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March 25, 2002 2:00 AM
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News from LA: Oscars, Spirit Awards and Sony Acquires Hitler's Secretary Doc

DAILY NEWS: News from LA: Oscars, Spirit Awards and Sony Acquires Hitler's Secretary Doc

by Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE





>> A Night of Diversity at 74th Academy Awards


(indieWIRE/03.25.02) -- Last night in Hollywood was Oscar night, the annual
evening where the American film industry recognizes the cinematic
achievements of the past year. Or as short film Oscar winner Ray McKinnon
dubbed the event while accepting his prize, "The good god almighty Academy
Awards
."


Someday it may not be a story that two African-American actors have won top
acting Oscars, but today it is.


"This moment is so much bigger than me," a shocked Halle Berry told the
audience last night, accepting her Academy Award. While "A Beautiful Mind"
won top prizes, for best picture and best director, the evening marked a
major success with the achievement of two African-American actors. Berry won
the Oscar for best actress for "Monster's Ball," while Denzel Washington won for "Training Day."


In the documentary categories, "Murder on a Sunday Morning" won the feature
award, while Sarah Kernochan and Lynn Appelle received the Oscar for best documentary short subject for "Thoth." And in the short categories, the top
live action short film Oscar went to Ray McKinnon's "The Accountant" and the
prize for best animated short was awarded to Ralph Eggelston for the Pixar film, "For the Birds."


Catherine Martin won two Oscars last night. She collaborated with her
husband Baz Luhrmann on "Moulin Rouge!" and won Academy Awards for art direction and costume design.


Documentary filmmakers Errol Morris and Penelope Spheeris contributed to the evening's telecast and Kasi Lemmons directed a segment honoring Sidney
Poitier
. Morris' piece surveyed moviegoers about their favorite films,
while Spheeris showcased clips from numerous documentaries. Nora Ephron
presented a segment about New York movies, a segment that was introduced by
rare Oscar night attendee Woody Allen.


Robert Redford and Sidney Poitier received honorary Oscars at the 74th
Academy Awards. Redford's prize, which honored the director/actor's career
of work also recognized his contributions to independent film with the
creation of the Sundance Institute, now celebrating its 20th Anniversary.


"I believe that in keeping diversity alive, it will help keep our industry
alive," Redford said, accepting his Academy Award. [Eugene Hernandez in Los
Angeles]



>> Sony Classics Acquires Doc About Hitler's Secretary


(indieWIRE/03.25.02) -- "Im Toten Winkel. Hitler's Sekretarin" (Blind Spot.
Hitler's Secretary) has been acquired by Sony Pictures Classics. The company
nabbed rights to the movie for release in all English-speaking territories.
It will be unveiled here in the United States this Fall.


An incredible historical document, the new documentary
by Andre Heller and Othmar Schmiderer is a 90 minute digest of more than ten hours of interview footage with Hitler's personal secretary from 1942 -
1945, Traudl Junge. She died shortly after the film debuted at the Berlin
Film Festival
last month, where it won the Panorama section audience award.


This documentary is a compelling and moving film that offers first-hand,
never before heard stories from inside the Third Reich. Most powerful is the
final act of the movie, in which Junge details the final days with Hitler,
Goebbels, Eva Braun and others in the bunker near the site of present day
Potsdamer Platz in Berlin. [Eugene Hernandez in Los Angeles]




>> Spirit Awards Honor Top Independent Films


(indieWIRE/03.25.02) -- While "Memento" and "In the Bedroom" received most of the attention at Saturday's IFP/West Independent Spirit Awards, a number of smaller films and emerging filmmakers were also showcased at the event,
held on the beach in Santa Monica, CA.


Michael and Mark Polish's "Jackpot" won the John Cassavetes Award for the best feature made for under $500,000. The duo, also known for their film "Twin Falls Idaho," are about to begin production on their next picture.


Cash winners at this year's Spirits deserve notice, of course, and each took
home $20,000. Rene Bastian and Linda Moran, producers of "L.I.E." and "Martin and Orloff" won the Motorola Producers Award, while the Turning Leaf Coastal Reserve Someone to Watch Award went to "Daydream Believer" director Debra Eisenstadt. The DIRECTV/IFC Truer Than Fiction Award was presented to Monteith McCollum for "Hybrid."


In the Best Debut Performance category, Paul Franklin Dano was singled out
for his work in "L.I.E." Stacy Peralta won the award for Best Documentary
for "Dogtown and Z-Boys."


"Memento" won the Spirit Awards for best feature, best director and best
screenplay (Christopher Nolan), and best supporting actress (Carrie-Anne
Moss
). "In The Bedroom" was honored with Spirit Awards for best first
feature (Todd Field), best actress (Sissy Spacek), and best actor (Tom
Wilkinson
). [Eugene Hernandez in Los Angeles]



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