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The 71st Academy Awards Memorable Moments

71st Oscars

Best Picture: Shakespeare in Love

Shakespeare in Love also won Academy Awards for Best Actress (Gwyneth Paltrow), Best Supporting Actress (Judi Dench), Art Direction-Set Decoration (Martin Childs and Jill Quertier), Costume Design (Sandy Powell), Music – Original Musical or Comedy Score (Stephen Warbeck), and Writing – Screenplay written directly for the screen (Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard). 

Cate Blanchett was nominated for her performance as Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth and Judi Dench was nominated and won for her performance as Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love. Only once before in Oscar history had two actresses been nominated in the same year for playing the same character.  That was in 1997, when Kate Winslet and Gloria Stuart were both nominated for playing the character of Rose in Titanic.

Life Is Beautiful became the second film in Academy history to be nominated both as Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film in the same year. Like 1969’s “Z,” Life Is Beautiful won in the foreign language film category.

Italy’s Roberto Benigni won Best Actor for Life Is Beautiful, making him the second performer to be honored for work in a foreign language film, the first being Sophia Loren in 1961’s Two Women.

He was also the second performer to direct himself to a Best Actor statuette, the first being Laurence Olivier in 1948’s “Hamlet.”

Whoopi Goldberg was the host. She opened the show in Elizabethan wardrobe and identified herself as the African Queen.

For the first time in the Awards’ history, the ceremony took place on a Sunday.

On January 1, 1998, the ban on smoking in all California bars, casinos, and nightclubs took effect.

On January 26, 1998, during an unrelated, televised White House event, President Bill Clinton denied having sexual relations with former intern Monica Lewinsky.

On February 15, 1998, Dale Earnhardt won the Daytona 500 for the first time, after 19 prior attempts. Three years later, he died in a last-lap crash at Daytona.

In March 1998, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved use of the drug Viagra.

On April 15, 1998, former Cambodian dictator Pol Pot died.

In April 1998, Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World Resort opened to the public.

In May 1998, 23-year-old Bear Grylls became the youngest British climber to scale Mount Everest, 18 months after breaking his back in three places. His record stood for only one year.

On June 8, 1998, Charlton Heston was elected president of the National Rifle Association.

On September 4, 1998, Google was incorporated by Stanford University graduate students Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

On October 29, 1998, John Glenn became the oldest man to fly in space, on Mission STS-95 aboard the space shuttle Discovery.

On November 3, 1998, former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura was elected governor of Minnesota.

On December 19, 1998, President Bill Clinton became the second president in U.S. history to be impeached when the House of Representatives voted to confirm two articles of impeachment against him. Although he was charged with perjury for misleading a federal grand jury and with obstructing justice, Clinton refused to resign and his trial began on January 7, 1999.

Honorary Award

To Elia Kazan in recognition of his indelible contributions to the art of motion picture direction.

Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award

To Norman Jewison.