What is it? Clint Eastwood's deconstruction of the Western sees an aging gunfighter (Eastwood) called out of retirement and back into action when a group of prostitutes put a bounty on the head of some cowboys who injured one of their number. His equally aged partner (Morgan Freeman) helps, but they're up against a corrupt sheriff (Gene Hackman).
Why did it win? It's not only a good film, it's one that both recalls and reflects an other era of Hollywood glory, which must have struck a chord with many older Academy voters. The other nominees were The Crying Game (hmm, gender confusion), A Few Good Men (solid, but lacking Unforgiven's worldweary edge), Howard's End (too British) and Scent of a Woman (hoo-ah! A bit over the top). Actually, this could have been a close one.
Did it deserve to win? Oh yes - and not just because we would never argue with Clint Eastwood in case he fixed us with a steely glare, which we're convinced would probably kill us dead. Even if we dared criticize it, there still isn't much here to fault, with great acting and Eastwood's spare, fussless style meshing perfectly to the subject matter.
Worth a look? Clint Eastwood? Always.