The 73rd Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), honored films of 2000 and took place on March 25, 2001, at the Shrine Auditorium in 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 23 categories. The ceremony, televised in the United States by ABC, was produced by Gil Cates and was directed by Louis J. Horvitz. Actor Steve Martin hosted the show for the first time. Three weeks earlier in a ceremony at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California held on March 3, the Academy Awards for Technical Achievement were presented by host Renée Zellweger.
Gladiator won five awards including Best Picture. Other winners included Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Traffic with four awards, and Almost Famous, Big Mama, Erin Brockovich, Father and Daughter, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport, Pollock, Quiero ser (I want to be ...), U-571 and Wonder Boys with one. The telecast garnered almost 43 million viewers in the United States.
The nominees for the 73rd Academy Awards were announced on February 13, 2001, by Robert Rehme, president of the Academy, and Academy Award-winning actress Kathy Bates. Gladiator received the most nominations with twelve. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon came in second with ten.
The winners were announced during the awards ceremony on March 25, 2001. Gladiator became the first film to win Best Picture without a directing or screenwriting win since 1949's All the King's Men. Best Director winner Steven Soderbergh, who received nominations for both Erin Brockovich and Traffic (for which he won the award), was the third person to receive double directing nominations in the same year. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon became the third film nominated simultaneously for Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film in the same year. Moreover, its ten nominations were the most for a foreign language film. With four wins, the film tied with Fanny and Alexander as the most awarded foreign language films in Academy Awards history. By virtue of his brother's Best Supporting Actor nomination for 1988's Running on Empty, Best Supporting actor nominee Joaquin Phoenix and River became the first pair of brothers to earn acting nominations.
Winners are listed first, highlighted in boldface, and indicated with a double dagger ().Jack Cardiff
Dino De Laurentiis
The following individuals, listed in order of appearance, presented awards or performed musical numbers.
Despite earning both critical praise and increased viewership from last year's ceremony, actor Billy Crystal announced that he would not host the ceremony for a second consecutive year. He listed his role in the film America's Sweethearts and his directing and producing duties for the made-for-television film 61* as obstacles preventing him from reprising his role as emcee. Shortly after being selected as producer for the awards gala, Gil Cates hired actor and comedian Steve Martin as host for the 2001 telecast. Cates explained his choice of Martin as host saying, "He's a movie star, he's funny, he's classy, he's literate — he'll be a wonderful host." Additionally, AMPAS president Robert Rehme approved of the selection stating, "Steve is a man of great style. I am simply elated to have him on board. He was at the top of our list, we offered and he accepted; it was as simple as that.” Martin expressed his delight in hosting the gala jokingly retoring, "If you can't win 'em, join 'em."
In view of the gala taking place in the year 2001, Cates christened the show with a theme saluting the Stanley Kubrick science fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey. In tandem with the theme, astronauts Susan J. Helms, Yury Usachov, and James S. Voss who were inside the International Space Station Alpha Destiny module during Expedition 2 appeared at the beginning of the telecast via satellite to introduce host Martin. Throughout the broadcast, the orchestra conducted by film composer Bill Conti performed a remixed version of "Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001)" composed by Brazilian jazz musician Eumir Deodato. Furthermore, 2001 author Arthur C. Clarke presented the Best Adapted Screenplay award from his home in Sri Lanka.
Several others participated in the production of the ceremony. Production designer Roy Christopher designed a new stage for the show which featured gigantic louvered cove that curved from the stage floor to the ceiling via the auditorium's backstage wall. Many media outlets described the set design resembling a cross section of a space capsule. In addition, four stainless steel arcs each carved with a silhouette of the Oscar statuette were flanked at the front and back of the stage allowing presenters and winners to pass through them. Dancer Debbie Allen choreographed the performances of the Best Original Song nominees. Musicians Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman performed excerpts from the five nominees for Best Original Score.
Before the nominees were announced on February 13, the combined gross of the five Best Picture nominees was $471 million with an average of $94 million per film. Gladiator was the highest earner among the Best Picture nominees with $186.6 million in domestic box office receipts. The film was followed by Erin Brockovich ($125.5 million), Traffic ($71.2 million), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon ($60.7 million), and finally, Chocolat ($27 million).
Of the top 50 grossing movies of the year, 49 nominations went to 15 films on the list. Only Cast Away (3rd), Gladiator (4th), Erin Brockovich (12th), Traffic (31st), and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (41st) directing, acting, screenwriting, or Best Picture. The other top 50 box office hits that earned nominations were Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1st), The Perfect Storm (5th), Meet the Parents (7th), The Patriot (17th), Space Cowboys (23rd), The Emperor's New Groove (25th), U-571 (26th), Hollow Man (30th), 102 Dalmatians (38th), and The Cell (40th).
The show received a positive reception from most media outlets. Television critic Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly wrote, "As host, Martin was typically dapper and comfortably low-key, pacing himself throughout the evening." He also added, "The Oscars seemed as bouncy and well oiled as Russell Crowe's 'do—a '50s Gene Vincent-style quiff that made for a cool rock & roll segue into Dylan's Best Song performance." USA Today critic Robert Bianco gave an average review of the telecast but commended the host stating, "Martin was a droll delight — as amusing as Oscar star Billy Crystal, but in an entirely different way. Where Crystal was all hard work and good humor, the more deadpan and deceptively proper Martin let his nastier jokes sneak up on you." Tom Shales from The Washington Post commented Martin was "the best Oscar host since Johnny Carson." In addition, he quipped that "The show was almost too dignified for its own good, yet it remained exciting and entertaining even at its loftier and more pretentious moments."
Some media outlets were more critical of the show. Barry Garron of the The Hollywood Reporter commented, "Here was veteran producer Gil Cates presiding over one of the few Academy Award presentations that ended on time and still managed to be too long." Additionally, he quipped "If nothing else, tonight's show proved that, despite the many Awards most viewers have no interest in, the show can be done in three and a half hours." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Steve Murray remarked, "It wasn't just that Martin lacked the impish, insider energy of Billy Crystal - or even Whoopi Goldberg's hypnotically awful self-satisfaction. No, the 73rd annual Academy Awards still seemed to go on forever, even though it was one of the shortest in years." Television critic John Carman of San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "Even with a rookie host, Steve Martin, the Academy Awards show was long on decorum and disappointingly short on verve."
The American telecast on ABC drew in an average of 42.9 million people over its length, which was a 7% decrease from the previous year's ceremony. An estimated 72.2 million total viewers watched all or part of the awards. The show also earned lower Nielsen ratings compared to the previous ceremony with 26.2% of households watching over a 40 share. In addition, it garnered a lower 18–49 demo rating with a 17.8 rating among viewers in that demographic.
In July 2001, the ceremony presentation received eight nominations at the 53rd Primetime Emmys. Two months later, the ceremony won one of those nominations for Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Variety Or Music Series Or Special (Edward J. Greene, Tom Vicari, Bob Douglass).
The annual In Memoriam tribute, presented by actor John Travolta, honored the following people.