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The 69th Academy Awards were dominated by movies produced by independent studios, financed outside of mainstream Hollywoodmarker, leading to 1997 being dubbed "The Year of the Independents". All but one of the nominees for Best Picture were low-budget independent movies (the next ceremony dominated by indie fims would be in 2006. 2008 was also dominated by independents).

The big winner at the ceremony was Anthony Minghella's The English Patient, which had received 12 nominations and won 9 awards including Best Picture.

Other notable movies to be honoured at the ceremony included Fargo, which had been nominated for 7 awards and won 2, Shine, which had been nominated for 7 awards and won just one, and Jerry Maguire, which had been nominated for 5 awards and also won just one.

News and recap

Shortly before the ceremony, two light aircraft flew over the auditorium streaming banners behind them. They first appeared as Larry Flynt, the subject of the Oscar-nominated film The People vs. Larry Flynt, arrived, which read "Columbia Studios Sucks — Larry Flynt". The second banner read "Disney uses sweatshops — 30 cents an hour in Haiti", criticizing Walt Disney Studios about the conditions under which some of its movie merchandise are allegedly produced.

The Awards marked one of the greatest upsets in Oscar history as most had predicted Lauren Bacall would win Best Supporting Actress for The Mirror Has Two Faces. Instead, the Oscar went to Juliette Binoche for The English Patient.

It was the first time ever that a singer sang twice during the Academy Awards. Because Barbra Streisand had the flu, Céline Dion not only sang her own song "Because You Loved Me", but also Streisands song "I Finally Found Someone", after only a few hours to rehearse.

The ceremony attracted a low 40.83, the lowest audience without dipping below the 40 million mark (later surpassed by the 40.54m who watched in 2002).

Notable quotes

Best Motion Picture Of The Year

Achievement in Directing

Best Performance By An Actor In A Leading Role

Best Performance by An Actress In A Leading Role

Best Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role

Best Performance By An Actress In A Supporting Role

Adapted Screenplay

Original Screenplay

Achievement In Art Direction

Achievement In Cinematography

Achievement In Costume Design

Best Foreign Language Film Of The Year

Best Documentary Feature

Best Documentary Short Subject

Achievement In Film Editing

Achievement In Makeup

Achievement In Music Written For Motion Pictures

Achievement In Music Written For Musical or Comedy

Achievement In Music Written For Motion Pictures

Best Animated Short Film

Best Live Action Short Film

Achievement In Sound Editing

Achievement In Sound

Achievement In Visual Effects

In Memoriam Presented by Angela Bassett, the Academy takes a moment to remember motion picture personnel that passed away in the previous year: Jo Van Fleet, Tupac Shakur, Brigitte Helm, Dorothy Lamour, screenwriter Sterling Silliphant, designer Saul Bass, screenwriter Steve Tesich, Juliet Prowse, cinematographer Joseph Biroc, Howard E. Rollins, Jr., Jack Weston, director Krzysztof Kieslowski, director Fred Zinnemann, Ben Johnson, Gene Nelson, art director Edward C. Carfagno, Joanne Dru, cinematographer John Alton, Greer Garson, producer Albert R. Broccoli, producer Pandro S. Berman, Lew Ayres, Sheldon Leonard, Claudette Colbert and Marcello Mastroianni.


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