I’m not a fan of Titanic (Sorry Ray.) It feels clichéd and sappy and I was disappointed that it won best picture in 1997. But wait, I looked back on the nominees for 1997 and it’s not such a surprise:
As Good as It Gets, James L. Brooks, Bridget Johnson and Kristi Zea, producers (TriStar)
The Full Monty, Uberto Pasolini, producer (Fox Searchlight)
Good Will Hunting, Lawrence Bender, producer (Miramax)
L.A. Confidential, Arnon Milchan, Curtis Hanson and Michael Nathanson, producers (Warner Bros.)
Titanic, James Cameron and Jon Landau, producers (Paramount and 20th Century Fox.)
Ok, if those are the five nominees, who would I give it to? Not As Good As It Gets. That movie drags in the middle and feels like a TV movie of the week. Not The Full Monty. It’s ok, but not even close to best picture material. Good Will Hunting is a good picture, but a little on the predictable side. That leaves L.A. Confidential and yes, that would have been my choice for Best Picture because it so beautifully captured the smarmy underbelly of L.A. in the 1950s. And of course the acting is uniformly terrific across the board from Kevin Spacey and Kim Basinger to Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce.
But Titanic would have been my SECOND pick. (Piper may never let me contribute to the blog again and who could blame him?) Titanic would win second place because it was the most ambitious film of 1997 – recreating the sinking of the titanic. And, over-the-top acting aside, James Cameron did a pretty damn good job of making me feel what it must have been like to have been on that boat.