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Plot, Details & Awards

Fargo

(1996)

Rated R for strong violence, language and sexuality.

R In Theaters 03/8/1996 , 97min.
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Plot & Details

Filmmaking siblings Joel Coen and Ethan Coen both embraced and poked satirical fun at their Minnesotan roots with this comedy-drama-thriller that earned seven Oscar nominations, winning for Best Actress and Best Original Screenplay. Frances McDormand stars as Marge Gunderson, a pregnant police chief whose affable, folksy demeanor masks a whip-smart mind. When a pair of motorists are found slain not far from the corpse of a state trooper, Marge begins piecing together a case involving a pair of dopey would-be kidnappers, Carl (Steve Buscemi) and Gaear (Bergman stock player Peter Stormare). They've been hired by Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy), a car salesman under the thumb of his wealthy, overbearing boss and father-in-law, Wade (Harve Presnell). Jerry's raised some money illegally through a petty scam he's run on General Motors and he's about to get caught. When Wade sours a business deal that could save his son-in-law's hide, the desperate Jerry hires Carl and Gaear to kidnap his wife and hold her for ransom. Things go predictably wrong and a series of murders occur, with Marge, waddling along behind her enormous belly and ever-hungering for an all-you-can-eat buffet, hot on the trail of the killers. Although the credits for Fargo state that the film is loosely based on real events, the story is entirely fictional, the claim being just an ironic jibe on the part of the Coens.

Awards

Academy Awards

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1996 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Editing Roderick Jaynes Nominated
1996 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Original Screenplay Joel Coen Won
1996 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Actress Frances McDormand Won
1996 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Cinematography Roger Deakins Nominated
1996 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Supporting Actor William H. Macy Nominated
1996 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Original Screenplay Ethan Coen Won
1996 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Picture Ethan Coen Nominated
1996 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Director Joel Coen Nominated

American Film Institute

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1998 American Film Institute 100 Greatest American Movies Won

American Society of Cinematographers

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1996 American Society of Cinematographers Best Cinematography Roger Deakins Nominated

Broadcast Film Critics Association

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1996 Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Actress Frances McDormand Won
1996 Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Picture Won

Cannes Film Festival

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1996 Cannes Film Festival Best Director Joel Coen Won

Chicago Film Critics Association

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1996 Chicago Film Critics Association Best Screenplay Joel Coen Won
1996 Chicago Film Critics Association Best Screenplay Ethan Coen Won
1996 Chicago Film Critics Association Best Director Joel Coen Won
1996 Chicago Film Critics Association Best Actress Frances McDormand Won
1996 Chicago Film Critics Association Best Picture Won
1996 Chicago Film Critics Association Best Original Score Carter Burwell Won

Directors Guild of America

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1996 Directors Guild of America Best Director Joel Coen Nominated

Independent Spirit Awards

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1996 Independent Spirit Awards Best Cinematography Roger Deakins Won
1996 Independent Spirit Awards Best Actress Frances McDormand Won
1996 Independent Spirit Awards Best Director Joel Coen Won
1996 Independent Spirit Awards Best Picture Won
1996 Independent Spirit Awards Best Actor William H. Macy Won
1996 Independent Spirit Awards Best Screenplay Joel Coen Won
1996 Independent Spirit Awards Best Screenplay Ethan Coen Won

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