Tuesday, February 12, 2008

72nd Academy Awards

The 72nd Academy Awards ceremony (also known as Oscars 2000) took place at Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium, and was Billy Crystal's seventh time hosting the Awards. The ceremony attracted 46.53 million viewers, an audience 3.7% bigger the previous ceremony. The Academy Award ceremony was dominated by the movie American Beauty, which was nominated in 8 categories, and won 5 awards (including Best Director, Best Actor and Best Picture). This was the first to receive a noteworthy certification TV-14 partially due to the showing of many American Beauty clips featuring scenes of sex, innuendo, and violence. Also the Oscar nominated song "Blame Canada" (from South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut) was performed though it had offensive material (performer Robin Williams cleverly "hid" the single word). The first Oscar show to have a TV rating was 1997 but was rated TV-PG. This was also one of the longest Oscar productions on record clocking in at just over four hours. Twenty-two cameras covered the event for ABC Television, including six jib arms, two steadicams, one akela crane, and for the first time a rail-cam. There were nearly 200 microphones and over 600 moving light fixtures. The show had nine days of rehearsals. This was the first time a woman held the title of producer on an Oscar telecast. Producer Laura Ziskin would helm the show in 2002 and 2007.

American Beauty is a 1999 comedy/drama film that explores themes of romantic and paternal love, freedom, sexuality, beauty, self-liberation, existentialism, the search for happiness, and family against the backdrop of modern American suburbia. It was the feature film debuts for writer Alan Ball and director Sam Mendes, and starred Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening; all four were nominated for Oscars, and the film won five in total including Best Picture.

Sam Mendes won as Best Director. As a film director, he is best known for his debut film, American Beauty, for which he won an Academy Award for Directing. His other movies as Director include Road to Perdition and Jarhead. After a string of romances with actresses, including Cameron Diaz, Calista Flockhart, Jane Horrocks, and Rachel Weisz, Mendes married English actress Kate Winslet on May 24, 2003 in Anguilla in the Caribbean. Their first child, Joe Alfie Winslet-Mendes, was born on December 22, 2004. Mendes also has a stepdaughter, Mia Honey Threapleton, from Winslet's first marriage to assistant director Jim Threapleton.

The male awards for acting went to Kevin Spacey as Best actor for American Beauty and Michael Caine as Best Supporting Actor for The Cider House Rules. The Best Actress Oscar went to Hilary Swank. Her Hollywood film career began with a small part in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) and then a major part in The Next Karate Kid (1994), where she played Julie Pierce, the first female protégé of the sensei Mr. Miyagi. She has become known for her two Academy Award-winning performances: first as Brandon Teena, a transgender man in the movie Boys Don't Cry, and a struggling waitress-turned-boxer, Maggie Fitzgerald, in Million Dollar Baby. In September 1997, Swank was cast as single mother Carly Reynolds on Beverly Hills, 90210. She was initially promised it would be a two-year role, but saw her character written out after 16 episodes in January 1998. As it turned out, the firing was the best thing to happen to Swank, as it freed her to audition for the role of Brandon Teena in Boys Don't Cry. Swank dropped her body fat down to seven percent in preparation for the role. Many critics hailed hers as the best female performance of 1999; her co-star of the film, Chloë Sevigny, had her performance singled out for praise also, Swank and Sevigny were often ranked as the best two leads of 1999 in film. The performance ultimately won her the Golden Globe and Oscar for Best Actress. She subsequently won the Best Actress Oscar and Golden Globe again for playing a boxer in 2004's Million Dollar Baby, a role for which she underwent training and gained 19 pounds of muscle. Swank's Oscar success meant that she had joined the ranks of Vivien Leigh, Helen Hayes, Sally Field, and Luise Rainer as the only actresses to have been nominated twice and win both times (both times she won over fellow actress and nominee Annette Bening). She is also the third-youngest double Best Actress Oscar winner (after Luise Rainer and Jodie Foster.)Swank married actor Chad Lowe on September 28, 1997. The two met in 1992, on the set of Quiet Days in Hollywood, a direct-to-video film. Swank infamously forgot to thank Lowe during her acceptance speech after winning her first Oscar in 2000, and she spent nearly every public appearance afterward making up for it. Upon winning her second Oscar in 2005, Lowe was the first person she thanked. However, in January 2006, the couple separated.

Angelina Jolie is an American film actress and a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency. She is often cited by popular media as one of the world's most beautiful women and her off-screen life is widely reported. She has received three Golden Globe Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and an Academy Award. Though she made her screen debut as a child alongside her father Jon Voight in the 1982 film Lookin' to Get Out, Jolie's acting career began in earnest a decade later with the low budget production Cyborg 2 (1993). Her first leading role in a major film was in Hackers (1995). She starred in the critically acclaimed biographical films George Wallace (1997) and Gia (1998), and won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the drama Girl, Interrupted (1999). Jolie achieved international fame as a result of her portrayal of videogame heroine Lara Croft in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), and since then has established herself as one of the best-known and highest-paid actresses in Hollywood. She had her biggest commercial success with the action-comedy Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005). Divorced from actors Jonny Lee Miller and Billy Bob Thornton, Jolie currently lives with actor Brad Pitt, in a relationship that has attracted worldwide media attention. Jolie and Pitt have three adopted children, Maddox, Pax, and Zahara, as well as a biological daughter, Shiloh. Jolie has promoted humanitarian causes throughout the world, and is noted for her work with refugees through UNHCR.

All About My Mother (Spanish: Todo sobre mi madre) is an award-winning 1999 film written and directed by the Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar. The film deals with complex issues such as AIDS, transvestitism, sexual identity, gender, religion, faith, and existentialism, but always with his classical tragicomedy touch, the film presents these serious issues with an edge of dark humour. All About My Mother was widely regarded as Almodóvar's finest and most mature film to date. It won the 1999 Academy Award for Best Foreign-language Film and seven Goya Awards including Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress in a Leading Role for Argentinean actress Cecilia Roth.

"You'll Be in My Heart" was the main single from the 1999 Disney animated feature Tarzan. Written and performed by Phil Collins, it appears on Tarzan: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack as well as various other Disney compilations. A version of the single performed by Glenn Close also appears on the soundtrack."You'll Be in My Heart", eventually peaking at #21, was Collins's first appearance to the American Top 40 charts since 1994's "Everyday". The track went on to win the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Collins performed the song live at that year's ceremony.

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