This year's Oscar nominations are the innovative, often bold work of some extraordinarily talented filmmakers.

OSCARS 1994

A Illusion review by Joan Ellis.


This year's Oscar nominations are the innovative, often bold work of some extraordinarily talented filmmakers. Now is the time to catch the ones you missed or revisit the ones you loved. Here are some excerpts from this reviewer's notebook for 1993 with nominated actors underlined.

"The Age of Innocence" is Edith Wharton's world of manners, codes and secrets in old New York. Martin Scorsese has made an extravagantly beautiful movie of a man and the two women who love him in the suffocating propriety of the society that controls them. It is tarnished by the mis-casting of Michelle Pfeiffer and the intrusion of clipped contemporary rhythms. It's a valiant effort that may send a new generation to explore the skill and subtlety of Wharton's book. Daniel Day-Lewis, Wynona Ryder, Michelle Pfeiffer.

"The Fugitive" is a taut thriller that never lets the tension sag for a second. Dr. Richard Kimble is someone you can believe in, and if he doesn't get justice, by God, we'll tear the theater down. The movie belongs entirely to Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones, tracked and tracker, each respecting the intelligence of the other.

"In The Name of the Father" is the chronicle of the trial, imprisonment and eventual release of innocent I.R.A. bomb suspects who are railroaded by the British police. Gerry Conlon grows from feckless youth to moral leadership while sharing a cell with the father he has misunderstood. Father and son are played superbly by Pete Postlethwaite and Daniel Day-Lewis.

"The Piano" is Jane Campion's dark exploration of passion and betrayal as it explodes in the remote New Zealand bush. Holly Hunter gives an achingly original performance as Ada, the lovely mute who speaks through her music to the two men who want her. In perfect harmony with their director, the actors draw the audience into their strikingly beautiful and disturbing film so thoroughly that an entire audience sits numbed as the final credits roll. Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill.

"The Remains of the Day" is a profoundly sad story of an English butler absorbed by the dignity and deference that inform his concept of duty. The unspoken love between him and his head houskeeper is rooted in nobility, intelligence and subtlety. Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson play it out with heartbreaking restraint.

"Schindler's List" is Steven Spielberg's harrowing memorial to 6,000,000 Jews who died at the hands of cultivated men in a civilized country in modern times. By daring to resist personalizing the stories of the victims, Spielberg never distracted us from the raw power of the subject. Some naysayers cannot believe that the same mind that produced Jurassic Park and E.T. can make a masterpiece about the Holocaust. They are wrong. Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley.

This reviewer's choices: Best Picture: "Schindler's List." Best Actor: Anthony Hopkins. Best Actress: Holly Hunter. Best Supporting Actor: Ralph Fiennes. Best Supporting Actress: Holly Hunter ("The Firm"). Best Director: Steven Spielberg. Most Glaring Omission: "Much Ado About Nothing."


Film Critic: JOAN ELLIS
Word Count: 503


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