Oscars by numbers

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 Benicio, Marcia, Julia and Russell

THIS year’s Academy Awards brought one or two surprises. Marcia Gay Harden, a little-known actress in a little-seen film, won the best-supporting-actress Oscar for her portrayal of Lee Krasner as artist and muse in “Pollock”. Steven Soderbergh won the best-director prize for “Traffic”—a close call that could have gone another way. Otherwise the honour roll was much as expected: Russell Crowe won the best-actor award for his starring role in “Gladiator”, which was also judged best picture. Julia Roberts won best actress for “Erin Brockovich” and Benicio del Toro won best supporting actor for “Traffic”.

This year’s results fit into a well-established pattern—one which is surveyed by Emanuel Levy, a film critic for Variety, in his new book “Oscar Fever: The History and Politics of the Academy Awards” (Continuum; $29.95 and £19.99).

Since the awards started in 1927, nearly 40% of all best-picture winners have come from the drama category. And there were some outstanding dramas in the running this year, including Mr Soderbergh’s “Traffic” and “Erin Brockovich”. That the gong should have gone to the sword-and-sandal epic “Gladiator” is not, however, unheard of. When big, epics tend to be very big. The historical film—a minority genre but one which, as Mr Levy’s chart reveals, has produced a proportionally high number of winners—was well exemplified this year by “Gladiator”. The film was nominated for no fewer than 12 awards—an impressive feat which puts it on a par with its worthy and popular precursor, “Ben Hur” (1959)—and took away a respectable five Oscars on the night.

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Julio Marchi ©

Publisher / Editor at BS News & Media Services
A free thinker, not labelled as anything, not associated with any party, not part of any group or engaged with any religion... A simple guy tired of the nowadays bullshit who decided to promote more serious debates about what is really happening hoping to bring back intelligence to the superficial and shallow news & headlines that unfortunately took over the existing media scene.
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