Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Aviator is a 2004 drama movie, directed by Martin Scorsese. It is distributed by Miramax, and like many of Scorsese's films, was tipped for numerous Academy Awards before its release. Roger Ebert, a respected American film reviewer described the film and its subject Howard Hughes in these terms:
"What a sad man. What brief glory. What an enthralling film, 166 minutes, and it races past. There's a match here between Scorsese and his subject, perhaps because the director's own life journey allows him to see Howard Hughes with insight, sympathy -- and, up to a point, with admiration. This is one of the year's best films."
The movie is a biopic of the aviation pioneer Howard Hughes (played by Leonardo DiCaprio). It follows his life from the late 1920s through the 1940s, a time when Hughes was directing and producing Hollywood movies as well as test piloting his own groundbreaking new aircraft.
Hughes was the son of a Texan inventor, who left him most of his company "Hughes Tool Co." upon his death. At the time, Hughes was a college student at Rice University. From there, Hughes moved to Los Angeles to become a movie producer, helping fledging actors launch their careers, such as Jean Harlow (played by Gwen Stefani), whom he cast in the movie Hell's Angels. He also produced other classic movies such as Scarface. Later on in his career, he branched out into other industries, such as electronics, and most significantly aviation. His company Hughes Aircraft was responsible for legendary aircraft such as the Hercules, aka the Spruce Goose. However, Hughes's mental deterioration with his obsessive-compulsive behavior is a major plot thread through the film.
The movie also details Hughes's romances with Hollywood stars like Ava Gardner, (Kate Beckinsale), and Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett), and his battles with allegedly corrupt Maine senator Owen Brewster (Alan Alda) and Pan Am head honcho Juan Trippe (Alec Baldwin).
In an early portion of the movie, the color blue appears in a number of unexpected places. Scorsese had some of the images altered to change green to blue in order to partially simulate early two-tone Technicolor movies.
Tagline: Some men dream the future. He built it.
Awards and nominations
The Aviator was nominated for six Golden Globes, winning three: Best Picture - Drama, Best Actor - Drama (Leonardo DiCaprio), and Best Original Score (Howard Shore). The Aviator won the BAFTA Award for Best Picture and Cate Blanchett won the BAFTA for Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance as Katharine Hepburn. It was also nominated for eleven Academy Awards, more than any other film released in 2004. It won in 5 categories: Best Supporting Actress, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, and Best Costume Design. Its full list of Oscar nominations and awards came in the following categories (Winning awards in bold):
- Best Picture
- Best Director (Martin Scorsese)
- Best Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio)
- Best Supporting Actor (Alan Alda)
- Best Supporting Actress (Cate Blanchett)
- Best Original Screenplay (John Logan)
- Best Art Direction
- Best Cinematography (Robert Richardson )
- Best Film Editing (Thelma Schoonmaker )
- Best Achievement in Costume Design
- Best Sound
- Leonardo DiCaprio — Howard Hughes
- Cate Blanchett — Katharine Hepburn
- Kate Beckinsale — Ava Gardner
- John C. Reilly — Noah Dietrich
- Adam Scott — Johnny Meyer
- Alec Baldwin — Juan Trippe
- Alan Alda — Sen. Owen Brewster
- Gwen Stefani — Jean Harlow
- Willem Dafoe — Tabloid editor
- Jude Law — Errol Flynn
- Brent Spiner — Robert Gross
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