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Entries in Oscars (90s) (124)


Annette Bening, the Romantic Comedienne

Andrew here. I could not let the celebration of 1995, which ends with tomorrow's Smackdown, pass without singling out one of the most important performances of the year from my favourite actress.

The American President represents a key moment in my Bening love affair because this – her tenth film after seven years in the business – represents my first meeting with her, and it was obsession at first sight. But enough about me. This mostly forgotten gem allows Annette to perform in a cadence that she's been rarely allowed to show her abilities - Annette Bening, at 37 years old, the best romantic comedy heroine of the 90s...

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Vintage '95

The Supporting Actress Smackdown 1995 Edition arrives on Sunday so let's talk context since we haven't revisited as much of 1995 as we'd hoped to! We've only hit the Jane Austen trend, Nicole Kidman's breakout year, a Bonus Podcast on Actresses and Films to Revisit, and Dolores Claiborne. Damn, we had planned much more. But many of you will already have your own personal context for the year, which isn't true of many years of "Smackdown" events so it's fine.

In many ways, though, 1995 was a completely different world. The internet was still in its list-serve infancy. The idea of computer generated movies was a joyful novelty. And aside from Batman, superheroes were still mostly relegated to "light" TV shows. Remember Teri Hatcher in Lois & Clark ?

EW photoshoot from June 1995

Great Big Box Office Hits: 1) Toy Story... the first wholly computer generated feature film 2) Batman Forever 3) Apollo 13 4) Pocahontas 4) Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls 6) GoldenEye 7) Jumanji 8) Casper 9) Se7en 10) Die Hard: With a Vengeance

Michelle & Coolio. They had a hit film, smash video, and the year's #1 single. But zero oscar nodsOscar's Best Pictures: Braveheart (10 noms / 5 wins), Apollo 13 (9 noms / 2 wins), Babe (7 noms / 1 win), Sense & Sensibility (7 noms / 1 win), and Il Postino (5 noms / 1 win).

My theories as to what was just outside the shortlist plus more '95 goodies follow...

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"Sometimes, being a bitch is all a woman has to hang onto"

As we continue celebrating 1995 with the imminent Smackdown, here’s Murtada with a new edition of Great Moments in Screen Bitchery.

Remember the endless jokes last year about that often repeated line in The Imitation Game (We won’t repeat it here - you've heard it enough). Well in Dolores Claiborne a better line is repeated by different characters at different times and yet no one cringes. It's so good you relish it instead. In fact I’d go as far as to say the line is what the movie is all about.  Say it with us after the jump...

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1995 Bonus Podcast !

We're spoiling you with two podcasts this week. We'll talk Ant-Man and Southpaw tomorrow night but here's an extra bonus episode in which Nathaniel, Nick, and Joe each recommend a 1995 film they remember loving that they'd like to revisit or wish that more people would talk about. The conversation wanders, as it does, to the Best Actress race, Scorned 2 ??? "Meryl's third Oscar!" talk (duh), and the films of Michael Mann ???

Contents (45 minutes)
00:01 Mia Kirshner in Atom Egoyan's Exotica 
04:30 Kathy Bates as Stephen King's Delores Claiborne
07:45 Lili Taylor of The Addiction
10:55 Random loved titles: Babe, Nixon, etcetera
14:10 Actresses of 1995 outside the Best Actress nominees: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Toni Collette, Holly Hunter, Parker Posey, Rene Russo, Ashley Judd, and more...
31:11 Get Shorty
34:30 Michael Mann films and Heat

Ashley Judd in "Heat"

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes.  Continue the conversation in the comments...

1995 Bonus Chit Chat


1995: The Year Jane Austen Came to the Movies

Our look back at 1995 continues with Lynn Lee on an unexpected breakout...

Clueless turned 20 this week, but as the Internet has constantly reminded us, it hasn’t aged a day.  At once timeless ("a classic," as Cher would say) and delightfully dated, it’s a modern riff on a period piece – Jane Austen’s Emma – that's become something of a period piece itself. The latter aspect tends to draw attention away from the former, but I happened to see the movie again at a recent party and was reminded not just how perfectly it captures the ’90s, but also (1) how brilliantly it adapts Emma, and (2) how 1995 really was the breakout year for Jane Austen in film. 

Keep in mind that prior to 1995, the only film version of a Jane Austen novel was the 1940 B&W “Pride & Prejudice” starring Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier.  1995 changed all that...

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Smackdown 1995. Meet the Panelists

IMPORTANT UPDATE: The Next Supporting Actress Smackdown has been pushed back one week to Sunday August 2nd. That leaves us just under two weeks for any 1995 madness we want to get off our chest. That's leaves you just under two weeks to finish revisiting the Supporting Actresses at home and get your votes in by Thursday July 30th. Please only vote on the performances you've seen...

Just outside the shortlist that year? Who knows but maybe it was Globe nominees Kyra Sedgwick (Something to Talk About) and Anjelica Huston (The Crossing Guard), or SAG nominee Stockard Channing (Smoke) or future nominee Rachel Griffiths (Muriel's Wedding). Or maybe it was Magda Szubanski (Babe) on account of the Best Pictureness of it all. In our fantasies it was definitely Gina Gershon (Showgirls).

Here's a little bit about our panel to prep you for our conversation as they finish up their screenings...

First Time Smackdowners

Kevin O'Keeffe occasionally stops talking about "Smash" long enough to think about film. He even writes about it sometimes at Mic, where he's the arts staff writer in residence, but he's also written for The AtlanticThe AdvocateLA Weekly and more. Let him be your star by following him on Twitter.

What does 1995 mean to you?

I'm ashamed to admit I was a child in that year, so my big motion picture experience was Babe. (I'm surprised Babe didn't get a nomination for Best Supporting Actress, to be frank.) I hadn't seen many of these movies – the early 90s are a bit of a void for me, since I'm usually revisiting older movies or keeping up with newer ones. That's what drew me to the year for the Smackdown: It was the year I was alive, and yet I knew the least about it of any.


Lynn is a government lawyer who spends most of her time outside work obsessing over arts and pop culture.  Her current fascination is with "The Americans" on FX. Her first love, though, will always be movies, thanks to parents who raised her on an eclectic diet of Ingmar Bergman, talky French films, 1960s musicals, Star Wars, and Spielberg blockbusters.  You can find her occasional musings on movies and TV on her blog and as a new contributor to TFE.

What does 1995 mean to you?

My life as a movie lover can be divided into two periods: Before 1995 and After 1995.  Before 1995, I watched movies with my parents and friends, but didn't really seek out movies that I wanted to see for myself alone.  All that changed starting the summer of '95, when I graduated from high school and for once had nothing to do but watch movies, and that fall, when I headed off to college in an actual CITY and discovered a whole moviegoing universe I'd only been dimly aware of before.  I discovered there was such a thing as theaters reserved exclusively for "arthouse" and "independent" films.  (First movie seen in such a theater: "The Brothers McMullen," or maybe it was "Chasing Amy.")  I discovered Kate Winslet in "Sense & Sensibility."  I discovered that movies could become the college equivalent of water cooler conversation ("The Usual Suspects").  Above all else, I discovered that movies were something you could discuss with communities of fellow movie lovers - and I've never looked back since then.".


Conrado "Coco" Falco can be described as a student currently earning his undergraduate degree at Hunter College, as an aspiring theater director currently working on a play about the life and death of Taylor Swift, or as a film blogger currently writing for his personal blog Coco Hits New York. First and foremost, however, he is a film lover. [Follow Coco on Twitter.] 

What does 1995 mean to you?

One of my earliest (and most traumatic) memories comes from Christmas Eve 1995. I was three at the time. My grandma told me she had wrapped my gift in the "Snoopy" wrapping paper, so I went straight to it before anyone read the tag. To my surprise, the gift was a Pocahontas Barbie doll. I was mocked by all my cousins in what was one of the most embarrassing moments of my childhood. I don't have many specific '95 memories otherwise, except for the fact that  "Babe" and "Toy Story" were big staples of my childhood. I'm currently revisiting '95 movies in my personal blog, and discovering that it might be one of the most underrated years in American cinema. 

Returning Panelists

Nick gets a big photo because he worked 1995 into his bio photo. Look at all those movies!

Nick Davis writes the reviews and features at the website Nick's Flick Picks.  The site's unpredictable cycles of frenzied activity and long dormancy have to do with his also being an Associate Professor of English and Gender & Sexuality Studies at Northwestern, where his research and teaching mostly concern narrative film in different eras, genres, and countries. [Follow Nick on Twitter]

What does 1995 mean to you?

I started college in 1995 and also started going to movies by myself in, at last, a big city with broad offerings. You work out which development was more exciting. I bought the Entertainment Weekly Summer Preview and concluded that five movies were unmissable: "The Bridges of Madison County" (because even the terrible book made me cry), "Little Odessa" (Redgrave, I guess?), "Mad Love" (crush on Chris O'Donnell), "Nine Months" (crush on Hugh Grant), and "Species" (crush on Natasha Henstridge, plus aliens, plus ambivalence about procreating). I saw "Apollo 13" with my dad before I left for school and "Sense and Sensibility" with my mom when I came home, and "Nixon" with my dad over that same Christmas, so basically you're asking me to pick between my parents. I saw "Babe" at least four times and forced skeptics to come with me. I deduced instantly who Keyser Söze was and didn't give a flying coffee cup. I deterred silent, unwanted advances from a friend while we watched "Se7en" and wondered how this movie could possibly be arousing her. I was the only man at near-empty opening-day matinees of "Home for the Holidays" and "How to Make an American Quilt". I walked into a genuine surprise birthday party my friends in the freshman dorm had thrown for me, but I left after two minutes because, I'm sorry, I'd already bought a ticket to "To Die For". I liberally quoted Angela Bassett from "Strange Days" like I was deep. I saw "Leaving Las Vegas" with the same friend I took to "Se7en". She didn't start stroking my neck this time, and we rode home in 20 minutes of unbroken silence, because by that time, a month later, I really was deep. I didn't get "Shorty". I was the face of love. I skipped "Braveheart" till the desperate studio re-released it in February, because these are our crosses to bear, sometimes literally. I skipped "Toy Story" like a damn fool. I saw it plenty of times later. I never saw "Mad Love," so what has it all been for?


Born in Johannesburg but based in London, Guy is the chief UK film critic for Variety, and a home entertainment columnist for The Observer. His writing also appears at Time Out, Empire, The Guardian and any outlet willing to pay for long-form thinkpieces about knitwear in the movies. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyLodge.

What does 1995 mean to you?

In 1995, I was twelve years old and in my last year of primary school — on the knife-edge, then, between feeling confidently grown and authoritative, and being tossed out of my depth into adolescence. My cultural diet was in a similarly transitional state. After a hovering period, 1995 was the year I said goodbye to the children's section of the library and devoured “Jane Eyre” and “To Kill a Mockingbird”; at the movies, my parents merged my growing interests with theirs and took me to see “Three Colours: Red.” (It was both the first subtitled film I saw in the cinema, as well as the first with a no-under-16s certificate. I appreciated their trust.) Out in the larger world, my fellow South Africans were celebrating our rugby team's against-all-odds World Cup victory, joyously consolidating the national repairwork started by the previous year's election. It wouldn't last, and Clint Eastwood would later make that moment in time seem that much drabber. But the memory of temporary invincibility remains..


And your host...

Nathaniel is the founder of The Film Experience, a reknowned Oscar pundit, and the web's actressexual ringleader. He fell in love with the movies for always at The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) but mostly blames Oscar night (in general) and the 80s filmographies of Kathleen Turner & Michelle Pfeiffer (specifically). Though he holds a BFA in Illustration, he found his true calling when he started writing about the movies. He blames Boogie Nights for the career change. [Follow him on Twitter]

What does 1995 mean to you?

'I'm getting a bit old for that whorey look.'


1995 is when I graduated from college so it was a big year but it seems to have entirely evaporated in my memory but for the birth of the late 20th century's New Trash Masterpiece "Showgirls".

If I dig a little-bit harder into the memory banks I remember heavy rotation among roommates and friends for Alanis Morrisette's "Jagged Little Pill," Björk's "Post" and the "Pocahontas" soundtrack (showtunes 4ever! Don't judge). Cinematically, I was in deep deep throes of love for broken-winged Brad Pitt in "Se7en," Elisabeth Shue's booze-drenched boobs in "Leaving Las Vegas," and Angela Bassett's fierce elocution and even fiercer hair in "Strange Days." My least favorite movie-going memory was seeing "Braveheart" in the theater and hearing audiences cheering its ridiculous homophobia. My best movie-going memory from '95 is taking my three little nephews to see "Babe" which they loved and kept quoting in their adorable squeaky little kid voices which they would try to make yet squeakier to approximate the mice. One of them just announced his engagement  - Eeek! How was 1995 twenty whole years ago!?!?!

What does 1995 mean to you dear readers?

Do tell in the comments.


1995 Look Back: The Breakout Year of Nicole Kidman

TFE will be taking several trips back to 1995 for the next two weeks, our "year of the month". Here's abstew on the one and only... - Editor

Although she had been acting in Australia since she was 16 years old, most American audiences at the start of 1995 only knew Nicole Kidman for one thing: being Mrs. Tom Cruise. Despite earning strong notices earlier for 1989's Dead Calm (and catching the attention of superstar Cruise), the Hollywood productions that followed did little to showcase the promising talent that had been hinted at. Appearing alongside Cruise in glossy modest hits (Days of Thunder and Far and Away) or playing thankless wife roles that hardly challenged her as an actress (MaliceMy Life), Kidman was in danger of becoming arm candy for her famous husband. But thanks to a new pair of roles, 1995 would become the year that she finally emerged from the shadow of Cruise to start the march to her own inevitable super-stardom.

One of the ways Hollywood measures the worth of a star is by their box office. Warner Bros had been disappointed with the profits of Tim Burton's Batman Returns and decided to go in a different direction for the next franchise installment. Because of the changes, former star Michael Keaton decided not to return as the cape crusader and when Val Kilmer came onboard, it was deemed that Rene Russo (who had already been cast as the romantic lead) was too old to appear opposite the new Bruce Wayne. More...

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