Newcomers reigned: Of the 31 individuals who took home competitive Oscars, 19 were first-time nominees.
It was also an international evening: Nine of those awardees were not born in the U.S.
With four wins, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” matches the four wins of “Fanny & Alexander,” the previous record-holder for foreign-language films.
Winner of the best director award Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic”) was a double nominee this year (also for “Erin Brockovich”) and becomes the first person to defeat himself in the directing category.
Benicio Del Toro, in a mostly Spanish-language role in “Traffic,” becomes the fourth actor to win for a foreign-lingo performance.
Bob Dylan (best song, “Things Have Changed”) joins the Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Prince and Bruce Springsteen in the ranks of rockers who’ve won musical Oscars.
There were many more Asian-born winners than usual, thanks to “Crouching Tiger,” including Tan Dun, Peter Pau, Tim Yip and director-producer Ang Lee, who takes home the prize for foreign-language film.
Rick Baker won his sixth Oscar, for “The Grinch” makeup, sharing the nod with first-time nominee Gail Ryan.
– Timothy M. Gray