Academy Awards spark anticipation and excitement

It’s Oscar time again – the night when stars put on a fashion show and people sit home watching to see what everyone wears. Included in the fashion show is the presentation of the awards. This year’s nominees vary drastically, promising a night of excitement.

Best ActorMatt Damon, Good Will HuntingRobert Duvall, The Apostle Peter Fonda, Ulee’s Gold Dustin Hoffman, Wag the Dog Jack Nicholson, As Good as it Gets

This year, the Best Actor category is jammed with some of the biggest stars in Hollywood, and the Academy likes nothing more than to give a prestigious award to a big-name Hollywood actor. Nobody says Hollywood more than Jack Nicholson. With his dazzling personality on screen and off, Nicholson has to be the favorite to take home the Oscar.

He portrays the eccentric, obsessive-compulsive Melvin Udall in As Good as it Gets. Nicholson is extremely funny and does an amazing job in the film. He won a Golden Globe Award for his portrayal earlier this year.

Although Nicholson is the probable recipient, other nominees must be commended. Peter Fonda starred in the little-seen drama, Ulee’s Gold. Although the film is extremely slow, Fonda’s performance is remarkable.

Robert Duvall is another Oscar favorite. He previously won a Best Actor award for his part in Tender Mercies. In The Apostle, Duvall plays a southern preacher struggling with the pitfalls of life and ends up on the run. He rediscovers himself as the apostle E.F. and starts a new church. Duvall is astonishing as an evangelical preacher and dazzles his congregations as he dazzles audiences.

Best ActressHelena Bonham Carter, The Wings of the DoveJulie Christie, AfterglowJudi Dench, (Her Majesty) Mrs. BrownHelen Hunt, As Good As It GetsKate Winslet, Titanic

Although all of the nominees gave wonderful performances, Helen Hunt will walk, rather run, away with the award.

Hunt gives an outstanding performance as Carol Connelly in As Good As It Gets . Her role is complex as it shifts from a worried mother to a woman falling in love.

Hunt is also the all-American girl, both on the screen in As Good As It Gets, and off. She embodies what the Academy would like people to see as Hollywood – good, hard-working, amiable individuals. In addition to her outstanding performance, Hunt exemplifies this persona.

The other nominees are all exceptional actresses. Actually, all exceptional British actresses. The Wings of the Dove was more of an artistic filmed that earned it share of accolades in its own realm. Carter’s performance in the movie is not to be overlooked. Kate Winslet is outstanding in Titanic, but her role lacked the complexity of Hunt’s.

In a category in which the award is often up for grabs, there will be no surprises this year. Hunt’s performance is unmatched, and she deserves the Oscar without question.

Best Supporting ActorRobert Forester, Jackie Brown Anthony Hopkins, Amistad Greg Kinear, As Good as it Gets Burt Reynolds, Boogie Nights Robin Williams, Good Will Hunting

The Best Supporting Actor award is comprised of three Hollywood stars and two comeback kids. In addition to Hollywood big names, the Academy loves to reward comebacks, and this year will be no different.

Burt Reynolds most likely will win the Oscar for his role in Boogie Nights. Reynolds was outstanding in the film in comparison to his previous work, but that’s not saying much.

Boogie Nights was nothing more than a cheap, glorified version of a porno movie and to recognize Reynolds with an Oscar will do no justice to the other actors nominated.

Anthony Hopkins should take home the Oscar for his role as John Quincy Adams in Steven Spielberg’s epic, Amistad. The film was virtually ignored by the Academy, and no doubt, Hopkins will be ignored as well.

Best Supporting ActressKim Basinger, L.A. Confidential Joan Cusak, In and Out Minnie Driver, Good Will Hunting Julianne Moore, Boogie Nights Gloria Stuart, Titanic

The race for Best Supporting Actress comes down to a blonde bombshell against an 87-year-old woman.

Kim Basinger co-starred in last year’s critically acclaimed L.A. Confidential. Basinger is seductive and dazzling and turns in the best performance of her not-so-terrific career. If the Golden Globe Awards are indicative of the Oscars, she will be accepting it.

However, she will receive some competition from the 87-year-old Gloria Stuart. Stuart is nominated for her role as the elderly Rose Dawson in Titanic.

In addition to her wonderful portrayal, Stuart has a few advantages over Basinger. First, she is the oldest person ever to be nominated – and the Academy often rewards those first to accomplish something. Second, she was a founder of the Screen Actors Guild, which will weigh heavily on the Academy’s mind.

Best PictureAs Good As It GetsThe Full MontyGood Will HuntingL.A. ConfidentialTitanic

From humor to tragedy to suspense, this year’s nominees have it all. Rarely is such a wide variety of films nominated for Best Picture. It seems the Academy chooses the longest, most artistic or most historic of films. This year will be more of the same.

Though comedies have been welcomed to the list of nominees, the Academy is not quite ready to award them Best Picture. This knocks out The Full Monty and As Good As It Gets. Although both are more than mere comedies, the humor of the films is what makes them successes.

Good Will Hunting is undeniably a moving and amazing film. Most likely, it will win for Best Screenplay. L.A. Confidential is another exceptional film.

But neither boast the length, artistry and look back in time of Titanic. The tragic love story of Titanic, coupled with the amazing special effects and cinematography place it above the rest.

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