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|February 11, 1999||
No Oscars for Mr Kapur
Director Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth, which became the second Indian-British film after Richard Attenborough's Gandhi to be nominated for the Oscars, scored seven nods including the best picture and best actress nominations. Though the film was made entirely with British investment, it has been offered as an Indian-British venture, apparently at the request of its director.
But Kapur, who had earlier been nominated for a Golden Globe award, failed to win a nomination as the best director. Steven Spielberg, John Madden (Shakespeare in Love), Terence Mallick (The Thin Red Line ) and Peter Weir (The Truman Show) were nominated, The nominations are made by trade bodies representing each category, and there have been many instances of a movie being nominated and its director being ignored.
Polygram, the producers of Elizabeth, were clearly disappointed at Shekhar Kapur's loss but noted with satisfaction that the film was nominated in the best picture category. In anticipation of the Oscars, Elizabeth increased its screens in America to 432 (an eight per cent increase) last week. In the 13 weeks of release, its American gross has reached a decent $ 21 million. This week the movie could expand to more than 600 screens.
In Europe, where it has grossed $ 20 million, Elizabeth will be re-released, particularly in Italy, Germany and England, where it reigned strong. It also opens in Japan and eight other countries this week.
The film, which cost $ 28 million to make -- with $ 20 million for prints and marketing -- is yet to break even. Movies cross into black when they earn two and half times their budget in theatres.
Most of Elizabeth's nominations were in the technical category, including photography and art direction. Cate Blanchett, who played the title role in her career-making assignment, was nominated and will compete with Meryl Streep, Fernanda Montenegro, Gwyneth Paltrow and Emily Watson
But Geoffrey Rush, who played the spymaster in Elizabeth did not win a nomination for that film; instead he got nominated for his comic performance in Shakespeare in Love, a romantic tragi-comedy also set in the Elizabethan era.
Saving Private Ryan, which won 11 nods, was pulled out of American theatres in December in anticipation of the nominations. It was making about $ 2 million then but in its re-release last week, it grossed a strong $ 4 million.
With a slew of Oscar nominations, it is expected to double its last week's playdates. With over $ 450 million in worldwide gross, it is expected to earn $ 500 million before the Oscars are given out.
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