Thursday, January 31, 2008

60th Academy Awards

The 60th Academy Awards were presented April 11, 1988 at the Shrine Civic Auditorium, Los Angeles. The ceremonies were presided over by Chevy Chase. This was the first ceremony to be held in the Shrine Auditorium since 1948 after nearly two decades at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Traffic caused major backup in and around the venue holding up some limos transporting several stars including nominees forcing them to leave their limousines and walk to the auditorium via no vehicle. In one instance, a then pregnant nominee Glenn Close was spotted frantically running across intersections. A segment in the show that was scheduled to feature stars from the past 59 best picture winners was cut from the ceremony due to the delay. Despite an impending strike which began a month earlier, much of the monologues and segments of for the ceremony were already written in anticipation for the strike.

The Last Emperor is an Academy Award-winning biopic about the life of Puyi, the last Emperor of China. The movie was written by Mark Peploe and Bernardo Bertolucci, directed by Bertolucci, and was released in 1987 by Columbia Pictures. Pǔyí is represented as the objectified plaything of powerful and mysterious forces, whether as an Emperor or as a war criminal.
The film stars John Lone as Puyi, with Joan Chen, Peter O'Toole, Ruocheng Ying, Victor Wong, Dennis Dun, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Maggie Han, Ric Young, Vivian Wu, and Chen Kaige. It was the first feature film to be authorized by the government of China to be filmed in the Forbidden City. The film won all nine Academy Awards for which it was nominated.

Bernardo Bertolucci won the Best Director award for the film. In 1962, at the age of 21, he directed his first feature film, La commare secca (1962) The film is a short murder mystery, following a prostitute's homicide. Bertolucci uses flashbacks to piece together the crime and the person who committed it. The film which shortly followed was his acclaimed Before the Revolution (Prima della rivoluzione, 1964). Last Tango in Paris (1972), starring Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider exemplified the new trend for Italian movies to attempt to make more money by employing foreign actors in starring roles: Last Tango included only one Italian actor, Massimo Girotti, in a main role. Bertolucci's 1900 (1976), starring Burt Lancaster, Donald Sutherland, Robert de Niro, and Gérard Depardieu, is often said to mark the point at which the Italian film industry's dependence on the international market began to contribute to the disintegration of its national identity, although the film itself is entirely focused on an Italian theme: it chronicles the lives of two men during the political turmoils that took place in Italy in the first half on the 20th century. The Conformist (1970) criticised Fascist ideology, touched upon the relationship between nationhood and nationalism, as well as issues of popular taste and collective memory, all amid an international plot by Mussolini to assassinate a professor of politics in Paris, France. The 1987 epic The Last Emperor (recently re-released at an extended 219 minutes) allowed Bertolucci to influence politics both through his characters and through the act of making the film itself. He was granted unprecedented permission to film in the Forbidden City of Beijing, and the film's central character Pu Yi undergoes a decade-long communist re-education under Mao which takes him from the peacock colours of the palace to the grey suit worn by his contemporaries to live out his life as a gardener.

Michael Douglas is an American actor and producer, primarily in movies and television. Douglas's first television exposure was that of Karl Malden's young college educated partner, Insp. Steve Keller in the popular 1970s crime drama, The Streets of San Francisco, a role he played from 1972 to 1976. Douglas is a two-time Academy Award winner, first as producer of 1975's Best Picture, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Best Actor in 1987 for his role in Wall Street. Douglas was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the son of celebrated American actor Kirk Douglas and Bermudian actress Diana Dill. Having a famous father opened many doors to Michael that would have been closed to other young Hollywood hopefuls. Douglas starred in the long-running TV series The Streets of San Francisco from 1972 to 1976. He received an Academy Award as producer for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in 1975. Although Douglas was a capable actor on Streets, his career was somewhat stagnant after the series, and he only appeared in occasional movies which were usually less than popular His fortunes changed when he starred in the 1984 romantic adventure comedy Romancing the Stone. The film was followed a year later in 1985 by a sequel, The Jewel of the Nile. In 1987, Douglas starred playing in Fatal Attraction with Glenn Close and the film became a world-wide hit. In 1988, Douglas received an Academy Award for acting in the leading role of Wall Street which would lead to many roles playing characters much like Gordon Gekko. Douglas later starred as Mister Rose a successful lawyer similar to this character's personality in The War of the Roses, which featured previous co-stars Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito. In 1989 he starred in the hit international police crime drama Black Rain opposite Andy Garcia and Kate Capshaw and was directed by acclaimed filmmaker Ridley Scott. In 1992, Douglas revived his slick, worldly character when he appeared alongside Sharon Stone in the film Basic Instinct. The movie was a huge hit, and sparked controversy over its depictions of bisexuality and lesbianism. Then in 1994 Douglas and Demi Moore starred in the hit movie Disclosure focusing on the hot topic of sexual harassment but from the man's perspective. Douglas's skill at character acting continued to make him one of the most sought-after actors in Hollywood and commands a hefty sum for his roles. After the commercial failure of It Runs in the Family (2003), Douglas did not star in a movie for three years, until The Sentinel in 2006. Douglas married Diandra Luker on March 20, 1977. They had one son, Cameron (born December 13, 1978). In 2000, after 23 years of marriage, Diandra divorced Douglas. Douglas married Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones on November 18, 2000; they were both born on September 25, though 25 years apart. They have two children, Dylan Michael (born August 8, 2000) and Carys Zeta (born April 20, 2003).

Cher is an American singer, actress, songwriter, author and entertainer. Among her many accomplishments in music, television and film, she has won an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, a Cannes Film Award, three Golden Globe Awards, and Billboard Music Awards, among others. Cher first rose to prominence in 1965 as one half of the pop/rock duo Sonny & Cher. She became a television star in the 1970s and a film actress in the 1980s. In 1987, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the romantic comedy Moonstruck. In 1982, at 36, Cher landed her first major role in a Broadway production of Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean. Her performance was critically praised, and she was later cast in the film version, which was directed by acclaimed Hollywood director Robert Altman. She was next cast alongside Meryl Streep and Kurt Russell in the critically hailed drama Silkwood (1983) in which her character was a lesbian. She received her first Academy Award nomination, as Best Supporting Actress. She later won the Golden Globe Award as Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama for her performance. Cher's next film was a starring role in the acclaimed Mask (1985), directed by Peter Bogdanovich. The film also starred Eric Stoltz, Laura Dern, Estelle Getty and Sam Elliott, and it was considered her first critical and commercial success as a leading actress. For her role as a mother of a severely disfigured boy, Cher won the Best Actress prize at the Cannes Film Festival. In 1987, she starred in three films: the thriller Suspect with Dennis Quaid; the dark comedy/fantasy film The Witches of Eastwick with Jack Nicholson, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer; and the romantic comedy Moonstruck with Nicolas Cage and Olympia Dukakis. For Moonstruck, directed by Norman Jewison, she won the 1988 Academy Award for Best Actress, the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Musical/Comedy, and the Favorite Film Actress award at the People’s Choice Awards. In the early 1960s Cher had a relationship with the actor Warren Beatty. Sonny & Cher first met in 1962. Though they had claimed to be married as early as 1963, and exchanged rings in Tijuana, Mexico, it is believed that they weren’t legally married until an impromptu ceremony in Las Vegas in 1969. Their first and only child is Chastity Sun Bono born March 4, 1969. Cher married her second husband, rock star Gregg Allman, in 1975. They later separated and were divorced in 1977. Their son is Elijah Blue Allman of the band Deadsy, who was born in 1976.

Sean Connery is a Scottish actor and producer who is perhaps best known as the first actor to portray James Bond in cinema, starring in seven Bond films. In 1988 he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Untouchables. Connery is known for retaining his Scottish accent in films, regardless of the nationality of the character played, and for his rugged good looks. He has repeatedly been named as one of the most attractive men alive by various magazines, though he is older than most sex symbols. Connery's breakthrough came in the role of secret agent James Bond. He acted in seven Bond films, six produced by EON, followed by an unofficial Warner Brothers Thunderball-remake: These include Dr. No (1962), From Russia With Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Never Say Never Again (1983) (unofficial). Apart from The Man Who Would Be King, most of Connery's successes in the next decade were as part of ensemble casts in films such as Murder on the Orient Express and A Bridge Too Far (in which he acted in a scene opposite Sir Laurence Olivier). His portrayal of Berber chieftain Mulai Ahmed er Raisuli in John Milius's The Wind and the Lion (1975) gained him considerable acclaim from critics and audiences and showed his range as an actor. Following the successful European production The Name of the Rose (1986), for which he won a BAFTA award, Connery's interest in more credible material was revived. That same year, a supporting role in Highlander showcased his ability to play older mentors to younger leads, which would become a recurring role in many of his later films. The following year, his acclaimed performance as a hard-nosed cop in The Untouchables (1987) earned him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Subsequent box-office hits such as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) (in which he played Dr. Henry Jones, the father of Harrison Ford, actually only 12 years his junior), The Hunt for Red October (1990), (he was not the original actor for the film, and when that actor left the film, the producer/director who were good friends with Connery, called him in desperation and he agreed to do the movie out of friendship with two weeks notice, the media reported.) The Russia House (1990), The Rock (1996), and Entrapment (1999) re-established him as an actor capable of playing major parts. Just Cause (1995) drew attention to some of the issues surrounding race and the death penalty in America and controversially, serves as an endorsement for the practice.In more recent years, Connery's filmography has included several box office and critical disappointments such as The Avengers (1998), The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) and First Knight (1995), but he also received positive reviews for films including Finding Forrester (2000). Connery was married to the Australian-born actress Diane Cilento from 1962 until 1973 (he was her second husband). They have one son, Jason Connery (born January 11, 1963), who was educated at Millfield School in Somerset, England, and the rigourous Gordonstoun boarding school in Scotland, before going on to become an actor. In 1975, Sean Connery married French artist Micheline Roquebrune, who is the grandmother of French television journalist Stéphanie Renouvin. He has one grandchild from his son Jason's marriage to actress Mia Sara, a grandson named Dashiell Quinn Connery.

Olympia Dukakis won as Best Supporting Actress for Moonstruck. Dukakis has starred in films, including Steel Magnolias, Mr. Holland's Opus, The Thing About My Folks, and Moonstruck, for which she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. She also played the role of Anna Madrigal in the Tales of the City television mini-series, which garnered her an Emmy Award nomination, she also appeared on Search for Tomorrow as Dr. Barbara Moreno, who romanced Stu Bergman. Recent films include 3 Needles, The Librarian: Return to King Solomon's Mines, In the Land of Women, and Away From Her. Dukakis has been married to actor Louis Zorich since 1962, with whom she has three children.

Babette's Feast is an Academy Award winning 1987 Danish movie. It was produced by Just Betzer, Bo Christensen, and Benni Korzen. Its screenplay was written by Gabriel Axel, who was also the director. It is based on a story by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen), who also wrote Out of Africa, which inspired the 1985 Academy Award winning film. Babette's Feast won the 1988 Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards; the other nominees were Asignatura aprobada of Spain, Au revoir, les enfants of France, La Famiglia of Italy and Ofelas of Norway. It also won a BAFTA Film Award for Best Film Not in the English Language and was nominated for a Golden Globe award for Best Foreign Language Film.

"(I've Had) The Time of My Life" is a song composed by Franke Previte, John DeNicola, and Donald Markowitz. It was recorded by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes, after having been selected to be the finale song for the 1987 film Dirty Dancing by choreographer Kenny Ortega and his assistant Miranda Garrison (who also played Vivian in the film).

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