Top Ten 1992

1. Howards End
2. The Crying Game
3. Passion Fish
4. The Long Day Closes
5. The Story Of Qiu Ju
6. The Best Intentions
7. Indochine
8. Glengarry Glen Ross
9. Orlando
10. The Panama Deception


Denzel Washington as the subject of Spike Lee’s epic Malcolm X is astounding; the film itself is a brilliantly uneven experience, choppily paced and not always clear in its intention (in a way reflecting the maddeningly enigmatic nature of the man himself), but Washington keeps it on track with his constant fire and energy. It’s not easy to be an angry man for three hours and keep from wearing people out, but Washington manages to do it in a way that he has not been able to maintain in the more recent years of bad, self-righteous thrillers that he keeps inexplicably saying yes to.

Honour Roll: Anthony Hopkins, Howards End; Jack Lemmon, Glengarry Glen Ross; Al Pacino, Scent Of A Woman; Tim Robbins, The Player


Just about every Best Actress award for 1992 went to Emma Thompson for her breakout role in Merchant Ivory’s best ever film, Howards End, and they damn well should have. As Margaret Schlegel, the older of two sisters who influence the fate of the inheritance of a country cottage that represents the nation itself, Thompson is so intelligently subtle that her acting efforts are barely registered; even the costumes seem to be her own clothing. I love her more fiery scenes of gusto with co-star Anthony Hopkins, but there’s unforgettable brilliance in her smaller moments too: just watch the face she gives him when he orders his son Charles out of the room. It’s one of the most perfect performances ever delivered, and thankfully led to much more success (including a second Oscar) for the towering pillar of talent that this woman possesses.

Honour Roll: Catherine Deneuve, Indochine; Mary McDonnell,Passion Fish; Michelle Pfeiffer, Love Field; Susan Sarandon,Lorenzo’s Oil


Unforgiven is an intelligent examination of westerns that takes the traditionally monochrome morality of good vs bad guys and gives it a little more thickness. The performances are all strong, but most impressive is a terrifying Gene Hackman who is as close to an outright bad guy as the film can come up with. Hackman had a great resurgence following this success, while Clint Eastwood has been on a role since (he won two Oscars for this and went on to gather three more).

Honour Roll:  Jack Nicholson, A Few Good Men; Al Pacino,Glengarry Glen Ross; David Paymer, Mr. Saturday Night; Samuel West, Howards End


When you watch the fun Batman Returns (my favourite movie about the caped crusader), you get to watch Michelle Pfeiffer‘s Catwoman master the screen with pitch-perfect, menacing glee. She’s good, she’s bad, she’s admirable, she’s terrifying and she does it all in the hottest plastic outfit ever created. This was the year she appeared in Love Field, for which she received her Oscar nomination, but Catwoman is what will last.

Honour Roll: Judy Davis, Husbands And Wives; Helen Hunt, The Waterdance; Miranda Richardson, The Crying Game; Marisa Tomei, My Cousin Vinny


James Ivory, Howards End

Honour Roll: Woody Allen, Husbands And Wives; Bille August, The Best Intentions; Terence Davies, The Long Day Closes; Sally Potter, Orlando