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« Interview: Hirokazu Kore-eda on "Shoplifters,"his process and working with child actors| Main| Podcast: Green Book,Widows,and the Best Supporting Actor Race »
Monday
Nov 19 2018

'97 til Oscar

It's 97 days til Oscar so we thought it might be fun to discuss Best Actress 1997.When I askedon twitterand here at the sitewhat everyone's first Oscar ceremony was,this one came up alot.Titanic-mania was in full force in March 1998,bringing the Academy Awards many new young viewers!In fact,Titanic which had opened for Christmas had never left the number one spot at the top of the box office by the time Oscar night rolled around 14 weeks later.(Titanicspent 15 weeks at #1 in total.Can you imagine?in today's movie culture you're basically a true phenomenon if you can stay on top for more than 3 weeks - onlyBlack Panthermanaged it this year with 5 weeks)

Do you remember these gowns?And who would you have voted Best Actress that year?

click to embiggen

  • Judi Dench,Mrs Brown
  • Helen Hunt,As Good As It Gets
  • Kate Winslet,Titanic
  • Helena Bonham-Carter,Wings of the Dove
  • Julie Christie,Afterglow

Kate Winslet wasnt winning anything (besides millions upon millions of fans),but the rest of them divvied up the Best Actress gongs.Helena and Julie were neck and neck when it came to critics awards;Bonham-Carter snagged the NBR,BSFC,and LAFCA while Christie swiped the NYFCC and NSFC.That was it for both of them because Dench and Hunt both took home Golden Globes.It was something of a nail-biter between them on Oscar night,though Hunt had the edge given her SAG win.But would they really give a TV star the Oscar (remember the TV and movie divide was so much greater in the 1990s) ???

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Reader Comments (79)

I *think* my list would be...

BONHAM CARTER -Wings of the Dove
CHRISTIE -Afterglow
FOSTER - Contact
POSEY - House of Yes
ROBERTS - My Best Friend's Wedding

but maybe I should swap someone out for KUDROW (that performance has held up so beautifully...it's just as funny today as it was then).I used to have VICTOIRE THIVISOL on my list but she was only 4 during Ponette and my opinion of child performances has changed somewhat.I'm not sure they should compete with adults for acting.

I also enjoyed GRIER (probably need to see that again to determine) WEAVER (alien resurrection...call me crazy but i think it's her second best performance within that franchise),ALLEN (ice storm),and DENCH (mrs brown)

November 19,2018 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Of the nominees,I am all in for Dench.HBC (have not seen that movie yet) so have no clue

My Best Actress list:
Susanne Lothar - Funny Games
Patricia Arquette - Lost Highway
Francesca Neri - Live Flesh
Jodie Foster - Contact
Cate Blanchett - Oscar and Lucinda

November 19,2018 | Unregistered CommenterManuel

Christie looks gorgeous but what an awful performance.Easily the least deserving of an otherwise extraordinary pack.Winslet's dress is both interesting as well as beautiful,and her performance is one of her best,but as you say she wasn't winning and not should she have against the other three.

I love the other three;I don't really care that Hunt won,because her performance is charming and layered,emotive and genuine.I do think Dench was the best of the year though,her Queen Victoria carried me through a journey of such pure emotion and was so fully realised.HBC was also tremendous and gave a performance amongst the best of the decade...but I'd side with Dench.

November 19,2018 | Unregistered CommenterMatty

Julia and Pam were robbed !

November 19,2018 | Unregistered CommenterHelen Morgan

Julia and Pam were robbed !

November 19,2018 | Unregistered CommenterCaracolillos

Never mind Hunt how bad does Jack's win look 20 years on.

November 19,2018 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Jack is terrific in As good as it gets!Great performance and a helluva star turn that only somebody largar than life like him could deliver.People are used to say that being subtle like,let's say,Casey Affleck is Manchester By The Sea is difficult,but give a role like Jack's to somebody like Affleck and nothing's gonna happen.You have to be as fearless as Jack to go that way without losing any bit of characterization.He is big and minimalistic like only very few actors can be.

November 19,2018 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Found it very condescending that Helen Hunt would thank her fellow nominees like the un-nominated Joan Allen/The Ice Storm and purposely forget Kate Winslet/Titanic.

November 19,2018 | Unregistered CommenterTOM

Not a great year!I like all the nominees,I don't love any of it!
My rank:

01.Helen Hunt (As Good As It Gets)
02.Helena Bonham Carter (The Wings Of The Dove)
03.Kate Winslet (Titanic)
04.Julie Christie (Afterglow)
05.Judi Dench (Mrs Brown)
06.Tilda Swinton (Female Perversions)
07.Jennifer Lopez (Selena)
08.Cate Blanchett (Oscar And Lucinda)
09.Pam Grier (Jackie Brown)
10.Parker Posey (The House Of Yes)

I always try to make sense to bump up the other performances,but Hunt's always feels true e sincere to me (although not as memorable) so I'm totally ok in choosing her...

I have Joan Allen (The Ice Storm) and Sarah Polley (The Sweet Hereafter) nominated in supporting.

November 19,2018 | Unregistered CommenterDoug

TOM -- She totally mentioned Kate Winslet.Check it on YouTube.

November 19,2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

If I wanted to give the answer to look cool,HBC.If I wanted to give the answer to look cool 15 or plus years ago,Dench.If I wanted to give the answer to be honest,in Grier's absence,then it's Hunt.

November 19,2018 | Unregistered CommenterLucy

I've read Melanie Griffith was supposed to play Helen Hunt's role but had to decline due to her pregnancy,that would habe been fun seen Griffith ( that ranges from brilliant to annoying and or awful ) walking away with an Oscar over HB Carter,who is phenomenal in Wings of the Dove (truly,MY winner that year).Also I'd have loved to see Julia Roberts nominated for MBFW,she's pitch perfect there e the film is a delight.( also Everett in Supporting).Christie is a Goddess,she creates magic in every single role;Winslet would go to deliver much stronger performances so I'd have replaced her with Lange,Pfeiffer (A Thousand Acres) or Foster ( Contact),also found a spot for kevin Kline (In & Out) and Jude Law ( Supporting for Gattaca).And I know Julianne Moore gave the best performance in her category and I LOVE Boogie Nights ( Love her in Magnolia even more) but it was so nice to see Kim Basinger winning,she's hollywood royalty and a fine actress ( love her work post Oscar in The Door in the Floor and The Burning Plain and she deserved a nod for The Natural,sorry Glenn,)

November 19,2018 | Unregistered CommenterEder Arcas

I like the 1997 Best Actress nominees.

Julie Christie in "Afterglow"is the clear winner--hers is the funniest,finest,most varied performance she's ever given,and her final moments are the most powerful she's ever had onscreen.Her woundedness,sexiness,and irony have never been more evident than in this role.

Helena Bonham Carter is terrific in "Wings of the Dove": spry,wolfish,forceful.She drives the entire movie (and is the only performer who doesn't seem miscast).

I like Helen Hunt a lot in "As Good as it Gets."Judi Dench is okay,but somewhat disappointing,given the accolades.Winslet is emotionally persuasive but is pinned to a dreadful script.

November 19,2018 | Unregistered CommenterMatt L.

Dench superb.Christie great.Bonham-Carter great.Winslet lucky to be here.Hated Hunt's win then (and Nicholson - WTF),but okay wit it now.

Hunt was the lone American nominated with 4 Brits.Just like Fonda in 71 and Tomei in 92 ( well not really...Jack Palance referring to Australian Davis as a Brit was annoying).Wonder if he made that blunder or if it was scripted that way.Davis was robbed,as she was in '84.

November 20,2018 | Unregistered CommenterPatryk

Matt L.: Are you saying you think that Linus Roache and Alison Elliott in The Wings of the Dove are miscast?To me,they are pretty much perfect embodiments of how the characters are described in the novel.

November 20,2018 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

That to me is one of the worst Oscar win ever ALL catégorie included Hunt is awful (what accent is she going for?) in a pretty bad movie ...

November 20,2018 | Unregistered Commenterstjeans

I still think Helen,winning in her TV star prime,is a bit of a shocker.It's so rare that TV stars are in successful films while starring in TV roles in the era of 22 episode seasos,much less ones that are awards worthy (by comparison,Jennifer Aniston starred in "Picture Perfect"that year).Add to that the fact that Helen won massive critical acclaim and awards,and it's pretty impressive (think Lisa Kudrow,who was criminally overlooked for the opposite of sex the next year).

Are there other TV stars who so successfully crossed over and won an Oscar during their TV reign?I can think of Cloris Leachman,and maybe you could include Ruth Negga,but it's a pretty small group.Especially in the era of year long TV seasons.

November 20,2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

Joe

Add Goldie Hawn to the list

November 20,2018 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

Hunt winning is definitely one of my least favorite Best Actress Oscar wins,but she's good in the film,as is Nicholson.I would have gone for HBC then and now.Winslet would be my second choice,though,although I haven't seen Titanic in a million years--yeah,the script has a lot of groaners,but from what I remember Kate and Leo REALLY sell it.She was a great romantic heroine,and I'd actually have preferred to see her win for Titanic over The Reader.

I do really love Joan Allen (and pretty much everybody!) in The Ice Storm,but her role is somewhere between lead and supporting.It's a crime that Sigourney wasn't nominated in Supporting Actress that year,though ...

November 20,2018 | Unregistered CommenterJJM

I forgot to mention in the post that JUDI DENCH SHOWED UP THAT YEAR!She didn't always stay home on Oscar night ;)

November 20,2018 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Nathaniel: But Judi Dench turned up pretty much each time she was nominated,no?

November 20,2018 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

Julie Christie is everything.

November 20,2018 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

Edward: If memory serves,I found Roache in "Wings of the Dove"to be wooden,and,although I thought Elliott very appealing,she struck me as too modern and a little too robust for someone who''s gravely ill.My main complaints,however,are with the subsidary chararcters (Rampling and McGovern).But again,Carter here is,I think,superb.

November 20,2018 | Unregistered CommenterMatt L.

@ Edward L - yes;Judi Dench attended for her first 5 nominations,but missed for her 6th (for Notes on a Scandal) as she was having knee surgery and 7th (for Philomena) as she was shooting The Second Best Marigold Hotel (as referenced by Cate in her speech).

She also attended the year in between her Shakespeare in Love and Chocolat nominations to present Best Supporting Actor.

November 20,2018 | Unregistered CommenterRobUK

This was the first year I really paid attention to Oscar;I was in fifth grade so Titanic was everything!Joan Rivers told Entertainment Weekly that "Helen Hunt weighs as much as Kate Winslet's arm".

November 20,2018 | Unregistered CommenterJakey

I miss Joan Rivers!

November 20,2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Just checked out Helen Hunt's backstage Oscar press room and those journalists were really rude to her (she rightfully snaps back at a tactless journalist)...the vibe in the room seemed like they weren't too thrilled with her win.Based on the questions,there was a definite prejudice towards TV actors infiltrating the movie world.Would they have been so rude to Judi knowing her history on Brit TV?

November 20,2018 | Unregistered CommenterSoSue

No one really commented that much about the gowns,and I always have strong opinions about those.Judi Dench looked fine.She wears understated gowns most of the time,which is appropriate to her age.She probably doesn't care much about it.Helen Hunt's blue number is great,but she needs a necklace or some other jewelry.Still don't get why women don't wear more interesting jewelry to the Oscars.亚博主页They seem to love bare necks.Kate's dress is very late 90's.I don't really care for it,even though overall she has looked among the best dressed through the years.Bonham Carter looks lovely.This was before she really let loose and started wearing lots of black and very interesting looks.Julie Christie looks great especially considering her age.

December 2,2018 | Unregistered Commenterrrrich7

@thevoid99

Chillax.

The criticism and disdain of some for Hunt's performance has never made any sense to me.Quite real,in the flesh stuff.Much of it is an actor's dream,and supposedly the sort of thing buffs say they want to see more of.Plus comedic,and as someone else said,she reflects and plays off the film's tone and the other two very well.She keeps it grounded with a conversational performance that's weighted with baggage of a working person's life...tho one with some acute drama.

Anyway,I just don't like the way some people choose to criticize it...reeks of bias.

December 2,2018 | Unregistered CommenterMe

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