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Oscar study aids

'Gladiator,' 'Brockovich' among nominees on video

The "Erin Brockovich" DVD includes a section of scenes that were cut from the film, which can be watched with or without commentary from director Steven Soderbergh  

March 16, 2001
Web posted at: 9:52 p.m. EST (0252 GMT)

In this story:

'Brockovich': Deletions and Sheryl Crow tunes

'Gladiator': Dynamic commentaries

Also on video ...


(CNN) -- As the Academy Awards approach, it's time for loyal movie fans to study up on films that will be vying for Oscars. And there are several nominees available for viewing on video and DVD, including two top Oscar contenders.

The digitally-enhanced "Gladiator," which brings ancient Rome to the screen, and the Julia Roberts-enhanced "Erin Brockovich," which relives a real-life legal saga, are nominated for best picture Oscars. "Gladiator" leads all Oscar contenders with 12 nods, while "Erin Brockovich" landed five nominations.

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The DVDs of the films offer extra features that give an inside look at how the films were made.

'Brockovich': Deletions and Sheryl Crow tunes

The "Erin Brockovich" DVD delivers a "Spotlight on location" that follows the making of the film, including interviews with director Steven Soderbergh and Roberts.

The DVD also has a section of deleted scenes, which can be watched with or without commentary from Soderbergh. The director edited out over an hour from his first cut, so there's plenty to see here.

Among other things, fans can find out why Soderbergh picked two Sheryl Crow songs for the movie's soundtrack, why they cut a scene showing Brockovich to be dyslexic, and why Brockovich and Roberts, who plays Brockovich, didn't meet until filming was well under way.

"Erin Brockovich" also offers a spoken French version of the film, and a hearing-impaired version in English.

'Gladiator': Dynamic commentaries

Meantime, the "Gladiator" DVD offers its epic in English, with an English closed-caption technology option, and digital surround sound. There are plenty of extras, including:

The "Gladiator" DVD includes a "making of" documentary and an actor's production diary  

  • a revealing commentary version, in which director Ridley Scott, director of photography John Mathieson, and editor Pietro Scalia talk about the creative and decision-making processes, and how they managed to bring to life the gore and splendor of ancient Rome's Colosseum.
  • an HBO "making of ... " documentary
  • The Learning Channel's "The Bloodsport of a Gladiator"
  • 25 minutes of deleted scenes with director's commentary
  • an interview with composer Hans Zimmer on scoring the film
  • the production diary written by actor Spencer Treat Clark
  • a slide show and photo gallery
  • Also on video ...

    But Oscar night will cover more than this. Here are some other Oscar-nominated films available on video:

    - "Almost Famous," Cameron's Crowe's fictionalized recollection of his days as a teenage reporter with Rolling Stone. Kate Hudson and Frances McDormand, who play the women in the main character's life, are contending for the best supporting actress Oscar. The film is also up for best editing and best original screenplay by Crowe.

    - "The Contender," the story of a female senator nominated for vice president whose personal life is dragged through a grueling confirmation process. Joan Allen, in the lead role, is nominated for best actress. Jeff Bridges earned a best supporting actor nod.

    - "The Patriot," a Mel Gibson vehicle that relives the battles of the Revolutionary War with the aid of best cinematography, best sound, and best original score Oscar nominations.

    - "The Perfect Storm," up for best sound and best visual effects, stars George Clooney as the captain of a doomed fishing boat.

    - "U-571," which reaped best sound and best sound effects editing Oscar nods for its World War II submarine suspense tale.

    - "Hollow Man," starring Hollywood everyman Kevin Bacon as a modern-day invisible man. It's up for best visual effects.

    - "The Cell," the special effects bonanza with the standout cast -- Jennifer Lopez, Vincent D'Onofrio and Vince Vaughn -- missed major nominations, but eked out best makeup nod.

    - "Meet the Parents," the family comedy starring Ben Stiller as an overeager fiance and Robert De Niro as the former CIA agent and potential father-in-law. The film's up for best song in Randy Newman's "A Fool In Love."

    - "Dancer in the Dark," the Lars Von Trier neo-musical starring pop singer Bjork, who's up for a best song Oscar for "I've Seen It All." This is available on video and DVD starting Tuesday, March 20.

    - "Wonder Boys," starring Michael Douglas as an aging author and college professor, is up for three Oscars -- best editing, best song (Bob Dylan's "Things Have Changed"), and best screenplay based on other material.

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