Film Comment Back Issues 728x90 Film Society of Lincoln Center

1997 Oscar Predix

print Print

The complete list of nominees and favorites, picked by a smattering of fellow critics and contributors

The Berlin Wall fell in 1989. Historians may eventually record that Hollywood surrendered in 1996 — or rather, on February 11, 1997, hereafter to be known as Independents' Day. In the new, journalistic coinage, "independents" embraces international filmmakers as well as American indies, and they effectively crowded Hollywood out of the major nominations. The independents tag also underscores that four of the most-nominated contenders were released by indie or boutique distributors: Miramax, The English Patient; October, Secrets & Lies; Gramercy, Fargo; Fine Line, Shine — the second Best Picture nominee from Australia, and arguably the most "Hollywood" movie in the running. Moreover, though number five, Jerry Maguire, was released by TriStar, it's the work of a filmmaker (Cameron Crowe) who has always seemed closer in spirit to the indie fringe than to Burbank.

Our prognosticators were able to reach consensus or unanimity in six out of Oscar's ten top categories. They figure that if the Academy perceives The English Patient's Anthony Minghella as having inherited the mantle of David Lean, his trophy shelf should look like the mantel of David Lean as well. But the mirror has two faces, and 8 out of 12 soothsayers anticipate that Old Hollywood will sentimentally acclaim Miss Lauren Bacall as Best Supporting Actress over four deserving competitors (not to mention the unnominated Renee Zellweger and Courtney Love).

For our part, we salute and thank David Ansen (Newsweek), Sheila Benson (Microsoft Cinemania), John Hartl (The Seattle Times), Dave Kehr (New York Daily News), Gregg Kilday (Entertainment Weekly), Todd McCarthy (Variety), Andrew Sarris (New York Observer), Richard Schickel (Time), Gavin Smith (Film Comment), Anne Thompson (longtime West Coast Editor of Film Comment, now with Premiere), Kenneth Turan (Los Angeles Times), and Michael Wilmington (Chicago Tribune). Below are their predictions, not necessarily their preferences, in the top categories. We'll see who shines on March 24.

BEST PICTURE

  • THE ENGLISH PATIENT UNANIMOUS
  • FARGO
  • JERRY MAGUIRE
  • SECRETS AND LIES
  • SHINE

DIRECTING

  • Anthony Minghella, THE ENGLISH PATIENT (DA, JH, DK, GK, TM, AS, GS, RS, AT, KT, MW) 
  • Joel Coen, FARGO (SB)
  • Milos Forman, THE PEOPLE vs. LARRY FLYNT
  • Mike Leigh, SECRETS & LIES
  • Scott Hicks, SHINE

 

ACTOR

  • Tom Cruise, JERRY MAGUIRE (TM, GS, AT)
  • Ralph Fiennes, THE ENGLISH PATIENT
  • Woody Harrelson, THE PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNT
  • Geoffrey Rush, SHINE (SB, JH, GK, AS RS, KT, MW) 
  • Billy Bob Thornton, SLING BLADE (DA)

 

ACTRESS

  • Brenda Blethyn, SECRETS & LIES (SB, DK, TM, AS, GS, MW)
  • Diane Keaton, MARVIN'S ROOM (RS)
  • Frances McDormand, FARGO (DA, JH, GK, AT KT)
  • Kristin Scott Thomas, THE ENGLISH PATIENT
  • Emily Watson, BREAKING THE WAVES

 

SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Cuba Gooding Jr., JERRY MAGUIRE (DK, TM, AS RS, AT, KT MW)
  • William H. Macy, FARGO (GK)
  • Armin Mueller-Stahl, SHINE
  • Edward Norton, PRIMAL FEAR (DA, SB, JH)
  • James Woods, GHOSTS OF MISSISSIPPI (GS)

 

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Joan Allen, THE CRUCIBLE (AT)
  • Lauren Bacall, THE MIRROR HAS TWO FACES (DA, SB, JH, DK, TM, AS GS, KT)
  • Juliette Binoche, THE ENGLISH PATIENT
  • Barbara Hershey, THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY (RS)
  • Marianne Jean-Baptiste, SECRETS & LIES (GK, MW)

 

SCREENPLAY BASED ON MATERIAL PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED OR PRODUCED

  • THE CRUCIBLE (KT)
  • THE ENGLISH PATIENT (DA, SB, JH, DK, GK, TM, GS, AT MW)
  • HAMLET
  • SLING BLADE (AS, RS)
  • TRAINSPOTTING

 

SCREENPLAY WRITTEN DIRECTLY FOR THE SCREEN

  • FARGO (JH, GK, TM, MW) 
  • JERRY MAGUIRE (DA, SB, GS, RS, AT, KT)
  • LONE STAR
  • SECRETS & LIES
  • SHINE (DK, AS)

 

CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • THE ENGLISH PATIENT (John Seale) UNANIMOUS
  • EVITA (Darius Khondji)
  • FARGO (Roger Deakins)
  • FLY AWAY HOME (Caleb Deschanel)
  • MICHAEL COLLINS (Chris Menges)

 

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  • A CHEF IN LOVE (Georgia)
  • KOLYA (Czechoslovakia) (SA, SB, JH, DK, GK, TM, AS, GS, RS, AT KT)
  • THE OTHER SIDE OF SUNDAY (Norway)
  • PRISONER OF THE MOUNTAINS (Russia)
  • RIDICULE (France) (MW)

Also on Film Comment

# Close