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The 1996 MovieMaker Readers Awards

The 1996 MovieMaker Readers Awards

Articles - Directing

Independent films and moviemakers
made some major inroads in 1996.

Attracting every level of Hollywood actor, racking
up the majority of nods on Critics Circle lists, scores of Oscar
nominations and distribution to theaters besides those on the art
house circuit, it’s clear something is shifting in the movie biz.
While they may not be bringing in the lion’s share at the box offices,
it’s a good sign that many writers, directors and actors working
in the shadows are finally getting noticed by the mainstream. Still,
like some obscure restaurant or music we’ve known about for years
and kept secret to savor for ourselves, independent films used
to belong to a small segment of moviegoers. In 1996, however, the
secret got out.

Perhaps in the past, the MovieMaker Readers Awards
results wouldn’t have looked so much like the results of the Academy’s
balloting, but I chalk that up to a mixture of timing and basic
good taste. Whether all these Oscar nominations are a good thing
for indie films is open for debate. Will we soon be waiting on
lines weaving around the mall multiplex to get in to films like
Fargo,Lone Star and Sling Blade? On one hand, I hope not, but on
the other…wouldn’t it be great if Hollywood jumped on this bandwagon
and made fewer bloated, predictable and lifeless productions? One
can always dream.

Elizabeth Pena in Lone Star.

And what should we expect next? On the Hollywood
scale, there will no doubt be plans to remake The Poseidon Adventure
andThe Towering Inferno. If you’re going to make big-budget disaster
movies with volcanoes and sinking steamliners, who better to inspire
than Irwin Allen, the master of fire and water? Left of center,
there will surely be a new cast of indie moviemakers bringing their
talents to the screen and willing to take chances. In many ways
this will likely be one of the healthiest times for indie film;
maybe too healthy, with some great titles not finding a spot on
distributors’ limited schedules. But just as larger independent
distributors are looking suspciously like Hollywood studios, there
will undoubtedly be new companies and moviemakers coming to the
front, shaking up the equation and keeping our movie viewing as
fresh and exciting as it ought to be.

Congratulations to all our winners and thanks to
everyone who voted in MovieMaker’s first Readers Awards. Keep it
in mind throughout ’97 and we’ll give everyone the chance to do
it again next year! MM

Best 1996 MovieMaker Article
Harvey Keitel interview by Tim Rhys and Brian O’Hare
(May/June, #19)
Samuel L. Jackson interview by Eric Leon Harris
(September/October, #21)
John Sayles interview by Paula Nechak (July/August,

All-Time Favorite Actress
Jodie Foster
Katherine Hepburn
Ingrid Bergman

Best Soundtrack
Romeo Juliet

All-Time Favorite Film
Citizen Kane
Once Upon a Time in the West
It’s a Wonderful Life

Breaking the Waves

Best Special Effects
Independence Day
Mars Attacks!

Best Supporting Actor
Cuba Gooding Jr., Jerry Maguire
William H. Macy, Fargo
Kris Kristofferson, Lone Star
Stephen Dorff, I Shot Andy Warhol
Steve Buscemi, Fargo

All-Time Favorite Director
Martin Scorsese
Stanley Kubrick
Alfred Hitchcock

Best Cinematography
John Seale, The English Patient
Roger Deakins, Fargo
Robby Muller, Breaking the Waves
Darius Khondji, Stealing Beauty
Darius Khondji, Evita

Stealing Beauty

Best Indie Film
Lone Star
The English Patient
Breaking the Waves

Best Studio Film
Jerry Maguire
Mars Attacks!
Stealing Beauty
Get On The Bus
A Time to Kill

Best Director
Joel Coen, Fargo
John Sayles, Lone Star
Milos Forman, The People vs. Larry Flynt
Mike Leigh, Secrets Lies
Scott Hicks, Shine

Best Debut Performance
Emily Watson, Breaking the Waves
Courtney Love, The People vs. Larry Flynt
Renee Zellweger, Jerry Maguire
Edward Norton, Primal Fear
Heather Matarazzo, Welcome to the Dollhouse

Best Actress
Frances McDormand, Fargo
Emily Watson, Breaking the Waves
Lili Taylor, I Shot Andy Warhol
Elizabeth Pena, Lone Star
Laura Dern, Citizen Ruth

Best Documentary
Paradise Lost
Celluloid Closet
Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey
When We Were Kings

Best Supporting Actress
Natalie Portman, Beautiful Girls
Chloe Sevigny, Trees Lounge
Juliette Binoche, The English Patient
Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Secrets Lies
Lauren Bacall, The Mirror Has Two Faces

Most Overrated Film
Independence Day

All-Time Favorite Actor
Jimmy Stewart
Humphrey Bogart
Robert DeNiro

Best Editing
John Sayles, Lone Star
Masahiro Hirakubo, Trainspotting
Jill Billcock, Romeo Juliet
Gerry Hambling, Evita
Anders Refn, Breaking the Waves

Best Production Design
Stuart Craig, The English Patient
Kave Quinn, Trainspotting
Patrick Tatopoulos Oliver Scholl, Independence Day

Best Actor
Geoffrey Rush, Shine
Ralph Fiennes, The English Patient
Chris Cooper, Lone Star
Denzel Washington, Courage Under Fire
Billy Bob Thornton, Sling Blade

Best Screenplay
Joel Coen Ethan Coen, Fargo
John Sayles, Lone Star
Cameron Crowe, Jerry Maguire
Mike Leigh, Secrets Lies
Jim Jarmusch, Dead Man

Best or Most Satisfying Ending in a Film
Lone Star
Big Night

Best Film Web Site
Internet Movie Database

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