Annal: 1996 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award for Best Film

Results of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award in the year 1996.

Film:Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility

Ang Lee

Emma Thompson scores a double bull’s-eye with this marvelous adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel. Not only does Thompson turn in a strong (and gently humorous) performance as one of the Dashwood sisters—the one with “sense”—she also wrote the witty, wise screenplay. Austen’s tale of 19th-century manners and morals provides a large cast with a feast of possibilities, notably Kate Winslet, in her pre-Titanic flowering, as Thompson’s deeply romantic sister. Winslet attracts the wooing of shy Alan Rickman (a nice change of pace from his bad-guy roles) and…

Film:The Usual Suspects

The Usual Suspects

Bryan Singer

Ever since this convoluted thriller dazzled audiences and critics in 1995 and won an Oscar for Christopher McQuarrie’s twisting screenplay, The Usual Suspects has continued to divide movie lovers into opposite camps. While a lot of people take great pleasure from the movie’s now-famous central mystery (namely, “Who is Keyser Söze?”), others aren’t so easily impressed by a movie that’s too enamored of its own cleverness to make much sense. After all, what are we to make of a final scene that renders the entire movie obsolete? Half the fun…

Film:Babe (Chris Noonan)

Babe

Chris Noonan

The surprise hit of 1995, this splendidly entertaining family film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including best picture, director, and screenplay, and deservedly won the Oscar for its subtly ingenious visual effects. Babe is all about the title character, a heroic little pig who’s been taken in by the friendly farmer Hoggett (Oscar nominee James Cromwell), who senses that he and the pig share “a common destiny.” Babe, a popular mischief-maker the Australian farm, is adopted by the resident border collie and raised as a puppy, befriended by…

Film:The Madness of King George

The Madness of King George

Nicholas Hytner

Nicholas Hytner had an international stage phenomenon with Alan Bennett’s play The Madness of King George, starring Nigel Hawthorne as King George III, the British monarch who lost the American colonies. But in this film adaptation, Hytner unfortunately yields to the old temptation to “open up” the piece with lots of arbitrary exteriors, rushed set pieces, choppy editing, and so on, robbing Hawthorne’s acclaimed stage performance of coherency and power on the big screen. Viewers are forced to fill in emotional gaps for themselves (and try to imagine what…

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