Sunday, February 10, 2008

70th Academy Awards

The 70th Academy Awards, held at the Shrine Auditorium on March 23rd 1998, were noted for their high ratings and the 11 wins racked up by the Best Picture, Titanic. Billy Crystal hosted the ceremony for the sixth time, and received an Emmy award for his performance. Although the evening was dominated by Titanic, the picture notably did not receive any awards for its actors' performances. Other pictures picked up the acting awards; Good Will Hunting, which was nominated for 9 awards and won 2; L.A. Confidential, which was nominated for 9 awards and won 2; and As Good As It Gets, which was nominated for 7 awards and won 2. Due to the popularity of Titanic, which was still the #1 movie at the box office at the time, the show earned its highest ratings ever in history based on audience size (57.25 million), though the highest rated show based on percentage of households watching was in 1970.

Titanic is a 1997 American romantic drama film directed, written, produced and edited by James Cameron about the sinking of the RMS Titanic. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as two
members of different social classes who fall in love aboard the ill-fated 1912 maiden voyage of the ship. The main characters and the central love story are fictional, but some supporting characters (such as members of the ship's crew) are based on real historical figures, and shots of the real wreck lying at the bottom of the Atlantic are used in the film's opening sequences. The film was both a critical and commercial success, winning eleven Academy Awards including Best Picture, and became the highest grossing film of all time, with a total worldwide gross of US$1.8 billion. Titanic holds the record for the highest-grossing film of all time in North America, with $600 million. The previous North American record holder, Star Wars (another 20th Century Fox film), earned a total of $461 million. Adjusted for inflation, Titanic is in sixth place. The film also holds the record as the highest-grossing movie of all time worldwide with $1.8 billion. The second-place worldwide holder, Return of the King, is over $700 million short of Titanic's record. It tied All About Eve for having the most Oscar nominations in history, with 14. It won Best Picture and Best Director. It also picked up best costume design, visual effects, sound, sound effects, original dramatic score, film editing, song, art direction, and cinematography. Kate Winslet, Gloria Stuart and the make-up artists were the three nominees that failed to win. James Cameron's original screenplay and Leonardo DiCaprio were not nominees. It was the second movie to win eleven Academy Awards, after Ben-Hur.

James Cameron is an Academy Award-winning Canadian/American director, producer and screenwriter. He is noted for his action/science fiction films, which are often highly innovative and financially successful. Thematically, James Cameron's films generally explore the relationship between man and technology. Cameron directed the film Titanic, which went on to become the top-grossing film of all time, with a worldwide gross of over US$1.8 billion. He also created the Terminator franchise. He started in the film industry as a screenwriter, then moved into art direction and effects for films such as Battle Beyond the Stars and Escape from New York. Working with producer Roger Corman, Cameron landed his first directorial job in 1981 for the film Piranha II: The Spawning, shot at Grand Cayman Island for the underwater diving sequences, and in Rome, Italy for most of the interior scenes. During his stay in Rome, he fell ill and had a nightmare about a machine emerging from a fire to kill him. While
recovering, Cameron materialized the idea for The Terminator. He finally completed a screenplay, and decided to sell it so that he could direct the movie. However, the production companies he contacted, while expressing interest in the project, were unwilling to let a first-time director make the movie. Finally, Cameron found a company called Hemdale Pictures, which was willing to let him direct. Initially, for the role of the Terminator, Cameron wanted someone who wasn't exceptionally muscular, and who could "blend into" a normal crowd. Lance Henriksen, who had starred in Piranha II: The Spawning, was considered for the titular role, but when Arnold Schwarzenegger and Cameron first met over lunch to discuss Schwarzenegger playing the role of Kyle Reese, both came to the conclusion that the cyborg villain would be the more compelling role for the Austrian bodybuilder; Henriksen got the smaller part of LAPD detective Hal Vukovich and the role of Kyle Reese went to Michael Biehn. In addition, Linda Hamilton first appeared in this film in her iconic role of Sarah Connor, and later married Cameron. During the early 1980s, Cameron wrote three screenplays simultaneously: The Terminator, Aliens, and the first draft of Rambo: First Blood Part II. While Cameron would continue with The Terminator and with Aliens, Sylvester Stallone eventually took over the script of Rambo: First Blood Part II, creating a final draft which differed radically from Cameron's initial version. Cameron next began the sequel to Alien, the 1979 film by Ridley Scott. Cameron would name the sequel Aliens, and would again cast Sigourney Weaver in the iconic role of Ellen Ripley (the sole survivor from the first film). Cameron's next project stemmed from an idea that had come up during a high school biology class. The story of oil-rig workers who discover otherworldly underwater creatures became the basis of Cameron's screenplay for The Abyss, which cast Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Michael Biehn. For the film Titanic, Cameron cast Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, and Billy Zane. Cameron's budget for the film reached about $200 million, and it became the most expensive movie ever made. Before its release, the film was widely ridiculed for its expense and protracted production schedule. During the 1998 Academy Awards, the film won a record-tying 11 Oscars. Among them were Best Picture and Best Director. Unable to make Spiderman, Cameron moved to television and created the story of Max Guevara, a new superheroine. Dark Angel, was influenced by cyberpunk, biopunk, current superhero genres, and third-wave feminism. Co-produced with Charles H. Eglee, Dark Angel starred Jessica Alba as Max Guevara, a genetically enhanced transgenic super-soldier created by the super-secretive Manticore organization. It also starred Michael Weatherly as Logan Cale, and noted actor John Savage (of The Deer Hunter) as Colonel Donald Michael Lydecker. While a success in its first season, low ratings in the second led to its cancellation. Cameron himself directed the series finale, a two-hour episode wrapping up many of the series' loose ends. Cameron has been married five times: Sharon Williams (1978-1984), Gale Anne Hurd (1985-1989), Kathryn Bigelow (1989-1991), Linda Hamilton (1997-1999, one daughter), Suzy Amis (2000-, one son, two daughters).

Jack Nicholson won as Best Actor and Helen Hunt as Best Actress, both for the movie As good as it gets. Helen Hunt is an Emmy-, Golden Globe-, and Academy Award-winning American actress, widely
known for her role in the television sitcom Mad About You and her Academy Award-winning role in As Good As It Gets. In the 1990s, after the lead female role in the short-lived My Life and Times, Hunt became well-known to television audiences in Mad About You, winning Emmy Awards for her performance in 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999. Hunt has also had a successful film career, with roles in movies such as Cast Away and the 1996 blockbuster Twister. After winning an Academy Award for Best Actress in 1998 for her performance in As Good as It Gets, she took time off from movie work to play Viola in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night at the Lincoln Center in New York City. In 2000, Hunt returned to the screen in four films: Dr. T & the Women with Richard Gere, Pay It Forward with Kevin Spacey & Haley Joel Osment, What Women Want with Mel Gibson, and Cast Away with Tom Hanks. Hunt was married to actor Hank Azaria from 1999 until 2000. She has been in a relationship with Matthew Carnahan since 2001 and they have a daughter, Måkena Lei Gordon Carnahan, born in 2004.

Robin Williams is an American actor and comedian who has done television, stage and film work. In part, his big break was from playing Mork from Ork, which was highlighted on Mork & Mindy. Soon afterward he became a film star who is still active as an actor and headlining comic. His first starring roles, Popeye (1980) and The World According to Garp (1982), were both considered flops, but his performance in Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) got Williams nominated for an Academy Award and est
ablished a screen identity. Many of his roles have been comedies tinged with pathos, for example The Birdcage and Mrs. Doubtfire. Williams has also starred in dramatic films, earning himself two subsequent Academy Award nominations: First for playing an unorthodox and inspiring English teacher in Dead Poets Society (1989), and later for playing a troubled homeless man in The Fisher King (1991); that same year, he played an adult Peter Pan in the movie Hook. Other acclaimed dramatic films include Awakenings (1990), What Dreams May Come (1998), and Jakob the Liar (1999). In 1997, he won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor for his role as a psychologist in Good Will Hunting. However, by the early 2000s, he was thought by some to be typecast in films such as Patch Adams (1998) and Bicentennial Man (1999) that critics complained were excessively maudlin. This apparently prompted Williams to take radically unconventional roles, beginning with a role as a lowlife kiddie show host in the dark comedy Death to Smoochy, followed by One Hour Photo in a watershed performance as an obsessed film developer, Insomnia as a sociopathic writer, and The Final Cut, which is more in tune with Williams as a protagonist. In 2006 Williams starred in The Night Listener, a thriller. His first marriage was to Valerie Velardi on June 4, 1978, with whom he has one child, Zachary Pym (Zak) (born April 11, 1983). The marriage ended in 1988. On April 30, 1989, he married Marsha Garces. They have two children, Zelda Rae (born July 31, 1989) and Cody Alan (born November 25, 1991).

Kim Basinger is an Academy Award-winning American film actress and former fashion model. In 1976, after a five-year stint as a cover girl, Basinger decided to put her modeling career on hold and move to Los Angeles to begin a career
in acting. After appearing in small parts on a few TV shows such as "McMillan & Wife" and "Charlie's Angels", her first starring role was a made-for-TV movie, Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold (1978) in which she played a small town girl who goes to Hollywood to become an actress and winds up becoming a famous centerfold for a men's magazine. She was a Bond girl in Never Say Never Again (1983), where she starred opposite Sean Connery. She did a famous pictorial for Playboy magazine in 1983, which Basinger has said led to good opportunities, such as Barry Levinson's The Natural (1984), co-starring Robert Redford, for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination as Best Supporting Actress. Academy Award winning writer-director Robert Benton cast her in the title role for the film Nadine (1987). Other directors repeated her in their films, such as Blake Edwards for The Man Who Loved Women (1983) and Blind Date (1987)) and Robert Altman for Fool for Love (1985) and Prêt-à-Porter (1994). Her most prominent appearances include 9½ Weeks (1986), Batman (1989) and Curtis Hanson's L.A. Confidential (1997) for which she received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, as well as the Golden Globe and Screen Actor's Guild Award. Hanson would cast her once more as Eminem's mother in the hit film 8 Mile (2002). Basinger married makeup artist Ron Snyder-Britton in 1980. They met on the film Hard Country, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1988. She met her second husband actor Alec Baldwin when both played romantic lovers in the 1991 flop, The Marrying Man. They married on August 19, 1993 and appeared in another flop, the remake of The Getaway (1994). They also played themselves on an 1998 episode of the The Simpsons (which also includes Ron Howard), where Basinger corrects Homer Simpson on the pronunciation of her last name and also polishes her Oscar statutette. They have a daughter, Ireland Eliesse "Addie" Baldwin (born October 23, 1995), but the couple separated in 2000.

Character is a 1997 Dutch/Belgian film, based on the best-selling novel by Ferdinand Bordewijk and directed by Mike van Diem. The film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 70th Academy Awards. The film stars Fedja van Huêt, Jan Decleir, and Betty Schuurman.

"My Heart Will Go On" is the theme song of the 1997 blockbuster film Titanic. With music by James Horner and lyrics by Will Jennings, it was recorded by Céline Dion. Originally released in 1997 on Dion's album Let's Talk About Love, it went to number one all over the world, including the United States, United Kingdom and Australia."My Heart Will Go On" won the 1997 Academy Award for Best Original Song. It dominated the Grammy Awards of 1999, winning Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television. "My Heart Will Go On" won also the Golden Globe Award in 1998.

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