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Blame Phil Collins: 'South Park' loses song Oscar to 'Tarzan'

  PHIL COLLINS

While backstage, Phil Collins talks about writing for a musical:
[235k WAV]

Listen to a clip of "You'll Be In My Heart" from the "Tarzan" soundtrack:
[270k MP3] or [405k WAV]

 
 VIDEO
Theatrical preview for "Tarzan"
Windows Media 28K 80K
 

March 26, 2000
Web posted at: 11:11 p.m. EST (0411 GMT)

By Porter Anderson
CNN Interactive Arts Writer

(CNN) -- Observers can be forgiven for thinking that best song nominee "Blame Canada" was handed a stacked deck at the 72nd Academy Awards Sunday night.

Robin Williams led a full production number with Rockette-style Mounties and a company of more than 25 singers, and it was a hit. The song, from the ribald "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut," had been a point of controversy for weeks as fans speculated on how much of the tune's off-color language could make it into the performance.

But all the glitter won no gold for "South Park."

Phil Collins' "You'll Be in My Heart" from the animated "Tarzan" took the prize. Collins gave a low-key performance of the ballad as part of a sequence that delivered all five best song contenders in one part of the show.

Michael Caine had a crowd-pleasing win for best supporting actor, crediting his performance as Dr. Wilbur Larch, an orphanage tender in "The Cider House Rules." In an extended acceptance speech, Caine winked and said to co-producer Richard Fini, "Dick, I wasn't here the last time I won, so give me a bit of extra time."

Caine's previous win was for "Hannah and her Sisters" in 1986. Backstage after accepting his award, Caine said, "The standing ovation threw me. ... To be held in such regard in a town so full of talent is quite something."

Angelina Jolie was named best supporting actress for her work in "Girl, Interrupted," a film based on a true story of mental treatment, despair and struggle.

Jolie made an emotional thank-you speech, appearing in a dark, close-fitting gown. Backstage, she gasped with relief and smiled at reporters when shown a still shot of her acceptance speech. "Look," she chortled, "it really happened!"

Jude Law, a best supporting actor nominee for his work in "The Talented Mr. Ripley," greeted Jolie as soon as she left the stage. Law then was joined by Cate Blanchett in giving the Oscar for best live-action short film to "My Mother Dreams the Satan's Disciples in New York," which Barbara Schock and Tamara Tiehel accepted.

  MICHAEL CAINE

Best supporting actor Michael Caine discusses his fellow nominees: | [280k WAV]

 
  ALSO
Actor bio: Michael Caine
 
 VIDEO
Theatrical preview for "The Cider House Rules"
Windows Media 28K 80K
 

Short works and documentary honors

The Oscar for animated short piece went to filmmaker Alexander Petrov for "The Old Man and the Sea." Susan Hannah Hadary and William A. Whiteford accepted the Oscar for best documentary short subject, "King Gimp."

The Oscar for documentary feature went to "One Day in September." Arthur Cohn, taking his third Academy, accepted the award with Kevin Macdonald.

The awards earlier had been given a well-dressed start, as Lindy Hemming was given the first trophy of the evening, for costume design. This was Hemming's first Oscar and she won it for her work in "Topsy-Turvy."

right

The award for sound design was given to the "The Matrix" sound designers. John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, David Campbell and David Lee accepted the award. This was Rudloff's second Oscar; his first, for "Glory," came in 1989.

Sound quickly gave way to the best makeup award, taken by a boisterous Christine Blundell and Trefor Proud for "Topsy-Turvy." It was the first award for both.

Host Billy Crystal kicked off the evening in a virtual short work of his own, a set-up series of spoofs in which he appeared in Anne Bancroft's "The Graduate" role, Mrs. Robinson; a crowd member in "Spartacus"; a sidekick to Charlie Chaplin ("I see dead people," Crystal said, a reference to "The Sixth Sense"); and in a bathroom-tiled "Psycho" sequence, it was Spacey who turned up on the dry side of the shower curtain.

  ANGELINA JOLIE

Backstage at the Oscars, Angelina Jolie talks about her father, John Voight: | [160k WAV]

 
  ALSO
Actress bio: Angelina Jolie
 
 VIDEO
Theatrical preview for "Girl, Interrupted"
Windows Media 28K 80K
 

Close competition

As the show went to air -- broadcast live by ABC from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles -- there were several tight contests in play.

In one, Annette Bening was pitted against Hilary Swank for the best actress award. Long a Hollywood favorite, Bening's nomination was for her work as a suburbia-crazed housewife in "American Beauty" -- one of the most widely released films of the year. By contrast, newcomer Swank's interpretation of a young woman who dressed as a man was seen primarily in art houses by a relatively small aggregate audience.

In another, actors Kevin Spacey and Denzel Washington were widely thought to be the frontrunners for best actor. Spacey played the frantically insecure father and husband of "American Beauty," a man for whom midlife crisis could become terminal. Washington played the boxer whose ring name is the title of "The Hurricane." A win would make Washington the second African-American to win that Oscar.

Washington and Spacey are former best supporting actor winners. And in this year's competition, they face a sentimental favorite of no small impact -- 79-year-old Richard Farnsworth, nominated for his work in "The Straight Story."

The best picture Oscar seemed to stand firmly between "American Beauty" and "The Cider House Rules" -- the latter positioned, in the opinion of many observers, by a massive publicity effort on the part of Miramax.

Best actress nominee Hilary Swank arrives on the red carpet  

Front door

In bright, late-afternoon sunshine, Hollywood royalty smiled and blew kisses to the adoring faithful, once more, as limos rolled up in carefully choreographed sequence for the stars' arrivals.

Gowns, as usual, became a focal point, many designers having flown in collections and held a kind of bazaar at which actresses could browse and select outfits to borrow for the big night.

No one lost sight of actress Erykah Badu, who sported a soaring green turban wrapped in gold cord. The headdress was some three feet tall, providing a kind of moving column of fabric as it towered above the sunglassed glitterati.Dame Judi Dench -- a best supporting actress winner last year for her work as Queen Elizabeth I in "Shakespeare in Love" -- wore a sheer two-piece champagne-colored gown, spangled with metallic embroidery.

When teased about his the brief nudity in his work in "American Beauty," Spacey cracked, "Let the Wall Street Journal do a poll on that," a reference to the Journal's poll of some 6 percent of Academy voters. Academy officials were infuriated by what they perceived as the newspaper's effort to kill suspense before Sunday night's awards show.

"Blame Canada" lyricist Trey Parker wore a copy of the open-bodiced outfit with which Jennifer Lopez made a high-profile arrival at last month's Grammys. And composer Marc Shaiman was in a pink frock reminiscent of Gwyneth Paltrow's Oscar gown of last year.

  LATEST WINNERS

Kevin Spacey
Best actor
"American Beauty"

Hilary Swank
Best actress
"Boys Don't Cry"

Alan Ball
Best screenplay (original)
"American Beauty"

more winners...

 

The long journey to the podium

Even before "American Beauty" collected its pack-leading eight Academy Award nominations, there was a little cyber-ambush when a Web site claimed it had short lists from which this year's Oscar nominees would be drawn on February 15. That info didn't pan out.

But when ballots went out to the roughly 5,600 voting Academy members, about 4,000 went astray in transit.

Then 55 of the statuettes -- each boasting the best-cut external obliques in fitness-crazed Hollywood -- were swiped from a loading dock. A shipping-company employee has been charged with grand theft. All but three of the coveted mantelpiece tchotchkes were found. But security, as they usually say about more politically dicey event, has bee tight at Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium this evening.

And the final blow, at least to the Academy faithful, came Friday when The Wall Street Journal published its poll of likely winners. The Academy was not amused -- nor completely up-front: The Journal could make its poll only with the cooperation of voters who responded.

· Get the bios on nominated stars
· Review those nominated plotlines and movie trailers
· Cast your unofficial Oscar ballot
· Visit the Oscar message board
· ...and more!

Not all happy endings

In a year noted for some intelligently written and crafted films, not all the smarter stuff was well represented among Oscar hopefuls.

"The Talented Mr. Ripley," for example -- a disturbing and richly made film about murderous obsession and self-delusion -- offers only faint hopes of an Academy for its writer-director Anthony Minghella and in the best supporting actor category for Jude Law. Conspicuously overlooked in the nominations is Matt Damon's brooding performance of the dark title role.

And "Being John Malkovich" -- a gleefully edgy bit of mild surrealism about being exactly who you are, no more, no less -- offers the chance of an award only to Charlie Kaufman for its screenplay; Spike Jonze, its director; and Catherine Keener, for best supporting actress.

But many take heart in Tinseltown's embrace of "American Beauty," a far more challenging take on dysfunctional suburbia than most United States sitcomery can accommodate. Swank's nomination for her work as a cross-dressed victim of intolerance in so difficult a film as director Kimberly Peirce's "Boys Don't Cry" has been seen by some observers as a good sign that the industry may be broadening its scope in social issues and aesthetic treatment.

Among the best picture nominees, "The Cider House Rules" carries a clear message in support of a woman's right to an abortion under certain circumstances -- bracing stuff for an Academy that sits down more comfortably to award last year's conquering sonnet, "Shakespeare in Love."

"The Insider" is about blowing whistles, not smoke, in the real-life struggle of the American big-tobacco industry, and arrives at a time when manufacturers are mounting "don't smoke" ad campaigns aimed at kids. "The Green Mile" has been called a "death row fairy tale." And Bruce Willis' "The Sixth Sense" is a determinedly brainy horror tale that has carried in young Haley Joel Osment for a best supporting actor award.



RELATED STORIES:
'Tarzan' swings to Phil Collins' beat
June 18, 1999
Raunchy song's creators tuning up for Oscar night
March 23, 2000
Fine-tuning the Oscars broadcast
March 21, 2000
Three Academy-nominated documentaries began quest together
March 20, 2000
'Tarzan,' 'South Park' scores shut out of Oscars
December 8, 1999
'Get Bruce' documents career of joke-writing king
August 11, 1999

RELATED SITES:
The Official Academy Awards Site
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

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