1999 Oscars 71st Academy Awards

1999 Oscars 71st Academy Awards

  • Winners Announced: March 21, 1999
  • Held at: Los Angeles County Music Center, Los Angeles, California
  • Host: Whoopi Goldberg
  • Eligibility Year: 1998


  • Whoopi Goldberg became the first woman and the first African American to solo host the Oscars. This was her third time hosting but her first time going solo.
  • Shakespeare in Love managed to snag seven Oscars, including Best Picture, beating out the favorite, Saving Private Ryan. It was considered a major upset at the time.
  • Gwyneth Paltrow won Best Actress for Shakespeare in Love, and her emotional acceptance speech, complete with tears and a pink Ralph Lauren gown, became iconic.
  • Roberto Benigni became the toast of the town with his effusive and animated acceptance speech after winning Best Actor for Life is Beautiful. He climbed over chairs to get to the stage, a move that’s still talked about today.
  • Life is Beautiful also won for Best Foreign Language Film, making it one of the few to win in multiple categories.
  • Elton John and Tim Rice snagged Best Original Song for “The Prayer” from Quest for Camelot. Interestingly, this was a year where animated films showed strong in the music categories.
  • The ceremony was one of the longest in Oscars history, clocking in at over four hours.
  • James Coburn won Best Supporting Actor for Affliction, which was notable as he was a Hollywood veteran and this was his first Oscar win.
  • The event was produced by the legendary Gil Cates, who had a knack for putting on a show that combined glamour with unexpected moments.
  • This year’s ceremony was notable for its inclusion of a tribute to filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, who had passed away just weeks before the ceremony.
  • “This is a terrible mistake, because I used up all of my English.”
    – Roberto Benigni, after winning his second Oscar of the night for Life is Beautiful
  • “Am I allowed to say I really wanted this? This is fantastic.”
    – Steven Spielberg

1999 Oscar Nominees and Winners

Best Picture:
Shakespeare in Love – Donna Gigliotti, David Parfitt, Harvey Weinstein, Edward Zwick and Marc Norman, producers (WINNER)
Elizabeth – Alison Owen, Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan, producers
Life Is Beautiful – Elda Ferri and Gianluigi Braschi, producers
Saving Private Ryan – Steven Spielberg, Ian Bryce, Mark Gordon and Gary Levinsohn, producers
The Thin Red Line – Robert Michael Geisler, Grant Hill and John Roberdeau, producers
Best Director:
Steven Spielberg – Saving Private Ryan (WINNER)
Roberto Benigni – Life Is Beautiful
John Madden – Shakespeare in Love
Terrence Malick – The Thin Red Line
Peter Weir – The Truman Show
Best Actor:
Roberto Benigni – Life Is Beautiful as Guido Orefice (WINNER)
Tom Hanks – Saving Private Ryan as Captain John Miller
Ian McKellen – Gods and Monsters as James Whale
Nick Nolte – Affliction as Wade Whitehouse
Edward Norton – American History X as Derek Vinyard
Best Actress:
Gwyneth Paltrow – Shakespeare in Love as Viola De Lesseps (WINNER)
Cate Blanchett – Elizabeth as Queen Elizabeth I of England
Fernanda Montenegro – Central Station as Isadora “Dora” Teixeira
Meryl Streep – One True Thing as Kate Gulden
Emily Watson – Hilary and Jackie as Jacqueline du Pré
Best Supporting Actor:
James Coburn – Affliction as Glen Whitehouse (WINNER)
Robert Duvall – A Civil Action as Jerome Facher
Ed Harris – The Truman Show as Christof
Geoffrey Rush – Shakespeare in Love as Philip Henslowe
Billy Bob Thornton – A Simple Plan as Jacob Mitchell
Best Supporting Actress:
Judi Dench – Shakespeare in Love as Queen Elizabeth I of England (WINNER)
Kathy Bates – Primary Colors as Libby Holden
Brenda Blethyn – Little Voice as Mari Hoff
Rachel Griffiths – Hilary and Jackie as Hilary du Pré
Lynn Redgrave – Gods and Monsters as Hanna
Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen:
Shakespeare in Love – Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard (WINNER)
Bulworth – Warren Beatty and Jeremy Pikser
Life Is Beautiful – Vincenzo Cerami and Roberto Benigni
Saving Private Ryan – Robert Rodat
The Truman Show – Andrew Niccol
Best Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published:
Gods and Monsters – Bill Condon based on the novel Father of Frankenstein by Christopher Bram (WINNER)
Out of Sight – Scott Frank from the novel by Elmore Leonard
Primary Colors – Elaine May adapted from the novel by anonymous
A Simple Plan – Scott B. Smith based on his novel
The Thin Red Line – Terrence Malick adapted from the novel by James Jones
Best Foreign Language Film:
Life Is Beautiful (Italy) in Italian – Roberto Benigni (WINNER)
Central Station (Brazil) in Portuguese – Walter Salles
Children of Heaven (Iran) in Persian – Majid Majidi
The Grandfather (Spain) in Spanish – José Luis Garci
Tango (Argentina) in Spanish – Carlos Saura
Best Original Song:
“When You Believe” from The Prince of Egypt – Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (WINNER)
“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” from Armageddon – Music and Lyrics by Diane Warren
“That’ll Do” from Babe: Pig in the City – Music and Lyrics by Randy Newman
“A Soft Place to Fall” from The Horse Whisperer – Music and Lyrics by Allison Moorer and Gwil Owen
“The Prayer” from Quest for Camelot – Music by Carole Bayer Sager and David Foster; Lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager, David Foster, Tony Renis and Alberto Testa
Best Documentary Feature:
The Last Days – James Moll and Ken Lipper (WINNER)
Dancemaker – Matthew Diamond and Jerry Kupfer
The Farm: Angola, USA – Jonathan Stack and Liz Garbus
Lenny Bruce: Swear to Tell the Truth – Robert B. Weide
Regret to Inform – Barbara Sonneborn and Janet Cole
Best Documentary Short Subject:
The Personals: Improvisations on Romance in the Golden Years – Keiko Ibi (WINNER)
A Place in the Land – Charles Guggenheim
Sunrise Over Tiananmen Square – Shui-Bo Wang and Donald McWilliams
Best Live Action Short Film:
Election Night – Kim Magnusson and Anders Thomas Jensen (WINNER)
Culture – Will Speck and Josh Gordon
Holiday Romance – Alexander Jovy and JJ Keith
La Carte Postale – Vivian Goffette
Victor – Simon Sandquist and Joel Bergvall
Best Animated Short Film:
Bunny – Chris Wedge (WINNER)
The Canterbury Tales – Christopher Grace and Jonathan Myerson
Jolly Roger – Mark Baker
More – Mark Osborne and Steve Kalafer
When Life Departs – Karsten Kiilerich and Stefan Fjeldmark
Best Original Dramatic Score:
Life Is Beautiful – Nicola Piovani (WINNER)
Elizabeth – David Hirschfelder
Pleasantville – Randy Newman
Saving Private Ryan – John Williams
The Thin Red Line – Hans Zimmer
Best Original Musical or Comedy Score:
Shakespeare in Love – Stephen Warbeck (WINNER)
A Bug’s Life – Randy Newman
Mulan – Music by Matthew Wilder; Lyrics by David Zippel; Orchestral Score by Jerry Goldsmith
Patch Adams – Marc Shaiman
The Prince of Egypt – Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz; Orchestral Score by Hans Zimmer
Best Sound Effects Editing:
Saving Private Ryan – Gary Rydstrom and Richard Hymns (WINNER)
Armageddon – George Watters II
The Mask of Zorro – David McMoyler
Best Sound:
Saving Private Ryan – Gary Rydstrom, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Ron Judkins (WINNER)
Armageddon – Kevin O’Connell, Greg P. Russell and Keith A. Wester
The Mask of Zorro – Kevin O’Connell, Greg P. Russell and Pud Cusack
Shakespeare in Love – Robin O’Donoghue, Dominic Lester and Peter Glossop
The Thin Red Line – Andy Nelson, Anna Behlmer and Paul Brincat
Best Art Direction:
Shakespeare in Love – Art Direction: Martin Childs; Set Decoration: Jill Quertier (WINNER)
Elizabeth – Art Direction: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Peter Howitt
Pleasantville – Art Direction: Jeannine Oppewall; Set Decoration: Jay Hart
Saving Private Ryan – Art Direction: Tom Sanders; Set Decoration: Lisa Dean Kavanaugh
What Dreams May Come – Art Direction: Eugenio Zanetti; Set Decoration: Cindy Carr
Best Cinematography:
Saving Private Ryan – Janusz Kaminski (WINNER)
A Civil Action – Conrad Hall
Elizabeth – Remi Adefarasin
Shakespeare in Love – Richard Greatrex
The Thin Red Line – John Toll
Best Makeup:
Elizabeth – Jenny Shircore (WINNER)
Saving Private Ryan – Lois Burwell, Conor O’Sullivan and Daniel C. Striepeke
Shakespeare in Love – Lisa Westcott and Veronica Brebner
Best Costume Design:
Shakespeare in Love – Sandy Powell (WINNER)
Beloved – Colleen Atwood
Elizabeth – Alexandra Byrne
Pleasantville – Judianna Makovsky
Velvet Goldmine – Sandy Powell
Best Film Editing:
Saving Private Ryan – Michael Kahn (WINNER)
Life Is Beautiful – Simona Paggi
Out of Sight – Anne V. Coates
Shakespeare in Love – David Gamble
The Thin Red Line – Billy Weber, Leslie Jones and Saar Klein
Best Visual Effects:
What Dreams May Come – Joel Hynek, Nicholas Brooks, Stuart Robertson and Kevin Mack (WINNER)
Armageddon – Richard R. Hoover, Pat McClung and John Frazier
Mighty Joe Young – Rick Baker, Hoyt Yeatman, Allen Hall and Jim Mitchell
Academy Honorary Award:
Elia Kazan
Irving G. Thalberg Award:
Norman Jewison