Oscar and Lucinda (film)

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Oscar and Lucinda
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGillian Armstrong
Screenplay byLaura Jones
Based onOscar and Lucinda
by Peter Carey
Produced byRobin Dalton
Timothy White
Mark Turnbull
CinematographyGeoffrey Simpson
Edited byNicholas Beaumon
Music byThomas Newman
Dalton Films
Meridian Films
Distributed byFox Searchlight Pictures (United States)
Fox-Columbia TriStar Films (Australia)
Release date
  • 31 December 1997 (1997-12-31)
Running time
132 minutes
United States[1]
Box office$4,953,510[2]

Oscar and Lucinda is a 1997 romantic drama film directed by Gillian Armstrong and starring Cate Blanchett, Ralph Fiennes, Ciarán Hinds and Tom Wilkinson. It is based on the 1988 Booker Prize-winning novel Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey.[3] In March 1998, the film was nominated at the 70th Academy Awards for the Best Costume Design.


As a little girl living in Australia, Lucinda Leplastrier is given a Prince Rupert's Drop which sparks a lifelong obsession with glass.

Lucinda's parents die and she is left a wealthy heiress after her guardians sell off the vast farmland that was her family's home. She buys a glass factory with her money and takes to gambling after her accountant introduces her to it.

Meanwhile, a young Oscar is being reared as a Plymouth Brother by his father but after receiving a sign from God he decides to join the Anglican faith. While studying, he is introduced to gambling and becomes highly successful, using his winnings to fund his studies and giving the rest to the poor. He earns a scholarship to study in New South Wales. On the boat over, he meets Lucinda and hears her confess to gambling, which he denies is a sin. They play cards together until Oscar becomes panicked at the sight of a storm.

In New South Wales, Oscar loses his scholarship after he is unable to stop gambling. He goes to live with Lucinda who allows him to work in her glass factory. Inspired by a model of a glass church she shows him, he asks her to make a real life replica to send to their mutual friend the Revered Dennis Hasset, betting that he can deliver it by Good Friday. Lucinda decides that they will each bet their inheritance.

Because he fears water, Oscar takes the church over land in an expedition led by Mr. Jeffries. He witnesses Jeffries murdering and raping Indigenous Australians and eventually kills him in self-defence after Jeffries attacks him.

He is successful in delivering the church. Weakened upon arrival, he is left in the care of a woman named Miriam Chadwick, who rapes him. Fearing that he will have to marry Miriam, and in love with Lucinda, Oscar enters the glass church to pray. He falls asleep and is drowned inside when the church, which was resting on a barge in the water, sinks.

As Miriam is pregnant with Oscar's child, Hasset burns the papers confirming the wager, not wanting Lucinda's money to be inherited by her. She dies shortly after her son, Oscar, is born and the child is reared by Lucinda.



Gillian Armstrong had long wanted to film Peter Carey's novel but the rights were originally bought for John Schlesinger. However, after several years they could not come up with a script anyone was happy with; Schlesinger dropped out, Armstrong became involved and she brought in Laura Jones.[4]


Filming took place in Sydney (as well in the Sydney suburbs of Glebe and Randwick) and all around New South Wales. Scenes were also filmed in Hobart, Tasmania, and some others in Cornwall, south-west England.[citation needed]


The soundtrack to Oscar and Lucinda was released by CBS Masterworks Records on 9 December 1997 in Australia and the United States, it was recorded by Thomas Newman and the Bruckner Orchestra. The soundtrack was completely recorded at Paramount Scoring Stage and at The Village Recorder, in Los Angeles, California on 9–30 June 1997.[5][6] The music from the track “Sydney Harbor” would eventually appear in a teaser trailer for Wall-E, another movie that Thomas Newman conducted the score for.

Oscar and Lucinda: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Film score by
Released9 December 1997 (1997-12-09)
GenreContemporary classical
LabelCBS Masterworks Records
ProducerThomas Newman, Bill Bernstein

All music is composed by Thomas Newman

1."Prince Rupert's Drop"02:37
2."Throwing Lots"00:48
3."Dutch Hazards"00:50
4."Sydney Harbor"01:57
6."The High Downs And The Sea"01:52
7."Forgive Me"01:02
8."Bruckner: On Justi"04:39
9."Six Rivers To Cross"01:14
10."Two Gamblers"02:22
11."The Murder Of The Blacks"01:42
12."Never Never"01:16
14."Cards And Dogs"01:02
15."One Obsessive"01:09
16."The Church Of Glass"03:50
17."Letters On The mantel"01:25
18."Odd Bod"01:05
19."Prayer Wounds"02:11
21."Magic Boxes (White Man's Dreaming)"01:49
22."The Other Compulsive"01:02
23."A Broken Thing"00:59
24."The Seduction Of Mrs. Chadwick"02:31
25."Wesley: Blessed Be The God And Father"01:19
27."The Caul"01:22
28."Oscar And Lucinda"02:49
29."Excerpt From The Random House Audio book"05:10
Total length:55:26


Box office[edit]

Oscar and Lucinda grossed $1,768,946 at the box office in Australia,[7] which is equivalent to $2,458,835 in 2009 dollars. The film grossed $4,953,510 between USA, Australia, UK and Germany.[8]


Oscar and Lucinda received generally positive reviews from critics. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 67% of 33 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.6/10.[9] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 66 out of 100, based on 22 critics, indicating "generally favorable" reviews.[10]


Group Award Recipients Result
70th Academy Awards Best Costume Design Janet Patterson Nominated
AACTA Awards Best Achievement in Cinematography Geoffrey Simpson Won
Best Achievement in Costume Design Janet Patterson Won
Best Achievement in Production Design Luciana Arrighi Won
Best Achievement in Sound Andrew Plain
Gethin Creagh
Ben Osmo
Best Original Music Score Thomas Newman Won
Best Actress Cate Blanchett Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Laura Jones Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Most Promising Actress Cate Blanchett Nominated
San Diego Film Festival Best Cinematography Geoffrey Simpson Won
Motion Picture Sound Editors Best Sound Editing Thomas Newman Nominated
Australian Screen Sound Guild Best Achievement in Dialogue Editing for a Feature Film Libby Villa
Wayne Pashley
Best Achievement in Mixing for a Feature Film Gethin Creagh
Martin Oswin
Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards Best Cinematography Geoffrey Simpson Won
Best Actress Cate Blanchett Nominated
Best Music Score Thomas Newman Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Oscar and Lucinda (1997)". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 18 January 2022. Retrieved 13 August 2023.
  2. ^ "Oscar and Lucinda (1997) – Box office / business". IMDb. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  3. ^ "Oscar and Lucinda (1997)". IMDb. Amazon.com. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
  4. ^ (4 September 1998). "Interview with Gillian Armstrong". Signis.net. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  5. ^ "Oscar And Lucinda Soundtrack CD". cduniverse.com. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  6. ^ "Oscar And Lucinda- Soundtrack details - SoundtrackCollector.com". soundtrackcollector.com. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  7. ^ "Film Victoria – Australian Films at the Australian Box Office" Archived 18 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
  8. ^ "Oscar and Lucinda (1997) – Box office / business". IMDb. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  9. ^ "Oscar and Lucinda". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 8 December 2022. Edit this at Wikidata
  10. ^ "Oscar and Lucinda". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved 8 December 2022.

External links[edit]