74th Annual Academy Awards Results and Commentary (2002)
- Date of Ceremony: Sunday, March 24, 2002
- For films released in: 2001
- Host(s): Whoopi Goldberg (video)
The 74th Annual Academy Awards were hosted by Whoopi Goldberg on Sunday, March 24th, 2002. This was the first ceremony to be presented at the Oscar’s new home at the Kodak Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center.
Live from the backstage pressroom, here’s our commentary on Hollywood’s big night:
After celebrity announcers Donald Sutherland and Glenn Close introduced the various nominees and presenters, the night started with Tom Cruise talking about how certain movies would trigger memories. He then mentioned the events of 9/11. He said he was asked by other actors if we should continue after such tragic events. He said he told them that people needed those memories more than ever.
They then showed a small film by Errol Morris that asked people like Laura Bush and Iggy Pop what movies meant to them.
Then, spoofing Moulin Rouge, host Whoopi Goldberg descended from the ceiling. She said she was the original “sexy beast.” She said that the negative campaigning was nuts and added that all the mudslinging going on made all the nominees look black. She then welcomed people to the new Kodak Theatre and added that the security was tighter than some of the audience’s faces. She also pointed out that they had seated the Smith’s together: Will, Jada and Maggie.
“By some beautiful twist of fate I’ve landed in this vocation that demands that I feel and helps me to learn. I know film has moved or taught me more than a beautiful mind. Thank you to all of our magnificent cast and crew for their invaluable collaboration and most especially to Ron Howard and to Russell Crowe. Thanks to all the artists who have inspired me and the list is too long.” – Jennifer Connelly
Next up was Academy President Frank Pierson, who welcomed all to the 74th Annual Academy Awards®.
Next on stage was Will Smith. He quoted David Mamet, who explained that the film editor was the best friend of the audience. He then introduced the nominees for Best Film Editing. And the Oscar goes to Pietro Scalia for Black Hawk Down.
“Editors are like alchemists; we play with magic and we are privileged to witness small miracles of creation when we combine the talents and contributions from everyone involved in the process of making movies.” – Pietro Scalia
Moving right along, Ryan Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon quoted Buck Henry on movie makeup. “Without movie makeup, actors would look like people in documentaries.” The winner of the Oscar® for Best Makeup was Peter Owen and Richard Taylor for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
“I got an opportunity to go to the most beautiful country on earth, in my opinion, work with a genuine fellowship of people and torture a lot of actors. I can’t thank the Academy enough for this. It’s, it’s delirium.” – Peter Owen
Whoopi then wanted to remember those who are no longer with us. Those who “have gone up there…shooting in Canada.” She then introduced the clip for the Best Picture nominee In the Bedroom.
The next presenter was Oscar® nominee Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller, who introduced a clip of them showing how costumes make the actor. They then presented the Academy Award for Costume Design to Catherine Martin and Angus Strathie for Moulin Rouge.
“And to the extraordinary Baz Luhrmann who has got us up here, who cares as much about the embroidery detail on a can-can skirt as he does about lens size or dialogue. It was your vision, this is your Oscar, Baz.” – Catherine Martin
Whoopi Goldberg then said that we have more reasons than ever to love New York. She then introduced the quintessential New Yorker, Woody Allen. He thanked them for his standing ovation. “It makes up for the strip search.” In view of the terrible tragedy in New York, the Academy wanted to show a film segment about New York and asked Woody to introduce it.
Next up was Jodie Foster, who was there to present the Oscar® for cinematography. And the Oscar® goes to Andrew Lesnie for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
We were visited backstage by Woody Allen. He said that he wanted to do something for New York after 9/11 and came to LA because the Academy gave him the chance on a silver platter. He said he didn’t write his comments down, but practiced them in the shower. He thought the Academy had made a nice gesture by honoring the plethora of films made in New York.
Whoopi then introduced the clip for Gosford Park.
Helen Hunt was up next. She introduced a series of clips from various documentaries. That was followed by the next presenter, Samuel L. Jackson. He was there to honor the documentary feature. The winner was Murder on a Sunday Morning. He also presented the Oscar® for Documentary Short Subject. The winner was Thoth.
Cameron Diaz was the next presenter, giving the Oscar® for Art Direction to Catherine Martin and Brigitte Broch for Moulin Rouge.
“And to Baz. You come up with ideas that even I sometimes think are crazy, but you’ve taught me to live the dream that anything is possible through ideas, hard work and discipline. Thank you for letting me come on this journey with you. You are my other half. This is for you.” – Catherine Martin
After Charlize Theron introduced some of the winners from the Scientific & Technical Awards, Whoopi Goldberg mentioned how happy she was that there was now an animation award. She then introduced Nathan Lane, who lent his voice to The Lion King. He presented the first Animated Feature Oscar® to producer Aron Warner for the box office hit Shrek.
“Thank you, members of the Academy, for inviting us to the party by creating this category to begin with. ‘Shrek’ took five years and over 500 people to bring to life so I’m incredibly honored to be up here on behalf of the entire team.” – Aron Warner
Nominee Halle Berry was up next. Her category was Achievement in Sound. And the Oscar® went to Mike Minkler, Myron Nettinga and Chris Munro for Black Hawk Down. She also presented the Academy Award® for Sound Editing to George Watters II and Christopher Boyes for Pearl Harbor.
Moving right along, last year’s Supporting Actress Marcia Gay Harden came out to present the Oscar® for Supporting Actor. And the Oscar® goes to Jim Broadbent for Iris. His win elicited a whoop for him backstage from Catherine Martin, who worked with him on Moulin Rouge.
Whoopi, sporting bare feet, then introduced the clip for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, by saying they had cut out the black hobbits or “blobbits.”
Maggie Smith and Ian McKellen then introduced a special performance by the Cirque du Soleil.
Love Story co-stars Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal came out to pay tribute to their director, Arthur Hiller. He was there to receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. He thanked his mother and father, and said it was weird to win an award for something he was brought up to do.
“I had an unbelievably caring mother and father who lived their lives with the moral values of love and compassion, of respect and responsibility, of human dignity and standing up for what’s right. Even though they had a hard time earning a living they helped the poor and the hungry and they also helped others who needed the support of a friend or someone to stand up for their rights. They felt all other people as individual human beings and judged them by their actions, not by their color or their race or their religion.” – Arthur Hiller
Sir Ben Kingsley was up next to introduce John Williams, who played a tribute to movie scores.
The next presenter was nominee Denzel Washington. He was there to present the honorary Oscar® to Sidney Poitier. As Denzel said, he was the first solo, above-the-title, African-American movie star. After a moving filmed tribute, Sidney came out to accept his award. Though many have thanked Sidney for paving the way for African-Americans in films, Sidney thanked those were brave enough to cast him in difficult times.
“I arrived in Hollywood at the age of twenty-two in a time different than today’s, a time in which the odds against my standing here tonight fifty-three years later would not have fallen in my favor. Back then, no route had been established for where I was hoping to go, no pathway left in evidence for me to trace, no custom for me to follow.” – Sidney Poitier
Wrapping a cloth around the Oscar®, Whoopi Goldberg said John Ashcroft had asked her to do it. She then introduced Aussie actors Hugh Jackman and Naomi Watts. They presented the best live action short Oscar® to the accountant’s Ray McKinnon and Lisa Blount. The Best Animated Short Oscar® went to Ralph Eggleston’s For the Birds.
Josh Hartnett was up next. He introduced the nominated song performances. First up was Sting, for Kate & Leopold’s “Until…” He was followed by Enya, singing “May It Be” from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Next up was John Goodman and Randy Newman, singing “If I Didn’t Have You” from Monsters, Inc. Faith Hill sang next, performing “There You’ll Be” from Pearl Harbor. Finally, Paul McCartney sang “Vanilla Sky” from Vanilla Sky.
Jennifer Lopez was out next to present the Oscar® for Best Original Song. And the Oscar® goes to Randy Newman. Randy has been described as the “Susan Lucci of the Oscars®” as he’s been nominated so many times before without winning. He was surprised and thrilled.
“Thank you. I don’t want your pity. I want to thank first of all the music branch for giving me so many chances to be humiliated over the years. I have nothing, I’m absolutely astounded that I’ve won for this, though the picture deserves recognition.” – Randy Newman
Gwyneth Paltrow and Ethan Hawke were up next to present the screenplay awards. First up was Best Adapted Screenplay. And the Oscar® goes to Akiva Goldsman for A Beautiful Mind. Akiva was giddy and shaking as he read his thank you notes. The next Oscar® was for Best Original Screenplay, and that one went to Julian Fellowes for Gosford Park. He said Robert Altman had given him the biggest break since Lana Turner walked into Schwab’s.
Sharon Stone and John Travolta came out next. They were there to present the Oscar® for Best Foreign Language Film. Travolta joked that all the languages represented were the official language of Los Angeles. And the winner is Bosnia’s No Man’s Land.
Kevin Spacey then took the stage for the memorial section. He said that they usually pause at this time to pay tribute to those in the film community who have passed. This year, he asked the audience to rise for a moment of silence to pay tribute to the victims of 9/11. They then showed clips from those in the film community who had died, including Spacey’s friend and mentor, Jack Lemmon.
Whoopi then introduced the clip for Moulin Rouge. She said it was a swirling panorama apparently made without a director, a nod to the fact that Baz Luhrmann did not get a nomination for Best Director.
Barbra Streisand was up next to present a special Oscar® to Robert Redford. The award was given to pay tribute to his work as an actor, director, producer and creator of the Sundance Film Festival.
“I’ve spent most of my life just focused on the road ahead, not looking back. But now tonight, I’m seeing in the rear view mirror that there is something I’ve not thought about much, called history. And what moves me tonight is that I’m being joined by colleagues and peers to reflect on that history. There really are only two areas. One is my personal work, which is the most important to me. And the other is trying to put something back into an industry that’s been good to me. And of course Sundance is a manifestation of that.” – Robert Redford
Now it’s time for Best Actress. Russell Crowe came out to present the award to Monster’s Ball’s Halle Berry, the first African-American to win Best Actress. Berry was crying, the press room let out a big yell. She initially seemed unable to talk through the tears.
“Oh my God. Oh my God. I’m sorry. This moment is so much bigger than me. This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll. It’s for the women that stand beside me, Jada Pinkett, Angela Bassett, Vivica Fox. And it’s for every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened. Thank you. I’m so honored. I’m so honored. And I thank the Academy for choosing me to be the vessel for which His blessing might flow.” – Halle Berry
She also thanked role model Oprah Winfrey and mentor Warren Beatty.
When Whoopi Goldberg came back from the commercial break, she said how proud she was that Halle Berry had kicked down the color door for actresses. She also said she was proud of Redford and the films that did well in her ‘hood, like The Way We Was, The Stang and Bitch Cassidy. She then introduced the clip for A Beautiful Mind.
Julia Roberts was the next presenter, doing the Best Actor honors. And the Oscar® goes to Training Day’s Denzel Washington. Robert Redford paused in the press room. “Denzel’s a friend and on the board of Sundance, so I gotta listen to this.”
“Two birds in one night, huh? Oh, God is good. God is great. God is great. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all. Forty years I’ve been chasing Sidney [Poitier], they finally give it to me, what’d they do? They give it to him the same night. I’ll always be chasing you, Sidney. I’ll always be following in your footsteps. There’s nothing I would rather do, sir. Nothing I would rather do. God bless you. God bless you.” – Denzel Washington
Time for Best Director and the presenter is Mel Gibson, a winner in that category himself. And the Oscar® goes to…Ron Howard for A Beautiful Mind. Ron said he’d played this moment in his head a thousand times over the years. He paid thanks for so many years spent in this business. He also thanked his friend and business partner, Brian Grazer, and his cast members Jennifer Connelly and Russell Crowe.
And now it’s time for Tom Hanks to present Best Picture. And the Oscar® goes to A Beautiful Mind. Brian Grazer said he felt the story was personal to him and that winning an award for it was a miracle. He said he couldn’t find a closer friend or better partner than Ron Howard. He also thanked the “profound” Russell Crowe and the “sublime” Jennifer Connelly.
A bit of trivia: at 4 hours and 23 minutes, this was the longest telecast in Oscar® history.