2) Saving Private Ryan
Consensus opinion seems to agree that Shakespeare in Love has no business having “Academy Award Winner” on its DVD cover. I watched it a long time ago and found it great and whatever, but seriously. I can see why The Thin Red Line didn’t win that year, for the same reasons The Tree of Life didn’t win last year. But how did Saving Private Ryan lose out? I have yet to find an explanation, although I haven’t looked terribly hard.
What’s undeniable is that the years that have passed since the 1999 awards ceremony are all the evidence needed to show that Saving Private Ryan is probably the most important film of 1998. It’s impossible to watch a movie or television series depicting war today without seeing in it the influence of Spielberg’s war aesthetic. The realism of the Omaha Beach sequence, the immersive feeling brought about by the background chaos, the use of sound, the casual shots of horrifying gore, these are almost cliches in the genre of epic war pictures now. It’s why the 1999 Best Picture selection is most often regarded as a joke.
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