1997 Revisited

It’s my fourth anniversary of MacTheMovieguy.com, and I wanted to do something cool. I figured, why not take a look back at some previous years. So, I’m taking a look at 1997, and then later I’ll be taking a look at 2007. I only picked the films and performances that I’ve seen, and that still stand out to me today. I couldn’t do all the categories I normally do, because there weren’t enough picks in each category.

BEST PICTURE
For this, I did end up going with a top 10. Here’s my list for the top 10 films from 1997:

1) The Game
2) Titanic
3) As Good As It Gets
4) Donnie Brasco
5) Good Will Hunting
6) LA Confidential
7) Contact
8) Wag The Dog
9) Gattaca
10) Cop Land

I think Gattaca really flew under the radar, and it wasn’t discovered until much later. It’s kinda the same thing with Donnie Brasco, which deserved a lot more Oscar attention than it actually got. Still, my favorite film, and honestly the best film from 1997 was David Fincher’s absolutely terrific The Game. It’s such a well crafted film, that even with the juggernaut that Titanic was, I still believe it is the better film.

BEST ACTOR
1) Michael Douglas (The Game)
2) Jack Nicholson (As Good As It Gets)
3) Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting)
4) Johnny Depp (Donnie Brasco)
5) Sylvester Stallone (Cop Land)
6) Robert Duvall (The Apostle)
7) Kurt Russell (Breakdown)
8) Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic)
9) Dustin Hoffman (Wag The Dog)
10) Ethan Hawke (Gattaca)

You might see some surprises here. I stand behind my Kurt Russell pick. I think he was terrific in Breakdown, as a man trying desperately to find his wife.

BEST ACTRESS
1) Jodie Foster (Contact)
2) Kate Winslet (Titanic)
3) Helen Hunt (As Good As It Gets)
4) Jennifer Lopez (Selena)
5) Ashley Judd (Kiss The Girls)
6) Joan Allen (The Ice Storm)
7) Pam Grier (Jackie Brown)
8) Demi Moore (GI Jane)
9) Julia Roberts (My Best Friends Wedding)
10) Neve Campbell (Scream 2)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
1) Robert DeNiro (Cop Land, Wag The Dog, Jackie Brown)
2) Al Pacino (Donnie Brasco)
3) Gary Oldman (Air Force One)
4) Robin Williams (Good Will Hunting)
5) Greg Kinnear (As Good As It Gets)
6) Rupert Everett (My Best Friends Wedding)
7) Jude Law (Gattaca)
8) Robert Forester (Jackie Brown)
9) Billy Zane (Titanic)
10) Gene Hackman (Absolute Power)

I had Deniro on this list three times. Normally, I don’t believe in picking an actor because of two great performances, but he had three in 1997 that were in my top 10, and allowed instead for Zane and Hackman to make my list. Yes, Hackman. Rewatch Absolute Power and tell me he’s not excellent in that role.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
1) Kim Basinger (LA Confidential)
2) Kathleen Quinlan (Breakdown)
3) Uma Thurman (Gattaca)
4) Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting)
5) Joan Cusack (In and Out)

I couldn’t come up with 10 performances here, so I only went with five. I think some of these actresses were overlooked for their films, like Quinlan and Thurman.

BEST DIRECTOR:
1) David Fincher (The Game)
2) James Cameron (Titanic)
3) Robert Zemeckis (Contact)
4) Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting)
5) Andrew Niccol (Gattaca)

I went with the five directors I thought really contributed the most in terms of great direction to their films. Each director was picked because I could feel them at the helm of the film, bringing their expertise and knowledge to the story.

BEST ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE:
Winner: Good Will Hunting

BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE (STAR OF TOMORROW):
Winner: Jennifer Lopez (Selena)
Runner Up: Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element)

Yes, we knew who Lopez was before Selena, but she became an actual star after Selena. Jovovich was an unknown propelled to stardom via The Fifth Element.

BEST FILM YOU PROBABLY DIDN’T SEE THIS YEAR (Made less than 10M)1
WINNER: The Ice Storm
RUNNER UP: Fierce Creatures

Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm was an Oscar bait drama that was largely overlooked. I think people should try and “discover” it now.

BEST GUILTY PLEASURE OF THE YEAR:
WINNER: Good Burger
RUNNER UP: Jungle 2 Jungle

I still enjoy Good Burger, even though I know it is not a “good” film. It works for me on the “guilty pleasure” level.

FUNNIEST COMEDY OF THE YEAR:
1) Liar Liar
2) In and Out
3) Austin Powers
4) Fierce Creatures
5) Beverly Hills Ninja

BEST COMEDIC PERFORMANCE BY A MALE:
1) Jim Carrey (Liar Liar)
2) Kevin Kline (In and Out)
3) Mike Myers (Austin Powers)
4) Chris Farley (Beverly Hills Ninja)
5) Tim Robbins (Nothing To Lose)

BEST COMEDIC PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE:
1) Joan Cusack (In and Out)
2) Jamie Lee Curtis (Fierce Creatures)
3) Lisa Kudrow (Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion)
4) Bette Midler (That Old Feeling)
5) Mira Sorvino (Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion)

BEST ACTION FILM:
1) Men In Black
2) The Fifth Element
3) The Lost World
4) Titanic
5) Tomorrow Never Dies

BEST ACTOR IN AN ACTION FILM:
WINNER: Will Smith (Men in Black)
RUNNER UP: Bruce Willis (The Fifth Element)

BEST ACTRESS IN AN ACTION FILM:
WINNER: Julianne Moore (The Lost World)
RUNNER UP: Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE:
WINNER: Anastasia
RUNNER UP: Hercules

BEST SEQUEL/SPINOFF:
WINNER: Scream 2
RUNNER UP: The Lost World

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
WINNER: The Game
RUNNER UP: As Good As It Gets

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
WINNER: Donnie Brasco
RUNNER UP: Contact

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:
WINNER: Titanic
RUNNER UP: The Fifth Element

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:
WINNER: Titanic
RUNNER: UP: Gattaca

BEST COSTUME DESIGN:
WINNER: Titanic
RUNNER UP: The Postman

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
WINNER: Journey To The Past (Anastasia)
RUNNER UP: My Heart Will Go On (Titanic)

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
WINNER: Titanic
RUNNER UP: Contact

WORST FILM OF THE YEAR
1) Mortal Kombat Annihilation
2) Father’s Day
3) Gone Fishin
4) Speed 2
5) That Darn Cat

As much as people hate Batman and Robin, I think there were far worse films released in 1997. It didn’t make any of my “worst of” lists for 1997. I would argue it is more watchable than the five films I selected here.

WORST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR
WINNER: Jason Patric (Speed 2)
RUNNER UP: Kevin Sorbo (Kull The Conqueror)

WORST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS
WINNER: Christina Ricci (That Darn Cat)
RUNNER UP: Sandra Bullock (Speed 2)

WORST DIRECTION:
WINNER: Jon Leonetti (Mortal Kombat Annihilation)
RUNNER UP: Jan DeBont (Speed 2)

WORST SEQUEL/SPINOFF/FRANCHISE FILM:
WINNER: Speed 2
RUNNER UP: Mortal Kombat Annihilation

I picked Spped 2 over Annihilation because Speed was a better film than Mortal Kombat, so it had further to fall in terms of first-to-second film.

WORST SCREENPLAY
WINNER: Gone Fishin
RUNNER UP: Speed 2

WORST VISUAL EFFECTS
WINNER: Mortal Kombat Annihilation
RUNNER UP: Kull The Conqueror

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