78th Academy Awards

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78th Academy Awards
78th Academy Awards.jpg
Date Sunday, March 5, 2006
Site Kodak Theatre
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
Host Jon Stewart
Pre-show Billy Bush
Chris Connelly
Cynthia Garrett
Vanessa Minnillo
Producer Gil Cates
Director Louis J. Horvitz
Best Picture Crash
Most awards Brokeback Mountain, Crash, King Kong and Memoirs of a Geisha (3)
Most nominations Brokeback Mountain (8)
TV in the United States
Network ABC
Duration 3 hours, 33 minutes
Ratings 38.64 million
22.91 (Nielsen ratings)
 < 77th Academy Awards 79th > 

The 78th Academy Awards honored the best films of 2005 and were held on March 5, 2006, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California. They were hosted by The Daily Show host Jon Stewart, with Tom Kane making his first appearance as the show's announcer. The ceremony was pushed back from its newly established February date because of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

The ceremony was remembered by many insiders and film critics for its nominations of independently financed, low-budget films. In addition, the subject matter of the nominated films focused on controversial political and social themes, such as racial relations and racism (Crash), homosexuality (Brokeback Mountain, Capote), transsexuality (Transamerica), McCarthyism (Good Night, and Good Luck), terrorism, assassination and petroleum politics (Munich, Syriana).

The year was noted for its major upset at the climax of the ceremony. Following a streak of numerous awards, Brokeback Mountain was heavily favored to win the Best Picture category, but lost to Crash, a film that, although publicly and critically acclaimed, had collected fewer previous awards throughout the season. Both films wrapped the ceremony with three Oscars each, along with Memoirs of a Geisha and King Kong.

There was also some minor controversy regarding the nomination of Paradise Now, as Best Foreign Language Film.

On February 18, 2006, in a ceremony at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, the Academy Awards for Technical Achievement were presented by host Rachel McAdams.[1]

Winners and nominees[edit]

The nominees were announced on January 31 at 5:38 a.m. PST (13:38 UTC) by Academy president Sid Ganis and actress Mira Sorvino, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in the Academy's Beverly Hills headquarters. Ang Lee's drama Brokeback Mountain had the most nominations of the year's films, receiving eight. Paul Haggis' Crash, George Clooney's Good Night, and Good Luck, and Rob Marshall's Memoirs of a Geisha each received six nominations. George Clooney received three different nominations for two different films. Paul Haggis was the evening's only multiple winner, with awards for producing and writing Crash.

The winners were announced during the awards ceremony on March 5, 2005. Crash made one of the greatest upsets in Oscar history by winning the Best Picture award (see below). It was the first Best Picture winner since Rocky, 29 years earlier, to win only three awards, and was also the first Best Picture winner since Chariots of Fire, 24 years earlier, to not win for its directing nor for any of its actors. For the first time in 49 years, Best Picture, Best Director and the four acting awards went to six different films. This will not repeat until the 85th Academy Awards.

For the first time in 58 years, no film won more than three awards, with Crash, Brokeback Mountain, King Kong, and Memoirs of a Geisha each receiving that many. King Kong and Memoirs of a Geisha became the first films since The Bad and the Beautiful, 53 years earlier, to win (or tie for) the most awards without being nominated for Best Picture. March of the Penguins was the first nature documentary in 35 years (since The Hellstrom Chronicle in 1971) to win the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.

Ang Lee became the first Asian and non-Caucasian director to be honored with an Academy Award. For the first time in 44 years, each of the acting winners was a first-time nominee. With Philip Seymour Hoffman winning for his performance as Truman Capote, and Reese Witherspoon honored for her role as June Carter, it marked the fifth time that both lead acting awards went to performers playing real people. This was the first year in which both the lead actor and lead actress (Hoffman and Witherspoon) won all five of the main acting awards. This would occur again at the 79th Academy Awards and 83rd Academy Awards. Legendary composer John Williams received his 44th and 45th Oscar nominations, making him the second most nominated person in Academy Awards history, tied with Alfred Newman and behind Walt Disney, who received 59.


Ang Lee, Best Director winner
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Best Actor winner
Reese Witherspoon, Best Actress winner
George Clooney, Best Supporting Actor winner
Rachel Weisz, Best Supporting Actress winner
Paul Haggis, Best Original Screenplay co-winner

Winners are listed first and highlighted in boldface.[2]

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

Special Honors[edit]

Academy Honorary Award

Multiple nominations and awards[edit]

Academy Award ceremony presenters and performers[edit]

Name Role Activity
Jessica Alba Presenter Co-presented with Eric Bana the Academy Award for Sound Mixing
Jennifer Aniston Presenter Presented the Costume Design
Lauren Bacall Presenter Introduced a tribute to Film noir (several of the clips featured Bacall)
Eric Bana Presenter presented with Jessica Alba the Academy Award for Sound Mixing
Zach Braff Presenter presented (as Chicken Little) with Joan Cusack (as Abby Mallard) the Academy Award for Animated Short Film
Sandra Bullock Presenter presented with Keanu Reeves the Academy Award for Best Art Direction
Steve Carell Presenter presented with Will Ferrell the Academy Award for Makeup
Stephen Colbert Narrator Narrated the spoof ads jokingly attacking nominees (did not appear in the ceremony).
George Clooney Presenter Introduced the In Memoriam segment:
Russell Crowe Presenter Introduced a tribute to biographical film
Joan Cusack Presenter Co-presented (as Abby Mallard) with Zach Braff (as Chicken Little) the Academy Award for Animated Short Film
Will Ferrell Presenter Co-presented with Steve Carell the Academy Award for Makeup
Jamie Foxx Presenter Presented the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Morgan Freeman Presenter Presented the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Garner Presenter Presented the Academy Award for Sound Editing
Jake Gyllenhaal Presenter Introduced a segment on epic films
Tom Hanks Presenter Presented the Academy Award for Best Director
Salma Hayek Presenter Presented the Academy Award for Original Music Score
Dustin Hoffman Presenter Presented the Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay
Terrence Howard Presenter Presented the Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject
Samuel L. Jackson Presenter Introduced a segment on political films
Tom Kane Announcer Announcer for the 78th Annual Academy Awards
Nicole Kidman Presenter Presented the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Queen Latifah Presenter Presented the Academy Award for Best Song
Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges Presenter Introduced the performance of "It's Hard out Here for a Pimp"
Jennifer Lopez Presenter Introduced the performance of "In the Deep"
Rachel McAdams Host Hosted the Scientific and Technical Awards on February 18
Jack Nicholson Presenter Presented the Academy Award for Best Picture
Dolly Parton Performer Performed "Travelin' Thru", from Transamerica
Itzhak Perlman Performer Performed musical selections from the movies nominated for "Best Original Score"
Keanu Reeves Presenter Co-presented with Sandra Bullock the Academy Award for Best Art Direction
Will Smith Presenter Presented the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
Jon Stewart Host Hosted the 78th Academy Awards
Ben Stiller Presenter Presented the Academy Award for Visual Effects
Meryl Streep Presenter presented with Lily Tomlin the Honorary Academy Award to Robert Altman
Lily Tomlin Presenter Co-presented with Meryl Streep the Honorary Academy Award to Robert Altman
Hilary Swank Presenter Presented the Academy Award for Best Actor
Charlize Theron Presenter Presented the Academy Award for Documentary Feature
Three 6 Mafia with Taraji P. Henson Performers Performed "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp", from Hustle & Flow
Uma Thurman Presenter Presented the Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay
John Travolta Presenter Presented the Academy Award for Best Cinematography
Naomi Watts Presenter Introduced the performance of "Travelin' Thru"
Luke Wilson Presenter presented with Owen Wilson the Academy Award for Live Action Short Film
Owen Wilson Presenter Co-presented with Luke Wilson the Academy Award for Live Action Short Film
Reese Witherspoon Presenter Presented the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature
Kathleen York Performer Performed "In the Deep", from Crash
Ziyi Zhang Presenter Presented the Academy Award for Film Editing

In addition, previous Academy Awards hosts Billy Crystal, Chris Rock, Steve Martin, David Letterman and Whoopi Goldberg, as well as George Clooney, Mel Gibson and Halle Berry participated in a pre-taped comedy skit at the start of the broadcast. Tom Hanks, in addition to presenting an award, was also featured in a pre-taped skit about keeping acceptance speeches within the time limits.

In Memoriam[edit]

The "In Memoriam" tribute was presented by George Clooney. Those that were featured included:


  • The opening featured former hosts who pretended to be declining to host again, with film-based settings including a quick parody of the tent scene from Brokeback Mountain, with Billy Crystal and Chris Rock; a family room in a house, with Steve Martin and some lookalike kids; a posh hotel room, with Whoopi Goldberg; David Letterman babysitting Steve Martin's "kids"; Mel Gibson on the set of his latest movie, Apocalypto; and even Mr. Moviefone. Cut to Jon Stewart being wakened (sharing a bed with Halle Berry) and falling asleep again, realizing it's a dream; then awakening again, sharing the bed with George Clooney, who advises Stewart it's not a dream, and to get up and get the show started.
  • The montage sequence after the opening shows western films with scenes involving male characters talking emotionally with perceived innuendo, a reference to Brokeback Mountain. Other montages in the ceremony saluted film noir, epic films, biographical films, and political commentary in film (after the latter, Stewart joked "and none of those issues were ever a problem again"). Stewart later joked that there would be a montage on montages.
  • This was the first time Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Aniston, George Clooney, Luke Wilson, Steve Carell, Eric Bana, and Jessica Alba had ever presented an award.
  • This was the sixth time that Jack Nicholson had presented the award for Best Picture.
  • Several spoof advertisements were shown, narrated by Stephen Colbert, a former correspondent from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart who currently hosts The Colbert Report. They attacked the candidacies of various nominees on behalf of other nominees, modeled on famous political ads. For example, in a parody of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, "Dames for Truth" attacked Dame Judi Dench with absurd claims, such as that Dench poked a dame's eye out in a bar fight. The ad was capped with the disclaimer that Dames for Truth was "a shadow organization in no way affiliated with Felicity Huffman". In a parody of the Harry and Louise political ads (1993), an old couple complained about the "foreign" sounding names of the best actress nominees, other than Reese Witherspoon.
  • At the beginning of the ceremony, some political remarks were made satirizing and criticizing conservative America and the LBGT taboo (for instance, the montage on "gay" cowboy movies). Host Jon Stewart and winner George Clooney were among those most noted for their somewhat combative political remarks:
    • In Stewart's opening speech, he remarked, "Björk couldn't be here tonight... she was trying on her Oscar dress and Dick Cheney shot her." This was reference to the Dick Cheney hunting incident and the dress Björk wore at the 73rd Academy Awards.
    • As Clooney wrapped his acceptance speech upon his win, he remarked: "And finally, I would say that, you know, we are a little bit out of touch in Hollywood every once in a while. I think it's probably a good thing. We're the ones who talk about AIDS when it was just being whispered, and we talked about civil rights when it wasn't really popular. And we, you know, we bring up subjects. This Academy, this group of people, gave Hattie McDaniel an Oscar in 1939 when blacks were still sitting in the backs of theaters. I'm proud to be a part of this Academy. Proud to be part of this community, and proud to be out of touch," commenting on how Hollywood sometimes breaks social taboos such as racism, homosexuality, and war. Some conservatives were offended by Clooney's remarks calling them rude and absurd (Clooney had earlier made a joke criticizing Jack Abramoff at the Golden Globe Awards). Clooney's acceptance speech, perceived as being smug in tone by the writers of South Park, was lampooned several times in the episode "Smug Alert!"
  • In her pre-show red carpet interview Jennifer Garner, who presented the award for Best Sound Editing, revealed that she'd had to have her ears pierced specially for the $250,000 diamond chandelier earrings she wore to the ceremony.
  • Don Adams, Bob Denver, Paul Winchell, Dana Elcar, Eddie Guerrero, and James Doohan were omitted for the In Memoriam segment. After much criticism, Doohan was included in the tribute of the following year's ceremony.

Ceremony information[edit]

Box office performance of nominated films[edit]

For the second consecutive year, the field of major nominees did not include a bona fide blockbuster at the U.S. box office, with the nominees for Best Picture performing even more poorly than those of one year earlier.

None of the five Best Picture nominees was among the year's top 40 releases in box office at the time of the nominations, likely the most disappointing box-office performance of any Best Picture field in history; the film chosen as best Documentary Feature, March of the Penguins, earned more ($77.4 million) than any of the dramatic nominees, the first such occurrence in Academy history. Crash was the highest earner among the Best Picture nominees with $55.4 million in domestic box office receipts. The film was followed by Brokeback Mountain at $51 million and Munich at $40.1 million; Good Night, and Good Luck. ($25.1 million) and Capote ($15.3 million) rounded out the field. (By the time of the awards, Brokeback Mountain would surpass Crash with $78.9 million, benefitting from its position as Oscar frontrunner.)

Of the top 50 grossing movies of the year, 35 nominations went to 13 films on the list. Only Walk the Line (18th), March of the Penguins, (26th), Cinderella Man (41st), Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (45th), and Crash (48th) were nominated for Best Picture, Best Animated Feature, Best Documentary Feature, or any of the directing, acting, or screenwriting. The other top 50 box office hits that earned nominations were Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (1st), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2nd), The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (3rd), War of the Worlds (4th), King Kong (5th), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (7th), Batman Begins (8th), and Memoirs of a Geisha (47th).

News and recap[edit]

For the first time in five years, a majority of the Best Picture nominees were rated R (under 17 requires accompanying adult); it had been seven years since as many (four) of the nominees had earned that rating. Of the 85 nominations awarded to non-documentary feature films (apart from the Foreign Film category), a slight majority of 43 went to R-rated films, 25 to films rated PG-13, 16 to PG-rated films and 1 to a G-rated film. There was a remarkable rating-related division among the nominations: R-rated films captured 32 of the 40 nominations for Best Picture, directing, screenwriting and acting, while non-R-rated films received 34 of the 45 nominations in the remaining categories, primarily those in "below the line" areas (the music and editing categories accounted for 9 of the 11 nominations for R-rated films).

Also, the nominations were more widely dispersed than usual; it marked the first time in six years that no film received more than eight nominations. This was also the first time in 17 years that less than 5 songs were nominated in the Best Original Song category.

This year the awards ceremony started at 5:00 p.m. PST, 30 minutes earlier than the previous seven ceremonies. The pre-show was extended from its original thirty minutes to a full hour before the ceremony. The Barbara Walters Special, usually airing before or after the ceremony (depending on time zone) was for the second time, since 2003, aired on different days this time before the actual day of the ceremony, March 1 to accommodate these time changes.

As has become standard practice in recent years (since the ceremony in 2004 following the Janet Jackson Super Bowl controversy), the broadcast aired on a time delay in order to allow the network to censor offensive material. This occurred during the performance of "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" when several words were blanked out at the start of the song, and later one phrase was bleeped during Three 6 Mafia's acceptance speech. One phrase in the chorus that was supposed to be sung as "bitches talking shit" was replaced with the less-offensive phrase "witches jumping ships".

As with tradition, last year's acting winners present an acting award for the opposite sex. Cate Blanchett won Best Supporting Actress the previous year but was contractually signed to star in a play in New York City, therefore unable to present the award for Best Supporting Actor; Nicole Kidman was recruited to fill in.

LGBT themes[edit]

Many news organizations labeled this ceremony "The Gay Oscars",[3][4] as movies such as Brokeback Mountain, Capote, and Transamerica featured prominent gay or transgender characters and were strong candidates for the popular Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Actress categories.

Tom O'Neill of GoldDerby declared on CNN Saturday Night, "I think we could have the all-gay Oscars. Brokeback for best picture; Capote for best actor; Transamerica for best actress."[5] Ultimately, in these three categories only Capote won its potential award.

The label of "Gay Oscars" resembles the "Black Oscars" label of the 74th Academy Awards when two people of African-American descent, Denzel Washington and Halle Berry, won the best actor and actress Oscars, respectively.[6]

Controversy over Best Picture[edit]

The New York Times declared that the selection of Crash as best picture was a "stunning twist", due to the fact that Brokeback Mountain received the top prizes at other large award shows such as the Golden Globes and the BAFTA Awards. It also suggested that Crash won as the "hometown favorite", being set in Los Angeles, where most Academy voters live.[7] Residents of Los Angeles were divided over the film, some believing it presented an unfairly negative portrayal of the city.[8]

Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan also observed that some Academy members displayed "discomfort" with the subject matter of Brokeback Mountain, which features a homosexual romance. He suggested that these voters might have instead voted for Crash so that they could still "feel like they were good, productive liberals", hence Crash's victory.[9]

MSNBC commentator Erik Lundegaard felt the Academy took a "step towards irrelevancy" by selecting the "worst best picture winner since The Greatest Show on Earth in 1952."[10] In a commentary in The Guardian, Annie Proulx—the author of the short story on which Brokeback Mountain was based—strongly criticized the selection of Crash, labeling it "trash" and denouncing Academy voters as "living cloistered lives behind wrought-iron gates or in deluxe rest-homes, out of touch not only with the shifting larger culture and the yeasty ferment that is America these days, but also out of touch with their own segregated city"; calling the attendees a "somewhat dim LA crowd", she stated that "Next year we can look to the awards for controversial themes on the punishment of adulterers with a branding iron in the shape of the letter A, runaway slaves, and the debate over free silver."[11]

TV ratings[edit]

The ceremony attracted 38.94 million viewers with 22.91 million households watching. This makes this year's ceremony (along with the 58th ceremony) the third lowest viewed ceremony in terms of Nielsen Ratings. This is partially due to the lack of box office hits being nominated. Still, only Super Bowl XL (which also aired on ABC) drew a higher television audience in the U.S., as is typically the case. The ceremony even won 4 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Art Direction for a Variety, Music Program, or Special, Outstanding Directing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program, Outstanding Main Title Design and Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Variety or Music Series or Special or Animation.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Scientific & Technical Awards Ceremonies". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 2006-02-20. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  2. ^ "The 78th Academy Awards (2006) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  3. ^ Richard Knight, Jr. (March 1, 2006). "Knight at the Movies: The Year of the Gay Oscars". Windy City Media Group. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  4. ^ Doctor, Vikram (February 26, 2006). "Bring it on". The Economic Times. Archived from the original on August 27, 2006. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Gay Oscars" from a transcript of CNN Saturday Night accessed February 18, 2006.
  6. ^ "Hijack of the Oscars". The Sydney Morning Herald. April 1, 2002. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  7. ^ Carr, David; Halbfinger, David (March 6, 2006). "'Crash' Walks Away With the Top Prize at the Oscars". The New York Times. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  8. ^ Cara Mia DiMassa (March 5, 2006). "'Crash' resonates in LA on race relations". Boston.com. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  9. ^ Turan, Kenneth (March 5, 2006). "Breaking no Ground". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 5, 2006. 
  10. ^ Lundergaard, Erik (March 6, 2006). "Oscar misfire: ‘Crash’ and burn". MSNBC.com. Retrieved February 27, 2011. 
  11. ^ Proulx, Annie (March 11, 2006). "Blood on the red carpet". The Guardian. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  12. ^ McCarthy, Sean (2006-03-07). "Box Office Blues; Low Oscar ratings reflect lack of blockbuster flicks". The Boston Herald (Boston Herald Inc.). p. 003. Archived from the original on 21 March 2006. Retrieved 2006-03-30. 

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