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Oscar Winner Russell Crowe and the Oscars
Monthly Entertainment Column
April 2002

The 74th Academy Awards are over.  Congratulations to all the winners!  Congratulations to Sidney Poitier and Robert Redford for their well-deserved Oscars.  (Read about one of Robert Redford's movies, A River Runs Through It).

Best wishes for Russell Crowe who hopefully will win another Oscar.  Crowe deserves it.  His three, consecutive Best Actor nominations are no accident.  We are fortunate to have him as an actor in our movies today.  Crowe has proven his talent and so he deserves another Oscar.

The fact that Denzel Washington won is what the Academy Awards is all about:  surprises. 

If anyone should beat out Crowe, I clap for Denzel Washington.  The build-up to his award, with Sidney Poitier’s honorary Oscar, and Halley Berry’s historic Oscar, makes the big statement of how the Academy is not only for honoring individual talent, but is also for honoring the history of filmmaking.

History this night concentrates on breakthroughs in film, what Poitier, Berry, and Washington represent:  opportunities for diversity.  I respect this part of the history of the Academy Awards.

However, more breakthroughs can be made.  Robert Redford talked about this in his speech.  He challenged everyone in the industry to take risks.  He backs up his words with his creation and ongoing support for the Sundance Film Festival which allows new, creative talent to display their work.  He is a visionary.  Time will tell if his vision will become widely accepted.  It might take a hundred more years, but he will be seen as one of the “grandfathers” who helped make diversity in movies, mainstream.

So the evening had this historic flavor and it’s an important statement.

Still, because I’m a Russell fan, I wish for him another Oscar.  At least this is something for a movie-going fan to look forward to:  Crowe's attempts at surpassing his previous work.  Should he succeed, he, more than ever, deserves to be with all the actors who have been recognized twice by the Academy.

Brian Grazer, producer for A Beautiful Mind, Best Picture winner, in his speech, looked at Crowe and said that he and Ron Howard would not be standing up on stage if it weren’t for Crowe and his contributions to A Beautiful Mind.  In response, Crowe touched his chest and gave Grazer a thumbs up.  This compensated some for Russell Crowe not winning the Oscar.

Grazer also commented, as he opened his sheet of paper for his speech, that he was nervous.  Then he commented something like, “Imagine me being nervous.”  This is humorous because here is a man, along with Howard, who can afford to pay Crowe a reported 15 million dollars.  And this is only for the leading actor.  It does not include the many others who contribute to the completion of a film.

So for powerful men like Grazer and Howard, admitting nervousness when accepting an Oscar proves again how the Oscar is a highly respected honor.

So even though we may disagree with some of the Academy’s results, we can’t ignore the fact that a statuette makes the powerful in the industry nervous.

 

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