Annal: 1998 Hugo Award for Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

Results of the Hugo Award in the year 1998.

Film:Contact (1997)

Contact

Robert Zemeckis

The opening and closing moments of Robert (Forrest Gump) Zemeckis’s Contact astonish viewers with the sort of breathtaking conceptual imagery one hardly ever sees in movies these day—each is an expression of the heroine’s lifelong quest (both spiritual and scientific) to explore the meaning of human existence through contact with extraterrestrial life. The movie begins by soaring far out into space, then returns dizzyingly to earth until all the stars in the heavens condense into the sparkle in one little girl’s eye. It ends with that same girl as…

Film:The Fifth Element

The Fifth Element

Luc Besson

Ancient curses, all-powerful monsters, shape-changing assassins, scantily-clad stewardesses, laser battles, huge explosions, a perfect woman, a malcontent hero—what more can you ask of a big-budget science fiction movie? Luc Besson’s high-octane film incorporates presidents, rock stars, and cab drivers into its peculiar plot, traversing worlds and encountering some pretty wild aliens. Bruce Willis stars as a down-and-out cabbie who must win the love of Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) to save Earth from destruction by Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg (Gary Oldman) and a dark,…

Film:Gattaca

Gattaca

Andrew Niccol

Confidently conceived and brilliantly executed, Gattaca had a somewhat low profile release in 1997, but audiences and critics hailed the film’s originality. It’s since been recognized as one of the most intelligent science fiction films of the 1990s. Writer-director Andrew Niccol, the talented New Zealander who also wrote the acclaimed Jim Carrey vehicle The Truman Show, depicts a near-future society in which one’s personal and professional destiny is determined by one’s genes. In this society, “Valids” (genetically engineered) qualify for positions…

Film:Men in Black

Men in Black

Barry Sonnenfeld

This imaginative summer comedy from director Barry Sonnenfeld (Get Shorty) is a lot of fun, largely on the strength of Will Smith’s engaging performance as the rookie partner of a secret agent (Tommy Lee Jones) assigned to keep tabs on Earth-dwelling extraterrestrials. There’s lots of comedy to spare in this bright film, some of the funniest stuff found in the margins of the major action. (A scene with Smith’s character being trounced in the distance by a huge alien while Jones questions a witness is a riot.) The inventiveness never lets up, and the…

Film:Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers

Paul Verhoeven

In the first and finest RoboCop movie, director Paul Verhoeven combined near-future science fiction with a keen sense of social satire—not to mention enough high-velocity violence to satisfy even the most voracious bloodlust. In Starship Troopers, Verhoeven and RoboCop cowriter Ed Neumeier take inspired cues from Robert Heinlein’s classic sci-fi novel to create a special-effects extravaganza that functions on multiple levels of entertainment. The film might be called “Melrose Place in Space,” with its youthful cast of handsome guys and…

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