1993 Academy Awards®
Winners and History
Introduction, 1927/8-39, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s
Academy Awards Summaries
"Best Picture" Oscar®, "Best Director" Oscar®, "Best Actor" Oscar®, "Best Supporting Actor" Oscar®,
"Best Actress" Oscar®, "Best Supporting Actress" Oscar®, "Best Screenplay/Writer" Oscar®
Finally, after many years of dubious treatment and neglect, producer/director Steven Spielberg (with his sixth directorial and seventh Best Picture nomination) won the Best Picture Oscar (and Best Director Oscar) for his monumental, mature masterpiece Schindler's List. [The film - although mostly black and white - contained a few segments in color, thereby disqualifying it from being the most recent completely black and white film to win the Best Picture Oscar. That honor still applied to The Apartment (1960).]
Spielberg won his first competitive Oscars for the powerful, documentary-style, 'historical' dramatization of Thomas Keneally's 1982 book (from a screenplay by Steven Zaillian) about the Third Reich's Holocaust, and the role of one complex man named Schindler (Liam Neeson) - a failed German industrialist and Catholic war profiteer (a pots-and-pans factory owner), who struggled to save more than a thousand Polish-Jewish lives in Nazi-occupied Poland with the assistance of Jewish accountant and confidante Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley).
The three hour-long, small-budget ($23 million) film had twelve nominations and seven overall wins (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography for Janusz Kaminski, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Score - by John Williams). Surprisingly, the film won no acting awards. Spielberg also triumphed in the same year with three technical-achievement awards for his box-office hit Jurassic Park: Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing, and Best Visual Effects.
Four of the five Best Picture nominees were serious-minded films. The one exception was the box-office hit and action thriller The Fugitive (with seven nominations and one win - Best Supporting Actor) - the story of the relentless tracking of a convicted innocent man in director Andrew Davis' re-make of the 60's long-running TV series - it was notable as the first - and only - Best Picture nominee remake to be based on a popular TV series.
The other three Best Picture nominees included:
Andrew Davis, the director of Best Picture-nominated The Fugitive, failed to receive a nomination in the Best Director category. Davis' place was filled by director Robert Altman for his three-hour long film, a collage of Raymond Carver's short stories, Short Cuts (the film's sole nomination). [This was Altman's second consecutive Best Director nomination for a film that did not receive a Best Picture nomination - The Player (1992) also received a Best Director nomination without a Best Picture nod. And it was also Altman's fourth unsuccessful bid to be Best Director.]
Jane Campion's nomination as Best Director for The Piano made her only the second woman in Oscar history to be nominated in the category. Campion is the first (and only) woman to have directed a Best Picture nominee AND to have received a Best Director nomination for herself. [The first woman ever nominated for Best Director was Lina Wertmuller for Seven Beauties (1976), seventeen years earlier.] Although Campion lost the Best Director Oscar, she won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
Half of all the male acting nominations went to British performers (Day-Lewis, Hopkins, Neeson, Postlethwaite, and Fiennes). All four of the year's acting winners were first-time Academy Award winners.
The Best Actor Oscar was presented to Tom Hanks (with his second nomination and first Oscar win), best-known for comedic roles, for his serious performance as AIDS-infected corporate attorney and victim Andrew Beckett, fired from his job and fighting homophobia in director Jonathan Demme's bold adaptation of Ron Nyswaner's screenplay for Philadelphia (with five nominations and two wins - the second Oscar was for Bruce Springsteen's Best Song "Streets of Philadelphia"). In the same year, Hanks starred in Nora Ephron's very popular romantic comedy Sleepless in Seattle, a remake of An Affair to Remember (1957) - with two unsuccessful nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Original Song. [Note: During Hanks' acceptance speech, he paid homage to his high school gay teacher Rawley Farnsworth - the situation was later used as the basis for the comedy In & Out (1997) in which a passionate Oscar winner during his acceptance speech inadvertently outed a teacher.]
The other Best Actor nominees were:
Among the female acting nominees, two were simultaneously nominated in the lead and supporting acting categories in 1993 - Holly Hunter and Emma Thompson. They were the first nominees to compete against each other in both the Actress and Supporting Actress categories, in the same year:
Holly Hunter (with her second/third nominations and first Oscar win) won the Best Actress Oscar for her dialogue-less performance as the 19th century mute (since childhood) and mail-order bride Ada McGrath - the erotic, Scottish woman and gifted pianist in The Piano. [This was another instance in which an award was given for an actress' non-speaking role, i.e., Jane Wyman in Johnny Belinda (1948), Patty Duke in The Miracle Worker (1962), Marlee Matlin in Children of a Lesser God (1986).]
The other four Best Actress nominees were:
The Best Supporting Actor Oscar was won by Tommy Lee Jones (with his second nomination and first Oscar win) for his performance as determined and relentless, laconic Deputy U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard who tracks fugitive Harrison Ford in the exciting chase film The Fugitive. Many felt the award should have gone to Ralph Fiennes instead.
The other four Best Supporting Actor nominees in the category were:
The unexpected winner of the Best Supporting Actress Oscar was 11 year-old Anna Paquin for her R-rated film role as co-star (and competitive nominee) Holly Hunter's illegitimate daughter Flora in The Piano. [Paquin's Oscar, in her debut film, made her the second youngest competitive Oscar winner, second to 10 year-old Tatum O'Neal who won the Oscar twenty years earlier for Paper Moon (1973). Paquin also became the first New Zealander to receive an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.]
The other Best Supporting Actress nominees included:
Six-time Best Actress nominee (in 1949, 1953, 1956-1958, and 1960) and win-less Deborah Kerr received an Honorary award during the ceremonies, "in appreciation for a full career's worth of elegant and beautifully-crafted performances." She had appeared in some of cinema's greatest films, including Black Narcissus (1947), I See A Dark Stranger (1947), Edward, My Son (1949), The Prisoner of Zenda (1952), From Here to Eternity (1953), The King and I (1956), Tea and Sympathy (1956), Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957), Separate Tables (1958), The Night of the Iguana (1964), and The Arrangement (1969).
Oscar Snubs and Omissions:
Brad Pitt was un-nominated for his performance as terrifying, homicidal serial killer Early Grayce in Kalifornia, nor was Val Kilmer as philosophical, ravaged Doc Holliday in Tombstone, nor was Ben Kingsley as Schindler's Jewish accountant in Schindler's List, nor was Debra Winger as Arliss Howard's wife Vida in a romantic triangle in the pyrokinetic, incendiary Wilder Napalm.
Tim Burton's offbeat, stop-action animated musical The Nightmare Before Christmas was nominated (and lost) for only one award: Best Visual Effects, but was ignored for Danny Elfman's original musical score, and for the songs in its soundtrack (there were about a dozen songs in its 74 minutes). Unexpectedly, there were no nominations for Wayne Wang's mother-daughter stories (adapted from Amy Tan's novel) in The Joy Luck Club.
Juliette Binoche was denied a nomination as grieving wife Julie Vignon de Courcy in the first film of director Krzysztof Kieslowski's three-color trilogy, Three Colors: Blue (Fr.) (aka Trois Couleurs: Bleu).
Denzel Washington was denied an acting nomination for his performance as black, ambulance-chasing defense lawyer Joe Miller (opposite Best Actor-winning Tom Hanks) in Philadelphia, as was Jeff Bridges for his role as post-traumatic stress disorder victim Max Klein in Weir's Fearless, and Arnold Schwarzenegger as fictional action hero film character Sgt. Jack Slater (and himself) in Last Action Hero. Although nominated for Remains of the Day, Anthony Hopkins should also have been nominated for his role as Christian novelist C.S. Lewis in Shadowlands (a film mostly neglected by the Academy). And Matthew McConaughey was un-nominated for his memorable performance as the seasoned suitor named Wooderson of Texas high school girls in Dazed and Confused.
An emerging romantic comedy masterpiece, Groundhog Day, struck out for Oscar nominations. There was no recognition for director/screenwriter Harold Ramis, or for actor Bill Murray's superb characterization as TV weatherman Phil who was forced to repeat the same day over and over again in an endless loop, and (supporting) actress Andie MacDowell as TV producer Rita (Phil's love interest). Composer John Williams' musical score for Jurassic Park was also not nominated.