Annal: 1996 Edgar Allan Poe Award® for Best Motion Picture

Results of the Edgar Allan Poe Award® in the year 1996.

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:Devil in a Blue Dress

Devil in a Blue Dress

Carl Franklin

Despite rave reviews as one of the most stylish and intelligent detective pictures in a number of years, this 1995 adaptation of Walter Mosley’s novel never found a mass audience. Too bad, because Carl Franklin’s film is nearly perfect in every way, from its rich, shadowy look to its depiction of life in post-World War II black America (L.A.-style) to the acting of Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, and others. Washington plays Easy Rawlins, an aircraft factory worker who is laid off only to find his true calling: as a private eye, albeit an unlicensed one. Hired to…

Film:Dolores Claiborne

Dolores Claiborne

Taylor Hackford

Dark secrets, family torments, and two murders swirl around the stoic, hardened figure of Dolores Claiborne (Kathy Bates), a housekeeper accused of murdering her employer of 22 years. Then there was that timely accident that took Dolores’s husband (David Strathairn) during the solar eclipse of 1975. Yet with all the somber suffering that follows Dolores like a miasma of pain, none of it compares with the heartache of a relationship she has with her grown daughter (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Although this flick is rife with horror, it is not of the supernatural kind,…

Film:Get Shorty

Get Shorty

Barry Sonnenfeld

Hailed by many critics as one of the best films of 1995, this finely tuned black comedy sparked a renewed interest in movies based on books by prolific crime novelist Elmore Leonard, whose trademark combination of tight plotting and sharp humor is perfectly captured here. After the success of Pulp Fiction, John Travolta continued his meteoric comeback as Chili Palmer, a Mob “mechanic” whose latest assignment takes him to Los Angeles, where his fascination with the movie business turns into a new career as a would-be movie producer. He pitches ideas with a…

Film:To Die For (1995)

To Die For

Gus Van Sant

If anyone ever doubts whether Nicole Kidman is a good actress, they should immediately be required to watch this outrageously wicked comedy from 1995, for which Kidman deservedly won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Leading Role. While director Gus Van Sant handles the fact-based satire with razor-sharp precision, Kidman delivers a deliciously devious performance as Suzanne Stone, a small-town New Hampshire housewife who fancies herself the next Barbara Walters, Jane Pauley, Diane Sawyer, and Maria Shriver all rolled up into one meticulously coiffed package.…

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