Tuesday, January 29, 2008

57th Academy Award

The 57th Academy Awards were presented March 25, 1985 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles. The ceremonies were presided over by Jack Lemmon.

Amadeus is a 1984 drama film directed by MiloŇ° Forman. Based on Peter Shaffer's stage play Amadeus, the film is based very loosely on the lives of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri, two composers who lived in Vienna, Austria, during the latter half of the 18th century. The film was nominated for 53 awards and received 40, including eight Academy Awards, four BAFTA Awards, 4 Golden Globes, and a DGA Award. In 1998, Amadeus was ranked the 53rd best American movie by the American Film Institute on its AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies list. In the decade since, its reputation has somewhat diminished and the movie was dropped off the AFI's 10th anniversary edition of the list in 2007. In 1985, the film was nominated for eleven Academy Awards, including a rare double nomination for Best Actor – Hulce and Abraham were each nominated for their portrayals of Mozart and Salieri. The movie won eight Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Abraham), Best Director (Forman), Costume Design (Theodor Pistek), Adapted Screenplay (Shaffer), Art Direction, Best Makeup, and Best Sound. The film was nominated for but did not win Oscars for Best Cinematography and Best Editing.

F Murray Abraham won as Best Actor. Abraham can be seen as one of the undercover cops along with Al Pacino in the film 'Serpico'. Prior to his acclaimed role in Amadeus, Abraham was perhaps best known to audiences as a talking leaf in a series of television commercials for Fruit of the Loom underwear. Abraham won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Antonio Salieri in Amadeus (1984). After Amadeus he has mainly focused on classical theatre, and has starred in many Shakespearean productions such as Othello and Richard III, as well as many other plays by the likes of Samuel Beckett and Gilbert and Sullivan. Abraham has been married to Kate Hannan since 1962; they have two children.

Sally Field won her second Oscar as Best Actress for her role in Places in the Heart and Milos Forman his second Best Director Oscar for Amadeus. The Best Supporting Actor award went to Haing S. Ngor, a Cambodian American physician, actor and author who is best known for winning the 1985 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the movie The Killing Fields, in which he portrayed journalist and refugee Dith Pran in 1970s Cambodia, under the rule of the Khmer Rouge. Ngor, despite having no previous acting experience, was cast as Dith Pran in The Killing Fields, a role for which he later won three awards, including an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Ngor also appeared in other movies and TV shows, most memorably in Oliver Stone's Heaven & Earth and the Vanishing Son miniseries. He also guest-starred in an episode of Miami Vice called "The Savage / Duty and Honor". On February 25, 1996, Ngor was shot to death outside his home in Chinatown, which is located in downtown Los Angeles. Charged with the murder were three reputed members of the "Oriental Lazy Boyz" street gang who had a prior history of snatching purses and jewelry.

Peggy Ashcroft won the Best Supporting Actress award. Ashcroft's film and television appearances were rare but memorable. One of her earliest film roles was the minor part of the crofter's wife in the Robert Donat version of The Thirty-Nine Steps. In 1937, she appeared in a 30 minute excerpt of Twelfth Night on the BBC Television Service, alongside Greer Garson, the first known instance of a Shakespeare play being performed on television. Possibly her best known celluloid role was that of Mrs Moore in the 1984 film A Passage to India — a role for which she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. To this day, Ashcroft remains the oldest person ever to win this award; she was 77 at the time. Although Ashcroft did not appear in person at the telecast to accept the Oscar, Angela Lansbury accepted it on her behalf. She was married three times, first to Rupert Hart-Davis (from 1929-33), and then to Theodore Komisarjevsky (1934). She had two children with her last husband, Jeremy Hutchinson, whom she married in 1940 and divorced in 1965. Ashcroft died in London of a stroke in June 1991, aged 83.

Dangerous Moves is a 1984 French language film about chess, directed by Richard Dembo and starring Michel Piccoli and Alexandre Arbatt. Its original French title is La diagonale du fou ("The Fool's Diagonal", referring to the chess piece called the bishop in English but the fool in French). The film was a co-production between companies in France and Switzerland. It tells the story of two very different men competing in the World Chess Championship Games. One is a 52-year-old Soviet Jew who has been a chess master for the past 12 years, and the other is a 35-year-old genius who defected to the West several years earlier. The film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1984; it was submitted by the Swiss government, and gave that nation its first Oscar win.

"I Just Called to Say I Love You" is a song written, produced, and performed by Stevie Wonder as part of the soundtrack to the 1984 film The Woman in Red. The midtempo ballad expresses how simply calling someone to tell them you love them can make even the most unremarkable day of your life magical. It is one of Wonder's most simplistic, jingly and sentimental songs, and, with its quintessentially mid-80s synthesizers and drum machines, is a far cry from his more organic and experimental 1970s material. For those reasons it was savaged by critics upon its release. However, the public were seduced by its simple charms, making it one of Wonder's most successful singles to date. The song was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks from October 13, 1984 and also became Wonder's first solo UK number-one hit, staying at the top for six weeks. It also became his tenth number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. It also won a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

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