Monday, February 4, 2008

64th Academy Awards

The 64th Academy Awards were presented March 30, 1992 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles. The show was the third consecutive to be hosted by Billy Crystal and also featured Jack Palance's infamous one-handed push ups. The Silence of the Lambs won five major awards, only the third film to do so after It Happened One Night (1934) and One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (1975). As of 2007, it is also the only horror movie to ever win Best Picture. This year's ceremony made Academy Award History as Beauty and the Beast was nominated for Best Picture, the first (and, so far, only) time an Animated Feature Film was bestowed with such honor. The Picture garnered a total of six nominations in four different categories, eventually collecting two awards for its Music (Best Original Score and Original Song, for "Beauty and the Beast").

The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 Academy Award-winning horror/thriller film directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. It is based on the novel by Thomas Harris, his second to feature Dr. Hannibal Lecter, brilliant psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer. In the film, Clarice Starling, a young FBI trainee, seeks the advice of the imprisoned Lecter on catching serial killer Buffalo Bill. The film won five Academy Awards including Best Picture. Anthony Hopkins gained huge acclaim with his portrayal of Hannibal Lecter, even though his screen time in the entire film is just over 16 minutes. His portrayal won him an Academy Award in 1992, and as of 2008 remains the shortest lead role to ever win an Oscar. The film received widespread critical acclaim. Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster also received praise for their performances. Roger Ebert specifically mentioned the "terrifying qualities" of Hannibal Lecter. Not surprisingly, both actors won Academy Awards for their performances.

Jonathan Demme is an Academy Award winning American film director, producer and writer. Demme broke into feature film directing working for Roger Corman. His first mainstream feature Melvin and Howard caught the eye of Hollywood and he was signed to direct the Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell vehicle Swing Shift. The compromised production saw Demme withdraw for a time from major feature films making a notable series of 'concert films' with Stop Making Sense and Swimming to Cambodia. He continues to alternate making feature films with documentaries and concert/performance films. For instance, he was the executive producer for his longtime friend Nancy Savoca's Household Saints. In 1991, Demme won the Academy Award for The Silence of the Lambs—one of the few films to win all the major categories (best film, best director, best screenplay, best actor, and best actress). Demme directed an Oscar-winning turn from Tom Hanks in his next feature, Philadelphia.

Anthony Hopkins is an Academy Award-, Golden Globe-, double Emmy-, triple BAFTA- and Saturn Award-winning Welsh film, stage and television actor, arguably best known for his portrayal of Dr. Hannibal Lecter in 1991 blockbuster The Silence of the Lambs. Other notable film credits include The Elephant Man, Dracula, Legends of the Fall, The Mask of Zorro and Fracture. Hopkins was born and raised in Wales, and also became a U.S. citizen on April 12, 2000. Despite his success at the National, Hopkins tired of repeating the same roles nightly and yearned to be in movies. In 1968, he got his break in The Lion in Winter playing Richard I, along with future James Bond star Timothy Dalton, who played Philip II of France. Although Hopkins continued in theatre (most notably in the Broadway production of Peter Shaffer's Equus, directed by John Dexter) he gradually moved away from it to become more established as a television and film actor. He made his small-screen debut in a 1967 BBC broadcast of A Flea in Her Ear. He has since gone on to enjoy a long career, winning many plaudits and awards for his performances. Hopkins's most famous role is the cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs (for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1992) opposite Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling, who also won for Best Actress. In addition, the film won Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. It is the shortest lead performance to win an Oscar, as Hopkins only appears for about seventeen minutes. Hopkins went on to reprise his role as Lecter twice (Hannibal in 2001 and Red Dragon in 2002). His original portrayal of the character in The Silence of the Lambs has been labelled by the American Film Institute as the number-one film villain. Hopkins has been married three times. His first two wives were Petronella Barker (1967 – 1972) and Jennifer Lynton (1973 – 2003). He is now married to Colombia-born Stella Arroyave. He has a daughter from his first marriage, Abigail Hopkins (born 1967), an actress and singer.Besides his win for The Silence of the Lambs, Hopkins has been Oscar-nominated for The Remains of the Day (1993), Nixon (1995) and Amistad (1997). Hopkins won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in 1973 for his performance as Pierre Bezukhov in the BBC's production of War and Peace, and additionally for The Silence of the Lambs and Shadowlands. He received nominations in the same category for Magic and The Remains of the Day and as Best Supporting Actor for The Lion in Winter. He won Emmy Awards for his roles in The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case and The Bunker, and was Emmy-nominated for The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Great Expectations.

Jack Palance was an Academy Award-winning American film actor. With his rugged facial features, Palance was best known to modern movie audiences as both the characters of Curly and Duke in the two City Slickers movies, but his career spanned half a century of film and television appearances.In 1947, Palance made his Broadway debut, and this was followed three years later by his screen debut in the movie Panic in the Streets (1950). The very same year, he was featured in Halls of Montezuma about the U.S. Marines in World War II, where he was credited as "Walter (Jack) Palance". Palance was quickly recognized for his skill as a character actor, receiving an Oscar nomination for only his third film role, as Lester Blaine in Sudden Fear.The following year, Palance was again nominated for an Oscar, this time for his role as the evil gunfighter Jack Wilson in Shane. Appearances in Young Guns (1988) and Tim Burton's Batman (1989) reinvigorated Palance's career, and demand for his services kept him involved in new projects each year right up to the turn of the century.Four decades after his film debut, Palance won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1992 for his performance as cowboy Curly Washburn in the 1991 comedy City Slickers. Stepping onstage to accept the award, the intimidatingly fit 6' 4" (1.93 m) actor looked down at 5' 7" (1.70 m) Oscar host Billy Crystal (who was also his co-star in the movie), and joked — mimicking one of his lines from the film — "Billy Crystal... I crap bigger than him." He then dropped to the floor and demonstrated his ability, at age 73, to perform one-handed push-ups. Crystal then turned this into a running gag. At various points in the broadcast, he announced that Palance was backstage on the Stairmaster; had "just bungee-jumped off the Hollywood sign"; had rendezvoused with the Space Shuttle in orbit; had fathered all the children in a production number; had been named People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive; and had won the New York primary election. At the end of the broadcast, Crystal told everyone he'd like to see them again "but I've just been informed Jack Palance will be hosting next year." (The following year, host Crystal arrived on stage atop a giant model of the Oscar statuette, being towed by Palance using his teeth.). Palance's first wife was Virginia Baker from 1949 to 1966. They had three children: Holly (born in 1950), an actress, Brooke (born in 1952) and Cody (1955 – 1998). An actor himself, Cody Palance appeared alongside his father in the film Young Guns, and was 42 when he died from a malignan melanoma in 1998. He married Elaine Rogers in May 1987. Palance died at the age of 87, of natural causes, at his home in Montecito in Santa Barbara County.

Mercedes Ruehl is a Golden Globe, Tony and Academy Award-winning American theater and film actress. Her most acclaimed film role was in The Fisher King; her performance in the film earned her the 1991 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress as well as an American Comedy Award, a Boston Society of Film Critics Award, a Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, and a Golden Globe. Earlier she had won the 1989 National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Married to the Mob. She played KACL station manager Kate Costas in five episodes of Frasier, and had a major role in the made-for-TV film All-American Girl: The Mary Kay Letourneau Story. She is the first Cuban American female Academy Award winner. She is married to painter David Geiser, with whom she adopted a son, Jake (born 1997). She had another son, Christopher, whom she placed in adoption in 1976; Christopher later became Jake's godfather.

Mediterraneo is an Italian film that won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1991. The film is set during World War II, and regards a group of Italian soldiers who become stranded on a Greek island and are left behind by the war. They each find their own niche on the island and decide that being stranded is not necessarily a bad thing. The filming took place on the island of Kastellórizo.

"Beauty and the Beast" is the leading single from the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack and the first hit single from Céline Dion's eponymous album. It was performed in the movie by Angela Lansbury and sung over the movie's closing credits by Céline Dion and Peabo Bryson. The Dion-Bryson single was released on December 30, 1991 in the United States and the next year in the rest of the world. The song is a ballad about the love developing between Belle and the Beast. It was written by composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman. It was one of Ashman's last works before he died of AIDS in 1991"Beauty and the Beast" won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1992, marking Menken and Ashman's (posthumously) second win after the 1989 award for "Under the Sea" from The Little Mermaid. A couple of months before, it had also won the 1992 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.

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