1997 Leaman Awards - The Part-Time Critic

Friday, April 2, 2021

1997 Leaman Awards

 


One Paragraph Summary: The cultural memory of this year is dominated by the phenomenon of Titanic. As a teenage boy when it came out, I think I instinctually hated the film simply because it was seen as a "teen girl's romance film" - though I did acknowledge the disaster scenes were done well. Over the years, I've grown to see Titanic as a masterpiece and that's kind of the story with the best films of this year (Contact, Good Will Hunting, L.A. Confidential, Gattaca); didn't quite get them as a teenager, but slowly came to love them. The year's best is quite top heavy, with three of the top ten finding their way into my top ten of all time at different points of my life. Still, beyond that there are some solid offerings beyond the usual dramas: action entries (Tomorrow Never Dies, Face/Off), comedies (Men in Black, Austin Powers, Wag the Dog), and science fiction (Gattaca, Contact, Fifth Element). 

1997 Films Seen: 83
1997 Films Seen in the Theater: 19
Number of Films with A or A+ Grade: 4


-1997 Ambassador's List-
(Top 25 Films)

25. The Man Who Knew Too Little (B-)
24. Breakdown (B-)
23. Air Force One (B-)
22. Police Story 4: First Strike (B-)
21. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (B-)
20. Scream 2 (B-)
19. The Sweet Hereafter (B)
18. Wag the Dog (B)
17. Mrs. Brown (B)
16. As Good As It Gets (B)
15. Donnie Brasco (B)
14. Princess Mononoke (B)
13. Face/Off (B)
12. Tomorrow Never Dies (B)
11. Jackie Brown (B)
Top Ten Movies: 
10. The Game (B)
9. The Rainmaker (B+)
8. The Apostle (B+)
7. Men in Black (B+)
6. Amistad (A-)
5. Gattaca (A-)
4. L.A. Confidential (A)
3. Titanic (A)
2. Good Will Hunting (A+)
1. Contact (A+)


-Superlative Awards-
(Winners Bolded)

Most Surprising Film
  • Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
  • L.A. Confidential
  • Titanic
Most Disappointing Film
  • Batman & Robin
  • Chasing Amy
  • The Ice Storm
Most Underrated Film
  • Contact
  • Double Team
  • The Man Who Knew Too Little 
Most Overrated Film 
  • Boogie Nights
  • Chasing Amy
  • The Ice Storm
Worst Film
  • Batman & Robin
  • Chasing Amy
  • The Postman
Eric Bana Award (Best Performance in a Bad Film): Michael Ironside in Starship Troopers
Best Compilation of Work: Minnie Driver for Good Will Hunting, Grosse Point Blank, & Princess Mononoke
Guilty Pleasure of the Year: Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery


-Technical Awards-
(Winners Bolded)

Best Make-Up and Hair Design 
  • Amistad
  • Boogie Nights
  • Men in Black
  • Mrs. Brown
  • Titanic
Best Costume Design 
  • Amistad
  • Boogie Nights
  • Kundun
  • L.A. Confidential
  • Titanic
Best Sound Design 
  • Con Air
  • Contact
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park
  • Men in Black
  • Titanic
Best Original Score 
  • Contact
  • Kundun
  • L.A. Confidential
  • Men in Black
  • Titanic
Best Visual Effects 
  • Contact
  • The Fifth Element
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park
  • Starship Troopers
  • Titanic
Best Art Direction 
  • Amistad
  • Kundun
  • L.A. Confidential
  • Men in Black
  • Titanic
Best Cinematography 
  • Amistad
  • Boogie Nights
  • Contact
  • Good Will Hunting
  • Titanic
Best Film Editing 
  • Contact
  • Good Will Hunting
  • Jackie Brown
  • L.A. Confidential
  • Titanic

-Major Awards-
(Winners Bolded)

Best Documentary Feature: n/a

Best Animated Feature:
  • Anastasia
  • Hercules
  • Princess Mononoke
Best Adapted Screenplay 
  • Contact
  • Donnie Brasco
  • L.A. Confidential
  • Men in Black
  • Wag the Dog
Best Original Screenplay 
  • Amistad
  • The Apostle
  • Gattaca
  • Good Will Hunting
  • Titanic
Best Supporting Actress 
  • Joan Allen The Ice Storm
  • Kim Basinger L.A. Confidential
  • Minnie Driver Good Will Hunting
  • Julianne Moore Boogie Nights
  • Uma Thurman Gattaca
Best Supporting Actor 
  • Djimon Hounsou Amistad
  • Tommy Lee Jones Men in Black
  • Jude Law Gattaca
  • Kevin Spacey L.A. Confidential
  • Robin Williams Good Will Hunting
Best Actress 
  • Judi Dench Mrs. Brown
  • Jodie Foster Contact
  • Pam Grier Jackie Brown
  • Helen Hunt As Good As It Gets
  • Kate Winslet Titanic
Best Actor 
  • Matt Damon Good Will Hunting
  • Robert Duvall The Apostle
  • Ethan Hawke Gattaca
  • Ian Holm The Sweet Hereafter
  • Jack Nicholson As Good As It Gets
Best Ensemble Acting 
  • Amistad
  • Boogie Nights
  • Good Will Hunting
  • L.A. Confidential
  • Titanic
Best Director 
  • James Cameron Titanic
  • Curtis Hanson L.A. Confidential
  • Gus Van Sant Good Will Hunting
  • Steven Spielberg Amistad
  • Robert Zemeckis Contact
Best Picture 
  • Contact
  • Gattaca
  • Good Will Hunting
  • L.A. Confidential
  • Titanic

-Great Dramatic/Comedic/Musical Sequences of 1997-
(In Alphabetical Order by Movie & All-Time Great Sequences are Bolded)
  • "Recounting the Middle Passage" –Amistad
  • “Drug deal gone bad to an 80’s mix tape” -Boogie Nights
  • “Preparing to enter the pod/traveling/meeting the aliens” -Contact
  • “It’s not your fault” -Good Will Hunting
  • “Regret and meeting his wife in a bar” -Good Will Hunting
  • “Taster’s Choice moment for men at the pond” -Good Will Hunting
  • “Rose passes away and is greeted by the others on the ship and Jack on the stairway” –Titanic
  • “Nearer My God To Thee: The Band plays as several characters meet a watery death” –Titanic
  • “The Titanic cracks, bobs and goes under as passengers fall off and hang on” -Titanic
  • "Give us, us free" –Amistad
  • “Talking to the members of a car wreck, giving a chance of hope” –The Apostle
  • “Partying in the 80s with a murder-suicide” – Boogie Nights
  • “A Saboteur Brings Down the Machine” -Contact
  • “Ellie must explain her experience to the court” -Contact
  • “The whole family sings a love song out to dinner” -My Best Friend’s Wedding
  • “Soaring into space/meeting his end” –Gattaca
  • “Interrogation of the Night Owl Suspects” –L.A. Confidential
  • “Shotgun chase of the escaped Night Owl suspects” -L.A. Confidential
  • "Opening Stab Premiere" –Scream 2
  • "Climbing Over a Knocked Out Killer" –Scream 2
  • “Mitchell learns of his daughter being HIV positive over the phone” –The Sweet Hereafter
  • “Rose is drawn by Jack” –Titanic
  • “Mr. Murdock shoots a passenger and then takes his own life” –Titanic

-Top 10 Action Sequences of 1997-

10. “Snowmobile and Helicopter Shootout” -Police Story 4: First Strike (B)
9. “Mononoke attacks Iron Town and Eboshi and is saved by Ashitaka” -Princess Mononoke (B)
8. “Yen vs. Steel Claw in the Woods” -The Legend of the Wolf (B)
7. “Finale: Funeral Shootout/Boat Chase” -Face/Off (B) 
6. “Shark Tank Scuba Fight” -Police Story 4: First Strike (B+) 
5. “T-Rex Knocks a Trailer Over the Edge” -The Lost World: Jurassic Park (B+)
4. “Remote Control Car Chase in the Garage” -Tomorrow Never Dies (A-)
3. “Finale: Victory Motel Shootout” -L.A. Confidential (A-)
2. “Escape from Carver: Handcuffed Bike Chase” -Tomorrow Never Dies (A)
1. “Chairs, Ladders, and Brooms Oh My!” -Police Story 4: First Strike (A)

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