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“Million Dollar Baby” Wins Four Academy Awards

Posted February. 28, 2005 22:56,   


The 77th Academy Awards showed a perfect golden section.

It was a rational and sharp judgment; the Oscar trophies went to the most deserved movies and those that were expected to win at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles on the morning of February 28th (Korean time).

The most spotlighted movies, “Million Dollar Baby” and “The Aviator,” shared the awards. The heart moving “Million Dollar Baby” earned Oscars in categories related to overall film ratings in perfection and quality. On the other hand, the grand epic tale “The Aviator” won awards mostly related to visual areas. Quite different from last year’s Oscar distribution in which “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” dominated 11 categories, this year showed a new “aesthetics of distribution.”

The boxing drama “Million Dollar Baby,” depicting friendship between a female boxing protégé and her wizened trainer, was nominated in seven categories and earned the top four awards, including best picture, best director, best supporting actress for Hilary Swank, and the best supporting actor award for Morgan Freeman. Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood (75), now a two-time winner, (he earned an Oscar for “Unforgiven” in 1993), expressed his emotions, saying, “It was a fantastic adventure for the 37 days while we made the movie. I am glad at the fact that I still work,” and he created a laugh when thanking his mother, he said, “My 96 year-old-mom is sitting there, and I really thank her for her genes.”

Eastwood acknowledged the “Million Dollar Baby” production team as a “team of geriatrics” in a joking way, and it was a true triumph of old veterans. Best supporting actor award winner Morgan Freeman had been a nominee three times before, and he is 68 years old this year. Production designer Henry Bumstead, who made the backdrop gym, is 89.

The triumph of “Million Dollar Baby” was heightened by Hilary Swank’s award for best actress. At the age of 31, she won her second Oscar after she earned the best actress award for “Boys Don’t Cry” in 2000.

The biopic of billionaire Howard Hughes, a movie director as well as a guru in the aviation industry, “The Aviator,” garnered high expectations by gathering 11 Oscar nominations, but it had to be content with the title of winning the most Oscars in five categories: best supporting actress (Cate Blanchett), cinematography, editing, art direction, and costume design. Five-time nominee for best director, Martin Scorsese (63), again had to bear a sad defeat.

The best actor award went to Jamie Foxx, who was applauded as “Ray Charles himself” in the movie, “Ray,” portraying blind soul music star Ray Charles. Foxx became the third African-American to win a best actor award after Sidney Poitier and Denzel Washington won the prize in 1963 and 2002. “Ray” won the Oscar for best sound mixing and the best actor awards.

Meanwhile, African–American actors and actresses were in the spotlight more than ever at this year’s Oscars. Comedy actor Chris Rock, who hosted the Academy Awards for the first time, Foxx, who won the award for best actor, Freeman, who won the award for the best supporting actor, pop singer Beyonce who sang three songs and was nominated for best song, singer Prince, Puff Daddy, and actress Halle Berry were all prominently featured. With this gesture, it could be sensed that the Academy was trying to lower the formidable race wall erected around the motion picture industry for decades.

In the meantime, “Birthday Boy,” a Korean animation film by Park Se-jong, was nominated for an Academy Awards for the first time for the short film category, but unfortunately failed to win the prize.

Seung-Jae Lee sjda@donga.com