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YMMV / Amistad

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  • Award Snub: It was nominated for four Academy Awards at the 1997 Academy Awards for Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Original Dramatic Score and Best Supporting Actor. Sadly, it didn't win a single one, primarily because that was the year of Titanic's blowout win — albeit Anthony Hopkins was beaten to the Best Supporting Actor prize by Robin Williams' turn in Good Will Hunting (Titanic wasn't nominated in that category).
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  • Awesome Music: Dry Your Tears, Afrika. It is a John Williams score, so that's to be expected.
  • Narm Charm: The "Give us! Us free!" scene may look silly in context (Cinqué is shouting to the court room to free his people, while they look astonished and confused), but it is definitely a powerful and emotional moment, You No Take Candle be damned.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • The middle passage scenes will haunt you, especially the scene where the slavers decide to lighten the overloaded ship by attaching an anchor to an entire chain of people and letting it drag them screaming and struggling overboard.
    • The opening mutiny sequence, with Cinqué bloodying his fingers as he slowly digs a nail out of the deck to pick the lock on his shackles, and then the freed slaves graphically slaughtering most of their captors. It's made all the more haunting by the fact that it takes place in the middle of a thunderstorm, with what little lighting we do get mostly coming from lightning strikes.
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  • One-Scene Wonder: Arliss Howard as John C. Calhoun.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Chiwetel Ejiofor in his first Hollywood role as Ensign James Covey, the interpreter for the slaves.
  • Tear Jerker: The Middle Passage scene will ruin any day with its horror and brutality. Worst of all is when a pregnant woman dies in childbirth; another woman takes her newborn baby, and not long afterwards is Driven to Suicide, throwing herself overboard after evidently deciding that she and the baby would be better off dead than living as slaves.


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