Annal: 1999 Academy Award® for Best Motion Picture

Results of the Academy Award® in the year 1999.

Film:Shakespeare in Love

Shakespeare in Love

John Madden

One of the most endearing and intelligent romantic comedies of the ‘90s, the Oscar-winning Shakespeare in Love is filled with such good will, sunny romance, snappy one-liners, and devilish cleverness that it’s absolutely irresistible. With tongue placed firmly in cheek, at its outset the film tracks young Will Shakespeare’s overwrought battle with writer’s block and the efforts of theater owner Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush, in rare form) to stage Will’s latest comedy, Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter. Jokey comedy, though, soon takes a…

Film:Elizabeth

Elizabeth

Shekhar Kapur

One of the big Elizabethan-era films of 1998, Shekhar Kapur’s Elizabeth serves up a brimming goblet of religious tension, political conspiracy, sex, violence, and war. England in 1554 is in financial and religious turmoil as the ailing Queen “Bloody” Mary attempts to restore Catholicism as the national faith. She has no heir, and her greatest fear—that her Protestant half-sister Elizabeth will assume the throne after her death—is realized. Still, the late Queen Mary has her loyalists. The newly crowned Elizabeth finds herself knee-deep in dethroning…

Film:Life Is Beautiful

Life Is Beautiful: (La Vita è bella)

Roberto Benigni

Italy’s rubber-faced funnyman Roberto Benigni accomplishes the impossible in his World War II comedy Life Is Beautiful: he shapes a simultaneously hilarious and haunting comedy out of the tragedy of the Holocaust. An international sensation and the most successful foreign language film in US history, the picture also earned director-cowriter-star Benigni Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actor. He plays the Jewish country boy Guido, a madcap romantic in Mussolini’s Italy who wins the heart of his sweetheart (Benigni’s real-life sweetie,…

Film:Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private Ryan

Steven Spielberg

When Steven Spielberg was an adolescent, his first home movie was a backyard war film. When he toured Europe with Duel in his 20s, he saw old men crumble in front of headstones at Omaha Beach. That image became the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan, his film of a mission following the D-day invasion that many have called the most realistic—and maybe the best—war film ever. With 1998 production standards, Spielberg has been able to create a stunning, unparalleled view of war as hell. We are at Omaha Beach as troops are slaughtered by Germans yet…

Film:The Thin Red Line

The Thin Red Line

Terrence Malick

One of the cinema’s great disappearing acts came to a close with the release of The Thin Red Line in late 1998. Terrence Malick, the cryptic recluse who withdrew from Hollywood visibility after the release of his visually enthralling masterpiece Days of Heaven (1978), returned to the director’s chair after a 20-year coffee break. Malick’s comeback vehicle is a fascinating choice: a wide-ranging adaptation of a World War II novel (filmed once before, in 1964) by James Jones. The battle for Guadalcanal Island gives Malick an opportunity to explore…

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