'Gladiator' Wins Best Picture Oscar

ByABC News
March 23, 2001, 3:36 PM

March 26 -- Gladiator marched into the Shrine Auditorium as the conquering hero at this year's Academy Awards, winning Best Picture and four other Oscars.

Russell Crowe took the Best Actor prize for his role as a Roman general-turned-slave-turned Coliseum hero. The film also won Oscars for sound, costumes and visual effects.

"A dream like this seems kind of vaguely, and completely unattainable," Crowe said.

The other big winners were Traffic, Steven Soderbergh's depiction of the war on drugs, and the high-flying martial arts epic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which picked up four awards each.

As virtually everyone expected, Julia Roberts took Best Actress honors for her role in Erin Brockovich.

In the biggest surprise in the evening, Marcia Gay Harden was named Best Supporting Actress for her role as the tortured artist's wife in Pollock. The win denied Kate Hudson, who played a groupie with a heart of gold in Almost Famous, the opportunity to match her mom, Oscar winner Goldie Hawn.

Greetings From Space

As Hollywood's biggest night began, the stars made their classic red-carpet entrances. Roberts dressed in a black and white vintage Valentino floor-length gown. Her date, Benjamin Bratt, matched her color scheme in a black suit with a white shirt and tie. Russell Crowe and Samuel L. Jackson went for Armani tuxedos. Also in a tux was Angelina Jolie, who chose pants over the long gowns favored by most of the female nominees.

The show began with a welcoming from the astronauts from the international space station Alpha. Host Steve Martin remarked, "That introduction cost the government $1 trillion."

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In his first stab as host, Martin compared emceeing the Oscars to making love to a beautiful woman. "It's something I only get to do when Billy Crystal is out of town."

The evening offered musical performances from Oscar nominees Sting, Björk and Bob Dylan. Dylan won for "Things Have Changed" from Wonder Boys.