fI t guu Jilatig
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March 24, 1997
And the Oscar goes to
A guide to tonight's Academy Awards ceremony
"It's like the Nobel Peace Prize for really attractive people," said Billy Crystal in the advertisements for the 69th Annual
Academy Awards. And he's correct. Hollywood is rolling out the red carpet tonight for its most beautiful and talented actors
as the Oscars are handed out to last year's best in the film industry. Though surprises are undoubtedly in store, there are a few
guarantees for tonight's festivities, beginning at 9 p.m. on ABC. The awards promise Billy Crystal's much-missed nominees
song, low-profile-category-induced boredom, over-the-top musical extravanganzas, a Madonna performance, such presenters
as Angela Bassett, Bette Midler, Nicolas Cage, Susan Sarandon, Chris Farley, David Spade, Beavis and Butthead and Joan
Rivers ripping on everyone's fashions. Tune in this evening to see who really gets the gold, but for now, here's The Michigan
Daily's best guesses.
Cuba Gooding Jr. is nominated for Best Supporting Actor
for his performance in "Jerry Maguire."
Billy Bob Thornton takes the Academy by storm with his
two nominations for "Sling Blade."
- Five Best Pictures vie for No. 1 spot
The English Patient
Starring Ralph Fiennes,
Kristin Scott Thomas and
Let us begin by examining what it
-lakes to receive the little golden statue
,e the Best Picture category.
First and foremost, we should start
with the plot. Fine acting then makes
the story come alive. The film's cine-
matography is the next crucial element.
Finally, the movie's direction is the
backbone of its overall production.
Now take "The English Patient," for
instance, to understand these factors in
near perfect form. The story follows the
adventures of Count Lazlo de Almisy
. Ralph Fiennes), also known as the
nglish patient, as he forms a special.
relationship with his nurse Hana
(Juliette Binoche), with whom he
recounts lessons learned and failed.
It is a drama of perplexing relation-
ships, with a beautiful love story at its
base. His account of his love affair with
Katherine (Kristin Scott Thomas), is
enough to make the film one of the
greatest of all time.
What complicates "The English
'atient" is the travel between the pre-
sent and the past, but these same com-
plications make it all the more phenom-
"The English Patient" displays the
most sought-after emotions of human
happiness and despair into one single
plot. It is the "Casablanca" of the '90s,
uniting anecdotes of humor with pas-
sion and espionage.
Starring Frances McDormand
and William H. Macy
The harsh, desolate landscape of a
Minnesota winter provides the setting
for the best film of 1996, Joel and
Ethan Coen's "Fargo."
Based on "real" events, "Fargo"
manages to evoke horror, laughter
and sympathy, all within the span of
100 minutes. This is due, in large
part, to the Coen brothers acute
understanding of Midwestern man-
ners and sensibilities, as well as their
more expansive feel for the human
William H. Macy stars as the hapless
Jerry Lundegaard, a car salesman who
hires two inept sociopaths (played by
Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare) to
kidnap his wife and, thereafter, split the
ransom with him.
On the trail of the kidnappers is
Police Chief Marge Gunderson
(Frances McDormand), "investigat-
ing some malfeasance."
McDormand is perhaps the greatest
strength of "Fargo." She invests
Gunderson with folksy charm, keen
wit and steadfast determination,
making her one of the most com-
pelling (and amusing) screen char-
acters in recent memory.
"Fargo" is the kind of film that
restores one's faith in the movies.
- Neal C. Carruth
Starring Tom Cruise, Renee
Zellweger and Cuba Gooding
Cameron Crowe's film staring Tom
Cruise is the most sincere, passionate
and endearing film of the year, and it
deserves the Academy's highest honor.
Making more than $138 million dol-
lars, starring Hollywood's golden boy of
golden boys, and appealing to sports
fans and their wives alike, this movie
simply has it all, and the Academy will,
most likely, be blinded by its sheer jeal-
ously and slight "Jerry."
Cameron Crowe is able to develop
characters so complex, so lovably
flawed, so wonderfully human, that
viewers left that theater emotionally
True, smudged mascara and puffy
eyes do not spell
"Jerry" is not a
tear-jerker - it
is a complex
ing with human-
ity. Sure, it has Cruise and Zellweger
an adorable kid, In Maguire."
heartthrobs, a national catch phrase,
and butt shots, but this shouldn't affect
"Jerry"'s worth as art.
"Jerry" is a great American success
story that wants to say something big,
and does, while still remaining deeply
personal for everyone who sees it.
- John Ghose
Secrets and Lies
Starring Brenda Blethyn and
Of the five nominees for best pic-
ture, Mike Leigh's "Secrets and Lies"
is the least likely to win the Academy
Award, despite being the top film of
Working against "Secrets and Lies"
is the fact that it doesn't feature a
doomed romance set against a majestic
backdrop or an eccentric underdog
fighting off mental illness to fulfill his
There are no quirky, bumbling crimi-
nals trying to fool a pregnant police
chief and no big stars coining overused
All "Secrets and Lies" has is emotion
- pure, unbridled emotion without any
hooks. It is the kind of movie that satisfies
all of those who
take a chance
and see it.
Police Chief Margie (McDormand) takes on a new case in "Fargo."
Starring Geoffrey Rush and
"Shine"'s director, Scott Hicks, uses
only the necessary and sufficient tools
to create a beautiful, unique, interesting
story about a young boy with a passion
for the piano, who struggles to cope
with his own insecurities by breaking
free from the stern pressures and
restraints of his father.
Giving "Shine" the Academy Award
for Best Picture would not only mark
one of the first moments in Oscar histo-
ry when a small, unknown, inexpensive
and not-exactly-your-typical Hollywood
film becomes a publicized masterpiece,
but it could feasibly revolutionize the
Academy Awards forever.
The enriching story of "Shine" is sup-
ported by impeccably talented actors like
Geoffrey Rush and Noah Taylor.
Recent criticism denounces "Shine"
for its inaccurate plot, claiming that it is
based on a true story, rather than the
true story itself. Also, music connois-
seurs regard David Helfgott's incredible
talent as "unfinished:
Whether any of these flaws are true is
irrelevant. Hicks creates an extremely
unique and creative film that stretches
the borders of Hollywood film, making
"Shine" the most deserving film of 1996
to win Best Picture.
- Laura Flyer
share a moment of love
the tension that
More so than the other four Academy
Award nominees for best picture,
"Secrets and Lies" relays its purpose
with an honesty, authenticity, integrity,
and passion that will affect even the
most skeptical viewer.
- Prashant Tamaskar
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