1998 Academy Awards

 

Predictions

 

The 1998 Oscars ceremony takes place later this month. Presented here is my attempt to predict the winners, based partly on what I would like to see win and partly on what I expect will win.

Doing this sort of thing is never easy because invariably I haven't seen all the films in contention. However, I intend to rectify that to some extent within the next few days by seeing Good Will Hunting - having already seen the other 4 contenders for Best Film. It's no real secret that everyone expects Titanic to walk away with the lion's share of the awards and I, for one, will not begrudge it Best Film and Best Director. Okay, so the budget escalated way out of all proportion but James Cameron stuck to his guns, believed he could do it and has ultimately been proved right by critics and ticket receipts alike. That said, I hope and believe that Titanic will not pull a landslide victory like last year's The English Patient since it has a worthy adversary in the form of L.A. Confidential. And although I believe Titanic will take Picture and Director, I predict that these 2 films will come away with 5 Oscars apiece which is only fitting in a year when 2 such fine movies are in competition.

As for the acting honours, I predict that As Good As It Gets will scoop Best Actor and Actress. Jack Nicholson's performance was a worthy Golden Globe winner. Dustin Hoffman should be a non-starter. I have yet to see Matt Damon, Robert Duvall and Peter Fonda in action. With 4 British contenders out of 5 nominations for Best Actress, the British are certain to cry 'foul' if the sole American was to pick up the award. But that's exactly as it should be since (Julie Christie excepted since Afterglow has yet to be released over here) the British contenders can't match the performance given by Helen Hunt opposite Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets.

In the Supporting Actor category, I regard Robert Forster and Greg Kinnear as non-starters. Anthony Hopkins can never be discarded but his memorable performance in Amistad owes almost as much to a fine piece of script writing (that summation speech) as it does to his acting ability. Robin Williams is gleaning good word-of-mouth for his role in Good Will Hunting but rumour has it that the Academy see this as their opportunity to reward Burt Reynolds for his services to the industry and I personally regard his performance in Boogie Nights as the pick of the bunch anyway. My vote for Supporting Actress goes to Kim Basinger for L.A. Confidential though I wouldn't feel cheated if Julianne Moore was to take the honours for her role in Boogie Nights, a performance every bit as good as her previous best in Short Cuts.

In the screenplay categories - well if L.A. Confidential doesn't win Best Adapted Screenplay then there really is no justice. Original screenplay is much more wide open but any script that conjures up 2 such fine performances and enough snappy dialogue for at least 2 average Hollywood comedies deserves the nod. This really is As Good As It Gets!

Most Brits amongst you are probably now bemoaning my seemingly anti-British stance. Even though we have some worthy contenders, especially in the Actress categories, I don't think we're in with much of a shout this year. But I'm sure the BAFTAs will put matters to rights for he likes of Judi Dench in Mrs Brown and just about everyone involved with The Full Monty - though I foresee a dilemma with regard to Best Actor! But those awards are for another time.

For now, the full list of 1998 Oscar predictions is ....

Award Predicted Winner Film
     
Best Picture Titanic Titanic
Best Actor Jack Nicholson As Good As It Gets
Best Actress Helen Hunt As Good As It Gets
Best Supporting Actor Burt Reynolds Boogie Nights
Best Supporting Actress Kim Basinger L.A. Confidential
Best Director James Cameron Titanic
Best Original Screenplay   As Good As It Gets
Best Screenplay Adaptation   L.A. Confidential
Best Foreign Language Film Four Days In September Four Days In September
Best Cinematography   L.A. Confidential
Best Film Editing   L.A. Confidential
Best Musical or Comedy Score   Anastasia
Best Dramatic Score   L.A. Confidential
Best Original Song Celine Dion Titanic
Best Art Direction   L.A. Confidential
Best Costume Design   Titanic
Best Makeup   Men In Black
Best Sound   Contact
Best Sound Effects Editing   The Fifth Element
Best Visual Effects   Titanic

Predictions for Animated Short, Live Action Short, Ducumentary Feature and Documentary Short have not been listed since I have no idea whatsoever.

Update - Having now seen Good Will Hunting, all predictions stay the same. All that remains now is for the results to be announced .....

And the results . . . .

Award Winner Film
     
Best Picture Titanic Titanic
Best Actor Jack Nicholson As Good As It Gets
Best Actress Helen Hunt As Good As It Gets
Best Supporting Actor Robin Williams Good Will Hunting
Best Supporting Actress Kim Basinger L.A. Confidential
Best Director James Cameron Titanic
Best Original Screenplay   Good Will Hunting
Best Screenplay Adaptation   L.A. Confidential
Best Foreign Language Film Character Character
Best Cinematography   Titanic
Best Film Editing   Titanic
Best Musical or Comedy Score   The Full Monty
Best Dramatic Score   Titanic
Best Original Song Celine Dion Titanic
Best Art Direction   Titanic
Best Costume Design   Titanic
Best Makeup   Men In Black
Best Sound   Titanic
Best Sound Effects Editing   Titanic
Best Visual Effects   Titanic

Rather a landslide victory for Titanic, having received 11 Oscars, and only 9 correct predictions from me. As good as Titanic is, I don't believe it is worthy of the same number of awards as such classics as Ben Hur.

Unfortunately the big loser is L.A.Confidential, scooping just 2 awards. A more balanced spread might have given this film a deserved second wind at the British box office.

It was never going to be a year for the Brits, though The Full Monty did manage to scoop Best Original Score. Not that I can explain how this is possible, given that I can't remember there being a single original tune in the movie!