The 1999 Genesis Awards

As far as millennial climaxes go, it would be hard to imagine a greater one for film than Genesis’ opening year: 1999. There were thrills, spills, tears and a new dawn of global cinema. The films were alright too. Ha! Just kidding.

We’re super excited to kick off our week-long 15th Birthday celebration on the 5th May, and we can’t help casting our eyes back to the millennium’s final year of film. It was an exceptional year with bags to look back on. We’ve shaped this nostalgia into 10 Genesis Awards. See if you agree.

Best Film

American Beauty
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Sam Mendes’ picture scooped 5 Oscars and there’s a reason why. This dark, teasing film has grown into a film student’s dream – a tour de force study of the tremors lurking behind the American Dream. Kevin Spacey’s plays Lester Burnham, a depressed suburban husband aching to relive the passion of his youth. After he has sexual fantasies about her daughter’s promiscuous friend, he’s forced to act upon the misery of his mid-life crisis. This beautiful film is a classic – the Academy got it right.

Honourable Mentions: Magnolia, Fight Club, Eyes Wide Shut, The Matrix.

Best Performance

Kevin Spacey in American Beauty
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Four years after he stole the show in The Usual Suspects and Seven, one wondered how this great actor could become even greater. He showed us how at the core of this extraordinary drama.

Honourable Mentions: Denzel Washington in The Hurricane, Russell Crowe in The Insider, Hillary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry, Tom Cruise in Magnolia, Annette Benning in American Beauty.

Best Indie Film

Magnolia
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After the mixed reception of Boogie Nights, Paul Thomas Anderson, a now great film-maker, needed to stamp his inimitable quality. Magnolia, an epic mosaic of inter-relating stories set over one day in LA, masterfully blends tales of love, loss, meaning and the wonder of fate. The titanic 188-minute running time flies away in this entertaining and telling power-picture. Magnolia’s the sort of film people will look back on for years to come – a far-and-away triumph.

Honourable Mentions: Being John Malkovich, Run Lola Run.

Most Under-Rated Film

Eyes Wide Shut
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Kubrick’s final farewell before his death in 1999 is criminally under-appreciated. Eyes Wide Shut – a graceful psycho-sexual examination – tracks the shady, underground eroticism of the upper-class. Tom Cruise stars as a frustrated husband who stumbles upon a strange, top-secret sex party, getting himself in a world of trouble. This brilliant shocker has a dismal 7.2 rating on IMDB and is often ignored by commentators. One can hope that, with time, people will grow to appreciate this fantastic achievement.

Honourable Mentions: The Hurricane, Dogma, Three Kings.

Best Kids Film

Toy Story 2

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What else, right? Pixar cemented the main-stay at the forefront of animation with this wonderful sequel. If you haven’t seen it, see it.

Honourable Mentions: Iron Giant, Stuart Little, Tarzan.

Best Technological Innovation

The Matrix

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When it comes to special effects, The Wachowski’s sci-fi changed the face of film-making. Not only did the concept hook audiences, the rippling, stand-still action effects were nothing we’d ever seen before. It’s a milestone that hadn’t been matched until James Cameron’s ground-breaking Avatar.

Honourable Mentions: Stuart Little, Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.

Worst Film

Wild Wild West

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The re-teaming of Will Smith with Men in Black director, Barry Sonnenfeld was not a happy one. This over-hyped heap represented a rare blip in Smith’s career.

Not so honourable mentions: Bicentennial Man, For Love of the Game, Cruel Intentions.

Biggest Let-Down

Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace

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16 years after George Lucas made history with the original Star Wars trilogy, hype went into over-drive for the first prequel. Sadly, Lucas’ dream of an impeccable revival were shot down by a critical panning and Jar-Jar Binks. Ah, Jar-Jar Binks.

Not so honourable mentions: The World is Not Enough, The Haunting, The Other Sister

Most Over-Rated Film

The Sixth Sense

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M. Night Shyamalan’s supernatural thriller somehow got itself a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars. While the twist would’ve certainly caught you off-guard, an average film with an unexpected twist should not compete with the likes of American Beauty. Shyamalan’s recent nose-dive proves something was up.

Not so honourable mentions: Nothing really. Everything else rated highly deserved it.

Do you agree? Tweet us on @genesiscinema.

Our 15th Birthday celebrations will be between May 5th – 11th. We’ll show 14 films from 1999, host a party and even have a bouncy castle! Check out our site, http://www.genesiscinema.co.uk, for more details.

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