* Michael Nyman's amazing musical score, which [[AwardSnub shockingly failed to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score]].
* Holly Hunter gives the performance of her career, with her downright ''astonishing'' portrayal of Ada. She equates so much emotion in her expressions, and ''she doesn't even say a goddamn word'' throughout the vast majority of the movie. Hunter deservedly won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance as well as winning virtually every other film award that year. Oh, and did we also mention that she even played her own piano music in the film?
* To a slightly lesser extent, Anna Paquin's amazingly complex three-dimensional performance as Ada's daughter Flora also counts. Even more impressive is the fact that she was only 9 years old during filming. She also rightfully won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance.