2000 Academy Awards®
Winners and History
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Academy Awards History (By Decade):
Introduction, 1927/8-39, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s
Academy Awards Summaries
Winners Charts:
"Best Picture" Oscar®, "Best Director" Oscar®, "Best Actor" Oscar®, "Best Supporting Actor" Oscar®,
"Best Actress" Oscar®, "Best Supporting Actress" Oscar®, "Best Screenplay/Writer" Oscar®


2000

Picture:
"GLADIATOR," "Chocolat," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Erin Brockovich," "Traffic"
Actor:
RUSSELL CROWE in "Gladiator," Javier Bardem in "Before Night Falls," Tom Hanks in "Cast Away," Ed Harris in "Pollock," Geoffrey Rush in "Quills"
Actress:
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"
Supporting Actor:
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"
Supporting Actress:
MARCIA GAY HARDEN in "Pollock," Judi Dench in "Chocolat," Kate Hudson in "Almost Famous," Frances McDormand in "Almost Famous," Julie Walters in "Billy Elliot"
Director:
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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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.

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.



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