SHORTLIST VINTAGE FILM OF 1996

In 1996, Bridget Jones wrote by hand in her diary, and George R.R. Martin typed A Game of Thrones using WordStar 4. The rest of us got ahead by learning, for the first time, to grab a mouse. Yet at the movies, more often than not, the stars were reaching for something more deadly. Wasn’t it ironic? Here are the VFA-shortlisted films from 1996:

Jerry Maguire

Vintage Film of 1996

FINAL NOMINEE - WINNERS TO BE ANNOUNCED MAY 5TH.

Integrity never looked so good. In Cameron Crowe’s original and genre-defying film, Jerry Maguire is a man who won’t sell his soul to have it all; he wants to earn it the hard way. Filled with great performances and cameos, it’ll make you laugh, cry, cheer for touchdowns, and search for the kwan in your life.

Director: Cameron Crowe

Starring: Tom Cruise, Renée Zellweger, Cuba Gooding Jr., Jay Mohr, Jonathan Lipnicki

Major nominations on original release : Academy Award® for Best Picture, Actor (Cruise), Supporting Actor (Gooding), Original Screenplay

Swingers

Vintage Film of 1996

FINAL NOMINEE - WINNERS TO BE ANNOUNCED MAY 5TH.

Probably the film that produced more catchphrases per budget dollar in history. Trent Walker (Vaughn), the alpha-swinger, tries everything (Drinks! Girls! Vegas!) to coax his best friend Mike (Favreau) out of a post-break-up malaise. The low-rent digs, the beat-up cars and the constant rejection paint a candid portrait of life for Trent’s not-yet-famous (or never will be) entourage, and the film makes you happy it worked out for so many involved.

Director: Doug Liman

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau

Major nominations on original release : None

Scream

Vintage Film of 1996

FINAL NOMINEE - WINNERS TO BE ANNOUNCED MAY 5TH.

20 years, three sequels, multiple parodies and a Netflix series later, we still hear from horror fans, film critics and academics that Scream “deconstructed” and “revitalized” the genre for its fans. For the other 90% of the population, Scream was simply the first slasher movie worth paying to see in the theater (especially for the guys who finally found a willing female to accompany them). Having seen the 25-odd films referenced by Scream may heighten one’s appreciation, but this star-studded thrill ride stands on its own.

Director: Wes Craven

Starring: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Drew Barrymore, Jamie Kennedy, Matthew Lillard, Skeet Ulrich, Rose McGowan

Major nominations on original release : None

Sling Blade

Vintage Film of 1996

FINAL NOMINEE - WINNERS TO BE ANNOUNCED MAY 5TH.

“Write what you know” is a common axiom, and it’s moving to consider Billy Bob Thornton’s own impoverished childhood here in the rural Arkansas of Sling Blade, where self-sacrifice goes unrecorded but creates opportunities for the young and innocent. Many critics used “Southern” to describe it, but it’s much bigger than that.

Director: Billy Bob Thornton

Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Dwight Yoakam, James Hampton, John Ritter, Lucas Black

Major nominations on original release : Academy Award® for Best Actor (Thornton), Adapted Screenplay (Thornton)

Fargo

Vintage Film of 1996

FINAL NOMINEE - WINNERS TO BE ANNOUNCED MAY 5TH.

No character in Fargo is terribly bright, but then any law student can tell you that most criminals are tripped up by their own sheer stupidity. Here, a suburban Minneapolis car dealer, facing exposure for his white-collar crimes, arranges to have his wife kidnapped for ransom, and, oh geez, it doesn’t turn out real good. Enter Marge Gunderson, heavy with child beneath her Brainerd Police parka, who follows the trail of blood all the way to Moose Lake.

Director: Joel and Ethan Coen

Starring: Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, William H. Macy

Major nominations on original release : Academy Awards TM® for Best Picture, Director Joel Coen, Actress Frances McDormand, Supporting Actor (Macy), 49th BAFTA Awards, Other Awards

Emma

Vintage Film of 1996

FINAL NOMINEE - WINNERS TO BE ANNOUNCED MAY 5TH.

After the success of Clueless in 1995, it seems audiences were ready for the real thing. One of two Emma adaptations released in 1996 (Kate Beckinsale starred in the other, for British television), the more comical of the two casts is led here by Gwyneth Paltrow, who tries on her flawless RP accent for the first time.

Director: Douglas McGrath

Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeremy Northam, Toni Collette, Alan Cumming, Ewan McGregor

Major nominations on original release : None