76th Academy Awards

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76th Academy Awards
Official poster
Date February 29, 2004
Site Kodak Theatre
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Host Billy Crystal[1]
Pre-show Billy Bush
Chris Connelly
Maria Menounos[2]
Producer Joe Roth[3]
Director Louis J. Horvitz[4]
Best Picture The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Most awards The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (11)
Most nominations The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (11)
TV in the United States
Network ABC
Duration 3 hours, 45 minutes[4]
Ratings 43.56 million
26.68% (Nielsen ratings)[5]
 < 75th Academy Awards 77th > 

The 76th Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), honored the best films of 2003 and took place on February 29, 2004, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles beginning at 5:30 p.m. PST / 8:30 p.m. EST. During the ceremony, AMPAS presented Academy Awards (commonly referred to as Oscars) in 24 categories. The ceremony, televised in the United States by ABC, was produced by Joe Roth and was directed by Louis J. Horvitz. Actor Billy Crystal hosted for the eighth time. He first presided over the 62nd ceremony held in 1990 and had last hosted the 72nd ceremony held in 2000.[6] Two weeks earlier in a ceremony at The Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel & Spa in Pasadena, California held on February 14, the Academy Awards for Technical Achievement were presented by host Jennifer Garner.[7]

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King won a record-tying eleven awards including Best Director for Peter Jackson and Best Picture.[8] Other winners included Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World and Mystic River with two awards and The Barbarian Invasions, Chernobyl Heart, Cold Mountain, Finding Nemo, The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara, Harvie Krumpet, Lost in Translation, Monster, and Two Soldiers with one. The telecast garnered nearly 44 million viewers (in North America), making it the most-watched telecast in four years.

Winners and nominees[edit]

The nominees for the 76th Academy Awards were announced on January 27, 2004, at 5:38 a.m. PST (13:38 UTC) at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California, by Frank Pierson, president of the Academy, and the actress Sigourney Weaver.[9][10] The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King received the most nominations with eleven; Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World came in second with ten.

The winners were announced during the awards ceremony on February 29, 2004. With eleven awards, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King tied with Ben-Hur and Titanic as the most awarded films in Oscar history.[11] Moreover, its clean sweep of its eleven nominations surpassed Gigi and The Last Emperor's nine awards for the largest sweep for a single film in Oscar history.[12] The film was also the tenth film to win Best Picture without any acting nominations.[13] Best Director nominee Sofia Coppola became the first American woman and third woman overall to be nominated in that category.[14] By virtue of her father Francis Ford Coppola and grandfather Carmine's previous wins, her victory in the Original Screenplay category made her the second third-generation Oscar winner in history.[15] At age thirteen, Best Actress nominee Keisha Castle-Hughes became the youngest nominee in that category to date.[16] With Sean Penn and Tim Robbins's respective wins in the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor categories, Mystic River became fourth film to win both male acting awards.[17]


A picture of a bearded man with long black hair. He wears a beige and white striped shirt underneath a charcoal striped jacket.
Peter Jackson, Best Director winner
A picture of a man with wavy brown and grey hair is seen wearing a black suit, shirt, tie, and coat.
Sean Penn, Best Actor winner
A blonde-haired woman is seen clothed in a pink dress.
Charlize Theron, Best Actress winner
Upper torso of a bespectacled, gray-haired man. He is wearing a tuxedo with a black and white striped tie.
Tim Robbins, Best Supporting Actor winner
Profile of a female with short blonde hair wearing a black dress.
Renée Zellweger, Best Supporting Actress winner
Portrait a brown-haired female with a black dress.
Sofia Coppola, Best Original Screenplay winner
Headshot of a blond-haired, bespectacled male wearing a light blue collared shirt and a black jacket.
Andrew Stanton, Best Animated Feature winner
Denys Arcand, Best Foreign Language Film winner
Errol Morris, Best Documentary Feature co-winner
A bald Caucasian male is seen wearing a back suit and tie, white shirt, and black pants. He smiles.
Adam Elliot, Best Animated Short winner
Howard Shore, Best Original Score winner

Winners are listed first and highlighted in boldface.[18]

Best Picture Best Director
Best Actor Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor Best Supporting Actress
Best Original Screenplay Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Animated Feature Best Foreign Language Film
Best Documentary Feature Best Documentary Short
Best Live Action Short Best Animated Short
Best Original Score Best Original Song
Best Sound Editing Best Sound Mixing
Best Art Direction Best Cinematography
Best Makeup Best Costume Design
Best Film Editing Best Visual Effects

Academy Honorary Award[edit]

Films with multiple nominations and awards[edit]

Presenters and performers[edit]

The following individuals presented awards or performed individual numbers.[4][20]

Presenters (in order of appearance)[edit]

Name(s) Role
Geller, AndyAndy Geller Announcer for the 76th annual Academy Awards
Connery, SeanSean Connery Presenter of the opening montage
Zeta-Jones, CatherineCatherine Zeta-Jones Presenter of the award for Best Supporting Actor
McKellen, IanIan McKellen Presenter of the film The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King on the Best Picture segment
Jolie, AngelinaAngelina Jolie Presenter of the award for Best Art Direction
Williams, RobinRobin Williams Presenter of the award for Best Animated Feature
Zellweger, RenéeRenée Zellweger Presenter of the award for Best Costume Design
Cage, NicolasNicolas Cage Presenter of the film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World on the Best Picture segment
Cooper, ChrisChris Cooper Presenter of the award for Best Supporting Actress
Hanks, TomTom Hanks Presenter of the tribute to Bob Hope
Stiller, BenBen Stiller
Owen Wilson
Presenters of the awards for Best Live Action Short Film and Best Animated Short Film
Tyler, LivLiv Tyler Introducer of the performances of Best Song nominees "You Will Be My Ain True Love", "The Scarlet Tide", and "Into the West"
Smith, Jada PinkettJada Pinkett Smith
Will Smith
Presenters of the award for Best Visual Effects
Garner, JenniferJennifer Garner Presenter of the segment of the Academy Awards for Technical Achievement and Gordon E. Sawyer Award
Carrey, JimJim Carrey Presenter of the Honorary Academy Award to Blake Edwards
Murray, BillBill Murray Presenter of the film Lost in Translation on the Best Picture segment
Johansson, ScarlettScarlett Johansson Presenter of the award for Best Makeup
Bullock, SandraSandra Bullock
John Travolta
Presenters of the awards for Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing
Roberts, JuliaJulia Roberts Presenter of the tribute to Katharine Hepburn
Winfrey, OprahOprah Winfrey Presenter of the film Mystic River on the Best Picture segment
Cusack, JohnJohn Cusack
Diane Lane
Presenters of the award for Best Documentary Short
Baldwin, AlecAlec Baldwin
Naomi Watts
Presenters of the award for Best Documentary Feature
Pierson, FrankFrank Pierson (AMPAS President) Presenter of the In Memoriam tribute
Collins, PhilPhil Collins
Presenters of the award for Best Original Score
Brosnan, PiercePierce Brosnan
Julianne Moore
Presenters of the award for Best Film Editing
Lee Curtis, JamieJamie Lee Curtis Introducer of the performances of Best Song nominees "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow" and "Belleville Rendez-vous"
Black, JackJack Black
Will Ferrell
Presenters of the award for Best Original Song
Theron, CharlizeCharlize Theron Presenter of the award for Best Foreign Language Film
Law, JudeJude Law
Uma Thurman
Presenters of the award for Best Cinematography
Ford Coppola, FrancisFrancis Ford Coppola
Sofia Coppola
Presenter of the award for Adapted Screenplay
Maguire, TobeyTobey Maguire Presenter of the film Seabiscuit on the Best Picture segment
Robbins, TimTim Robbins
Susan Sarandon
Presenter of the award for Best Original Screenplay
Cruise, TomTom Cruise Presenter of the award for Best Director
Brody, AdrienAdrien Brody Presenter of the award for Best Actress
Kidman, NicoleNicole Kidman Presenter of the award for Best Actor
Spielberg, StevenSteven Spielberg Presenter of the award for Best Picture

Performers (in order of appearance)[edit]

Name(s) Role Performed
Shaiman, MarcMarc Shaiman
Harold Wheeler
Musical arrangers Orchestral
Crystal, BillyBilly Crystal Host Opening number:
Mystic River (to the tune of "Ol' Man River" from Show Boat)
Lost in Translation (to the tune of "Maria" from West Side Story)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (to the tune of "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music)
Seabiscuit (to the tune of "Goldfinger" from Goldfinger)
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (to the tune of "Come Fly with Me" by Frank Sinatra)[21]
Krauss, AlisonAlison Krauss
Performers "You Will Be My Ain True Love" from Cold Mountain
Costello, ElvisElvis Costello
Allison Krauss
Performers "The Scarlet Tide" from Cold Mountain
Lennox, AnnieAnnie Lennox Performer "Into the West" from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Levy, EugeneEugene Levy
Catherine O'Hara[a]
Performers "Kiss at the End of the Rainbow" from A Mighty Wind
Bonifassi, BéatriceBéatrice Bonifassi
Benoît Charest[22]
Performers "Belleville Rendez-vous" from The Triplets of Belleville
Black, JackJack Black
Will Ferrell
Performers "Get Off the Stage" song parody during the Best Original Song presentation[23]

Ceremony information[edit]

A picture of a man in his early sixties who is wearing navy blue blazer and an unbuttoned light blue shirt.
Billy Crystal hosted the 76th Academy Awards.

In light of the record low viewership from the preceding year's ceremony, the Academy sought to make several changes and hire a new producer for the upcoming show. AMPAS announced that unlike previous years where the ceremony typically was held in either late March or early April, the festivities would be held in late February.[24] AMPAS director of communications John Pavlik explained that the purpose of moving the telecast a month earlier was "to bolster the ceremony's sagging television ratings and protect the Oscar's status as the nation's pre-eminent awards event."[25] Despite several Academy officials denying such reasons, some industry insiders speculated that the earlier Oscar date was also implemented to mitigate the intense campaigning and lobbying during Oscar season put forth by film studios.[26] This marked the first time since the 14th ceremony that the awards were held outside the aforementioned time frame.[27]

In August 2003, the Academy hired film producer Joe Roth to oversee production of the ceremony. The following month, Roth recruited veteran Oscar host Billy Crystal to emcee the awards gala for the eight time.[28] To stir interest surrounding the awards, Roth produced three trailers promoting the ceremony that each was set to different pop tunes (Madonna's "Hollywood", OutKast's "Hey Ya!", and Pink's "Get the Party Started"). The trailers contained clips of previous ceremonies with slogans such as "Expected the unexpected" and "It's Oscar night" occasionally flashing between scenes.[29] These promotional spots were shown at movie theaters, on several cable channels, and at participating Blockbuster stores.[30] The Academy also granted talk show host Oprah Winfrey unprecedented access to rehearsals and meetings as part of a month-long series on her eponymous talk show covering behind the scenes preparation of the telecast.[30]

MPAA ban on screeners[edit]

In September 2003, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) initially banned distribution of screeners to awards groups, citing fears of piracy.[31] Many independent film studios and prominent film directors objected to this decision charging that this would hurt smaller films for Oscar consideration since they heavily rely on screeners to lure Academy members' attention.[31] The following month, AMPAS and the MPAA reached an agreement in which Academy members would receive the screeners on the condition that they keep them out of reach from people unaffiliated with AMPAS.[32] In December 2003, a federal judge in New York overturned the ban citing that it violated federal antitrust laws.[33][34]

Box office performance of nominated films[edit]

At the time of the nominations announcement on January 27, the combined gross of the five Best Picture nominees was $638 million with an average of $127 million per film.[35] The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was the highest earner among the Best Picture nominees with $338.3 million in domestic box office receipts.[35] The film was followed by Seabiscuit ($120.2 million), Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World ($85.3 million), Mystic River ($59.1 million), and finally Lost in Tranlastion ($34.8 million).[35]

Of the top 50 grossing movies of the year, 45 nominations went to 10 films on the list. Only Finding Nemo (1st), The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2nd), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (3rd), Seabiscuit (16th), Something's Gotta Give (21st), The Last Samurai (23rd), Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (31st), Brother Bear (32nd) Cold Mountain (37th), and Mystic River (46th) were nominated for Best Picture, Best Animated Feature, or any of the directing, acting, or screenwriting.[36]

Tape delay implementation[edit]

In light of the controversy surrounding the halftime show during Super Bowl XXXVIII, network ABC implemented a five-second tape delay to ensure that profanity and obscenity were not seen or heard.[37] AMPAS president Frank Pierson protested this decision in a written statement stating, "Even a very brief tape-delay introduces a form of censorship into the broadcast–not direct governmental control, but it means that a network representative is in effect guessing at what a government might tolerate, which can be even worse."[38] In response, producer Joe Roth reiterated that censorship would only be applied to profanity and not political speeches.[39]

Critical reviews[edit]

The show received a mixed reception from media publications. Chicago Tribune television critic Steve Johnson lamented that the show "felt almost numbingly familiar and disappointingly genteel." He also criticized broadcaster ABC's decision to implement the five-second tape delay.[40] Tom Shales of The Washington Post quipped that the ceremony "was about as entertaining as watching Jell-O congeal." He also added that the lack of surprises among the awards contributed to the dull atmosphere of the telecast.[41] Columnist Tim Goodman of San Francisco Chronicle bemoaned, "The 76th annual Academy Awards dragged on without much drama or comedy, sucking the life out of the event even while it was doing justice to the masterpiece that is The Lord of the Rings."[42]

Other media outlets received the broadcast more positively. Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly praised Crystal's hosting performance saying that he "has located the perfect middle ground between Steve Martin's adroit silliness and Whoopi Goldberg's unapologetic hamminess." On the show itself, he said that it "managed to do what Hollywood may not have: convince us that this was a great year for the movies."[43] Film critic Andrew Sarris of The New York Observer wrote that the show was "the funniest and least tedious in memory." He also extolled producer Joe Roth by concluding, "As far as this old critic's concerned, Mr. Roth, you did a fine job."[44] USA Today critic Robert Bianco commented that despite the lack of suspense due to the Lord of the Rings sweep of the awards "Crystal was able to lace funny bits throughout the evening." He further lauded the show as "more glamorous and upbeat than last year's war-muted event, and decently paced."[45]

Ratings and reception[edit]

The American telecast on ABC drew in an average of 43.56 million people over its length, which was a 26% increase from the previous year's ceremony.[46] An estimated 73.89 million total viewers watched all or part of the awards. The show also earned higher Nielsen ratings compared to the previous ceremony with 26.68% of households watching over a 41.84 share.[47] In addition, it garnered a higher 18–49 demo rating with a 15.48 rating over a 38.79 share among viewers in that demographic.[47] It was the highest viewership for an Academy Award telecast since the 72nd ceremony held in 2000.[48]

In July 2004, the ceremony presentation received nine nominations at the 56th Primetime Emmys.[49] Two months later, the ceremony won one of those nominations for Louis J. Horvitz's direction of the telecast.[50][51]

In Memoriam[edit]

The annual In Memoriam tribute was presented by Academy President Frank Pierson. The montage featured an excerpt of "The Love of the Princess" from The Thief of Baghdad, composed by Miklós Rózsa (Ben-Hur, Spellbound, Quo Vadis, King of Kings, El Cid).[52]

A separate tribute to comedian, actor, and veteran Oscar host Bob Hope was presented by Tom Hanks.[53] Later, actress Julia Roberts presented one to actress Katharine Hepburn.[54]

See also[edit]


a^ :Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara performed the song as their film characters Mitch Cohen and Mickey Crabbe (to which they were credited as performers on the telecast).[55][56]


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  3. ^ Lubrano, Alfred (September 25, 2003). "Lord of the Oscars: Billy Crystal's back". The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia Media Network). Retrieved July 8, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Lowry, Brian (February 29, 2004). "Review: "The 76th Annual Academy Awards"". Variety (PMC). Retrieved July 8, 2013. 
  5. ^ Levin, Gary (March 1, 2004). "Oscar back to form with 43.5M viewers". USA Today (Gannett Company). Retrieved July 15, 2013. 
  6. ^ Munoz, Lorenza (September 25, 2003). "Crystal returns to familiar role". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved July 26, 2013. 
  7. ^ Susman, Gary (January 29, 2004). "Garnering Prizes". Entertainment Weekly (Time Warner). Retrieved July 8, 2013. 
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  10. ^ Fernandez, Maria Elena; Greg Braxton (January 28, 2004). "Dawn's early rite". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
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  14. ^ Klein, Joshua (February 3, 2004). "Coppola feeling `Lost in Translation'". Chicago Tribune (Tribune Company). Retrieved July 8, 2013. 
  15. ^ Ryzik, Melina (January 11, 2013). "Oscar’s First Family? Depends on How You Count". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved July 25, 2013. 
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  27. ^ Sheehan, Paul (February 27, 2011). "Live Blog: The 83rd Annual Academy Awards". Gold Derby. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
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  29. ^ Pond 2005, p. 357
  30. ^ a b Pond 2005, p. 356
  31. ^ a b Pond 2005, p. 358
  32. ^ Friedman, Roger (October 22, 2003). "TV's 'Ed' Won't Sing for Charity". Fox News (21st Century Fox). Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  33. ^ Waxman, Sharon (December 9, 2003). "While They Can, Studios Rush to Send Videos to Oscar Voters". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). 
  34. ^ Pond 2005, p. 359
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  55. ^ Austerlitz 2010, p. 342
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External links[edit]

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