We’re jumping forward in time quite a lot, to one of the more recent tapes in the collection. 2002 was the year where I bought a Tivo, and my VHS recording days were effectively numbered. I still used to record some Tivo recorded shows to VHS, and I think we’ve seen one of those a while back. There’s going to be more. But I soon moved to a Media Centre PC, and that’s the setup I used for many years after that.
This tape has the first part of the Academy Awards 2002. It’s presented by Jonathan Ross, and this was when BBC2 had started showing them in full late on Sunday night, so I’d book a day off work on Monday, and stay up late watching them with my wife. We’d get some crisps and dips to keep use going, and enjoy the annual Hollywood love-in.
So pop open the Pringles, hand me the Houmous and let’s see who the winners and losers are at the 75th Academy Awards.
I’ve not recorded the intro here – either that’s on a different tape, or I didn’t bother with it, as this tape starts just as Jonathan Ross and guest Alan Cumming wind up a chat, and hand over the live Oscars telecast. (In fact, I have three different tapes for the 2002 Oscars, so I suspect the pre-show introduction, and the usual red-carpet stuff is on that tape. Don’t expect to see that before January 2021, though!)
I’m wondering if I did more manual editing, though, as the show starts, then immediately cuts to shot of the audience applauding, and the music that was playing cuts off. Perhaps I was being ruthless and cutting out all the non-awards guff. So here’s Helen Mirren, sitting next to her husband Taylor Hackford, with Robert Altman behind her. As all these faces are being featured, you can vaguely hear a voice, so I presume the American TV audience have someone introducing all these faces. I can only assume that there’s a different feed used to supply overseas broadcasts
It’s the year that Fellowship of the Ring was eligible, so Ian McKellen is delighted when the camera cuts to him. Anyone recognise who he’s sitting next to? An actor I don’t recognise, or McKellen’s plus one?
Peter Jackson looks happy to be there. Not as happy as he would be two years later, obviously. That’s Fran Walsh next to him, his co-writer and partner, who rarely does interviews.
Will this whole entry be film people looking confusedly at something? Here’s Judi Dench to tell us.
Or perhaps Maggie Smith has more news. I think that’s Emily Watson behind her.
It’s Trevor Slattery! No wait, I think it’s Sir Ben Kingsley.
It’s Nicole Kidman, and I think that’s director Baz Luhrmann behind her, so I’m guessing Moulin Rouge is also in the running.
Russell Crowe is there. I think this is the year after he won for Gladiator, so he’ll be a presenter this year. Off the top of my head I don’t know if he was nominated this year.
Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke, so that’s Training Day, probably.
Renee Zellwegger, for Bridget Jones’ Diary. Nominated for Best Actress, good going for a comedy. No hope of winning.
Halle Berry, for Monster’s Ball
Jon Voight was nominated. I’m guessing it wasn’t for Pearl Harbor.
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. So that’s Ali Voight and Smith were nominated for.
Benicio Del Toro is lurking backstage somewhere.
Gwyneth Paltrow, but it’s not for Shakespeare in Love.
Helen Hunt is probably for As Good as it Gets. No, that’s 1997. Probably Woody Allen’s Curse of the Jade Scorpion. (actually she wasn’t nominated, just a presenter).
Here’s Josh Hartnett. That’ll be for Black Hawk Down.
Jennifer Lopez is there, not nominated, but possibly singing in the show? That’s Ridley Scott behind her, and Cris Judd next to her (which I only know because Bing Image Search told me).
There’s Tobey Maguire. Apparently he’s not very nice in real life. Shame.
Now it’s Cameron Diaz. I’m genuinely surprised by how many of these faces I’m recognising, even without the help of Image Search. Which is acing it, by the way.
Hugh Jackman and Deborra Lee Furness.
Holy Cow! Never mind all those boring actors, look who they’ve got as Musical Director and Conductor. Only John Fucking Williams. Five Times Oscar Winner John Williams, as the almost inaudible voice can be heard saying.
Then, here’s Tom Cruise on stage asking what movies mean to you. And there’s a sombre reference to September 11th, as this was the first year after that. “Should we celebrate movies? Yes, more than ever.” (I happen to agree with this).
Then there’s a lovely short film, by Errol Morris, just consisting of people (mostly just members of the public) just talking about the movies they love. There are a few famous faces there, including Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, Jessye Norman, Donald Trump (who claims to like King Kong, but he’s probably lying) and even Mikhail Gorbachev, who really liked Gladiator.
Edit to add: I’ve just heard that Jessye Norman has died. On the day this blog entry was published. And whilst that’s upsetting in itself, I mentioned her right next to Donald Trump. This curse of the blog is a real monkey’s paw. I’m so very, very sorry.
Then the show starts, with Whoopi Goldberg descending from the ceiling in the most amazing costume. And that ceiling is a hundred feet up.
That’s an amazing costume.
Benicio Del Toro presents the first award, for Best Supporting Actress, and the winner is Jennifer Connelly for A Beautiful Mind.
incidentally, in the clips there’s a scene for Iris (Kate WInslet was nominated) and Hugh Bonneville is playing the young Jim Broadbent, and I’ve never seen a more perfect piece of casting.
There’s another short piece of people and their favourite films – Yoko Ono and Pinocchio, and Drew Barrymore and Annie Hall.
Donald Sutherland and Glenn Close are stuck behind a desk backstage, guarding all the Oscars, apparently.
I’ve no idea what’s happening behind Jennifer Connelly as she leaves the stage. Is she being pursued by a demon mime?
There’s an ad break in the States, so it’s back to Wossy and Alan Cumming to discuss the one whole award that’s been awarded so far, and it’s no big surprise, although Cumming does question how A Beautiful Mind could have won a BAFTA award when it wasn’t even out in the UK at the time. A mystery indeed.
Then it’s back to the ceremony. I couldn’t hear who the next presenter is, so thank you Image Search for telling me it’s screenwriter Frank Pierson, who’s the current president of the Academy. He’s welcoming everyone to the new home of the Oscars, the Kodak Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. I visited that (well, the shops around it) when I was staying in Hollywood for a tech conference. It was very exciting.
Will Smith presents the award for Best Film Editing, after reading David Mamet’s thoughts on the importance of editing.
I like the short clips they use to give an impression of what film editing might be like. I’m sure Steven Spielberg wouldn’t approve, as he likes to edit on film.
The winner is Pietro Scalia for Black Hawk Down.
The next presenters are Reese Witherspoon and a 16 year old reddit user. Oh, sorry, I’m told it’s Ryan Phillippe. And in a remarkable moment of irony, when Witherspoon asks ‘can I read it?’ he says ‘You make more than I do, go ahead’. It’s probably true, but ironic that it’s a man making the only comment about pay disparity. The award is for Makeup, and actually their material is really funny.
The winners are Richard Taylor and Peter Owen for Fellowship of the Ring – which was nominated for 13 awards, astonishingly. The picture doesn’t do Peter Owen’s jacket justice, as it’s made of tassles.
Whoopi Goldberg introduces the first of tonight’s Best Picture nominees, it’s the one that nobody remembers today – there’s usually one – called In The Bedroom, a family drama starring Tom Wilkinson, Sissy Spacek and Marisa Tomei, all nominated for acting awards.
Oh look, Glenn Close has escaped from the desk, as she does another of these slightly strange ‘coming up next’ announcements.
Then it’s back to Jonathan Ross, and he’s now got Tom Conti as a guest.
Also there is Trinny Woodall, off of Trinny and Susannah, who I presume was a lot busier during the Red Carpet segment of the show, which we haven’t seen today.
Back to the ceremony, and Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson do a nice sketch about costume design.
The winners of Best Costume Design are Catherine Martin and Angus Strathie for Moulin Rouge.
There’s more about September 11th next, with a compilation of New York film clips by Nora Ephron, introduced by Woody Allen. He gets a standing ovation. I wonder if that would happen now? His speech is very funny, though.
Among the audience reactions is one from Paul McCartney, with his then wife Heather Mills. That was an interesting time in his life.
The next presenter is Jodie Foster, presenting the Best Cinematography award.
The winner is Andrew Lesnie, for Fellowship of the Ring.
It’s another break, so back to the BBC2 studio (where the window is open, oddly) and Jonathan has a new guest, Dade Hayes, a senior writer at Variety. Tom Conti is still there. They are a bit surprised at Lord of the Rings getting a cinematography award, because they seem to think it’s all CGI. I must admit that was my thought when I saw the first film. But having watched the huge amount of behind the scenes documentaries on the DVDs, we now know that an awful lot of it was actually huge miniatures, photographed conventionally. And let’s face it, a big reason the films are beautiful is that Andrew Lesnie just pointed his cameras at New Zealand.
Back to the show, and Whoopi has dressed up as a maid, to introduce the next Best Film nominee,
Downton Abbey Gosford Park.
Helen Hunt introduces another short film, this time about Documentaries.
Samuel L Jackson presents the Documentary awards.
Winners of Best Documentary Feature are Jean-Xavier De Lestrade and Denis Poncet for Murder on a Sunday Morning.
Winners for Documentary Short Subject are Sarah Kernochan and Lynn Appelle, for Thoth.
The subject of the documentary was also on stage, and he looks like a real character. As they leave the stage, he’s playing his violin at Samuel L Jackson while walking backwards, and I haven’t wanted to see someone shot dead more.
Cameron Diaz reads the Coen brothers’ description of the job of a production designer.
The winners for Best Production Design are Catherine Martin and Brigitte Broch for Moulin Rouge.
Another short film has Roberto Benigni saying how much he likes Ben Hur.
Back to Jonathan at the studio, with a few interviews with Best Supporting Actor nominees.
There’s a short glimpse of the Scientific and Technical awards, hosted by Charlize Theron. I’d quite like to watch those – I wonder if they stream them these days?
Nathan Lane presents the Best Animated Feature award.
The nominees are there waiting. There’s Mike and Sully for Monsters Inc
and Shrek and Donkey.
In the first of several affronts to cinema, it’s won by Shrek. You can tell Mike and Sully are upset.
Halle Berry introduces the Sound and Sound Editing awards.
Best Sound is won by Black Hawk Down
Best Sound Effects Editing is won by Pearl Harbor. The second travesty of the evening.
Marcia Gay Harden presents the award for Best Supporting Actor.
In a rather marvellous upset, it’s won by Jim Broadbent for Iris. As he himself said in the interview segment earlier, he was in two prominent roles that year, this one, and Moulin Rouge. And because they are such different roles, he says that “well, one of them must be acting”.
Back to the BBC2 Studio, and Jonathan is now joined by Dyan Cannon.
Whoopi’s got some Hobbit feet, to introduce another nominated film, Fellowship of the Ring.
Ian McKellen and Maggie Smith swap wizarding advice, and introduce a performance from Cirque de Soleil paying tribute to Visual Effects.
The presentation is actually really well put together, with clips on screen being mirrored by the various circus skills.
Kirsten Dunst and Tobey Maguire present the Best Visual Effects award.
It’s won by Fellowship of the Ring.
Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw present the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
It’s presented to director Arthur Hiller.
Glenn Close is outside again.
Back to the studio. Dyan Cannon worked with Arthur Hiller, so is able to say what a nice man he is. And they look forward to another special award to Sidney Poitier, with an interview with Halle Berry on what he meant to actors of colour.
Glenn Close isn’t the only one who’s going walkabout. Donald Sutherland appears on a balcony, and the people sitting there don’t make the slightest reaction. These Hollywood people are so jaded.
Ben Kingsley introduces a lovely segment, in which John Williams conducts a specially arranged suite of some of the most memorable movie music.
This precedes the award for Best Score, presented by Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock, together, one presumes, to promote Two Weeks Notice, a film I enjoyed, but for which I cannot forgive the missing apostrophe.
The winner, unsurprisingly, is Howard Shore for Fellowship of the Ring. There’s a score that’s stood the test of time.
Next, it’s Denzel Washington, there to announce the honorary Oscar to Sidney Poitier.
It’s presented by producer Walter Mirisch, who produced In the Heat of the Night.
There’s a lovely film about Poitier’s career, including lots of performers talking about how Sidney’s career inspired them to work in the movies, because he proved it was possible. It’s quite moving.
Poitier gets a standing ovation, as you would expect.
After this, and another ‘my favourite film’ clip, I see Donald Sutherland has moved from the balcony to the outside. Nothing can stop him now.
Back to the BBC2 studio for another ad break, and it’s only Jonathan and Dyan Cannon. She’s a very good friend of Poitier, and says that he’s much the same at home as he is at the Oscars. Jonathan Ross can’t resist making a joke about Poitier’s six daughters, too.
The next presenters are Hugh Jackman and Naomi Watts presenting Best Live Action Short Film.
This award was odd. The two credited nominees are Ray McKinnon, writer/director/star, and Lisa Blount, Executive Producer (and married to McKinnon). Lisa Blount might be familiar to fans of 80s horror, as she was in such classics as Dead and Buried and John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness.
But when they go up to collect the award, they are joined by co-star Walton Goggins, also listed as a producer, and it’s the two men who get the statuettes. Even if it’s a mistake by the people handing the awards out, I’m still cross that he didn’t hand it on to the person actually named on the nomination.
Best Animated Short Film is won by For the Birds, a very worthy winner, received by its director Ralph Eggleston.
Next, Josh Hartnett announces the performances of the Best Original Song.
There’s Sting singing a song from Kate & Leopold.
Next, it’s only bloody Enya! I thought she never left her castle in Ireland. But here she is singing her song from Fellowship of the Ring.
Next, it’s Randy Newman and John Goodman performing “If I didn’t have you” from Monsters Inc.
Next, Faith Hill sings a fairly forgettable Diane Warren song from Pearl Harbor.
So that’s a fairly starry set of performers, you’d think. “Hold my beer” says Oscar, as the last performer is Paul McCartney. Although his song for Vanilla Sky is a long way from his best work.
To present the award for Best Song here’s Jennifer Lopez. I’ve no idea what her hair is doing, though.
Happily, the best song wins, for Randy Newman, and even more happily, it’s his first win in sixteen nominations – including one year where he got three nominations in three different categories for three different films. It’s a popular win, as he gets an ovation.
There’s another ‘favourite films’ clip – Clint Eastwood chooses The Oxbow Incident and Elton John chooses 2001 A Space Odyssey. Then it’s back to the BBC 2 Studio, where Jonathan and Dyan are joined by Greg Proops. This is a great segment, starting with Jonathan paying a $50 bet to Dyan Cannon because Sting kept his shirt on for the performance, then a discussion of Oscar hosts talks about Letterman’s less than stellar performance, and Proops wonders if it’s because he’s not famous worldwide. “Just you and Danny Baker know him in Britain” says Proops. And throughout this whole segment, Dyan Cannon is just sitting back and hooting with laughter. It’s really quite fun.
Next, the presenters are Gwyneth Paltrow and Ethan Hawke, presenting the Screenplay awards.
There’s another travesty here, as Akiva Goldsman, writer of Batman and Robin, wins an Oscar for A Beautiful Mind. I guess it’s easier if he’s doing a biography, as he doesn’t have to make stuff up.
Incidentally, the real John Nash, subject of the movie, is in the audience.
I’m not sure the next winner is really a travesty. It’s Julian Fellowes for Gosford Park. It’s not that he’s a bad writer, just that he’s a curmudgeon, and probably shouldn’t be encouraged. If anybody remembers his BBC4 panel show Never Mind the Full Stops you’ll know what a grumpy git he is.
The next presenters are Sharon Stone and John Travolta. It’s the award for Best Foreign Language Film, which, as we now know, was probably a dangerous thing to give to Travolta (remember Adele Dazeem?)
The Oscar is won by Bosnia and Herzegovina. Nice to see an entire country is making films now.
Next to the stage is Kevin Spacey. He gets the audience to stand in silence for the people who died on September 11th, then introduces the In Memoriam reel, which never fails to make me sad, even all these years later.
Whoopi Goldberg introduces the next Best Picture nominee, Moulin Rouge. “And all of it done apparently without a director” she says, a reference to Baz Lurhmann not being nominated as director. In fact, two of the nominees didn’t get Director nominations, with In The Bedroom also missing out, but you can sort of see that. It’s hard to understand why a film like Moulin Rouge would get nominated without its director, since nothing in the film would exist without him. Although he probably got some comfort since his wife won two Oscars already, so he could borrow one of those if he needed to.
Next it’s Barbra Streisand, there to present another honorary Oscar.
Just as she finishes, the coverage switches from BBC2 to BBC1. It’s a good thing I was watching live. Just before the channel switches, we’re treated to something I’d tried my hardest to forget – there’s a few seconds of a terrible BBC advert for BBCi – what used to be BBC Online, and later became BBC New Media then BBC Future Media, and it’s probably had three more name changes since I left the BBC in 2013. I was working for BBCi at the time, and I was perpetually embarrassed by the terrible adverts that were created to advertise our services. This one is one of the worst – an advert for Red Button services, the digital replacement for ceefax. This was an abomination, with these creepy hands with heads on that just looked like deformed naked people. It was the stuff of nightmares.
I can imagine myself screaming and lunging for the remote to switch over at this point, scattering Pringles and Dips everywhere. But we get back to the ceremony for a film about Robert Redford. Then he receives his award. Of course he gets a standing ovation.
Next, it’s Russell Crowe announcing the Best Actress award. Sissy Spacek is the hot favourite.
But the surprise winner is Halle Berry, for Monsters Ball, a small indie movie. Here’s the face of someone who not only never expected her name to be called, but who knew, with certainty, that it never could be. A non-white actress has never won Best Actress until this moment. And on a night where Sidney Poitier was honored, this must have seemed like she was dreaming.
She’s overcome once again when she finally takes to the stage, receives her award, then there’s another standing ovation. In her speech she talks about her mother, who was sitting next to her.
It’s a speech that has become famous as one of the ‘crying’ speeches, but if you weren’t overcome by the history here, you’d have a heart of stone. After 74 years, it’s about fucking time.
Then, it’s back to BBC2 as Jonathan and Greg Proops discuss the award. And this is where this tape runs out.
Here’s the Jonathan Ross bits from the whole show (including the last bits on another tape, so spoilers for that). That tape is not coming up until later this year.
I hope you didn’t eat too many Pringles, and sorry about that length. But (thus far) this was one of the better years, with plenty of great moments, and not many moments of cringe.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 24th March 2002 – 00:45