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Romantic comedies often get the stigma of being lightweights during awards season, but there are plenty of rom-coms that have cleaned up, particularly at the Academy Awards. Here is a rundown of films from the 1990s that were nominated for Academy Awards. Winners are underlined.
Shakespeare in Love – Shakespeare in Love’s big win at the Oscars was controversial to say the least, up against Spielberg’s World War II heavyweight Saving Private Ryan. This comedy about Shakespeare and how he wrote his most famous romance has stood the test of time, though, with great supporting performances from Judi Dench, Ben Affleck, and Geoffrey Rush, not to mention Joseph Fiennes and Oscar-winner Gwyneth Paltrow.
Best Director – John Madden
Best Actress – Gwyneth Paltrow
Best Supporting Actor – Geoffrey Rush
Best Supporting Actress – Judi Dench
Best Original Screenplay – Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard
Best Original Musical or Comedy Score – Stephen Warbeck
Best Sound – Robin O’Donoghue, Dominic Lester, and Peter Glossop
Best Art Direction – Martin Childs and Jill Quertier
Best Cinematography – Richard Greatrex
Best Makeup – Lisa Westcott and Veronica Brebner
Best Costume Design – Sandy Powell
Best Film Editing – David Gamble
As Good as It Gets – As Good as It Gets won Jack Nicholson his third Oscar as the cranky Melvin Udall who befriends Carol Connelly (Helen Hunt), a single mother and waitress, and Simon Bishop (Greg Kinnear), a gay artist.
Best Actor – Jack Nicholson
Best Actress – Helen Hunt
Best Supporting Actor – Greg Kinnear
Best Original Screenplay – Mark Andrus and James L. Brooks
Best Original Musical or Comedy Score – Hans Zimmer
Best Film Editing – Richard Marks
In & Out – Loosely based on Tom Hanks’ Oscars acceptance speech for Philadelphia, In & Out is about an English teacher, played by Kevin Kline, who is inadvertently outed by a former student. The only problem is, he doesn’t know that he is gay. Joan Cusack was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Kline’s fiancee.
Best Supporting Actress – Joan Cusack
Jerry Maguire – Jerry Maguire took pop culture by storm with classic lines like “Show me the money” and “You complete me.” This underdog story of a down-on-his-luck sports agent was a major break-out moment for writer/director Cameron Crowe, who was previously known for Say Anything and Singles, and won Cuba Gooding Jr. an Oscar.
Best Actor – Tom Cruise
Best Supporting Actor – Cuba Gooding Jr.
Sense and Sensibility – Emma Thompson was responsible for adapting the screenplay and starring in Sense and Sensibility, both of which she performed beautifully. However, it is the film’s all-star British cast, including Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman and Hugh Grant, that make this a must-see, Jane Austin fan or not.
Best Actress – Emma Thompson
Best Supporting Actress – Kate Winslet
Best Adapted Screenplay – Emma Thompson
Best Original Dramatic Score
Best Cinematography – Michael Coulter
Best Costume Design – Jenny Beavan and John Bright
Four Weddings and a Funeral – At the time of its release, Four Weddings and a Funeral was the British film in cinema history. The simple story is of Charlie (Hugh Grant), his good friends, and the woman he keeps running into at four weddings and a funeral.
Best Original Screenplay – Richard Curtis
Dave – Dave is a romance as well as a political comedy and a Prince and the Pauper-esque tale where an ordinary guy, who bears a striking resemblance to the President of the United States, has to step up and fool everyone into thinking he is the President.
Best Original Screenplay – Gary Ross
Sleepless in Seattle – Nora Ephron’s screenplay and the chemistry between Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan made Sleepless in Seattle a modern-day classic.
Best Original Screenplay – Nora Ephron, David S. Ward, and Jeff Arch
Best Original Song – “A Wink and a Smile” by Marc Shaiman and Ramsey McLean
Aladdin – The love between a street kid and a princess is almost overshadowed by the friendship between a boy and his genie, but “A Whole New World” makes Aladdin and Jasmine’s love one to remember.
Best Original Score – Alan Menken
Best Original Song – “A Whole New World” by Alan Menken and Tim Rice
Best Original Song – “Friend Like Me” by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman
Best Sound Editing – Mark A. Mangini
Best Sound Mixing – Terry Porter, Mel Metcalfe, David J. Hudson, and Doc Kane
Beauty and the Beast – Howard Ashman’s last fully completed lyrical work on a Disney film elevates this tale of unlikely romance into something new, magical, and unforgettable.
Best Original Score – Alan Menken
Best Original Song – “Beauty and the Beast” by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman
Best Original Song – “Be Our Guest” by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman
Best Original Song – “Belle” from Beauty and the Beast
Best Sound – Terry Porter, Mel Metcalfe, David J. Hudson, and Doc Kane
Pretty Woman – Steel Magnolias and Mystic Pizza launched Julia Roberts into the public consciousness, but it was Pretty Woman that made her a star. Her hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold stole audience’s hearts and earned her first Best Actress nomination and her second Oscar nomination.
Best Actress – Julia Roberts