Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Katie-Bar-The-Door Awards (1995)

1995 was the year of Jane Austen—four major adaptations in one calendar year: the 6-hour television miniseries Pride and Prejudice that made future Oscar-winner Colin Firth a star; Sense and Sensibility, which netted Emma Thompson her second Oscar, this time for best screenplay; Clueless, a hilarious modern updating of Emma starring Alicia Silverstone; and my favorite of the bunch, Persuasion, starring Amanda Root, whom you don't know, and Ciarán Hinds, whom you may, thanks to Munich, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and TV's Political Animals.

If you've ever clicked on my complete profile to the right of this post, you know I'm a big fan of Jane Austen's books. Pride and Prejudice is the most famous and most modern in its approach to storytelling, but I prefer the lesser-known Persuasion. Published posthumously, it's the most serious of Austen's books, with the central conflict that keeps two would-be lovers apart arising not from a simple misunderstanding—the sort of problem that could be cleared up with a forthright conversation or two—but from the British class system itself. Ultimately Austen rejects aristocracy in favor of meritocracy (embodied in the novel by the British navy), a pretty straightforward idea in the 21st century, but radical in the extreme two hundred years ago.

Granted, Captain Wentworth doesn't cut a dashing figure like Mr. Darcy, but then neither is he an upper class twit, which stripped of his looks and money, is all Mr. Darcy really amounts to. I think Austen came to realize that shortly before her death.

As an aside, I remember explaining Jane Austen's novels to my law school pals in terms they would appreciate—i.e., so obscene I can't possibly share the details with you—but let's just say it had something to do with how receptive each of her novels' heroines would be to guys with nicknames like "Dog" and "Thunder Tool." There was a big run on Pride and Prejudice after that, I think. Mansfield Park? Not so much.

winner: Before Sunrise (prod. Anne Walker-McBay)

PICTURE (Comedy/Musical)
winner: Toy Story (prod. Bonnie Arnold and Ralph Guggenheim)

PICTURE (Foreign Language)
winner: Badkonake sefid (The White Balloon) (prod. Kurosh Mazkouri)

ACTOR (Drama)
winner: Sean Penn (Dead Man Walking)

ACTOR (Comedy/Musical)
winner: John Travolta (Get Shorty)

winner: Sharon Stone (Casino)

ACTRESS (Comedy/Musical)
winner: Nicole Kidman (To Die For)

winner: Richard Linklater (Before Sunrise)

DIRECTOR (Comedy/Musical)
winner: John Lasseter (Toy Story)

winner: Don Cheadle (Devil in a Blue Dress)

winner: Mira Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite)

winner: Nick Dear, from the novel by Jane Austen (Persuasion)

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

This version of Persuasion was available on Netflix for free. After seeing it, I had to purchase the movie. It is one of my very favorites, and I believe stays true to the characters. Also my favorite of Austen's novels. Glad you mentioned this one.