Friday, February 15, 2008

75th Academy Awards

The 75th Academy Awards ceremony was originally intended to be an especially festive celebration of the ceremony's 75th anniversary. However, it was muted five days before the show by the onset of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, which coincided almost exactly with the ceremony. As a result, the hype and tone of the show were scaled back, and some Award winners (notably Adrien Brody and Michael Moore) took the opportunity to voice their opposition to the invasion. The ceremony received very low ratings, falling to second place in the Nielsen Ratings behind American Idol.

Chicago is a 2002 musical film released by Miramax Films. First released in limited cities on June 27, 2002, Chicago opened in wide release on January 24, 2003. An adaptation of the satirical stage musical Chicago, the film explores the themes of celebrity and scandal in Jazz age Chicago. Directed and choreographed by Rob Marshall, and adapted for film by screenwriter Bill Condon, Chicago won six Academy Awards in 2003, including Best Picture. The film was the first musical film to win the Best Picture Oscar since Oliver! (1968). Chicago centers around Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart, two murderesses who find themselves on death row together in 1920s Chicago. Velma, a professional vaudevillian, and Roxie, a housewife with aspirations of being a star, fight for the fame that will keep them from the gallows. The film stars Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renée Zellweger, and Richard Gere, also featuring Queen Latifah, John C. Reilly, Lucy Liu, Taye Diggs, Colm Feore, and Mýa.

Roman Polanski is an Academy Award-winning French-born Polish film director, writer, actor, and producer. After beginning his career in Poland, Polanski becam
e a celebrated arthouse filmmaker, and Hollywood director of such films as Rosemary's Baby (1968) and Chinatown (1974). He is also known for his tumultuous personal life. In 1969, his wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered by the Manson Family. In 1978, after pleading guilty to having unlawful sexual intercourse with a thirteen year old girl, Polanski fled to France, where he now resides and is considered by US authorities to be a fugitive from justice. Because he faces jail time if he returns to the United States, he has continued to direct films in Europe, including Frantic (1988), Death and the Maiden (1994), the Academy Award-winning and Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or-winning The Pianist (2002), and Oliver Twist (2005). In May 2002, Polanski won the Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) award at the Cannes Film Festival for The Pianist, for which he also took Césars for Best Film and Best Director, and later won the 2002 Academy Award for Directing. He did not attend the Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood. After the announcement of the "Best Director Award", Polanski received a standing ovation from most of those present in the theater.

Adrien Brody is an American actor. Brody hovered on the brink of stardom, receiving an Independent Spirit Award nomination for his role in the 1998 film Restaurant and later praise for his roles in Spike Lee's Summer of Sam and Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line. He received widespread recognition when he was cast as the lead in Roman Polanski's The Pianist (2002). To prepare for the role, Brody withdrew for months, gave up his apartment and his car, learned how to play Chopin on the piano, and lost 29 lbs (13 kg). The role won him an Academy Award for Best Actor, making him the youngest actor ever to win the award. He also won a César Award for his performance, becoming the only American actor to win one. Throughout his career, Brody has been compared to Al Pacino for his unique looks and method acting. He is also widely known for giving presenter Halle Berry a back-breaking kiss after winning his Best Actor Oscar, and as the spokesman for fashion brand Ermenegildo Zegna. After The Pianist Brody has appeared in three very different movies. He played Noah Percy, a mentally disabled young man in the movie The Village by M. Night Shyamalan, shell-shocked war veteran Jack Starks in The Jacket, and writer Jack Driscoll in the 2005 King Kong remake.

Nicole Kidman is an Academy Award-winning Australian actress and occasional singer. In 2006, she became the highest paid a
ctress in the film industry. After making various appearances in film and television, Kidman received her breakthrough role in the 1989 thriller Dead Calm. Since then, Kidman's acting career has developed greatly. Her performances in several films, such as To Die For (1995), Moulin Rouge! (2001), and The Hours (2002), have won her not only critical acclaim but also many film awards. She is also well-known for her former high-profile marriage to Tom Cruise, as well as her current marriage to singer Keith Urban. In 1990, she appeared opposite Tom Cruise in Days of Thunder, a stock car racing movie. After this, Kidman starred with Cruise in Ron Howard's Far and Away (1992). In 1995, Kidman featured in the ensemble cast of Batman Forever. In 2002, Kidman received an Academy Award nomination for her performance in the 2001 musical film Moulin Rouge!, in which she played the courtesan Satine opposite Ewan McGregor. Consequently, Kidman received her second Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. The same year, she had a well-received starring role in the horror film The Others. The following year, Kidman won critical praise for her portrayal of Virginia Woolf in The Hours, in which the prosthetics applied to her made her almost unrecognizable. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for this role, along with a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA, and numerous critics awards. Kidman became the first Australian actress to win an Academy Award.

Chris Cooper is an Academy Award-winning American film actor. He became well known in the late 1990s, having appeared in supporting performances in several major Hollywood films, including American Beauty, Capote, and Seabiscuit. Some of his standout performances include Money Train as a psychotic pyromaniac who terrifies toll booth operators, Lone Star in a rare leading role as a Texas sheriff charged with solving a decades old case, and American Beauty as a homophobic Colonel of the United States Marine Corps. Cooper won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and a Golden Globe Award in 2003 for playing the role of John Laroche in Adaptation. Cooper also appeared in The Bourne Identity in 2002 as a ruthless CIA special ops director, a role he reprised (in flashbacks) in The Bourne Supremacy. Cooper is often typecast as a government/military character. Cooper was busy in 2005, having appeared in three well-received and acclaimed films: Jarhead (reuniting him with American Beauty director Sam Mendes and October Sky actor Jake Gyllenhaal), Capote and Syriana. He was in the thriller Breach, playing real-life FBI operative and spy Robert Hanssen.

Catherine Zeta-Jones is an Academy Award-winning Welsh actress based p
redominantly in the United States. She began her career on stage at an early age. After starring in a number of UK and US television films and small roles in films, she came to prominence with roles in Hollywood movies such as The Phantom, The Mask of Zorro, and Entrapment in the late 1990s. She won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for portraying Velma Kelly in the 2002 film adaptation of Chicago, making her the first and only Welsh actress to do so in that category. In 2003, she voiced Marina in Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas opposite Brad Pitt, as well as starring in Intolerable Cruelty with George Clooney. In 2004 she was in The Terminal, as well as Ocean's Twelve, the sequel to Ocean's Eleven. In 2005, she reprised her role as Elena in The Legend of Zorro, the sequel to The Mask of Zorro. In 2007, she starred in the romantic comedy No Reservations, a remake of the German film Mostly Martha. Zeta-Jones is married to Michael Douglas, with whom she shares a birthday. They have two children - Dylan (named after Dylan Thomas) and Carys.

Nowhere in Africa is an epic 2001 German film directed by Caroline Link and based on the autobiographical novel of the same name by Stefanie Zweig. It tells the story of a Jewish family that emigrates to Kenya during World War II to escape the Nazis and run a farm. The film won an 2002 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

"Lose Yourself" is an Academy Award and Grammy Award winning hip hop song written and produced by Eminem. It was released in 2002 as part of the soundtrack to the Academy Award-winning film 8 Mile, also starring Eminem. The song had additional production by Luis Resto and Jeff Bass. The song achieved significant success, reaching the top of many charts around the world, including the Billboard Hot 100, the UK Singles Chart, and the United World Chart, among others. It won an Academy Award for Best Original Song, two Grammy Awards, and two other Grammy nominations.

No comments: