These are the 1998 Endy Awards, wherein I pretend to give out maneki-neko statues to the best in that year in film. Awards for many other years can be found in the Endy Awards Index. Eligibility is determined by imdb date and by whether or not I’ve seen the movie in question. Nominees are listed in alphabetical order and the winners are bolded. And the Endy goes to. . .

Best Picture:

1. The Big Lebowski
2. Histoire(s) du cinema
3. The Last Days of Disco
4. Rushmore
5. The Thin Red Line

Best Director:

1. Joel & Ethan Coen, The Big Lebowski
2. Hou Hsiao-hsien, Flowers of Shanghai
3. Jean-Luc Godard, Histoire(s) du cinema
4. Wes Anderson, Rushmore
5. Terrence Malick, The Thin Red Line

Hard not to reward the Coens for their best work, but Godard’s massive Histoire(s) is one of the great directorial achievements of the decade, a project that is still ahead of its time more than 15 years after it was completed. Hou, Anderson and Malick all have Endys in their future: in 2007, 2009, and both 2005 and 2011, respectively. Somewhat surprisingly, this is the Coens’ first nomination. Odds are their next best shot at a win will come in 1990.

Best Actor:

1. Jeff Bridges, The Big Lebowski
2. George Clooney, Out of Sight
3. Tony Leung, The Longest Nite
4. Willem Dafoe, New Rose Hotel
5. Jason Schwartzman, Rushmore

Best Actress:

1. Takako Matsu, April Story
2. Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth
3. Rebecka Liljeberg, Fucking Åmål
4. Chloe Sevigny, The Last Days of Disco
5. Asia Argento, New Rose Hotel

Supporting Actor:

1. John Goodman, The Big Lebowski
2. Lau Ching-wan, The Longest Nite
3. Christopher Walken, New Rose Hotel
4. Bill Murray, Rushmore
5. Sean Penn, The Thin Red Line

Supporting Actress:

1. Carina Lau, Flowers of Shanghai
2. Michelle Reis, Flowers of Shanghai
3. Alexandra Dahlström, Fucking Åmål
4. Kate Beckinsale, The Last Days of Disco
5. Olivia Williams, Rushmore

Lau Ching-wan was the workhorse star of the early days of Milkyway Image, and this might be his best year. In addition to this nomination, he also starred in Expect the Unexpected, A Hero Never Dies and two other films in 1998 that I haven’t seen yet, Wong Jing’s Step into the Dark and Lee Chi-ngai’s Doctor Mack. He’ll be nominated for Best Actor in 1999 and 2007 and for Supporting Actor in 2002 and 2011. But John Goodman in Lebowski is unbeatable.

Original Screenplay:

1. Joel & Ethan Coen, The Big Lebowski
2. Jean-Luc Godard, Histoire(s) du cinema
3. Whit Stillman, The Last Days of Disco
4. Peter & Bobby Farrelly, Ed Decter & John Strauss, There’s Something About Mary
5. Wes Anderson & Owen Wilson, Rushmore

Adapted Screenplay:

1. Chu Tien-wen & Eileen Chang, Flowers of Shanghai
2. Abel Ferrara & Christ Zoist, New Rose Hotel
3. Scott Frank, Out of Sight
4. Elaine May, Primary Colors
5. Terrence Malick, The Thin Red Line

Non-English Language Film:

1. April Story (Shunji Iwai)
2. Expect the Unexpected (Patrick Yau)
3. Flowers of Shanghai (Hou Hsiao-hsien)
4. Fucking Åmål (Lukas Moodysson)
5. Histoire(s) du cinema (Jean-Luc Godard)

Expect the Unexpected was one of the early Milkyway Image films contentiously produced by Johnnie To for other directors. After four films in two years (The Longest Nite, The Odd One Dies and Where a Good Man Goes are the others), Yau and To never worked together again. Since breaking with Milkyway, Yau has apparently mostly been working in television.

Documentary Film:

1. Histoire(s) du cinema (Jean-Luc Godard)
2. Meeting People is Easy (Grant Gee)

Animated Film:

1. A Bug’s Life (John Lasseter)
2. Mulan (Tony Bancroft & Barry Cook)

Unseen Film:

1. Autumn Tale (Eric Rohmer)
2. Bird People in China (Takashi Miike)
3. Eternity and a Day (Theo Angelopoulos)
4. The Hole (Tsai Ming-liang)
5. Late August, Early September (Olivier Assayas)

Todd Haynes’s Velvet Goldmine just missed, mostly because I just feel bad that I’ve never seen any Angelopoulos.

Film Editing:

1. The Big Lebowski
2. He Got Game
3. Histoire(s) du cinema
4. New Rose Hotel
5. The Thin Red Line

Cinematography:

1. April Story
2. Flowers of Shanghai
3. New Rose Hotel
4. Saving Private Ryan
5. The Thin Red Line

Could have gone a lot of different directions with my fourth-place pick here, like He Got Game or Out of Sight or Pi or A Hero Never Dies or even Meet Joe Black or What Dreams May Come, but April Story is just about the prettiest-looking movie ever. And as disastrous as the impact of Saving Private Ryan has been on the action cinema of the last decade, it is an exceptionally well-shot film.

Art Direction:

1. The Big Lebowski
2. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
3. Flowers of Shanghai
4. Pleasantville
5. Shakespeare in Love

Those lamps.

Costume Design:

1. The Big Lebowski
2. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
3. Flowers of Shanghai
4. The Last Days of Disco
5. Rushmore

Make-up:

1. Elizabeth
2. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
3. A Hero Never Dies
4. The Last Days of Disco
5. There’s Something About Mary

Original Score:

1. Flowers of Shanghai
2. Meet Joe Black
3. New Rose Hotel
4. There’s Something About Mary
5. The Thin Red Line

Adapted Score:

1. The Big Lebowski
2. He Got Game
3. The Last Days of Disco
4. There’s Something About Mary
5. The Thin Red Line

Sound:

1. Armageddon
2. Enemy of the State
3. Histoire(s) du cinema
4. Saving Private Ryan
5. The Thin Red Line

Sound Editing:

1. Armageddon
2. Enemy of the State
3. A Hero Never Dies
4. Saving Private Ryan
5. The Thin Red Line

Visual Effects:

1. Armageddon
2. Dark City
3. A Hero Never Dies
4. Pleasantville
5. What Dreams May Come

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