Steven Soderbergh Wins Best Director Oscar

Steven Soderbergh Wins Best Director Oscar
Posted by FoM on March 25, 2001 at 23:09:15 PT
By Bob Tourtellotte 
Source: Reuters
Defying the odds and making a bit of Oscar history, Steven Soderbergh grabbed the Academy Award as best director Sunday night for "Traffic," becoming the first director nominated for two films in the same year to win for one of them. The victory, Soderbergh's first Oscar win, came as a surprise because he also was nominated for "Erin Brockovich," and many industry watchers believed his two nods would effectively cancel each other out, leaving the door open for rivals Ang Lee and Ridley Scott. 
The conventional wisdom was that one picture would end up taking votes away from the other when it came time for members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to cast their votes. That scenario played itself out at the Golden Globes, in which Soderbergh was nominated for best director for both "Brockovich" and "Traffic" and lost out to Lee for "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." Ultimately, "Crouching Tiger" won the Oscar for best foreign-language film, and Scott's Roman epic "Gladiator" won for best picture. Both "Traffic and "Brockovich" also were nominated for best picture. Backstage, Soderbergh said he was as surprised as anyone by his upset victory. "I think I looked pretty surprised, didn't all of you?" he asked reporters. "You must know that I didn't anticipate this, didn't see it coming ... This is going to take awhile to process." Soderbergh added that he was especially gratified at the recognition "Traffic" had received, saying, "We were told time and again it had no commercial potential." Soderbergh's triumph marked only the fifth time in 54 years that the winner of the Directors Guild of America's top award failed to garner the best directing Oscar. Taiwanese-born Lee received the DGA award earlier this month, making him the clear front-runner going into the Oscars, and Scott directed audience favorite "Gladiator." Through three separate stories within the same movie, "Traffic" explores the drug trafficking wars along the U.S.-Mexican border and the damage drug abuse has caused to American families. Critics have embraced the movie because of the expert way Soderbergh was able to weave the three stories -- one about a Mexican cop's own private war on drugs, another about a U.S. drug czar's drug-addicted daughter, and a third about a drug smuggler in San Diego -- into a cohesive narrative tale. In the run-up to the Oscars, Soderbergh had scrupulously avoided signaling a preference for one of his films over the other. It was a dilemma not faced by a director since Michael Curtiz was twice nominated in the same year six decades ago -- in 1939 for the films "Angels with Dirty Faces" and "Four Daughters." Curtiz lost that year but went on to win the Oscar for "Casablanca" five years later. Soderbergh, 38, burst onto the movie scene with 1989's highly regarded independent movie "sex, lies and videotape," and largely spurned the major Hollywood studios in favor of indie freedom until 1998's "Out of Sight." He is largely admired among his peers for doing much of his own camera work, and for "Traffic" he was often the one shouldering a heavy camera in order to get the shots exactly the way he wanted them. Soderbergh, also, is known as an actor's director who likes to give his actors and actresses a lot of rein to do the work they want. Julia Roberts, who won the Oscar for best actress in "Brockovich," has referred to him as being her own "personal God."Source: ReutersAuthor: Bob Tourtellotte Published: March 25, 2001Copyright 2001 Reuters News Service. Related Articles & Web Site:Traffic Official Web Site Important Movie of The Year Reality Behind Traffic - Nightline Articles - Traffic The Movie 
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