Joel and Ethan Coen's quirky – and very violent – Fargo will be screened as the next feature in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' “Great To Be Nominated” series. The pitch-black comedy, which was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, will screen on Monday, May 12, at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.
Following the screening, cast member Peter Stormare (“Gaear Grimsrud”), art director Thomas P. Wilkins, set decorator Lauri Gaffin, supervising sound editor and rerecording mixer Skip Lievsay, costume designer Mary Zophres, casting director John Lyons, and line producer John Cameron will take part in a panel discussion about the film.
Fargo was the best of the five Best Picture nominees of 1996. It is a suspenseful, incisive, and quite funny look at greed and its consequences – though I must admit that I was unable to figure out how the pieces fit together. (I'm not sure if that was a result of holes in my attention span or holes in the plot.) Frances McDormand is good (in what amounts to a supporting role) as the police officer investigating a kidnapping and several murders, while William H. Macy, Peter Stormare (above, with Steve Buscemi), and Harve Presnell are excellent as criminals of various stripes and attires.
Fargo won two Oscars: for Actress in a Leading Role (Frances McDormand) and Writing - Screenplay written directly for the screen (Ethan Coen, Joel Coen). Additionally, the film was nominated for Best Picture (Ethan Coen, producer), Actor in a Supporting Role (William H. Macy), Cinematography (Roger Deakins), Directing (Joel Coen) and Film Editing (“Roderick Jaynes,” the Coen brothers' montage alias).
For the record, the Best Picture winner that year was The English Patient.
David Frankel's Oscar-winning live action short Dear Diary and Richard Condie's Oscar-nominated animated short La Salla will be screened prior to the feature. (Frankel hit the big time with The Devil Wears Prada two years ago.)
Passes for part five of “Great To Be Nominated” are $30 for the general public and $25 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. Including Fargo, there are 14 films remaining in the series. A $5 discount is available for those who wish to renew their passes from parts one, two, three or four of the series. Individual tickets are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. Passes and tickets may be purchased online at www.oscars.org, by mail, in person at the Academy during regular business hours or, depending on availability, on the night of the screening when the doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Curtain time for all features is 7:30 p.m., and pre-show elements will begin at 7 p.m. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call (310) 247-3600.
Photos: Courtesy of the Margaret Herrick Library