4 Top Oscars Go To Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby"
by Eugene Hernandez
In Los Angeles Sunday night, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented the 77th Academy Awards for the best films of 2004. While Martin Scorsese's Howard Hughes biopic "The Aviator" won the most Oscars, with five awards, it was Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby," the story of a prizefighter and her coach, which won the top awards of the evening. "Million Dollar" nabbed the Oscar for best picture, best director for Clint Eastwood, best actress for Hilary Swank, and best supporting actor for Morgan Freeman.
Cate Blanchett won the best supporting actress prize for her performance as Katherine Hepburn in "The Aviator." The film was also the winner of Oscars for art direction (Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo), cinematography (Robert Richardson), costume design (Sandy Powell), and editing (Thelma Schoonmaker).
Jamie Foxx, the one sure bet going into the night for his performance as Ray Charles in "Ray," indeed won the Academy Award for best actor.
"Sideways," a multiple nominee that was the big winner at the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, won just one Oscar. Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor were honored with the Oscar for best adapted screenplay, for their writing, adapted from the book of the same name by Rex Pickett.
"We love Fox Searchlight for letting us make a film with complete creative freedom," enthused Alexander Payne on stage accepting the Oscar. "And last but not least, very quickly, I know I'm going to wrap up, I want to share my side of this award with the cast and crew of the film because we had a lot of fun. See ya later."
"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" won the Oscar for best original script. On stage with story writers Michel Gondry and Pierre Bismuth, a clock counting down his time left in his speech immediately flustered Charlie Kaufman. "Thanks to the Academy. 29 seconds. 27 seconds. That's really intimidating," he said. "I'll try to look somewhere else. There's so many people who worked so creatively on this movie. I feel like this award is for all of them... And I'm supposed to wrap up now. No. I don't want to take my time. I want to get off the stage. So, thank you."
Alejandro Amenabar's "Mar Adentro" (The Sea Inside) from Spain won the Oscar for best foreign language film. On stage he said, "This film is based on a man, who despite his desire for death, spread so much life around him. So, the first third part of this award goes to him belongs to him, wherever he is. The second part is for Javier Bardem for his outstanding performance and his generosity. And another third part, goes to, of course, my friend and producer, Fernando Bovaira, to the fabulous cast and crew for being so focused on this movie since the very beginning. And as for me, I'm just so pleased because it seems that I'm in charge of keeping it in one piece for the rest of my life."
The Oscar for best documentary went to Ross Kaufmann and Zana Briski for "Born Into Brothels." Accepting the prize on stage, Kaufmann said," Tom Hanks was right. This thing is heavy.," as Briski added, "Little, gold men. Just what we always wanted. We thank you so much. This is an incredible, incredible honor. We thank the kids. They're watching in Calcutta. We thank you so much. We love you very much."
Filmmaker Andrea Arnold was awarded the best live action short Oscar for her film, "Wasp." She said on stage, "This is truly overwhelming. I'm not really used to this kind of thing... The beers are on me when we get home. In English, we'd say -- I'd say that this is the dog's bollocks. Thank you very much."
The complete list of Oscar winners:
"Million Dollar Baby" (Warner Bros.) A Warner Bros. Pictures
Clint Eastwood, "Million Dollar Baby"
Jamie Foxx, "Ray"
Hilary Swank, "Million Dollar Baby"
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Morgan Freeman, "Million Dollar Baby"
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Cate Blanchett, "The Aviator"
BEST ANIMATED FILM
"The Incredibles" (Buena Vista) Brad Bird
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
"Sideways," Screenplay by Alexander Payne & Jim
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," Screenplay by Charlie
Kaufman, Story by Charlie Kaufman, Michel Gondry &
BEST ART DIRECTION
"The Aviator," Art Direction: Dante Ferretti, Set Decoration:
Francesca Lo Schiavo
"The Aviator," Robert Richardson
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
"The Aviator," Sandy Powell
"Born into Brothels," (THINKFilm) Ross Kauffman and
Zana Briski, A Red Light Films, Inc. Production
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
"Mighty Times: The Children's March," Robert Hudson and
Bobby Houston, A Tell the Truth Pictures Production
BEST FILM EDITING
"The Aviator," Thelma Schoonmaker
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
"The Sea Inside," Spain, Sogecine and
"Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events," Valli
O'Reilly and Bill Corso
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
"Finding Neverland," Jan A.P. Kaczmarek
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
"Al Otro Lado Del Río" from "The Motorcycle Diaries," Music
and Lyric by Jorge Drexler
BEST ANIMATED SHORT
"Ryan," Chris Landreth, Copper Heart Entertainment
& National Film Board of Canada
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
"Wasp," Andrea Arnold, Cowboy Films
BEST SOUND EDITING
"The Incredibles," Michael Silvers and Randy Thom
BEST SOUND MIXING
"Ray," Scott Millan, Greg Orloff, Bob Beemer and
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
"Spider-Man 2," John Dykstra, Scott Stokdyk, Anthony
LaMolinara and John Frazier