Sunday, February 17, 2008

77th Academy Awards

The 77th Academy Awards, honoring the best in film for 2004, were held on February 27, 2005, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California. They were hosted by comedian Chris Rock. The nominees were announced on January 25, 2005. Martin Scorsese's biopic of the eccentric Howard Hughes, The Aviator, led the pack with eleven nominations including Best Actor, Best Director, and Best Picture. Marc Forster's Finding Neverland and Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby each had seven nominations. Ray and Sideways rounded out the nominees for Best Picture.

Million Dollar Baby is an Academy Award winning 2004 dramatic film directed by Clint Eastwood. The film stars Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, and Morgan Freeman. It is the sto
ry of an under-appreciated boxing trainer, his elusive past and his quest for atonement in helping an underdog amateur female boxer (the film's title character) achieve her fragile dream of becoming a professional. The film won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The screenplay was written by Paul Haggis, based on short stories by F.X. Toole, the pen name of fight manager and "cutman" Jerry Boyd. Originally published under the title Rope Burns, the stories have since been republished under the movie's title. Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank), a female amateur who aspires to prove her worth by becoming a successful boxer, is taken in by Frank Dunn (Clint Eastwood), a down-and-out boxing trainer who has been cast aside by most of society, including his estranged daughter Katie. Dunn aids Maggie in realizing her goal while developing a stronger-than-blood bond. Initially, Dunn is dispassionate toward Maggie because she is a 31-year-old female. Maggie, however, perseveres in her attempts to gain Dunn's favor by training each day in his gym, even when others discourage her. Frank's friend and employee, ex-boxer Eddie "Scrap Iron" Dupris (Morgan Freeman) narrates the story in non-dialogue scenes. Million Dollar Baby received the award for Best Picture of 2004 at the 77th Academy Awards. Eastwood was awarded his second Directing Oscar for the film and also received a Best Actor nomination. Swank and Freeman received Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor Oscars, respectively. The film was also nominated for the Film Editing and Writing Adapted Screenplay awards. The film beat what many thought to be the front-runner, Martin Scorsese's The Aviator, which had won the Golden Globe and the BAFTA for Best Drama.

Jamie Foxx is an American actor, singer, and stand-up comic. Foxx is possibly best known for his portrayal of musician Ray Charles in Ray, and for his collaborations with director Michael Mann. With Ray, he became one of the few African-Americans to
win the Academy Award for Best Actor. Foxx's first dramatic role came in Oliver Stone's 1999 film Any Given Sunday, where he played a heavy-partying football player. He was cast in the role in part because of his background as a football player. Foxx has since evolved into a respected dramatic actor. Following Any Given Sunday, Foxx was featured as taxi driver Max Durocher in the film Collateral alongside Tom Cruise, for which he received outstanding reviews and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. His standout performance, however, was his portrayal of Ray Charles in the biopic Ray (2004), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. Foxx is the second male, and the first African American, in history to receive two acting Oscar nominations in the same year for two different movies, Collateral and Ray. The only other male actor to achieve this was Al Pacino. Following this success, Foxx appeared in three more movies: Jarhead, Miami Vice, and Dreamgirls which were hits at the box office and lifted Foxx even higher as a bankable star in Hollywood. 2007 brought him the lead role in the film The Kingdom, opposite Chris Cooper and Jennifer Garner.

Morgan Freeman is an Academy Award-, Golden Globe-, and Screen Actors Guild Award-winning American actor, film director, and film narrator. Noted for his reserved demeanor and authoritative speaking voice, Freeman has become one of Hollyw
ood's most popular and respected actors. Beginning in the mid-1980s, Freeman began playing prominent supporting roles in many feature films, earning him a reputation for depicting wise and fatherly characters. As he gained fame, he went on to bigger roles in films such as the chauffeur Hoke in Driving Miss Daisy, and Sergeant Major Rawlins in Glory (both in 1989). In 1994 he portrayed Red, the redeemed convict in the acclaimed The Shawshank Redemption. His star power was already confirmed as he starred in some of the biggest films of the 1990s, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Se7en, and Deep Impact. After three previous nominations – a supporting actor nomination for Street Smart (1987), and leading actor nominations for Driving Miss Daisy (1989), and The Shawshank Redemption (1994) – he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Million Dollar Baby. Freeman is recognized for his distinctive voice, making him a frequent choice for narration. In 2005 alone, he provided narration for two of the most successful films of the year, War of the Worlds and the Academy Award-winning documentary film March of the Penguins. Freeman has recently been well known for his role as God in the hit movie Bruce Almighty and its sequel, Evan Almighty, as well as his role as Lucius Fox in the critical and commercial success Batman Begins and its upcoming sequel, The Dark Knight. He starred in Rob Reiner's 2007 film The Bucket List, opposite Jack Nicholson, playing terminal cancer patients who must fulfill their lists of goals. Freeman was married to Jeanette Adair Bradshaw from October 22, 1967, until 1979. He has been married to Myrna Colley-Lee since June 16, 1984. He has two sons, Alfonso and Saifoulaye, from previous relationships. He adopted his first wife's daughter, Deena, and the couple also had a fourth child, Morgana.

Cate Blanchett, is an Academy Award- and Golden Globe Award-winning Australian actress. She has won various other awards, most notably two SAGs and two BAFTAs, as well as the Volpi Cup at 64th Venice International Film Festival. She came to international attention in the 1998 film Elizabeth, directed by Shekhar Kapur, in which she played Elizabeth I of England. She is also well known for her portrayals of the elf queen Galadriel in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Katharine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator, a role which brought her the
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Blanchett is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful women of all time. Blanchett made her international film debut as an Australian nurse captured by the Japanese in a production of Paradise Road directed by Bruce Beresford, co-starring Glenn Close and Frances McDormand. Her first high-profile role was as Elizabeth I of England in the 1998 movie Elizabeth, which earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Blanchett lost out to Gwyneth Paltrow for her role in Shakespeare in Love but won a British Academy (BAFTA) Award and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama. The following year, Blanchett was nominated for another BAFTA Award for her supporting role in The Talented Mr. Ripley. Already an acclaimed actress, Blanchett received a host of new fans when she appeared in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings. She played the role of the High Elf Queen Galadriel in all three films, which hold the record as the highest grossing film trilogy of all time. In 2005, she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for playing Katharine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator. This made Blanchett the first person ever to garner an Academy Award for playing a previous Oscar-winning actor/actress. In 2006 she starred in both Babel opposite Brad Pitt, and Notes on a Scandal playing Sheba Hart opposite Dame Judi Dench. Coincidentally, Dench won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for playing Elizabeth I, the same year Blanchett lost for playing the same historical figure, albeit in a different category. Blanchett received her third Academy Award nomination for her performance in the film (Dench was also Oscar nominated). In 2007, she won the Best Actress Award at the Venice Film Festival for portraying one of six incarnations of Bob Dylan in Todd Haynes' feature film I'm Not There and also reprised her role as Elizabeth I in the sequel to Elizabeth entitled Elizabeth: the Golden Age. Cate Blanchett received double Oscar nominations on January 23, 2008, including Best Actress for her regal performance in Elizabeth: the Golden Age and Best Supporting actress for her portrayal of music legend Bob Dylan in I'm Not There, putting the Australian actress on track to make Academy Awards history. Blanchett's husband is playwright and screenwriter Andrew Upton, whom she met in 1996 while she was performing in a production of The Seagull. The two were married on December 29, 1997. Their first child, Dashiell John, was born on December 3, 2001; their second child, Roman Robert, was born on April 23, 2004. She is now currently pregnant with her third child, who is due in April 2008.

The Sea Inside (Spanish: Mar adentro) is a 2004 film by the Spanish/Chilean director Alejandro Amenábar. It is based on the real-life story of Ramón Sampedro (played by Javier Bardem), a Spanish ship mechanic left quadriplegic after a diving accident who fought a 28-year campaign in support of euthanasia and his right to end his own life.The Sea Inside won the 2004 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, the 2004 Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, and 14 Goya Awards.

"Al otro lado del río" (English: On the other side of the river) is a song written and performed by Uruguayan singer Jorge Drexler for the film The Motorcycle Diaries (2004). Beside the film's soundtrack, it can also be found in Drexler's seventh album Eco, in the soundtrack the great bassist and double bassist Jeff Eckels preformed. "Al otro lado del río" received the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 77th ceremony, becoming the first song in Spanish and the second in a foreign language to receive such an honor.

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