SHORTLIST VINTAGE FILM OF 1997

Titanic

Shortlist for Vintage Film of 1997

IMAGE ©Paramount Pictures

Titanic

Shortlist for Vintage Film of 1997

WINNERS TO BE ANNOUNCED IN JUNE 2018.

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.

Director: James Cameron

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

Major nominations on original release : Academy Award for Best Picture (won), Director (won), Actress (Winslet), Supporting Actress (Stuart); BAFTA award for Best Film, Director; César for Best Foreign Film

Men in Black

Shortlist for Vintage Film of 1997

IMAGE ©SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT

Men in Black

Shortlist for Vintage Film of 1997

WINNERS TO BE ANNOUNCED IN JUNE 2018.

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.

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld

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

Major nominations on original release : None

Good Will Hunting

Shortlist for Vintage Film of 1997

IMAGE ©Miramax Films

Good Will Hunting

Shortlist for Vintage Film of 1997

WINNERS TO BE ANNOUNCED IN JUNE 2018.

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.

Director: Gus Van Sant

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

Major nominations on original release : Academy Award for Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay (won), Actor (Damon), Supporting Actor (Williams - won), Supporting Actress (Driver), BAFTA award for Best British Film and Best Adapted Screenplay (won); Silver Bear for Outstanding Single Achievement (Damon - won)

Life is Beautiful

Shortlist for Vintage Film of 1997

IMAGE ©Miramax Films

Life is Beautiful

Shortlist for Vintage Film of 1997

WINNERS TO BE ANNOUNCED IN JUNE 2018.

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.

Director: Roberto Benigni

Starring: Nicoletta Braschi, Roberto Benigni

Major nominations on original release : Academy Award for Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Foreign Language Film (won), Actor (Benigni - won); BAFTA award for Best Non-English Film, Original Screenplay, Actor; Cannes Grand Prix (won); César for Best Foreign Film (won)

L.A. Confidential

Shortlist for Vintage Film of 1997

IMAGE ©Warner Bros.

L.A. Confidential

Shortlist for Vintage Film of 1997

WINNERS TO BE ANNOUNCED IN JUNE 2018.

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.

Director: Curtis Hanson

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

Major nominations on original release : Academy Award for Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay (won), Supporting Actress (Basinger - won); BAFTA awards for Best Film, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor (Spacey), Best Actress (Basinger)

The Fifth Element

Shortlist for Vintage Film of 1997

IMAGE ©SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT

The Fifth Element

Shortlist for Vintage Film of 1997

WINNERS TO BE ANNOUNCED IN JUNE 2018.

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.

Director: Luc Besson

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

Major nominations on original release : César for Best Film, Director (won)

As Good as It Gets

Shortlist for Vintage Film of 1997

IMAGE ©SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT

As Good as It Gets

Shortlist for Vintage Film of 1997

WINNERS TO BE ANNOUNCED IN JUNE 2018.

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.

Director: James L. Brooks

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

Major nominations on original release : Academy Award for Best Picture, Original Screenplay, Actress (Hunt - won), Actor (Nicholson - won), Supporting Actor (Kinnear).

Love Jones

Shortlist for Vintage Film of 1997

IMAGE ©Warner Bros.

Love Jones

Shortlist for Vintage Film of 1997

WINNERS TO BE ANNOUNCED IN JUNE 2018.

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.

Director: Theodore Witcher

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

Major nominations on original release : None

Gattaca

Shortlist for Vintage Film of 1997

IMAGE ©SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT

Gattaca

Shortlist for Vintage Film of 1997

WINNERS TO BE ANNOUNCED IN JUNE 2018.

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.

Director: Andrew Niccol

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

Major nominations on original release : None

Princess Mononoke

Shortlist for Vintage Film of 1997

IMAGE ©Miramax Films

Princess Mononoke

Shortlist for Vintage Film of 1997

WINNERS TO BE ANNOUNCED IN JUNE 2018.

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.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

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

Major nominations on original release : Japan Academy Award for Best Picture (won)