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Download VFA shortlist and winners from 1997, 1987, 1977 & 1967 (PDF)



IMAGE ©Paramount Pictures


Winner : Vintage Film of 1997

Director: James Cameron

Screenwriter: James Cameron

In 1997, the most expensive film ever launched was about the biggest ship ever launched – only one of which turned out to be a disaster. Onboard the ship, Jack Dawson (DiCaprio) and Rose Bukater (Winslet) fight for their right to romance, and then for their lives. We all know how it ends, and that there won’t be a sequel – so we tip our top hats to James Cameron for Titanic, which is worthy of the big screen and this VFA nomination.

Starring: Bill Paxton, Billy Zane, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates, Leonardo DiCaprio

IMAGE ©Paramount Pictures


Men in Black

Winner : Zeitgeist Film of 1997

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld

Screenwriter: Ed Solomon

Men cannot defend the galaxy wearing untucked chambray shirts from Gap. So it was reassuring, in 1997, to see leading men wearing suits again. Hopping back and forth from retro Ray-Bans and 1960s World’s Fair settings to futuristic gadgets and weapons, Agents K (Jones) and J (Smith) made us feel confident in giving memory erasers and omniscient surveillance powers to our public servants (only to track aliens, of course). The franchise is still in orbit, with a possible reboot in development, but we still like the original.

Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Vincent D'Onofrio, Will Smith


IMAGE ©Miramax Films

Good Will Hunting

Director: Gus Van Sant

Screenwriter: Matt Damon, Ben Affleck

At the VFA, we don’t understand adjacency matrices, but we do have a logarithm that says Good Will Hunting may be the best film of 1997. The first draft of this script was written for a class assignment at Harvard by a young, handsome genius named Matt Damon. He left school early to pursue his dreams in California, but eventually (talk about extra credit), the script sold for $775,000 and won the Oscar for best screenplay. Co-written and co-starring Damon’s best friend Ben Affleck, who deserves an honorary degree for playing, in a major stretch, the one who’s not so bright.

Starring: Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Minnie Driver, Robin Williams, Stellan Skarsgård

IMAGE ©Miramax Films

IMAGE ©Miramax Films

Life is Beautiful

Director: Roberto Benigni

Screenwriter: Roberto Benigni, Vincenzo Cerami

You’ll cry, you’ll laugh, and you’ll cry again…and that’s just from watching a 90-second clip from Life is Beautiful on YouTube; after watching it from beginning to end you may feel half Italian. Winning awards in the U.S., Britain, France, Italy, Israel, and Canada, Roberto Benigni charmed the world with this story of love and survival in German-occupied Tuscany during World War II. A timeless story worthy of consideration.

Starring: Nicoletta Braschi, Roberto Benigni

IMAGE ©Miramax Films

IMAGE ©Warner Bros.

L.A. Confidential

Director: Curtis Hanson

Screenwriter: Brian Helgeland, Curtis Hanson

In Dragnet-era Los Angeles, three detectives with conflicting motivations (for promotion, for justice, and for fame) are lured into an underworld of corruption, violence and revenge as they try to solve the Nite Owl murders. Based on James Ellroy’s novel, L.A. Confidential the film is more than just a tightly-paced thriller – the direction, cinematography, costumes and production design make it a feast for the eyes.

Starring: Danny DeVito, David Strathairn, Guy Pearce, James Cromwell, Kevin Spacey, Kim Basinger, Russell Crowe

IMAGE ©Warner Bros.


The Fifth Element

Director: Luc Besson

Screenwriter: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen

Though his hair has turned yellow to match his flying taxicab and, 275 years after Die Hard, he’s still trying to quit smoking, thank goodness Bruce Willis is still alive to save the world in 2263 – without being too distracted by over-the-top performances from Chris Tucker and Gary Oldman. A project writer-director Luc Besson began working on as a teenager filled with imagination – not least about the skimpy Gaultier costumes to be worn by his future bride Milla Jovovich – The Fifth Element is not Hollywood fare, but in fact the highest-grossing French film in history when it was released.

Starring: Bruce Willis, Chris Tucker, Gary Oldman, Ian Holm, Milla Jovovich



As Good as It Gets

Director: James L. Brooks

Screenwriter: Mark Andrus, James L. Brooks

As Good as It Gets gives the lie to two prominent stereotypes about New Yorkers: That they never meet their neighbors, and that if they did they’d be just as rude as they are on the streets. Okay, they are a bit rude at first. But when circumstances put an aging neurotic writer (Nicholson), a struggling gay artist (Kinnear) and a single-mom waitress (Hunt) together in a Saab 900 convertible headed for Baltimore, their empathy grows as the Manhattan skyline fades into the distance.

Starring: Cuba Gooding Jr., Greg Kinnear, Helen Hunt, Jack Nicholson, Shirley Knight, Skeet Ulrich


IMAGE ©Warner Bros.

Love Jones

Director: Theodore Witcher

Screenwriter: Theodore Witcher

In Love Jones, writer-director Theodore Witcher turns the romantic comedy model upside down: instead of hating each other at first, poet Darius (Tate) and photographer Nina (Long) are instantly attracted to each other. Their close friends aren’t blindly supportive, and the couple goes to bed together long before the dénouement. In short, Love Jones offered a refreshing take on modern romance in 1997 – and it remains popular today, earning its place among our shortlisted films.

Starring: Bill Bellamy, Isaiah Washington, Larenz Tate, Lisa Nicole Carson, Nia Long

IMAGE ©Warner Bros.



Director: Andrew Niccol

Screenwriter: Andrew Niccol

In a dystopian future, genetic testing replaces achievement as the gateway to employment; to secure their children’s futures, parents spend their money on gene-splicing instead of education. Such is the premise of Gattaca, in which the weak-gened Vincent (Hawke) follows his dream of becoming an astronaut by posing as the “superior” Jerome (Law), meanwhile falling in love with a space program colleague (Thurman) who is also out of his genetic league. Everyone in the film is so good looking, one wonders how long the program has been in place, but the film raises interesting questions about class, ambition and destiny.

Starring: Alan Arkin, Ernest Borgnine, Ethan Hawke, Jude Law, Loren Dean, Uma Thurman


IMAGE ©Miramax Films

Princess Mononoke

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Screenwriter: Hayao Miyazaki

It may be animated and have “princess” in its title, but this one is not for kids. Princess Mononoke is an epic adventure that explores how humans interact with the environment and with each other – and there’s much more to discover here. It was not selected as one of the 5 Oscar® nominees for Best Foreign Language Film, but, as Eboshi (Monoke’s antagonist) says, this is “how you kill a god” – with $160 million in worldwide box office receipts, it out-grossed them all (combined). The English version is voiced by Clare Danes, Billy Crudup, Billy Bob Thornton, and Minnie Driver.

Starring: Kaoru Kobayashi, Yōji Matsuda, Yūko Tanaka, Yuriko Ishida

IMAGE ©Miramax Films



IMAGE ©Miramax Films

Matt Damon

as Will Hunting in Good Will Hunting


Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson in Titanic

Will Smith as James Darrell Edwards III in Men in Black

Roberto Benigni as Guido in Life is Beautiful

Bruce Willis as Korben Dall in The Fifth Element

Jack Nicholson as Melvin Udall in As Good as It Gets



IMAGE ©Paramount Pictures

Kate Winslet

as Rose in Titanic


Nicoletta Br as chi in Life is Beautiful

Kim B as inger in L.A. Confidential

Milla Jovovich as Leeloo in The Fifth Element

Helen Hunt as Carol Connelly in As Good as It Gets

Nia Long as Nina Mosley in Love Jones



IMAGE ©Paramount Pictures

Céline Dion

"My Heart Will Go On" from Titanic

Buy Or Listen

Nominated Songs

Sheryl Crow: “Tomorrow Never Dies”

Selena: “I Could Fall in Love”

Ice Cube: “The World Is Mine”

Boyz II Men: “A Song for Mama”

Will Smith: "Men in Black" from Men in Black

Memorable Moments


I’m honored to have it. The longevity of Back to the Future still amazes and delights me.
Writer Bob Gale – winner, Vintage Film of 1985 : Back to the Future

Thanks for this delightful tribute to my work. We often work in the dark, never knowing if our creations are going to resonate with other and so, These two ‘thank you gifts’ are most welcome.
Writer and Star Richard O’ Brien, winner Zeitgeist Film of 1975 and Vintage Sound Track Song of 1975 for The Rocky Horror Picture Show

The Vintage Award means so much especially considering that the film was up against some of my favorite films from the 80s.
Screenwriter Carl Kurlander – winner, Zeitgeist Film of 1985 for St Elmo’s Fire

We are very appreciative of the support given to our movie and for the statue which we just recently recieved. Back to the Future had some excellent competition so the honor is very special.
Director Robert Zemeckis – winner, Vintage Film of 1985: Back to the Future

“Just received [VFA statuette]! Love her and am thrilled, thank you so much.”
Patricia Quinn (Magenta)

“So exciting, thank you!”
Nell Campbell (Columbia)

Co-winners, Vintage Soundtrack Song of 1975 for “The Time Warp” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show

“Thank you so very much for the wonderful honor and trophy!”
Fred Lebow, screenwriter

“I received my statuette today and it’s beautiful… thanks again.”
Daniel Sullivan, screenwriter

Winners, Zeitgeist Film of 1995 for While You Were Sleeping

“Received this award last week & to this day ROSE ROYCE is still being acknowledged for our Car Wash sound track. Thank you!”

@RoseRoyceHits via Twitter

“I am very proud to receive your award. It is a privilege to have been is such a beloved film and your acknowledgement is is so gratifying. Keep punching.”
Sylvester Stallone, winner, Vintage Film of 1976 and Vintage Performance by an Actor in 1976 for Rocky