The Hard Boiled Awards for 1997 Films

The Hard Boiled Movie Page (http://boiled.sbay.org/boiled/) presents the first ever Hard Boiled Awards!

This is the first ever Hard Boiled Awards presentation! I’m excited about this. These awards go out to the best of 1997.

Best Picture

Nominees: Face/Off, Grosse Pointe Blank, My Best Friend’s Wedding, L.A. Confidential, and Titanic.

Winner: Titanic.

There were a lot of movies up for the Hard Boiled Award for Best Picture. I look for films that are watchable more than films that are ‘critically acclaimed.’ I believe that a film is the best picture if it is fun to watch over and over again. Face/Off and My Best Friend’s Wedding were the two that I found very watchable. I thoroughly enjoyed both films because they were just fun to watch, the performances of Nicolas Cage and John Travolta in Face/Off and Julia Roberts and Rupert Everett in My Best Friend’s Wedding were the factors that made the films so great. Grosse Pointe Blank was a film that most people overlooked and that is truly unfortunate because Grosse Pointe Blank, as quirky as it might be, is a highly entertaining film with some great performances and sharp dialogue. John Cusack and his sister Joan Cusack give outstanding performances in Grosse Pointe Blank. L.A. Confidential is a film that could have turn out bad, but the complex script by Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson is spun into an engrossing film. The true winner is the late release Titanic. This monumental film for James Cameron entertains for its three-hour running time and is a big step in the right direction for Cameron. Cameron writes and directs Titanic and he makes a big-budget drama which carefully balances its drama and special effects. Cameron has made a film that is well worth the Hard Boiled Award for Best Picture.

Best Actor

Nominees: Anthony Hopkins (Amistad), John Cusack (Grosse Pointe Blank), Djimon Hounsou (Amistad), Al Pacino (Devil’s Advocate), and Nicolas Cage (Face/Off).

Winner: Nicolas Cage (Face/Off).

Anthony Hopkins gives a wonderful performance in Amistad as the old and rickety President John Quincy Adams. He is one of the strongest performances in Amistad next to Djimon Hounsou who is a newcomer but shows that he is not a rookie. John Cusack’s performance was what defined Grosse Pointe Blank, his character Martin Q. Blank was a wonderfully quirky character in which Cusack clearly showed onscreen. Al Pacino was, well, just over-the-top with his performance as the Devil himself in Devil’s Advocate. His performance made me laugh and sent chills down my back. I haven’t seen an actor having so much fun on screen in a long time. But, the true winner is Nicolas Cage in Face/Off. Cage, who came back from the awful performance in Con Air, is the anti-action-actor of sorts. A balding middle age guy, who just doesn’t look like an action hero shows that he can be one. But, Cage does it with a little more finesse than most action hero types, he adds along with it some great acting skills. And with Face/Off we get to see Cage act as not just one, but two characters and he shows that he can carry out the emotional range that is necessary for this type of job.

Best Actress

Nominees: Julia Roberts (My Best Friend’s Wedding), Jodie Foster (Contact), Janeane Garofalo (The Matchmaker), Demi Moore (G.I. Jane), and Kate Winslet (Titanic).

Winner: Kate Winslet (Titanic).

All the nominees deserved to win, all giving very strong performances in their films. Julia Roberts returns to the genre that has treated her best – the romantic comedy. And she serves up some memorable laughs with her performance in My Best Friend’s Wedding. Jodie Foster was what made Contact work. Her performance as Dr. Ellie Arroway was one of the best in the run of summer films. Janeane Garofalo has always been a favourite of mine, her cynicism has always been the staple of her performances and her performance in The Matchmaker was no different. It was good to see her in a lead performance again. Demi Moore has not had good luck with her career lately, but with G.I. Jane she has put up a performance to remember as the first Navy SEAL trainee. But, the performance that wins the Hard Boiled Award for Best Actress goes to the strong performance of Kate Winslet in Titanic.

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Harold Perrineau Jr. (The Edge), Alan Arkin (Grosse Point Blank), Dan Aykroyd (Grosse Pointe Blank), Danny De Vito (The Rainmaker), and Rupert Everett (My Best Friend’s Wedding).

Winner: Rupert Everett (My Best Friend’s Wedding).

Though all nominees performed well, no one came close to the brilliant performance of Rupert Everett as Julia Robert’s gay editor, George, in My Best Friend’s Wedding. And though his role was a supporting role, he gives the performance of a lead actor’s caliber. Rupert Everett wins, hands down, the Hard Boiled Award for Best Supporting Actor. Harold Perrineau Jr. might not be remembered from The Edge by many, but I thoroughly enjoyed his performance as “the third wheel” with Alec Baldwin and Anthony Hopkins. Alan Arkin was hysterical as John Cusack’s psychiatrist in Grosse Pointe Blank. Dan Aykroyd, after a slew of non-memorable roles, comes back as the union-wanting-hitman in Grosse Pointe Blank. And Danny De Vito was wonderful as the street-smart-almost-lawyer in The Rainmaker.

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Joan Cusack (In and Out), Joan Allen (Face/Off), Kim Basinger (L.A. Confidential), Charlize Theron (Devil’s Advocate), and Joan Cusack (Grosse Pointe Blank).

Winner: Joan Cusack (In and Out).

Joan Allen was wonderful as the unknowing wife of John Travolta in Face/Off. Kim Basinger gives a brilliant performance as the Hollywood star lookalike in L.A. Confidential. And Charlize Theron was great as the wife of Keanu Reeves in Devil’s Advocate. But it is Joan Cusack who gives the best performance as the unstable and self-conscious fiancée of Kevin Kline in In and Out and for that performance she wins the Hard Boiled Award for Best Supporting Actress. Joan Cusack also got a nomination for her performance in Grosse Pointe Blank as the secretary to her brother’s hitman, John Q. Blank. Joan Cusack should get more roles, she is fantastic at whatever she is given.

Best Director

Nominees: David Fincher (The Game), James Cameron (Titanic), John Woo (Face/Off), Francis Ford Coppola (The Rainmaker), and George Armitage (Grosse Pointe Blank).

Winner: John Woo (Face/Off).

Those who know me, know that I’m a big fan of both John Woo and James Cameron. And this year both of them put out top notch films. Woo made his best American film yet, Face/Off, which he gets to do what he does best, explore the fight between good and evil and the gray area between them. Cameron also puts out his best work yet also, showing that he is not only the master of pushing special effects to the limit, but he can also push the audience’s emotions to the limit. David Fincher proves to us with The Game that he’s not a one hit wonder. His film The Game was wonderfully dark and beautiful, his direction was taunt and held the audience’s attention. Francis Ford Coppola makes a wonderfully entertaining film, The Rainmaker, based on John Grisham’s book by the same name. And George Armitage puts together a quirky film, Grosse Pointe Blank, that doesn’t fit easily into any genre but is easily very entertaining. The decision was tough here and it was clearly a throw-up between Woo and Cameron, but the winner of the Hard Boiled Award for Best Director is John Woo. After suffering through two mediocre American films, he shows us with Face/Off that he has not lost his touch yet.

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Nominees: Mike Werb and Michael Colleary (Face/Off), Tom Jankiewicz, D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink, and John Cusack (Grosse Pointe Blank), Ronald Bass (My Best Friend’s Wedding), James Cameron (Titanic), and Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights).

Winner: Mike Werb and Michael Colleary (Face/Off).

All original screenplays were strong. From the light hearted romantic comedy by Ronald Bass (My Best Friend’s Wedding) to the emotion string pulling drama by James Cameron (Titanic). But for the most balanced original screenplay the Hard Boiled Award for Best Writing goes to Mike Werb and Michael Colleary for their work on the Face/Off screenplay.

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

Nominees: Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential), James V. Hart and Michael Goldenberg (Contact), Francis Ford Coppola (The Rainmaker), and Jonathan Lemkin and Tony Gilroy (Devil’s Advocate).

Winner: Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential).

With L.A. Confidential Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson write a complex and layered script that entertains thoroughly. The script is able to keep the audience’s attention while focusing us on many events that could or could not end up together. This script together with Hanson’s direction makes for a wonderful film. Congratulations to Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson for winning the Hard Boiled Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published.

Best Cinematography

Nominees: Robert Fraisse (Seven Years in Tibet), Donald McAlpine (The Edge), Janusz Kaminski (Amistad), Janusz Kaminski (The Lost World), and Don Burgess (Contact).

Winner: Robert Fraisse (Seven Years in Tibet).

There was no doubt in this category that Robert Fraisse’s cinematography in Seven Years in Tibet was the best. His views of the mountains and nature are awesome and breathe taking. The others in this category also did wonderful work, but it was Fraisse’s work that stood out. The Hard Boiled Award for Best Cinematography goes to Robert Fraisse for his work in Seven Years in Tibet.

Best Art Direction-Set Decoration

Nominees: Nigel Phelps (Alien: Resurrection), Peter Lamont (Titanic), Jan Roelfs (Gattaca), Bo Welch (Men in Black), and Jean Giraud and Dan Weil (The Fifth Element).

Winner: Peter Lamont (Titanic).

This one was also a tough decision. There were a lot of good looking sets and very good art direction this year. Nigel Phelps shows us a slimy, dark, and damp space station in Alien: Resurrection. With it’s organic look the sets in Alien: Resurrection were astounding. Jan Roelfs creates a future world that is heavily reminiscent of the past. With its sterile feel the world that Jan Roelfs creates for Gattaca feels like something that is close to our time, but still a little bit ahead. Bo Welch’s art and set decoration for Men in Black are great. Like those of Roelfs, Welch’s sets are somewhat of a throwback to previous years. The most prominent set was the set that Welch created for the intergalatical space terminal, which looks surprisingly like an international airport, but has the correct feel for that of a space terminal. Jean Giraud and Dan Weil do some eye-popping work on The Fifth Element. The most unforgettable set for that film was the space-liner set which was gorgeous.But, the Hard Boiled Award for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration goes to Peter Lamont for his work in Titanic. Peter Lamont had the arduous task of recreating the interiors of the Titanic along with the feel of the time period, and with his work in Titanic, he does just that.

Best Visual Effects

Nominees: Autumn Light Entertainment, Cinovation Studios, and Industrial Light & Magic (Men in Black), Tippett Studio, Banned from the Ranch Entertainment, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Amalgamated Dynamics, Visual Concept Entertainment, Boss Film Studios, and Industrial Light & Magic (Starship Troopers), Stan Winston Studio and Industrial Light & Magic (The Lost World), and Industrial Light & Magic, Hammerhead Productions, Inc., Matte World Digital, Pacific Titles & Optical, POP Film, Perpetual Motion Pictures, Video Image, CIS Hollywood, Donald Pennington Inc., Cinesite, 4-Ward Productions, Inc.,Banned from the Ranch, Light Matters, Inc., and Digiscope (Titanic).

Winner: Industrial Light & Magic, Hammerhead Productions, Inc., Matte World Digital, Pacific Titles & Optical, POP Film, Perpetual Motion Pictures, Video Image, CIS Hollywood, Donald Pennington Inc., Cinesite, 4-Ward Productions, Inc., Banned from the Ranch, Light Matters, Inc., and Digiscope (Titanic).

There were some very amazing special effects this year. Amongst them organic creatures that couldn’t have lived without special effects (Starship Troopers, Lost World, and Men in Black). But it was the wow-factor of a long sunken ship that wins that Hard Boiled Award for Best Visual Effects. Congratulations to Industrial Light & Magic, Hammerhead Productions, Inc., Matte World Digital, Pacific Titles & Optical, POP Film, Perpetual Motion Pictures, Video Image, CIS Hollywood, Donald Pennington Inc., Cinesite, 4-Ward Productions, Inc., Banned from the Ranch, Light Matters, Inc., and Digiscope for their work on Titanic.

Best Original Score

Nominees: Howard Shore (The Game), David Arnold (Tomorrow Never Dies), John Williams (The Lost World), John Powell (Face/Off), and James Newton Howard (My Best Friend’s Wedding).

Winner: John Powell (Face/Off).

Music makes a movie whole. Without it, the emotions of a movie are flat. Howard Shore creates a score that is disturbingly peaceful yet creepy with his score for The Game. David Arnold is the perfect person to score James Bond movies and his score in Tomorrow Never Dies shows this. John Williams, like always, was brilliant with his darker and varied score for sequel to Jurassic Park, The Lost World. Though I thought that James Newton Howard’s score for My Best Friend’s Wedding was forgettable on my first viewing, it was not until my second viewing that I found how much I loved the score he did for the movie. The Hard Boiled Award for Best Original Score goes to John Powell for his synthetic and pulse pounding score for Face/Off which featured a very memorable theme for Nicolas Cage’s Castor Troy character.


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