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March 30, 2000     Beverly Hills Weekly
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March 30, 2000
 

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artsn ntert00:00i Oscar's Telecast Yields Few Surprises American eauty took home four major awards. By Justin Levine The 72nd Academy Awards were held Sunday at the Shrine Auditorium. Unlike the series of mishaps that led up to the ceremo- ny, the event itself had few hitch- es in the four hour-plus presenta- tion. American Beauty took most of the major awards including Best Picture, Best Director (Sam Mendes), Best Actor(Kevin Spacey), and Best Original Screenplay (Alan Ball). The show had a new produc- ing team of Richard and Lili Zanuck, and the change seems to have been an improvement over- all. Among the smartest decisions made for the ceremony was the much mentioned axing of the tedious ,dance numbers that may have been exciting to see in per- son, but a|ways fell flat onthe small screen. Academy Award winner  Jolie Another smart move was to group all of the Best Song performances into one segment, rather than having them interspersed throughout the show as they were in the past. It seemed to keep the pacing a bit tighter. However, the second half of the show got a bit bogged down again with music numbers by having a tribute to past film songs. The director couldn't seem to decide whether to concentrate on the film clips or the performers, making both suf- fer in the process. Billy Crystal returned as host, and was a pure delight as usual. His now trademark opening scene of digitally inserting himself into film clips still seemed fresh by using clips from past great films, including a silent Charlie Chaplin clip. His jokes were often biting, but never cruel. If the Academy is smart, it will pony up whatever fees are needed to induce Crystal to return. Other noted features of the show are reflected in the following categories: Biggest slip-up: Hilary Swank's long acceptance speech for Best Actress (Boys Don't CO') neglected to mention her husband after a long camera close-up of him with tears of joy streaming down his face. Most notable political reference: John Irving at the end of his acceptance speech for best Adapted Screenplay (The Cider House Rules) felt compelled to thank Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Rights League. Though contrary to form, most others stayed away from political references throughout the ceremony. This was no small feat considering appearances from figures such as Warren Beatty and Jane Fonda. Host Bitly Crystal cracked the obligatory jokes about A! Gore and Dr. Laura Schlessinger, and also kicked off his presentation with a reference to the recent LAPD Ramparts scandal, but didn't let politics overwhelm the presen- tation. Bravest Thank You Speech: Warren Beatty had the guts to thank his early mentor Eiia Kazan who last year split the Academy members when he received a lifetime achievement award. Kazan told a governmental commit- tee the names of several suspected communist collaborators in the ! 950s which turned last year's awards into two camps portrayed as McCarthy Witch Hunters on one hand and Stalinist Apologists on the other. There were fewer surprises at this year's Oscar awards, but there were also fewer lulls. Overall, the show achieved its goals. The Academy managed to entertain the viewer while celebrating its own achievements. Though perhaps they should find a way to keep it under four hours before they make fun of the three hour running time of The Green Mile. I1 cYoZaode00 3/0./Zf.9927 People Assisting The Homeless PATH/Foundation House is a homeless empowerment agency, dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty and homelessness. Volunteers Needed: Kitchen helpers Cook(s) for Saturday Night dinners Volunteers to help teach Recreational Activities volunteer 2346 Cotner Avenue (2 blks west of Sepulveda between Olympic & Pico) 8 a.m.-6p.m, weekdays Weekend dropoffs are okay too. 310-996-0034 j 14 Beverly Hills Weekly