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Year: 1999 (72nd) Academy Awards
Film Title: American Beauty
Winner: Sam Mendes
Presenter: Steven Spielberg
Date & Venue: March 26, 2000; Shrine Auditorium & Expo Center
I'm a little bit overwhelmed. I want to say huge respect, first of all, to my fellow nominees. It's an honor to be in your company, genuinely. It's an honor to be here. I want to say thank you to an astonishing young studio, DreamWorks, for having the courage to hire a bloke from English theatre to do a movie about American suburbia, and then trusting him. So thank you, Glenn Williamson, Bob Cooper, Walter Parkes, Laurie MacDonald, Jeffrey Katzenberg, David Geffen, Terry Press, and especially thank you to Steven Spielberg for handing me this script in the first place, for handing me this [referring to the Oscar], and for being so generous with your wisdom.
Thank you to a fantastic, fantastic cast of actors. I will be forever in your debt. Thank you for giving so much of yourselves to this picture, particularly Kevin and Annette and Chris Cooper and the three younger actors—thank you, Wes, and Thora, Mena. Thank you so much to all the people, all my many, many collaborators on this movie. To Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, the producers. To Conrad Hall, you're an artist and I love you. To Tom Newman, for your fantastic music. To Naomi Shohan and Julie Weiss, the designers. To my personal heroes, Beth Swofford, you're fabulous, and the equally fabulous Tara Cook. To my editor Tariq Anwar.
To all the people who work and have worked at the Donmar Warehouse theatre in London. To all my friends at home watching in my flat in Primrose Hill—have a drink for me. To my dad and my stepmother watching back home in South London. To Alan Ball, for a truly original, original screenplay. And finally, I'd like to say thank you to a personal hero of mine who is a big influence on this movie. I want to say thank you to Billy Wilder. And I want to say to him, if my career after this point amounts to one tenth of what yours has been, I will be a very happy man. So to all of those people and especially to you, to the Academy, thank you so, so much.
© Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences[Note: All winners are present except where noted; NOT all winners may have spoken.]