Annal: 2000 Academy Award® for Best Motion Picture

Results of the Academy Award® in the year 2000.

Film:American Beauty

American Beauty

Sam Mendes

From its first gliding aerial shot of a generic suburban street, American Beauty moves with a mesmerizing confidence and acuity epitomized by Kevin Spacey’s calm narration. Spacey is Lester Burnham, a harried Everyman whose midlife awakening is the spine of the story, and his very first lines hook us with their teasing fatalism—like Sunset Boulevard’s Joe Gillis, Burnham tells us his story from beyond the grave.

It’s an audacious start for a film that justifies that audacity. Weaving social satire, domestic tragedy, and whodunit into a single…

Film:The Cider House Rules

The Cider House Rules

Lasse Hallström

In adapting his own novel The Cider House Rules for the screen, John Irving sacrificed at least some of the depth and detail that made his humanitarian themes resonate, while the film—directed with Scandinavian sobriety by Lasse Hallström—is often vague about the complex issues (abortion, incest, responsibility) that lie at its core. Allowing for this ambiguity (which is arguably intentional), the film retains much of what made Irving’s novel so admired, and like Hallström’s earlier feature What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, it’s blessed with a generous,…

Film:The Green Mile

The Green Mile

Frank Darabont

“The book was better” has been the complaint of many a reader since the invention of movies. Frank Darabont’s second adaptation of a Stephen King prison drama (The Shawshank Redemption was the first) is a very faithful adaptation of King’s serial novel. In the middle of the Depression, Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) runs death row at Cold Mountain Penitentiary. Into this dreary world walks a mammoth prisoner, John Coffey (Michael Duncan) who, very slowly, reveals a special gift that will change the men working and dying (in the electric chair, masterfully and…

Film:The Insider (1999)

The Insider

Michael Mann

As revisionist history, Michael Mann’s intelligent docudrama The Insider is a simmering brew of altered facts and dramatic license. In a broader perspective, however, the film (cowritten with Forrest Gump Oscar-winner Eric Roth) is effectively accurate as an engrossing study of ethics in the corruptible industries of tobacco and broadcast journalism. On one side, there is Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe), the former tobacco scientist who violated contractual agreements to expose Brown & Williamson’s inclusion of addictive ingredients in cigarettes,…

Film:The Sixth Sense

The Sixth Sense

M. Night Shyamalan

“I see dead people,” whispers little Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment), scared to affirm what is to him now a daily occurrence. This peaked 9-year old, already hypersensitive to begin with, is now being haunted by seemingly malevolent spirits. Child psychologist Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) is trying to find out what’s triggering Cole’s visions, but what appears to be a psychological manifestation turns out to be frighteningly real. It might be enough to scare off a lesser man, but for Malcolm it’s personal—several months before, he was accosted and shot by an…

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