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DAILY NEWS FROM LA: Oscars, Spirit Awards and Foreign Language Films

DAILY NEWS FROM LA: Oscars, Spirit Awards and Foreign Language Films

DAILY NEWS FROM LA: Oscars, Spirit Awards and Foreign Language Films

by Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE with a report from Jessica Hundley

>> “Gladiator” Wins Five Oscars; “Traffic” and “Crouching Tiger” Win Four

(indieWIRE/03.26.01) — “Gladiator” and “Traffic” were the big winners
at the 73rd Academy Awards, with “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
nabbing top Oscars as well.

Not surprisingly, “Gladiator” won the Oscar for Best Picture and
actor Russell Crowe won Best Actor, while “Traffic” won the awards
for Best Director for Steven Soderbergh, while Benecio Del Toro
won for Best Supporting Actor and Steven Gaghan won for Best
Adapted Screenplay.

“Crouching Tiger,” the highest grossing foreign language film of all
time, won the awards for Best Art Direction, Best Foreign Language Film,
Best Cinematography, and Best Original Score. [Eugene Hernandez]

[Tomorrow, indieWIRE will publish a report from Oscar night in LA.]


>> “Crouching Tiger” and “You Can Count on Me” Popular at Spirit Awards

(indieWIRE/03.26.01) — “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” was a big
winner at the 2001 Independent Spirit Awards, which were presented
in Santa Monica on Saturday afternoon. The film, produced independently
by Bill Kong, Hsu Li Kong, and director Ang Lee, and released by Sony Pictures Classics, won the Best Feature prize and the awards for Best
Director and Best Supporting Actress (Zhang Ziyi). Kenneth Longergan‘s
You Can Count on Me,” produced by John Hart and Jeff Sharp, won the award for Best First Feature and the prize for Best Screenplay. In the
Best Feature Under $500,000, Miguel Arteta‘s “Chuck and Buck” was the
victor. The digital feature, was produced by Matthew Greenfield and
written by star Mike White. [Eugene Hernandez]

[Tomorrow, indieWIRE will publish a report from the Spirit Awards in LA.]


>> At AMPAS Symposium, Foreign Nominees Beat American Fare

(indieWIRE/03.26.01) —The Academy‘s annual Foreign Language Nominee
symposium began this year with a bold statement from the Foreign Film
Award Committee chair, Mark Johnson, who confidently proclaimed that this
year’s selections were more “innovative, creative, satisfying and
challenging” than any of the four English language Oscar nominees —
because after all, one of this year’s Best Picture Oscar nominees is a
foreign film.

No stranger to American cinema, Johnson has produced a number of successful
Hollywood films, ranging from “Rain Man” to “Galaxy Quest.” Regardless of his intimate involvement in Hollywood productions, however, Johnson was
outspoken in lamenting the lack of this year’s “Being John Malkovich” or
American Beauty,” and praised instead the numerous foreign films that
appear more than capable of filling in the gaps.

The nearly 300 members of the Academy’s foreign film screening committee
began, in late December of 2000, to sift through innumerable hopefuls from
several continents. Screening offerings from 46 different countries, the
committee was hard pressed to distill the wide variety of quality films
down to a mere five. In the end Ang Lee‘s Taiwanese production “Crouching
Tiger, Hidden Dragon
” made the cut, along with Alejandro Innaritu‘s
Amores Perros” (Mexico), Dominique Deruddere‘s “Everybody Famous” (Belgium), Jan Hrebejk‘s “Divided We Fall” (Czech Republic) and Agnes Jaoui‘s “The Taste of Others” (France).

While Pedro Almovador‘s “All About My Mother” was last year’s sure bet in the Foreign Language category, the predicted winner for 2001 is undoubtedly
Lee’s martial arts epic — a film that has managed to straddle both the
art house and multiplex markets. Despite the Academy’s obvious favorite,
however, all five selections have acquired Stateside distributors, an
advantage several of last year’s nominees have yet to receive. “Amores
Perros” is due out next week from Lions Gate, while Sony Classics nabbed
“Divided We Fall” for a June release. “The Taste of Others” is currently
screening through Offline Releasing and Miramax, and “Everybody Famous” will be in American theaters this July via Miramax.

The films participating in this year’s symposium represent a broad array
of cultural and cinematic styles: “Amores Perros” is a gritty high-energy
thriller set in the heart of Mexico City; “Divided We Fall” is a World War
Two-era drama; “The Taste of Others” is a contemporary French farce;
“Everybody Famous” is a quirky Belgium meditation of fame and family;
while “Crouching Dragon, Hidden Tiger” takes the Chinese martial arts
genre to poetic new levels.

As narrator, Johnson veered the conversation toward various topics,
ranging from screen-writing methods (both “The Taste of Others” and
“Everybody Famous!” were director-penned) to soundtrack selection. The
latter was a fertile subject, with Lee discussing his collaboration
with cellist Yo Yo Ma, and Innaritu drawing on his experience as a
Mexico City DJ in preparation for his “Amores Perros” soundtrack.
When Johnson later asked the directors to describe their relationship
with their actors, the answers ranged from Jaoui’s complex experience
as a performer in her own film to Ang Lee’s self-proclaimed “love-hate
relationship” with his casts. “All actors are a mountain I must climb,”
he announced, igniting a good-natured debate that brought the two-hour
symposium to a close. [Jessica Hundley]

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