As a child 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 raised as a Plymouth Brethren 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 massively 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 had been 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 raised by Lucinda.Ralph Fiennes as Oscar Hopkins
Cate Blanchett as Lucinda Leplastrier
Ciarán Hinds as the Reverend Dennis Hasset
Tom Wilkinson as Hugh Stratton
Richard Roxburgh as Mr. Jeffries
Clive Russell as Theophilius
Bille Brown as Percy Smith
Josephine Byrnes as Miriam Chadwick
Barnaby Kay as Wardley-Fish
Barry Otto as Jimmy D'Abbs
Linda Bassett as Betty Stratton
Peter Whitford as Mr Ahearn
Geoffrey Rush as Narrator
Adam Hayes as Young Oscar
James Tingey as 13 year-old Oscar
Polly Cheshire as Young 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.
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.
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.
All music composed by Thomas Newman.
Oscar and Lucinda grossed $1,768,946 at the box office in Australia, which is equivalent to $2,458,835 in 2009 dollars. The film grossed $4,953,510 between USA, Australia, UK and Germany.
Oscar and Lucinda received generally positive reviews from critics, holding a 66/100 on Metacritic and the same approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Awards shown here are those detailed by the Internet Movie Database.