2001 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®
This year's ceremony, hosted by Whoopi Goldberg (for her fourth time), was notable as being the longest ever - at 4 hours, 23 minutes. It also marked the first year that the Best Animated Feature Film category was offered.
This was a year of eclectic Best Picture-nominated films:
This was the tenth consecutive year that Miramax had a Best Picture nominee (this year, it was In the Bedroom) - a record for any studio.
For the newly-created category - Best Animated Feature Film, according to the Academy's rules, an 'animated film' had to be at least 70 minutes in length, have a significant amount of major animated characters, and be at least 75% animated. The three nominees this year were
Three of the five Best Picture-nominated films had specifically fanciful elements:
The Best Picture winner was A Beautiful Mind (with eight nominations and four major wins): Best Director (Ron Howard), Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Connelly), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Akiva Goldsman). First time nominee and former child actor/director Ron Howard's case study drama and romance was loosely adapted from Sylvia Nasar's prize-winning biography about a courageous Princeton Univ. math genius experiencing a harrowing struggle with mental illness (schizophrenia). To date, it was the last biopic film to win Best Picture. The story's time frame spanned a period of five decades beginning with 1947. [Howard had made fifteen feature films in his career. Six years earlier, his Best Picture nominee Apollo 13 (1995) was honored by nine nominations - without a corresponding Best Director nomination.] Although its two lead actors (Crowe and Connelly) received Golden Globe awards, only Connelly went home with the Oscar.
With this Best Picture win, DreamWorks became the second studio to win three Best Pictures in a row:
The film with the most nominations (13) this year, director Peter Jackson's fantasy epic about wizards and scorcerers, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, also had four wins (in technical categories basically): Makeup, Cinematography, Visual Effects, and Original Score. The first installment in the film trilogy, based on the best-selling novels of J.R.R. Tolkien was one of the most financially-successful of the year, and the first Best Picture nomination for its studio - New Line (a division of AOL Time Warner). This was also the first nomination for 40 year old New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson.
[The Lord of the Rings became the ninth film ever to receive 13 Oscar nominations or more. Two other films in Academy Awards history have had 14 nominations, and six other films have had 13 nominations. [Three of these nine films did not win Best Picture: Mary Poppins (1964), Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? (1966), and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001).]
No other sci-fi fantasy adventure of this kind, with loads of special effects, has been nominated for Best Picture since Star Wars (1977) (and Lucas' film lost the top award).
Australian director Baz Luhrmann's gaudy, fantasy musical-romance Moulin Rouge (with eight nominations and two wins for Luhrmann's collaborator and wife Catherine Martin in two similar categories: Costume Design and Art Direction) was set in late 19th century Paris and featured a soundtrack with 20th century pop tunes. Nicole Kidman's Best Actress nomination was one of its eight nominations, but Luhrmann was denied a Best Director nomination.
Veteran, 77 year old, five-time maverick nominee/director Robert Altman's upstairs/downstairs murder mystery Gosford Park (with seven nominations and only one win) was set in 1930s Britain (Altman's first in this satirized Masterpiece Theatre-Merchant Ivory genre) at a country estate. It displayed his signature naturalistic, sprawling style (with 23 lead characters and as many plot strands all extraordinarily knitted together) and an all-star and talented British cast. Its only win was for Best Original Screenplay (Julian Fellowes). [It was Altman's first Best Picture AND Best Director nomination since Nashville (1975). This was Altman's fifth unsuccessful Best Director nomination - he was also nominated as Best Director for M*A*S*H (1970), The Player (1992), and Short Cuts (1993).]
First-time writer/producer/director Todd Field's low-budget, emotionally-powerful and honest, laconic-paced family drama In the Bedroom (with five nominations - three for its actors - and no wins) lost in all categories. Usually, bleak dramas of this sort were only nominated in the various acting categories in recent years (i.e., Leaving Las Vegas (1995), Requiem for a Dream (2000)), and not for Best Picture.
Among the other major film nominees were the following:
Three of the directors of the five nominated Best Picture films were included in the list of Best Director nominees. Two of the five directors who had Best Picture nominations were conspicuously denied Best Director nominations:
In their places were directing nominations for two three-time nominees who had never won a Best Director Oscar: 56 year old eccentric director David Lynch for the twisty, surreal, neo-noir, nightmarish love story Mulholland Drive (with one nomination and no wins), and 64 year old Ridley Scott for Black Hawk Down (with four nominations and two wins), an intense and brutal war film and graphic recreation of America's 1993 involvement and botched mission in the E. African city of Mogadishu, Somalia.
Three of the four Oscar winners in the four major acting categories were first-time nominees. And this was an historic year - the top acting honors went to two African-Americans, the first time ever in Academy history.
The Best Actor winner was Denzel Washington (with his fifth nomination and second win) as a corrupt, rakish, 13-year veteran cop of a narcotics squad, a hateful but charismatic Detective Sergeant Alonzo Harris in director Antoine Fuqua's police drama/thriller Training Day (with two nominations and one win).
In the Best Actor category, it was the first time that two African-American actors were nominated for Best Actor in the same year. The other African-American nominee was Will Smith (with his first nomination), as legendary boxer and former heavy-weight champ Muhammad Ali (from 1964-1974) in director Michael Mann's sports bio-drama Ali.
The other three Best Actor nominees were:
There were two veteran Oscar nominees and three first-timers in the Best Actress category. In a monumental, career-altering victory, 35 year old Halle Berry (with her first nomination) became the first black actress to win a Best Actress Academy Award in AMPAS' 74 year history! She portrayed African-American Leticia Musgrove, an executed killer's (Sean Combs) grief-stricken widow in a town poisoned with Southern racism in director Marc Forster's racially-charged romance Monster's Ball (with two nominations and one win). (The last Best Actress nomination for a black actress was Angela Bassett for What's Love Got to Do With It? (1993).)
The other Best Actress nominees were:
Note: The acting nominations of the trio of Smith, Washington and Berry marked the third time that three African-American actors have been nominated for acting roles. (This also happened in 1972 and in 1985). However, it must be noted that this was only the second time that three African-American performers have been nominated in the top acting categories. (In 1972 in the Best Actress and Best Actor categories, Diana Ross was nominated for Lady Sings the Blues (1972), and Paul Winfield and Cicely Tyson for Sounder (1972). None of them won.)
The Best Supporting Actor and Actress categories each had a first-time nominee as the winner. Surprise winner 52 year-old British actor Jim Broadbent (with his first nomination) won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar as Iris Murdoch's doting, clumsy, affectionate and devoted husband John Bayley in Iris. (Broadbent also starred in un-nominated roles in both Moulin Rouge and Bridget Jones's Diary.)
The other nominees in the Best Supporting Actor category included two other British performers:
In the Best Supporting Actress category, the category's only first-time nominee was also the winner. The Oscar was presented to 31 year-old Golden Globe winner Jennifer Connelly (with her first nomination after two decades and 23 films in her career) as Nash's beautiful former student and loyal, stalwart, devoted, and long-suffering wife Alicia in A Beautiful Mind. Two other Best Supporting Actress nominees were co-stars in Altman's comedy of class manners ensemble film, Gosford Park. (As a footnote to this pair of nominations for an Altman film, it also happened for his film Nashville (1975), when Ronee Blakley and Lily Tomlin were honored with competing nominations.)
The four other Best Supporting Actress nominees were:
This year's Honorary Award was presented to Sidney Poitier, "in recognition of his remarkable accomplishments as an artist and as a human being." He was the first male actor of color who won the Best Actor Oscar for Lilies of the Field (1963) - his sole Oscar win. He was also nominated as Best Actor for The Defiant Ones (1958), although he had appeared in lots of great films including The Blackboard Jungle (1955), A Raisin in the Sun (1961), To Sir With Love (1967), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), and In the Heat of the Night (1967).
Another Honorary Award was given to Robert Redford, "Actor, Director, Producer. Creator of Sundance, inspiration to independent and innovative filmmakers everywhere." In his career, he had been nominated four times (with one win): once as Best Actor for The Sting (1973), twice as Best Director for Best Picture-winning Ordinary People (1980) (with his sole Oscar win) and Quiz Show (1994), and also Best Picture for the latter film. He had also appeared in many memorable roles in films such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), The Candidate (1972), All the President's Men (1977), Out of Africa (1985), Indecent Proposal (1993), and served as director for A River Runs Through It (1992) and The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000).
Oscar Snubs and Omissions:
Black Hawk Down (with four nominations and two wins) and Mulholland Drive were favored for Best Picture nominations, but didn't receive them. Other films without major film nominations included Darabont's failing The Majestic and Steven Spielberg's A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (with 29 year old Jude Law). The director of Best Picture-nominee Moulin Rouge, Baz Luhrmann, was surprisingly left out of the Best Director race, as was actor and leading man Ewan McGregor as ambitious but poor British poet/writer Christian in the romantic musical opposite love interest Nicole Kidman as Moulin Rouge courtesan Satine. One of the most successful films of the year, Chris Columbus' Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, had only three nominations (Art Direction, Costume Design, and Score) and no wins.
Billy Bob Thornton was not deservedly nominated for his appearances in three films: as Hank, an emotionally-tortured Georgia Death Row prison guard in the melodramatic Monster's Ball, as a costume-changing, hypochondriac bank robber (one of the "Sleepover Bandits") Terry Collins in Barry Levinson's Bandits, and as humble, unassuming (but scheming) barber Ed Crane in the Coen brothers' beautifully filmed black and white noir The Man Who Wasn't There.
Golden Globe winner Gene Hackman was also overlooked for his role as the partly sinister, shifty, high-living patriarch Royal Tenenbaum in Wes Anderson's comedy-drama The Royal Tenenbaums (with only one nomination) . Tovah Feldshuh was overlooked as Scarsdale Jewish matron Judy Stein with a lesbian daughter in Kissing Jessica Stein. And Steve Buscemi should have received a supporting nod for his role as nerdy, misfit, socially-inept record collector Seymour, as should have Illeana Douglas as the high school art instructor named Roberta, in Terry Zwigoff's Ghost World, but the film did get a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination. And if 80 year old Carl Reiner had been nominated for Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's Eleven, it would have been his first nomination.
Three Best Actress nominations were clearly left on the cutting room floor:
Three-time nominee Michelle Pfeiffer was ignored for her role as lawyer Rita Harrison who assumed Sean Penn's case in I Am Sam. [Pfeiffer has two Best Actress nominations, for The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989) and Love Field (1992), and one Best Supporting Actress nomination for Dangerous Liaisons (1988).] And Thora Birch in Ghost World and Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde were likewise neglected in their comedic roles. Ghost World received only one nomination - for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Both Richard Linklater's innovatively-animated experimental film Waking Life, and Hironobu Sakaguchi's sci-fi Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, the first feature-length motion picture to use CGI for its characters, were un-nominated in the newly-created category Best Animated Feature Film. (And there were only three nominees: Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Monsters, Inc., and the winner Shrek).
Also, writer/director Christopher Nolan's clever, highly inventive, Mobius strip told-in-reverse noir Memento (2000) was mostly forgotten (as was Guy Pearce as the tattooed, short-term amnesiac Leonard Shelby) - it had only two unrewarded nominations for Film Editing and Original Screenplay. Also omitted was Life as a House (and 20 year old Hayden Christensen's supporting role as the troubled and hateful estranged son Sam), director Lasse Hallstrom's The Shipping News with Kevin Spacey as Quoyle in Newfoundland, Cameron Crowe's Vanilla Sky (and Cameron Diaz' role as Julie Gianni, Tom Cruise's jealous ex-lover when he falls for Penelope Cruz), the Australian film Lantana (and Anthony LaPaglia's performance as police detective Leon Zat, and Kerry Armstrong's role as his emotionally-starved wife), and director/writer John Cameron Mitchell's gleefully-unusual, trans-gendered rock opera Hedwig and the Angry Inch (with no nominations).
Oscar-nominated Nicole Kidman's other film - director Alejandro Amenabar's creepy and classic ghost story titled The Others, was devoid of nominations. [Academy rules prohibited actors/actresses from receiving more than one nomination per category, so Kidman's superior work in The Others was edged out by the more recent Moulin Rouge.]