So, tell me, what Steven Spielberg movie came out the same year as his Jurassic Park?
Schindler's List. Our Saturday Matinee. Based on the book by Thomas Keneally, the film garnered a dozen Academy Award nominations, the 5th for Spielberg and his first win for directing. Steve Zaillian whose credits include Gangs of New York, Moneyball, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo won for his screenplay adaptation. He's writing the screenplay for The Girl Who Played with Fire, by the way, reuniting Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara and maybe, maybe, David Fincher.
But back to Schindler's List: The movie also won Best Picture, Best Editing, Best Art Direction and Best Score by John Williams. All these years later though, I'm betting it's William's score for Jurassic Park that you recognize in an instant, not the music of Schindler's List. And in one of those little quirks of the trade, Schindler's List was nominated for Best Sound but lost to Jurassic Park.
The film also took Best Cinematography for the camera work by Janusz Kaminsky, a remarkable mix of black & white with a touch of color. This was Spielberg and Kaminsky's first film foray together but it would hardly be their last. Kaminski has been DP or Cinematographer on every single Spielberg movie since, including Saving Private Ryan for which they both won an Oscar. Right now Spielberg is collaborating with Kaminski on Bridge of Spies as well as The BFG based on the Roald Dahl children's book—Mark Rylance, whom a whole load of us fell in love with watching Wolf Hall is in both by the way! He's the titular BFG in The BFG, and the Russian intelligence officer, Rudolph Abel, in Bridge of Spies. Part of Spielberg's genius; he knows how to pick 'em.
Liam the great Neeson turned in an amazing Oscar-nominated Best Actor performance as did Ralph Fiennes in the supporting category. Neeson lost out to Tom Hanks in Philadelphia while Fiennes was overshadowed by Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive. Yeah, whatcha gonna do, when all the work is masterful? Remember that a) it's an honor to be nominated and b)at the end of the day, outside of the bigger paycheck and more money an Academy Award win gets you, a lot of people think they're a load of bollocks. Like the fact that John Williams' riveting score for Jurassic Park, that score that soars and zings the instant you hear it, wasn't even nominated while his score for Schindler's List, as heart-achingly beautiful as it is, but which I couldn't pick out of a sound lineup to save my life, won.
So. Saturday Matinee. Schindler's List. Also featured fantastic performances by Ben Kingsley and the less well known but laudable Caroline Goodall as Schindler's wife. Available to stream in all the usual places, Amazon, VUDU, Google-Play and M-Go. As usual who knows what's up with Netflix; check your account for streaming availability.
Here's your trailer. Don't be like Jerry Seinfeld making out in the back of the theatre, watch it and enjoy! If 'enjoy' is the operative word when the film is so gut-wrenching and devastating.