The debate heard around our house for years has been which film deserved the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1999. I always believed the comedy, Shakespeare in Love definitely was worthy of the Oscar. However, my World War II fascinated husband, is still sour about Saving Private Ryan's loss. After careful examination of both films this week as well as some internet research and my sister-in-law who formally interned with Mirimax, I have decided to write a review. I read tips on keeping your brain sharp. Activities such as critiques on art, movies, poems and life, simply put, get your juices flowing again. Since this cold winter brings us mostly indoors, I will make use of my late night movie, couch potato, and netflix tendencies.
Any girl probably has her favorite love story captured on film. Similarly, any boy is intoxicated with at least one war movie. (I may be stereotyping a bit, because I have my favorite war movie too; Braveheart). This being said, it's no wonder why these two movies have caused quite a debate over the years between my husband and me. However, I feel like I have the upper-hand, because I have seen them both, not like my LT. Of course, he probably would think watching SPR about 100 times made up for the fact that he has NEVER seen Shakespeare. I won't hold that against him.
The Oscar is the biggest award one can receive in the film industry. I am sure most of you are aware of that. However, there are some things that I had NO CLUE, until I wikipediaed it. According to the website, there are 5,385 voters. The rules behind best picture include, a film must enter in the previous calendar year, at least 40 minutes long (feature film), and it has to be 35mm or 70mm frames. Also, I would like to mention, the academy votes for the category that the member is in. For example, actors vote for actors, directors vote for directors, except for Best Picture. Everyone votes for that. Now, this isn't a presidential election, but that is a lot of people voting for a film. Obviously, it could go either way in the end. (I wonder if they ever had a tie??)
Unfortunately, Shakespeare in Love was released December 1998 and Saving Private Ryan was July 1998. Since the award show was closer to Shakespeare's release date, critics have repeatedly believe this was one of the reasons it out shadowed the other films, especially Saving Private Ryan. Another possible influence on the voters choice was the publicity, advertisement and false rumors circulated by distributers Miramax, unlike Ryan's Disney distributer's Dream Works.
To get to the core of these two films, t turns out, both films are unique and spectacular. They stand alone in their own category, but share a common theme of love. Shakespeare is about a woman's love for plays and acting at a time when females were unable to take the stage. It's also a love story between two in love souls unable to share their lives together because of class. The writing makes you laugh and keeps you engaged even with the thick accents. It's still a sad tale because no one is getting what they want in the end. Similarly, Ryan is also a story of self sacrifice and love for one's country. A small squad risking their lives to find one of their own, instead of taking on Hitler's army. Unlike other war stories, this is told through the eyes of the soldier. They discuss chain of command, life after war, and people back home they miss and love. Again, this film mournfully ends when most of the squad dies trying to save Ryan's life. He lives with the guilt for the rest of his life just like Shakespeare and Viola live a lifetime apart.
Two movies exceptionally executed and acted. How do you decide if the winner really deserved to win? Although Ryan may be a drama and Shakespeare is a comedy, I believe that Ryan should have won the gold man!
Video of the Oscar Win
What do you think?