Top 10: Underrated Performances from 1999

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Film fans have been partying like it’s 1999 all year, as it’s been 20 years since some great and culturally significant movies have been released. Coupled with the release of Brian Raftery’s book “Best. Movie. Year. Ever.: How 1999 Blew Up the Big Screen,” it’s the perfect time to re-visit and re-examine movies from two decades ago.

Like any year, some movies persist more than others. “The Matrix” remains a staple in action filmmaking for most. Posters of “Fight Club” have adorned many college dorm room walls since its release. In a way, a lot of things haven’t really changed since 1999, with yet another installment of “Star Wars” earning the highest gross at the domestic box office. For better, or for worse (mostly the latter), “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace” is still widely discussed today.

On the Oscar front, “American Beauty” took home top honors. The movie also won Best Director (Sam Mendes), Best Original Screenplay (Alan Ball), Best Cinematography (Conrad L. Hall) and Best Actor for Kevin Spacey. Hillary Swank won Best Actress for the powerful and disturbing “Boys Don’t Cry,” Michael Caine won Best Supporting Actor for “The Cider House Rules” and Angelina Jolie claimed Best Supporting Actress for “Girl, Interrupted.” 

Every year gives us performances that don’t end up on Oscar’s radar but are memorable nonetheless and sometimes more deserving than those nominated. In the spirit of celebrating 1999, here’s a look at some performances no one really talks much about:

10Sam Rockwell, “The Green Mile” (1999)
dir. Frank Darabont

9Mike Meyers, “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” (1999)
dir. Jay Roach

8Michelle Pfeiffer, “The Deep End of the Ocean” (1999)
dir: Ulu Grosbard

7John Cusack, “Being John Malkovich” (1999)
dir: Spike Jonze

6Ashley Judd, “Double Jeopardy” (1999)
dir: Bruce Beresford

5Thora Birch, “American Beauty” (1999)
dir: Sam Mendes

4Bruce Willis, “The Sixth Sense” (1999)
dir: M. Night Shyamalan 

3Tom Hanks, “The Green Mile” (1999)
dir: Frank Darabont

2Nicole Kidman, “Eyes Wide Shut” (1999)
dir: Stanley Kubrick 

1Winona Ryder, “Girl, Interrupted” (1999)
dir: James Mangold