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  Transcripts

Special Event

Who Wants to be an Oscar Winner?

Aired February 15, 2000 - 8:30 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JIM MORET, CNN ANCHOR: Last year, Shakesperean heroine Gwyneth Paltrow from New York and beautiful film-maker Roberto Benini from Italy won the Academy Award. This year, will it be Kevin Spacey for "American Beauty" or Hilary Swank for "Boys Don't Cry."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REGIS PHILPIN: Hi, I am Regis Philbin. Who wants to be an Oscar winner? Stay tuned and find out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAURIN SYDNEY, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everybody. I'm Laurin Sydney in New York. And welcome to our Academy Award nomination special, "Who Wants to be an Oscar Winner?"

Here are some of the contestants: Tom Cruise, Jim Carrey, Annette Bening, Kevin Spacey, Denzel Washington. Any of them could be a nominee this year. And we will know who made the cut in just a couple of minutes, when the nominees are announced from Academy headquarters in Beverly Hills.

Jim Moret is standing by live for the big announcement. Jim?

MORET: Laurin, this is one of those rare days in Hollywood where people are actually up before sunrise. Sean (ph), if you could just pan over, we are going to show you some of the 260 media outlets from all over the world that are credentialled, all of us standing by for the announcement that is just a few minutes away. It actually comes up at 8:38 precisely. It has got the precision of a rocket launch. And obviously, around Hollywood at this moment, fingers are crossed, people are biting their nails, glued to their television sets, anxiously awaiting the announcement. And this year, there are no clear-cut favorites.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): In just a few moments, the Oscar race officially begins. Among the Best Picture hopefuls, true stories are the focus of Norman Jewison's "The Hurricane" and Michael Mann's "The Insider."

First-time film director Sam Mendes bringing the dark beauty of "American Beauty" to the silver screen.

KEVIN SPACEY, ACTOR: If it makes money and gets recognized, then maybe they will make more movies like it.

MORET: Neil Jordan's "End of the Affair" might be an affair to remember. Frank Darabont's "The Green Mile" missed out at the Golden Globe's. Academy Award winning director Anthony Minghella is at the helm of "The Talented Mr. Ripley," the critically-acclaimed "Topsy- Turvy" and "Being John Malkovich" are also getting pre-nominations buzz.

For Best Actress, Golden Globe winner Hilary Swank is a likely candidate.

HILARY SAWNK, ACTRESS: When people talk about the future and Oscar talk and all that. I am enjoying this right now, and I don't want to go into the future, I want to be right here.

MORET: The future could be bright for "American Beauty"'s Annette Bening and "Tumbleweed"'s Janet McTeer. Julianne Moore is more likely than ever, having appeared in five notable films this year.

Other contenders: Reese Witherspoon in "Election"; Meryl Streep in "Music of the Heart"; and Sigorney Weaver in "Map of the World."

Among the actors, previous supporting actor winner Kevin Spacey could return for his lead in "American Beauty." Denzel Washington fights for a spot on the red carpet with his role in "The Hurricane." Jim Carrey as comedian Andy Kaufman faces potential competition from Richard Farnsworth in "The Strait Story" and Matt Damon in "The Talented Mr. Ripley."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY")

MATT DAMON, ACTOR: It is Tom, Tom Ripley.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORET: Russell Crowe brings down the tobacco industry in "The Insider." And Tom Hanks could post for his role in "The Green Mile."

ROBERT OSBORNE, TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES: If someone like Tom Hanks is liked that goes a long way towards your perception of somebody when it comes to marking the ballot.

MORET: In the supporting category, newcomer Haley Joel Osment has a "Sixth Sense."

HALEY JOEL OSMENT, ACTOR: Watching the Oscars every year and cheering for everyone that wins, it is -- it would be just an amazing thing to be nominated.

MORET: "Magnolia"'s Tom Cruise and Michael Caine in "The Cider House Rules" are no strangers to the Oscar race. "Ripley"'s Jude Law and Michael Clarke Duncan of "The Green Mile" could also get nods. So could veteran actor Christopher Plummer, who plays veteran journalist Mike Wallace in "The Insider."

CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER, ACTOR: I would be slightly surprised because the part isn't terribly long. But it has made an impact.

MORET: For supporting actress, Golden Globe darling Angelina Jolie is a contender for her role in "Girl, Interrupted."

"Begin John Malkovich" gives both Cameron Diaz and Catherine Keener a shot at Oscar gold. Other likely nominees, Chloe Sevigny of "Boys Don't Cry" and Natalie Portman in "Anywhere But Here."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MORET: We are precisely 4 minutes and 30 seconds away from the announcement, which will be broadcast live around the world. Stand by. Don't go away.

ANNOUNCER: Who holds the record for the most Oscar nominations? Is it: A. Jack Nicholson; B. Meryl Streep; C. Spencer Tracy; or D. Katharine Hepburn. Ask a loved one to help you with your final answer when "Who Wants to be an Oscar Winner" returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: Who holds the record for the most Oscar nominations? If you said: D. Katharine Hepburn, you are an Oscar trivia winner.

SYDNEY: And welcome back to "Who Wants to be an Oscar Winner?" In just a couple of minutes, we will find out who this year's contestants are going to be at the 72nd Annual Academy Awards.

Our man in the morning, Jim Moret is standing by at Academy Headquarters.

Jim, you're still awake.

MORET: Very much awake, because there is less than one minute to go. Over my shoulder, Academy President Bob Rehme and two-time Academy Award winner Dustin Hoffman are just getting final cues right now because they are going to be walking up to the podium.

Give you a little bit of trivia here. Some 244 films are eligible this year for an Academy Award nomination. There are over 6,000 Academy members and winners once the nominations are announced today, that's when the real work begins, as far as all the studios and so far because there will be a blitz, a media blitz, not just securing the nomination, obviously, which can mean millions of dollars at the box office, but actually getting the award, which will be handed out at the end of March.

We're getting the last countdown. Let's go up to the stage now, Academy president Robert Rehme and Dustin Hoffman.

ROBERT REHME, PRESIDENT, A.M.P.A.S.: Good morning. I'm Bob Rehme, president of the Academy. We are here to unveil for the 72nd Annual Academy Awards. But first, I'd like to introduce my co- announcer this morning, please welcome a man with two Oscars on his mantle, Mr. Dustin Hoffman.

(APPLAUSE)

DUSTIN HOFFMAN, ACTOR: Thank you, Bob. Good morning, everyone.

The 1999 nominees for best performance by an actor in a supporting rule are: Michael Caine in "The Cider House Rules; Tom Cruise in "Magnolia"; Michael Clarke Duncan in "The Green Mile; Jude Law in "The Talented Mr. Ripley"; And Haley Joel Osment in "The Sixth Sense." Bob.

REHME: Thank you. For best performance by an actress in a supporting role, the nominees are: Toni Collette in "The Sixth Sense"; Angelina Jolie in "Girl, Interrupted"; Catherine Keener in "Being John Malkovich"; Samantha Morton in "Sweet and Lowdown"; and Chloe Sevigny in "Boys Don't Cry."

HOFFMAN: The 1999 nominees for best performance by an actor in a leading role are: Russell Crowe in "The Insider"; Richard Farnsworth in "A Straight Story"; Sean Penn in "Sweat and Lowdown"; Kevin Spacey in "American Beauty"; and Denzel Washington in "The Hurricane."

REHME: For best performance by an actress in a leading role, the nominees are: Annette Bening in "American Beauty," Janet McTeer in "Tumbleweeds," Julianne Moore in "The End of the Affair," Meryl Streep in "Music of the Heart," and Hilary Swank in "Boys Don't Cry."

HOFFMAN: In the category best achievement in directing: Sam Mendes for "American Beauty," Spike Jonze for "Being John Malkovich," Lasse Hallstrom for "The Cider House Rules," Michael Mann for "The Insider," and M. Night Shyamalan for "The Sixth Sense."

REHME: For best screen play written directly for the screen, the nominees are: "American Beauty," Alan Ball, "Being John Malkovich," Charlie Kaufman, "Magnolia," Paul Thomas Anderson, "The Sixth Sense," M. Night Shyamalan, and "Topsy-Turvey," Mike Leigh.

HOFFMAN: Screenplay based on material previously produced or published: "The Cider House Rules," John Irving, "Election," Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, "The Green Mile," Frank Darabont, "The Insider," Eric Roth and Michael Mann, and "The Talented Mr. Ripley," Anthony Minghella.

REHME: For best foreign language film, we have: "All About My Mother," Spain; "Caravan," Nepal; "East-West," France; "Soloman and Gaenor," United Kingdom; and "Under the Sun," Sweden.

HOFFMAN: And finally, I'm pleased to announce that the films selected as best picture nominees of 1999 are: "American Beauty," Bruce Cohen and Dan Jencks producers; "The Cider House Rules," Richard M. Gladstein producer; "The Green Mile," David Valdes and Frank Darabont producers; "The Insider," Michael Mann and Pieter Jan Brugge producers; and "The Sixth Sense," Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy, and Barry Mendel producers.

REHME: We hope you'll join us for the Oscars when we open the envelopes on Sunday, March 26. See you then. MORET: Well, there you have it. Once again no, clear-cut winner as far as being dominant in any of the categories. However, "American Beauty" up for best picture of the year and for best actor and actress for Annette Bening, and also best achievement in directing.

One notable absence, and every year, really, you do notice who is absent, and that is Jim Carrey -- Jim Carrey's portrayal in -- as his portrayal of comedian Andy Kaufman was overlooked, just as he was overlooked last year with "The Truman Show."

We will be back with, clearly, many of the reactions from this years nomination right after this, so don't go away.

ANNOUNCER: For those of you playing at home, which of these filmmakers won an Oscar for direction? Is it A, George Cukor, B, Orson Welles, C, Alfred Hitchcock, or D, Howard Hawks? Your final answer when "Who Wants to Be an Oscar Winner?" returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: Which filmmaker won the Oscar for directing? If your final answer was, A, George Cukor, you're an Oscar trivia winner.

SYDNEY: Let's go now to our "Who Wants to Be an Oscar Winner?" lifeline where we have Richard Farnsworth, who was nominated for best actor on the telephone.

Richard, our sincerest congratulations to you.

RICHARD FARNSWORTH, ACTOR: Oh, thank you so much, dear.

SYDNEY: I don't know if you know this, but you just made history as being the oldest actor nominated ever in the history of the Academy Awards. Did you know that?

FARNSWORTH: Well, I didn't know. I know that that little boy was nominated. He was 12 and I was sitting with him and I said, we're the youngest and the oldest at this table. But I didn't know I was the oldest ever nominated.

SYDNEY: And when did you -- how did you find out that you were nominated for "Straight Story." Where are you and who are you with? if I could be so nosy.

FARNSWORTH: I live in Lincoln, New Mexico. I'm a rancher down here and I just picked up the phone and somebody said, Dick, you made it, and I'm just thrilled to death.

SYDNEY: Now, you used to be a stunt man, so do you think that we're going to be doing any flips today?

FARNSWORTH: Well, I could still do one I think. No, I don't believe I'll be doing any flips, but I've got an old expression that says "the old blind sow finally picked up an acorn."

(LAUGHTER) And I think it kind of fits me.

SYDNEY: Richard, you were also nominated back in 1978. What are the differences. How does it feel today?

FARNSWORTH: Well, then I didn't even know I was nominated. I was doing a film with Mr. Steve McQueen called "Tom Horn" and somebody announced over the loud speaker that I better renegotiate my contract because I just got nominated for the supporting actor, and it just came as a big surprise to me. I didn't really think I had a chance.

SYDNEY: Well, you're going to be negotiating a lot of contracts in the future. Richard, congratulations, and we're going to see you Sunday Oscar night.

FARNSWORTH: Thank you so much. Good-bye.

SYDNEY: OK, and now to give us their final answers to the question, Did the Academy nominate the right the right people? is Peter Travers of "Rolling Stone" and Lisa Schwarzbaum of "Entertainment Weekly."

OK, Lisa, you have shocked on your face the whole time you were watching the nominees. So tell me, what shocked you most?

LISA SCHWARZBAUM, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY": Well, a couple of things. For one thing, the strong showing of "Cider House Rules," much stronger than I expected, although many people talked about how it was moving up and was doing well. Also, "The Green Mile" nominated for a best picture, which I don't think we quite expected. That was sort of a surprise. And then there were a couple of exclusions, but maybe Peter has some shocks right off on what was in.

SYDNEY: I'm sure he does.

PETER TRAVERS, "ROLLING STONE": But what gets excluded always shocks me, and it tends to be young. I mean, Hilary Swank is nominated and Haley Joel Osment is there. But movies that really try something different like "Being John Malkovich" and get nominated for direction and for Catherine Keener, we don't see the best picture nomination. Why is that? I wonder year after year why they're afraid. There's a lot of traditional movie making in that best picture category.

SCHWARZBAUM: Although, the equivalent would be last year when "Shakespeare In Love" was nominated but the director wasn't, Anthony Minghella. And once again, in fact, Anthony Minghella and "Ripley" in general was left out completely. No Matt Damon, no best movie for...

TRAVERS: No Winona Ryder for "Girl Interrupted."

SCHWARZBAUM: Exactly. So there were those things going on. I know that Jim previously mentioned that Jim Carrey wasn't nominated, which we all look for every year.

TRAVERS: And Lisa's really weeping here because "Toy Story II," her favorite movie, was excluded from the best picture category.

SYDNEY: but, Lisa, you have a chance with "Toy Story III," so let's set that aside for now.

SCHWARZBAUM: Well, yes, and I'm looking forward to that because it still does deserve to be best picture, although I do think that they made some interesting choices. I love the idea that Jude Law was nominated for best supporting actor. Although, again, I'm surprised that Christopher Plummer did not get in there.

SYDNEY: Right.

SCHWARZBAUM: So for everybody who's in one side, you're missing it on the other side. I'm delighted that Samantha Morton was nominated for best supporting actress, since I've been a huge fan of hers. But as a result of, you know, like Sissy Spacek wasn't in for "Straight Story."

TRAVERS: But it's new. I think Meryl Streep has received her 110th nomination for best actress now.

(LAUGHTER)

SCHWARZBAUM: I think that there's an automatic button that you push. You've got to have Merrill Streep in there somewhere just to make sure that we have the establishment represented.

TRAVERS: Wouldn't you have loved to have seen Reese Witherspoon in "Election" or somebody like that come in and fill in that slot?

SCHWARZBAUM: Yes...

TRAVERS: Yes.

SCHWARZBAUM: ... because that was -- you know, I mean, that's a category that can use all the new and interesting talent. I love Merrill Streep, she's wonderful, but this was not exactly her year.

TRAVERS: Is that your final answer?

SCHWARZBAUM: Yes it is, and you're my phone a friend.

SYDNEY: Peter -- Peter, who do you think a shoo-in is? Who should definitely get their dress or tux and write a speech?

TRAVERS: Oh, I was just thinking. I had an image of Denzel Washington in a dress there for a minute, but I'm going to erase that. He...

SYDNEY: That's another movie.

TRAVERS: He's the guy, i think if there is a sure thing here. We see that "Hurricane" didn't get a lot of nominations in the other categories, but I think every feeling they have for this movie is wrapped up in this performance. It's a controversial movie, no one's sure how much is true or not true, but that performance and having some actor who everybody basically says gives an amazing, implosive sort of performance in this movie, I think he's going to the Oscars.

SYDNEY: OK, thank you guys very much.

We're going to go now to another one of our lifelines. We have Annette Bening on the phone, who was just nominated for best actress.

Annette, we have so many things to congratulate you for, so congratulations for them all.

ANNETTE BENING, BEST ACTRESS NOMINEE: Thank you so much.

SYDNEY: How did you find out?

BENING: Well, I was in bed with my husband watching the television.

(LAUGHTER)

SYDNEY: And there was so much critical acclaim to this. How surprised are you? Are you a superstitious actress?

BENING: You know, I can barely hear you, I'm sorry.

SYDNEY: OK, I'm going to repeat this. There was so much critical acclaim to your performance. How superstitious are you to think ahead that you would be nominated for an Oscar for this?

BENING: Well, it's always tricky because everyone starts asking you about it. So, I don't know. I guess I'm fairly -- I've been fairly quiet about it, but since when I'm out in the world or I'm in any place people are always asking me about it. So, it's sort of an unavoidable question (OFF-MIKE).

But it's a thrill. The movie was made for love. All of us read the script and did it because we thought it could be something very special. And the fact that it moved so many people and people enjoyed the movie so much, I'm -- it's now open in Europe and people are enjoying it there, it's an absolute thrill to be a part of something that has meant so much to so many people. And we've become a family, all of us that have worked on the picture together, and we're all just thrilled that people like it, because we all loved it when we made it.

SYDNEY: And how are you going to celebrate, this evening, and have you heard from Kevin Spacey yet?

BENING: No, I haven't heard from Kevin yet, but he's probably doing what I'm doing. He's probably a very busy boy right now.

I suspect that those of us who worked on the picture who are in L.A. might all get together and have a drink, I suppose, but I'll just be having orange juice.

(LAUGHTER)

SYDNEY: Thank you for waking up early, and we're going to see you Sunday night at the Academy Awards. Good luck to you. BENING: Thank you.

SYDNEY: And now we're going to go back to Hollywood and see Jim Moret.

Jim, who do you have, with a very special guest?

MORET: We have Lili Fini Zanuck and Richard Zanuck, who are Oscar winners for producing "Driving Miss Daisy," but more importantly to the moment, you're producing the Oscar telecast for your first time.

Tell me what -- the race really begins now for you. You go back to your office and do what?

RICHARD ZANUCK, OSCAR SHOW PRODUCER: That's right. Well, we go back to our big board of presenters, and now we know who's going to be available that night. I don't know whether they will be willing, but they'll be available to be presenters, and we start pairing people up and then we'll make the telephone calls. Then, of course, we're going to make a lot of congratulatory calls, this morning.

MORET: Now, we know -- we just heard Annette Bening on the telephone -- it will be a big night for Annette Bening and her husband because you already know one winner: Warren Beatty.

R. ZANUCK: Right. He's being given the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award, which is for lifetime achievement.

MORET: You can add some perspective, because you've been on both sides now. You're going to be producing the telecast, but you also know what it's like to be nominated and also to win. Do you think that perspective helps you out in producing?

LILI FINI ZANUCK, OSCAR SHOW PRODUCER: I do. I do in that you have a great appreciation, for example, what everybody's feeling this morning, the fact that it's true that from this morning until March 26th everybody nominated is a winner, and there's a real celebratory feeling in the industry during this period of time. And obviously, we want to create a show that showcases these nominees and in a really wonderful way. So, the nomination become very inspiring at this point.

MORET: And we will see it on March 26th, on Sunday.

Thank you, Lili Fini Zanuck and Richard Zanuck. Thank you very much.

LILI FINI ZANUCK: Thank you.

R. ZANUCK: Thank you very much.

MORET: We'll be back with more of our special on showbiz right after this. Don't go away.

ANNOUNCER: Which of these showbiz families has won the most Oscars? Is it: A. the Fondas; B. the Minelli-Garlands; C. the Hustons; or D. the Douglases. Get your family to help you with the answer, which we'll give you when WHO WANTS TO BE AN OSCAR WINNER returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: Which family has won the most Oscars? If your final answer is c, the Hustons, you're an Oscar trivia winner.

SYDNEY: An now let's give you a rundown on the nominees for the 72nd Annual Academy Awards and see who wants to be an Oscar winner.

In the best picture category: "American Beauty," "The Cider House Rules," "The Green Mile," "The Insider," "The Sixth Sense." Best director: Lass Hallstrom for "The Cider House Rules," Spike Jones for "Being John Malkovich," Michael Mann for "The Insider," "American Beauty's" Sam Mendes, and M. Night Shyamalan for "The Sixth Sense."

Best actor nominees: Russell Crowe for his tobacco whistler, Jeffrey Wigand, in "The Insider"; "The Straight Story's" Richard Fransworth finds himself nominated; Sean Penn got a thumbs up for his "Sweet and Lowdown" work; and Kevin Spacey for "American Beauty" -- it his first best actor nomination, he's a supporting actor Oscar for "The Usual Suspects." Denzel Washington's portrayal of boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter gets a best actor nomination for the fourth time. He also won, has a supporting actor Oscar for "Glory" back in 1989.

Best actress: Annette Bening's frustrated suburban housewife in "American Beauty" puts her in the contest; "Tumbleweeds'" Janet McTeer; Julian Moore for "The End of the Affair"; veteran Meryl Streep shows up for "Music of the Heart"; and newcomer Hilary Swank for her "Boys Don't Cry" performance; Sigourney Weaver for "A Map of the World."

The supporting actor nominees: Michael Cane for "Cider House Rules"; two-time nominee Cruise got a nomination, his third, this time for "Magnolia"; Michael Clarke Duncan for "The Green Mile"; Jude Law landed one for "The Talented Mr. Ripley"; and "The Sixth Sense's" pint-sized Haley Joel Osment is also on the list.

Also from "The Sixth Sense," Toni Collette get the best supporting actress nomination; so does Angelina Jolie for "Girl, Interrupted"; Catherine Kenner for being in "Being John Malkovich"; Samantha Morton's mute role in "Sweet and Lowdown" landed her a nomination.

And now it's time to go to Jim Moret. OK, it's not time to go to Jim Moret, because we are out of time with all of this excitement.

But there is much more all day long on CNN. We will give you all the reaction, all the details, especially on "SHOWBIZ TODAY," and that is 4:30 Eastern Time. We'll see you later. Congratulations to all.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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