With very little doubt, 1999 brought with it a slew of incredible films. Personally, I consider it to be the finest year for cinema in recent decades, primarily due to the pictures' originality. Whether it was a portal into John Malkovich's brain, a red pill that reveals the truth, frogs raining from the sky or a club for men to punch the crap out of each other, it's hard to deny that 1999 left an indelible mark. The five pictures nominated for that year's Best Picture Oscar were no exception and I immensely enjoyed revisiting them for this project.
The nominees for Best Picture of 1999 are:
- American Beauty
- The Cider House Rules
- The Green Mile
- The Insider
- The Sixth Sense
Since this is a year I hold in great esteem, I've had occasion to ponder my favourite nominee several times before, so it was somewhat of a foregone conclusion which film I would pick. Nonetheless, I shall go through the motions and contemplate all the contenders.
The surprising thing about these five movies is that they didn't seem to suffer the not-so-unusual phenomenon of a greatly diminished appreciation on a repeat viewing. Having watched all of the nominees ten years ago, I would say The Sixth Sense is the only one that dropped in regard in any significant manner and that is only the expected lack of surprise that is unavoidable when rewatching big twist films. Conversely, I found myself succumbing to the charms of The Cider House Rules, about which I was originally more complacent.
Both The Insider and The Green Mile are gripping, albeit in different ways, and viewing them again this time around reminded me of what fine examples of cinema they really are. I guess in a year full of fine examples, I had forgotten their brilliance. But it is the suburban dramedy American Beauty that captured and inspired me a decade ago and remains on top today. Truth be told, Fight Club is probably my favourite film from 1999, but American Beauty is a very close second, thereby claiming the title of my favourite Best Picture nominee of the year. Another match with the Academy, this being the fifth time out of ten verdicts, making it an even 50% so far.
Best Picture of 1999
Polls are now open above for you to express your opinion. And speaking of polls, I may introduce a voting system to decide which year takes the project's focus next. Seems a little unnecessary since I have to cover every year eventually, but it might be fun. So, look out for that in the (very) near future. For now, though, I'll decide the next race myself as we revisit the 1960s with another diverse slate of contenders.
And the nominees for Best Picture of 1964 are:
- Dr. Strangelove
- Mary Poppins
- My Fair Lady
- Zorba the Greek
And stay tuned also for some musings on the current awards season which is developing rather nicely.