2000 Academy Awards®
Winners and History
Introduction, 1927/8-39, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s
Academy Awards Summaries
"Best Picture" Oscar®, "Best Director" Oscar®, "Best Actor" Oscar®, "Best Supporting Actor" Oscar®,
"Best Actress" Oscar®, "Best Supporting Actress" Oscar®, "Best Screenplay/Writer" Oscar®
"GLADIATOR," "Chocolat," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Erin Brockovich," "Traffic"
RUSSELL CROWE in "Gladiator," Javier Bardem in "Before Night Falls," Tom Hanks in "Cast Away," Ed Harris in "Pollock," Geoffrey Rush in "Quills"
JULIA ROBERTS in "Erin Brockovich," Joan Allen in "The Contender," Juliette Binoche in "Chocolat," Ellen Burstyn in "Requiem for a Dream," Laura Linney in "You Can Count On Me"
BENICIO DEL TORO in "Traffic," Jeff Bridges in "The Contender," Willem Dafoe in "Shadow of the Vampire," Albert Finney in "Erin Brockovich," Joaquin Phoenix in "Gladiator"
MARCIA GAY HARDEN in "Pollock," Judi Dench in "Chocolat," Kate Hudson in "Almost Famous," Frances McDormand in "Almost Famous," Julie Walters in "Billy Elliot"
STEVEN SODERBERGH for "Traffic," Stephen Daldry for "Billy Elliot," Ang Lee for "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," Steven Soderbergh for "Erin Brockovich," Ridley Scott for "Gladiator"
This year's Best Picture nominees were from an eclectic, diverse and varied group of films: two fighting epics (one foreign, one ancient), two dramas about battles (America's failed drug war and a legal struggle against a power company), and a simple, comic fable. Three of the five Best Picture nominees prominently featured women. The Oscar awards were spread somewhat evenly among the Best Picture nominees, except for Chocolat.
The big winner in 2000 was director Ridley Scott's spectacular, big budget (over $200 million) sword-and-sandal Roman Empire epic set in 180 A.D., Gladiator - a basic tale of good vs. evil, betrayal, and revenge - about an outcast Roman general (and single-minded rebel-hero) seeking vengeance for betrayal and his family's death. The spectacle of the Roman Colosseum's gladiatorial battles and contests was balanced with royal intrigue involving the resentful heir to the Roman throne. (Although greatly enhanced with CGI-digital effects, it revived the memory of dramatic historic-epic films and 'sword-and-sandal' spectaculars of the 50s, such as Quo Vadis? (1951), Ben-Hur (1959) and Spartacus (1960).)
The film received twelve nominations and won five awards: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound, and Best Costume Design. DreamWorks Studios boasted back-to-back wins for Best Picture - it also won the previous year with American Beauty (1999).
Its nominations included the major and minor categories of Best Director, Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Score, Best Visual Effects, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Art Direction, Best Sound, and Best Costumes. This marked the first time in 51 years -- since 1949 (the year that All the King's Men (1949) had seven nominations and three wins: Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actress) that the Best Picture winner didn't also win an additional Oscar for Best Director or for Best Screenplay.
The other Best Picture nominees included the following:
- Ang Lee's Mandarin-language martial-arts film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (or Wo hu zang long) (with ten nominations and four wins), was the biggest-earning foreign film of all time (at $130 million), and the most-nominated foreign language film ever. The film's four wins tied it with Fanny & Alexander (1982, Swed.) as the Foreign Language film with the most wins. The balletic martial-arts fantasy and poignant romance was about two fellow warriors in feudal China in pursuit of a stolen magical jade sword and a fugitive. It won Best Foreign-Language film (for Taiwan), Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, and Best Score. It was only the seventh foreign-language film ever nominated for Best Picture in Academy Awards history, and it was, to date, the foreign-language film (nominated for Best Picture) with the greatest number of Academy Awards nominations (10). It was also the first martial arts film to be nominated for Best Picture. [Dual nominations in the Best Foreign Language and Best Picture categories have only happened twice before: Z (1969) and Life is Beautiful (1998). The two previous films won in the Best Foreign-Language Film category, as did this year's nominee.]
- Best Director-winning Steven Soderbergh's innovative and dazzling Traffic (with five nominations and four wins), a probing, multi-layered story line depicting America's losing fight against the drug trade. The independent film won Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing [Note: to date, it was the last Best Picture nominee to have been based on a TV movie or mini-series (UK's Channel 4 TV series Traffik))
- Best Director-nominated Steven Soderbergh's Erin Brockovich (with five nominations and one win), a David vs. Goliath tale based on a true story about the title character - a working-class California woman battling corporate malfeasance at PG&E (for its coverup and use of the polluting chemical chromium-6 that contaminated the water supply of the nearby town Hinkley, California) and eventually winning a direct-action law suit. Julia Roberts' win for Best Actress was Erin Brockovich's sole Oscar; actor/director Danny DeVito received his sole career Oscar nomination for co-producing Erin Brockovich
- Miramax Studios' and Swedish-born director Lasse Hallstrom's Chocolat (with five nominations and no wins), an adaptation of Joanne Harris's best-selling novel that featured a multi-national cast
Soderbergh competed against himself for Best Picture (and Best Director) honors for two films with five Best Picture nominations each. Steven Soderbergh received two Best Director nominations, for Erin Brockovich and Traffic - and received the Best Director Oscar (his first) for Traffic. Interweaving storylines and trademark editing techniques within the film about the drug war played a role in his win. (Between 1950 and 1974, Academy rules prevented two directing nominations for one individual in the same year. In 1974 Francis Ford Coppola had two films in the Best Picture category, The Conversation and The Godfather Part II and won Best Director for the latter.) The effect of having two nominations didn't cancel him out. Previously, Soderbergh also received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay for sex, lies, and videotape (1989).
[Soderbergh is only the third in history -- to receive two Best Director nominations in the same year. The honor of receiving two directorship nominations had also occurred for Michael Curtiz (who lost for both), for Angels with Dirty Faces (1938) and Four Daughters (1938), and for Clarence Brown, for Romance (1929/30) and Anna Christie (1929/30).]
Of the five Best Picture nominees, only Chocolat's Swedish-born director Lasse Hallstrom did not receive a Best Director nomination. (Chocolat was Hallstrom's follow-up film to The Cider House Rules (1999)). And Best Director nominee Stephen Daldry's film (his first), Billy Elliot (with a total of only three nominations) was overlooked in the Best Picture category.
Soderbergh's Best Director challengers included the following:
- Ang Lee for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (with his nomination, Ang Lee became the third non-white director ever nominated - the others occurred in 1965 and 1991)
- British stage director Stephen Daldry for his debut British film Billy Elliot, about a young boy from a poor English coal mining family in the mid 1980s (during a disruptive miners' strike) who rejected boxing for ballet
- Britisher and two-time nominee Ridley Scott for Gladiator. Scott was the only director among the Best Director nominees who had a previous nomination, for Thelma & Louise (1991).
In the competition for Best Actor and Best Actress, the ten performers ranged from box-office superstars (with numerous nominations and Oscars) to virtual unknowns. New Zealand-born Russell Crowe was the Best Actor Oscar winner (his second nomination in a row and first win) in Gladiator, as courageous, brawny and favored General Maximus Decimus Meridius (also known as "The Spaniard" when he becomes a fearless gladiator for the Roman Colosseum), who is resented by the Emperor's treacherous son and exiled. [Crowe's first nomination was for Best Actor for his role as a tobacco industry whistle-blower in The Insider (1999).]
The other Best Actor nominees were:
- Tom Hanks (with his fifth nomination and two past Best Actor wins for Philadelphia (1993) and Forrest Gump (1994)) as sole Fed Express plane survivor Chuck Noland in Robert Zemeckis' Cast Away, a man stranded for four years on a Pacific island, a la Robinson Crusoe, with a volleyball dubbed Wilson as his only companion. [If Hanks had won the Oscar this year, he would have become the first male actor to win three Best Actor trophies. Previously, Hanks lost the Best Actor Oscar race with his nominations for Big (1988) and Saving Private Ryan (1998).]
- Spanish actor Javier Bardem (with his first nomination), who played gay, exiled Cuban poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas, who smuggled his prose and himself out of Cuba to avoid Castro's imprisonment in director Julian ("Basquiat") Schnabel's Before Night Falls. (The film was based upon the poet's posthumous 1993 autobiographical memoirs)
- Ed Harris (his third nomination after two Best Supporting Actor nominations for Apollo 13 (1995) and The Truman Show (1998)) as the drinking, brawling American abstract expressionist artist-painter Jackson Pollock in Pollock (Harris' own directorial debut film!)
- Australian actor Geoffrey Rush (his third nomination with one past win) as the infamous, controversial, impious late 18th century artist and French novelist Marquis de Sade, a tortured Charenton Asylum for the Insane patient in director Philip Kaufman's Quills (adapted by Doug Wright from his 1995 play). Rush had won Best Actor for Shine (1996) and was Best Supporting Actor-nominated for Shakespeare in Love (1998).
Best Actress nominees included three single mothers and one drugged out widow.
Thirty-three year-old box office queen Julia Roberts (with her third nomination) received her first Oscar for her role as the real-life Erin Brockovich - a twice-divorced, unemployed, cleavage-enhanced mother of three, and a self-righteous legal researcher who becomes a badgering, environmental activist against a major California utility company. Roberts had a previous Best Supporting Actress nomination for Steel Magnolias (1989) and a Best Actress nomination the next year for Pretty Woman (1990).
The other Best Actress nominees included:
- Laura Linney (with her first nomination) as upstate New York single mother Sammy Prescott, a loyal sister to her wayward, drifter brother in the small, independent-style film You Can Count on Me
- Ellen Burstyn (with her sixth nomination and one past Oscar win), as Sara Goldfarb, a retired, lonely, TV-addicted mother/widow in another independent film, Darren Aronofsky's powerful drama about drug addiction (diet pills and heroin) Requiem for a Dream. Burstyn had previously won Best Actress for Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974).
- Juliette Binoche (with her second nomination and one past win) as single mother Vianne Rocher, the mysterious and beautiful owner of a sinfully-rich chocolate/pastry shop who charms and mystifies Lansquenet, a small and conservative French town in the late 50s in Chocolat. Binoche's previous Oscar win was Best Supporting Actress for The English Patient (1996).
- Joan Allen (her third nomination after two Best Supporting Actress nominations for Nixon (1995) and The Crucible (1996)) for her performance as Senator Laine Hanson - the first female vice presidential appointee who comes under political scrutiny by Republican congressmen (led by a vicious Gary Oldman) for alleged sexual misconduct during her college days, in director Rod Lurie's political thriller The Contender
Both Oscar winners in the supporting actor and actress categories were first-time nominees.
The winner in the Best Supporting Actor category was Puerto Rican Benicio Del Toro (with his first nomination) as conflicted, principled Mexican (Tijuana) policeman Javier Rodriguez in Traffic. [Del Toro joins Robert De Niro as one of the few actors honored for an almost entirely foreign-language performance in an American film - a third of the film was in Spanish. De Niro won for The Godfather: Part II (1974), a part that was mostly in Italian/Sicilian.]
The other Best Supporting Actor nominees included:
- Jeff Bridges (with his fourth nomination) as jovial, manipulative and astute Democratic President Jackson Evans who appoints Allen as a replacement for his late vice president in The Contender. Bridges' previous nominations included two Best Supporting Actor nominations for The Last Picture Show (1971) and Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974), and a Best Actor nomination for Starman (1984))
- Willem Dafoe (with his second nomination - his first was for Best Supporting Actor for Platoon (1986)) as Max Schreck, a sinister actor who will act as the vampire in German director F. W. Murnau's legendary, expressionistic horror classic Nosferatu (1922) in director Elias Merhige's thriller Shadow of the Vampire
- Albert Finney (with his fifth nomination, after four unsuccessful Best Actor nominations) as Ed Masry - a gruff, but patient and grandfatherly Los Angeles trial lawyer in the small firm of Masry and Vitito in Erin Brockovich. Finney's previous nominations were four Best Actor nominations for Tom Jones (1963), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), The Dresser (1983), and Under the Volcano (1984)
- Joaquin Phoenix (with his first nomination) as Commodus - the aging Emperor Marcus Aurelius' (Richard Harris) scheming, arrogant son and evil heir in Gladiator
In a surprise upset, Marcia Gay Harden (with her first nomination) won the Best Supporting Actress award as Lee Krasner, the nasal Brooklyn-accented, long-suffering wife/painter of the alcoholic title character in Ed Harris' independent film Pollock. [Talk of the supposed "M"-named Supporting-Actress curse surfaced again with Harden's win - three other Best Supporting Actress winners with M names (Mira Sorvino, Marisa Tomei, and Mercedes Ruehl) have all but disappeared from quality films.]
Other nominees for Best Supporting Actress included:
- Judi Dench (with her third nomination and one past win) as Armande Voizin, a cranky and stubborn woman who seeks a reunion with her grandson (and rents her dusty, unused pastry shop to Binoche) in Chocolat. Dench was previously nominated as Best Actress for Mrs. Brown (1997), and received the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Shakespeare in Love (1998).
- Kate Hudson (with her first nomination) as free-spirited, curly-haired "band-aid" 70s rock groupie Penny Lane for a band named Stillwater in Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous. [If Kate Hudson had won, she would have joined a very small and elite group of actors in families with multiple Oscar winners. Her mother, Goldie Hawn, won Best Supporting Actress for Cactus Flower (1969) and was nominated as Best Actress for Private Benjamin (1980). Among other Oscar families, there were the Barrymores (Lionel and Ethel) and the Hustons (John and Anjelica).]
- Frances McDormand (with her third nomination and one past win) as overprotective, single parent Elaine Miller - the mother of 15 year old William, an early 70s teenage rock journalist in Almost Famous. McDormand had previously been nominated as Best Supporting Actress for Mississippi Burning (1988) and she won a Best Actress Oscar for Fargo (1996).
- Julie Walters (with her second nomination after a Best Actress nomination for Educating Rita (1983)) as working-class dance prodigy Billy Elliot's stern but understanding dance teacher Mrs. Wilkinson in Billy Elliot.
Jack Cardiff was one of two men presented with an Honorary Academy Award this year. The famed cinematographer-director began his work under directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, and won his sole Oscar for Black Narcissus (1947), and earned two more cinematography nominations for War and Peace (1956) and Fanny (1961). His other notable cinematographic work included The Red Shoes (1948), The Black Rose (1950), The African Queen (1951), The Barefoot Contessa (1954), Girl on a Motorcycle (1968), Death on the Nile (1978), Ghost Story (1981), and Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985). He was also an accomplished director, earning his sole directorial Oscar nomination for Sons and Lovers (1960).
Also earning an Honorary Award was screenwriter Ernest Lehman, who was honored with four Oscar screenplay nominations for Sabrina (1954), North by Northwest (1959), West Side Story (1961), and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966). He was also nominated twice as the producer of a Best Picture nominee for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) and Hello, Dolly! (1969). Other notable screenplays by Lehman included: The King and I (1956), Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), Sweet Smell of Success (1957), and The Sound of Music (1965).
Oscar Snubs and Omissions:
There were numerous omissions and overlooked actors/actresses:
- Michael Douglas as Robert Wakefield, the new US drug czar and head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and father of a teenaged drug-abusing daughter in Traffic, and for his role as Pittsburgh college professor Grady Tripp in Curtis Hanson's Wonder Boys
- Christian Bale as investment banker/serial killer Patrick Bateman in Mary Harron's American Psycho (with no nominations)
- Icelandic pop singer Bjork as almost-blind, Czechoslovakian immigrant, factory worker Selma who escapes her life in Washington State by dreaming of fantastic musical numbers in Lars von Trier's Dancer in the Dark (with only one nomination for Best Original Song)
- Sean Connery as the reclusive novelist William Forrester and Rob Brown as 16 year-old aspiring writer Jamal Wallace in Gus Van Sant's Finding Forrester
- Denzel Washington as black football coach Herman Boone in Remember the Titans
- Kerry Washington as Lanisha, a struggling Bronx teenager in Our Song
- a Best Picture nomination and a nod to Cameron Crowe as Best Director of Almost Famous (Crowe won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay)
- Gary Oldman as Republican congressman Shelly Runyon in The Contender
- Marc Ruffalo for his role as Laura Linney's troubled brother Terry in You Can Count on Me
- Gillian Anderson as spurned New York socialite Lily Bart in director Terence Davies' The House of Mirth (with no nominations), an adaptation of Edith Wharton's 1905 novel
- Michelle Yeoh (as female warrior Yu Shu Lien), Chow Yun Fat (as veteran fighter Li Mu Bai), and Cheng Pei-pei (as bitter, heartless and treacherous arch-criminal Jade Fox) in the action martial arts epic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
- Maggie Cheung as housewife Su Li-zhen in director Wong Kar-Wai's quiet dramatic romance In the Mood for Love (2000, HK) (aka Fa yeung nin wa)
- Elaine May as dim-witted cousin May Sloan in Woody Allen's Small Time Crooks
- Bruce Greenwood as a convincing JFK during the Cuban Missile Crisis in Thirteen Days
- Jim Broadbent as lyricist Sir William Gilbert (of Gilbert and Sullivan) in Topsy-Turvy
Crouching Tiger was also slighted by not receiving a Best Visual Effects nomination. And High Fidelity lacked nominations in any of the major categories. Christopher Guest's mockumentary Best in Show about championship dog breeding/training was also completely ignored, as was one of the most popular plot-twisting films of all time, Christopher Nolan's breakout directorial effort Memento, with Guy Pearce's pivotal role as traumatized, tattooed amnesiac Leonard.
The remarkable Chicken Run (2000), about an imprisoned group of egg-laying chickens plotting an escape - the first feature film from the British clay-animation studio Aardman Animations (famous for the Wallace and Gromit series) and DreamWorks, was denied a Best Picture nomination. This led to the creation of a new Oscar category beginning in 2001: Best Animated Feature Film.