A primer on great screenwriting: using characters as they existed in the book but doing what you have to do to compress the story and get it to come out right on scene. In other words, there is no scene like this in the book.

My Top 10

  1. L.A. Confidential
  2. The Sweet Hereafter
  3. The Ice Storm
  4. Jackie Brown
  5. Oscar and Lucinda
  6. The Wings of the Dove
  7. Wag the Dog
  8. Donnie Brasco
  9. Absolute Power
  10. The Winter Guest

note:  A great Top 5 and very good Top 10.  My list continues down at the bottom.



This is a companion piece to three different series.  The first is The History of the Academy Awards, in which I covered each category in individual posts.  This was originally done in 2009 and additions were included in 2010.  You can find links to all of these pieces in each individual category.  I have grouped all of the categories together for the same reason that I did so originally – because most pieces on the Oscars don’t approach the awards through the categories, but through the years.  This specific piece is designed to take a closer look at the decade and how I think the Academy did in those years.

The second series is my Year in Film series.  That is mentioned here because in those pieces I included paragraphs about the Oscars as a whole for each year and included a considerable amount of trivia.  Since I had based my Year in Film series and eligibility as such on the Academy calendar, it all seemed very relevant.  Also, I include various prizes (Worst Oscar, Worst Nomination, Worst Omission, etc) and I didn’t want to repeat myself, so following the links will bring you there.  Those links are at the end of this piece, where I do a brief summation of each year and how the Academy did.  One note on the Year in Film posts – I did those before Oscars.org started putting up official information about release dates.  Several films have been moved from the years where they appeared in those posts – see the Nighthawk Awards posts for more accurate placement – I have included links in the years.

The third series is my History of the Academy Awards: Best Picture series, where I reviewed every film ever nominated for Best Picture (except The Patriot, which is lost).  Those links are also down below, grouped by year. (more…)

I will fully admit that L.A. Confidential would be better if it had just ended on this shot and skipped that final scene.

I will fully admit that L.A. Confidential would be better if it had just ended on this shot and skipped that final scene.

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category (or Globe, in the Globes section).  Films in blue were nominated.  Films (or directors) in olive are links to earlier posts that I don’t want to have show up in blue and be mistaken for a nominee.  Films with an asterisk (*) were Consensus nominees (a scale I put together based on the various awards) while those with a double asterisk (**) were the Consensus winners.

I’m listing the top 12 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. L.A. Confidential  **
  2. Boogie Nights
  3. The Sweet Hereafter
  4. The Ice Storm
  5. Jackie Brown
  6. Amistad
  7. Good Will Hunting  *
  8. Oscar and Lucinda
  9. Grosse Pointe Blank
  10. The Full Monty  *
  11. The Wings of the Dove
  12. Chasing Amy

Analysis:  These are all the **** films of the year.
It’s unfortunate that these films are all in 1997.  If any of my #2-4 were in 1998, they would win the Nighthawk, Boogie Nights especially.  L.A. Confidential is still my winner without question, but Boogie Nights keeps moving higher up my all-time list every time I watch it.  The Wings of the Dove got bumped up to **** when I re-watched it before doing these awards. (more…)

Beauty and the Beast during their best song in the film ("Something There"). The best Animated Film of the 90's.

1990  –  1999

Total Films I’ve Seen:  1217

Films That Make the Top 5 in Any Category:  53

Best Film Not to Make the Top 5 in Any Category:  The Shawshank Redemption

Film of the Decade:  GoodFellas

Worst Film of the Decade:  Showgirls

Worst Best Picture Nominee of the Decade:  Braveheart

Worst Film of the Decade Made by a Top 100 Director:  North


Doonesbury from April of 1998 says it all

The 70th annual Academy Awards for the film year 1997.  The nominations were announced on February 10, 1998 and the awards were held on March 23, 1998.

Best Picture:  Titanic

  • L.A. Confidential
  • Good Will Hunting
  • The Full Monty
  • As Good As It Gets

Most Surprising Omission:  Amistad

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  The Sweet Hereafter

Rank (out of 83) Among Best Picture Years:  #27


Two hardboiled Aussie L.A. detectives: Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce in L.A. Confidential (1997)

My Top 20:

  1. L.A. Confidential
  2. The Sweet Hereafter
  3. The Ice Storm
  4. Boogie Nights
  5. Jackie Brown
  6. Amistad
  7. Oscar and Lucinda
  8. Good Will Hunting
  9. Grosse Pointe Blank
  10. The Full Monty
  11. Chasing Amy
  12. Insomnia
  13. The Fifth Element
  14. The Wings of the Dove
  15. Deconstructing Harry
  16. Absolute Power
  17. Donnie Brasco
  18. Waiting for Guffman
  19. Ponette
  20. Kundun