American Beauty is actually an above average movie. Its success is because it is a good epitome of society in US nowadays. But I am not touched by it. The Sixth Sense, a boring movie, is popular, but not excellent. The Cider House Rules is also boring. It is not my taste. The Green Mile is a touching movie, but there are some irrelevant materials which makes the film become boringdull. The Insider is a very good movie with great directing techniques. But it gets no touching scenes. I will pick The Insider from the five nominees but my own choice is The Talented Mr. Ripley. The movie successfully shows the disaster of loss of identity. Anthony Minghella shows the depressing atmosphere. The movie can bring us to meditation. Who am I? We should think it very carefully. Definitely Anthony Minghella should win The Talented Mr. Ripley and best Picture. Ironically, it even loses itsthe nominations.
All in all, the winners, no matter if they deserve or not, have paid their effort on movies. They aim at presenting their thoughts to us and most of them are inspiring. Movies actually not only give us entertainment, they teach us many things from the world. It can broaden our horizon. Thanks to the filmmakers who provide us a good way for learning!