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I'd Like To Thank...The Movies

A GUIDE TO THE MORE OBSCURE FILM REFERENCES MADE ON OSCAR NIGHT

By now everybody's seen The Return of the King. But there were plenty of other, less familiar films that got shout-outs last Sunday. Here's a brief summary of the movies everyone was really talking about.

ANY WHICH WAY YOU CAN As Billy Crystal so indelicately pointed out, Clint Eastwood starred in several godawful movies in the '70s and '80s with his onetime love, Sondra Locke -- movies like The Gauntlet, Every Which Way But Loose, and this action comedy, Loose's 1980 sequel, which reunites truck driver/bare-knuckle brawler Clint with his simian sidekick, Clyde.

BAD TASTE & MEET THE FEEBLES Peter Jackson added to his infinite cuddliness when he self-deprecatingly said how wise the Academy was for ignoring his first two movies: Taste (1988), a cult fave about aliens who turn humans into fast food, and Feebles (1989), a bizarro musical of sorts with drug-addled, blood-spilling animal puppets, made just five years before Jackson got his first Oscar nod, for writing Heavenly Creatures.

BLOW OUT The punchline -- if you can call it that -- of Sandra Bullock and John Travolta's inexplicable award-presentation banter was this 1981 Brian De Palma movie, in which Travolta plays a sound guy who unwittingly uncovers a murder. It was an homage to 1966's Blow-Up, which also happened to pop up at the Oscars, during the clip remembering late actor David Hemmings. What's more, Blow-Up was directed by Michelangelo Antonioni, whom Sofia Coppola thanked. Phew!

THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD Renee Zellweger thanked actor Vincent D'Onofrio for helping her along way back when. The two costarred in this little-seen 1996 drama about the Depression-era friendship between writer Novalyne Price and pulp fiction author Robert E. Howard, the man who conjured up Conan the Barbarian and committed suicide at 30.

IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE Hong Kong film director Wong Kar-wai was another one of the role models Sofia Coppola included in her acceptance speech. Wong's 2000 movie -- a beautiful, bittersweet tale of an almost love affair between two married neighbors left alone by their spouses -- gives you a peek at the possible roots of Lost in Translation.

THE PARTY Jim Carrey wasn't just being his usual nutty self when he kicked off the tribute to Blake Edwards with that nonsense-talk routine. He was also paying homage to the antics of Peter Sellers in Edwards' 1968 comedy about an accident-prone movie extra who causes a ruckus at a classy Tinseltown gathering. It's also one of the few films to star Claudine Longet. Who's Claudine Longet? The scandal-ridden ex-wife of Andy Williams who shot and killed skier Spider Sabich in 1976. But that's a whole other story.

Originally posted Mar 12, 2004 Published in issue #755 Mar 12, 2004 Order article reprints