Cate Blanchett was robbed. Her performance in the title role of 1998's Elizabeth is one of my favorites from the 90's. Weirdo Gwyneth Paltrow won for a decent performance in Shakespeare in Love, thanks to a major push from Miramax and Harvey Weinstein. At the time is was likely a good bet, as she had won the Golden Globe (musical/comedy) and the SAG, while Blanchett took the Globe in drama and the BAFTA. Meryl was likely fourth or fifth in the running that year for her turn as a cancer-stricken mother opposite Renée Zellweger in One True Thing. Evidently Fernanda Montenegro was amazing in Central Station, but I've never seen it. The full nominees list is as follows:
Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth)
Fernanda Montenegro (Central Station)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Shakespeare in Love)
Meryl Streep (One True Thing)
Emily Watson (Hilary and Jackie)
There are a few things I like about this: 1) Paltrow actually seems genuinely appreciative and a bit overwhelmed by the moment. Despite this she delivered a great speech. 2) Fernanda Montenegro looks super bitchy. After the Brazilian veteran lost to Paltrow she is quoted as referring to the young winner as "...this romantic figure. Thin, pure, virginal. They don't have much of this type of actress in America." She also described Paltrow's win as "an investment." Sort of love this. 3) Paltrow in her speech describes Meryl as the "greatest one there ever was." Meryl did a great job of acting appalled by this gushing, but I wasn't quite convinced.
This loss made it seven straight for her at the Oscars and 16 years since her last win.