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UPI Focus: 'Titanic' ties Oscar record

By
TERRI VERMEULEN

LOS ANGELES, March 23 -- The box office blockbuster 'Titanic' won a record-tying 11 Oscars, including best picture and best director, at the 70th annual Academy Awards. But the saga about the ill-fated ship on its maiden voyage was shut out of the acting awards, which went instead to Helen Hunt and Jack Nicholson for their roles in the romantic comedy 'As Good As It Gets.' 'Titanic' director James Cameron said he wasn't disappointed that his blockbuster failed to break the record of 11 Oscars set in 1959 by 'Ben Hur.' The director called the spate of awards 'an overwhelming groundswell of support from our peers' and thanked a cast and crew of 5,000. Cameron told a crowd of 5,500 at tonight's ceremonies at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, 'My heart is full to bursting except to say, I'm the king of the world!' He also asked the crowd to remember the 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sunk with a 'few seconds of silence' in the midst of the euphoria. 'Titanic,' the most expensive movie ever made with a $200 million- plus budget, also took home top honors for art direction, cinematography, costume design, film editing, original dramatic score, song, sound, sound effects editing and visual effects. Along with the record-tying number of awards, 'Titanic' has broken box office records, leading the nation's box office for 14 weeks in a row and taking in nearly $500 million and counting. 'Titanic' was easily the most overwhelming winner, with fellow nominees 'As Good As It Gets,' 'L.A. Confidential' and 'Good Will Hunting' getting just two Oscars each.

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Robin Williams was named best supporting actor for his role as a therapist in 'Good Will Hunting,' while Kim Basinger won best supporting actress honors for her role as a sexpot in the 1950s police drama 'L.A. Confidential.' Basinger said she wanted to thank 'everyone I've ever met,' and she and Williams each paid tribute to their fathers in their acceptance speeches. The youthful Matt Damon and pal Ben Affleck won for best original screenplay for 'Good Will Hunting,' marking the third year in a row that actors have won that award. The two brought their mothers as dates. When asked whether he would have rather won the award for best actor, Damon said: 'Are you kidding me, man? I've never even been here before. I didn't care.' Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson won for best adapted screenplay for 'L.A. Confidential.' 'Character' from The Netherlands was named best foreign language film. 'Men in Black' won for best makeup; 'The Full Monty' for best musical or comedy score; 'Geri's Game' for best animated short; 'Visas and Virtue' for live action short; 'The Long Way Home,' best documentary feature; and 'A Story of Healing' for best documentary short subject. Director Stanley Donen was honored with a lifetime achievement award for his work on musicals including 'Singin' in the Rain,' 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers' and 'The Pajama Game.' Host Billy Crystal brought down the house with an opening sequence in which he was spliced into scenes from 'Titanic,' 'L.A. Confidential,' 'The Full Monty,' 'As Good As It Gets' and 'Good Will Hunting.' The ceremony lasted 3 hours, 45 minutes, 30 seconds topping even the 3-hour, 14-minute running time of 'Titanic' and the previous Oscar record telecast of 3 hours and 45 minutes in 1985. ---

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