Oscar Movies: Secrets & Lies (1996)

October Films

Considered by many to be Mike Leigh's best (and also most commercial) film, “Secrets & Lies” premiered at the 2006 Cannes Film festival where it won the top award, the Palme d'Or, as well as Best Actress for Brenda Blethyn.

Like other Leigh works, this is a slice of life, ultra-realist drama with comic touches that's brilliantly written, directed, and acted by all around. At Oscar time, Mike Leigh scored a triangle of nominations but no awards, Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay nominations.

Oscar Alert

Oscar nominations: 5

Picture, produced by Simon Channing-Williams.
Director: Mike Leigh
Screenplay (Original: Mike Leigh
Actress: Brenda Blethyn
Supporting Actress: Marianne Jean-Baptiste

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context

The 1996 Oscarwinning epic “The English Patient” is an intelligent adaptation by Anthony Minghella of Michael Ondaatje's novel about a mysterious man (Ralph Fiennes) who is badly wounded in a World War II plane crash in the African desert.

Sweeping most (nine) of the Oscars in 1996, “The English Patient” easily beating out the other four contenders: “Jerry Maguire,” the only Hollywood movie, and a comedy at that, in competition; the Coen brothers' American crime indie “Fargo,” Mike Leigh's British working class drama “Secrets & Lies,” and the Aussie biopic “Shine.”

Frances McDormand won the Best Actress Oscar for “Fargo,” and French actress Juliette Binoche the Supporting Actress for “The English Patient.”