The 1997 Academy Award ceremony will take place on 24 March to award films released in 1996.
Academy Award fact file: Annual award ceremony since 1927. Winners received a gold-plated statuette called an Oscar. Writers vote for writers, actors for actors etc. from the voting membership. A best picture award is worth as much as $20 million extra at the box office.
This year’s best picture nominees were:
THE ENGLISH PATIENT: During the final days of World War II four different people meet in a deserted Italian monastery and reminisce about the past. Should be a strong contender for best picture.
SECRETS AND LIES: An adopted black woman goes in search for her birth mother who is white. Hot contender for best actress (Brenda Blethyn as the mother).
SHINE: David goes to a music academy to concentrate on the piano, until an unfortunate breakdown takes some years out of him. Geoffrey Rush should get best actor.
FARGO: A thriller about a scheme that goes wrong. Based on a true story, director Joel Coen directs the unusual. A dark horse.
JERRY MAGUIRE: Tom Cruise is in control as Jerry Maguire, a top sports agent, until a fall makes him humble. An outside chance of an Oscar.
Final comment: The best film of all time according to critics is Citizen Kane which won just one award back in 1941. And Independence Day won the People’s Choice award for best picture. Who is to judge the bets, then?
[First published in GiveWay magazine, 1997)