Starring: Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, Billy Zane, Frances Fisher, Gloria Stuart, Kathy Bates, Bill Paxton, David Warner, Victor Garber
Director: James Cameron
Summary: Lovers from opposite sides of the tracks find their love tested during the maiden voyage of the doomed ocean liner
Other Nominations: Director*, Actress (Winslet), Supporting Actress (Stuart), Original Song (“My Heart Will Go On”)*, Original Dramatic Score*, Sound Editing*, Sound*, Art Direction*, Cinematography*, Makeup, Costume Design*, Film Editing*, Visual Effects*
Why was Titanic the box office monster that it was, a film that was #1 in the U.S. for 15 weeks? (To compare, the current highest grossing U.S. film ever, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, was #1 for just 3 weeks. It’s because much like Casablanca, it had something for everyone: an effective romance, attractive leads with great chemistry, spectacle, drama, history with an incredible attention for detail, action, and extremely accessible and uncomplicated story with some very memorable scenes that people still remember. It also makes perfect use of CGI to enhance practical effects not replace them and features and excellent score-“My Heart Will Go On” as used in the film is perfect, even if everybody got sick of it in 1998.
Unlike Casablanca though, there are a fair amount of script problems-there had to be considering it had a record-tying 14 nominations yet none for Original Screenplay. The dialogue is relatively weak; it lacks depth for the most part (although the scene with Rose and her mother putting on her corset sticks out as an exception); Billy Zane is an over the top cartoon villain when we really didn’t need one; and finally, it’s overly long and didn’t need to be 3 hours and 15 minutes. The biggest cuts could have been made after the Titanic gets hit by the iceberg, it doesn’t need to be almost half the movie even if they wanted it to feel as close to real-time as possible. While this is not a great movie, I think it has gotten more criticism than it deserves from some circles over the years. It’s an extremely watchable romance that’s epic in scale even if it’s lacking in some of the script areas and it’s longer than it needs to be.